Mike Hessman is a true minor league lifer. Hessman, 30, has played in the minors since 1996 and in AAA since 2002 with the Braves and now the Tigers. Hessman plays 3B and hits for tons of power, so you'd figure that he would get a shot to prove his worth in the bigs right? Wrong. Hessman only has 141 major league at bats under his belt despite his impressive 288 career minor league home runs. Hessman's power is stunning. He has never hit less than 16 HR in any of his 12 minor league seasons and is currently having the best year of his career by hitting .270 with 34 HR and 72 RBI. So why can't Hessman get his shot?
The answer is actually quite simple: Hessman cannot hit for average and strikes out way too much. Hessman's career batting average is a horrific .230 and Hessman perennially strikes out 135+ times a season. Hessman bottomed out in 2006 when he hit .165 for the season, which is probably one of the worst minor league seasons in history. Perhaps the one thing that Hessman has going for him is that even at 30, he is showing signs of improvement. Hessman will never be a major league regular, but I do believe that he can contribute some power off the bench as long as he keeps his Ks down. Another plus for Hessman is that the Tigers are terrible this season and should give him a look this season (even with Jeff Larish up).
So good luck to you Mr. Hessman, you deserve a shot to prove your worth and hopefully the Tigers will give you that shot. Maybe you'll have some Jeff Bailey luck and finally get your opportunity to shine. Just remember to make contact and limit those strikeouts.
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