Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/15/13
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Alex Avila brought so much promise to Detroit Tiger fans in 2009 when he joined his father’s organization (Al Avila is the VP of the team and assistant GM). He started with the Tigers on Aug. 6, 2009 with two hits and an RBI. The following night he had his first home run. Avila quickly showed signs of greatness. That slowly faded as he finished with a .279 average, which, admittedly isn’t too shabby. But the following season he began to slump, and then slumped some more. And this season, he’s still slumping. This season it’s at an all-time low. His .198 average (and 85 strikeouts) have Tigers fans wondering if this is the best they can come up with behind the plate. That’s where Brayan Pena comes in. This year he’s hitting .306 with four HR and 20 RBI in 50 games. Pena came to Detroit in the offseason from AL Central rival Kansas City. In KC, he never had a very high average, but finally being surrounded by other good hitters has given him confidence, and he has become quite the hitter for the Tigers. Compared to Avila’s .288 OBP, Pena’s .332 would almost make him seem like the obvious choice to be the starter behind the plate. In the last five games Pena is hitting a team-high .474 with three RBI. While Pena has been hot recently, Avila has been on the DL with concussion-like symptoms after taking a foul ball off the mask on Sunday. While Pena has heated up as quickly as the team did in the month of August, now seems like the right time for him to prove to manager Jim Leyland and staff that he deserves to be the every-day starter. If the only reason that Avila is still the starter is because of his father, then something is seriously wrong with the Tigers’ brass. It’s time for them to realize that this Pena guy is the real deal. He needs to be the guy, at least the rest of this season, obviously minus a few select situations. If they’re planning on winning a World Series title this year, he needs to be behind the plate on a daily basis. Alex Avila, slumping Tigers catcher, may need to give way to Brayan Pena
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