I'll admit to entering the season unconvinced by the Detroit offense. I picked them to reach the World Series, but that was mostly because I thought (and think) David Price and Anibal Sanchez was the American League's best 1-2 punch of starters.
On the offensive side, it's a Tigers offense that was as high-variance as maybe any in the game. Off a .389 BABIP season, J.D. Martinez seemed as much a candidate for regression as anyone in the game. Yoenis Cespedes has been relatively disappointing since his rookie year. Same for Alex Avila. Nick Castellanos hasn't proven anything yet. And Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez were both aging, traditionally bad body types, and entering the season banged up. It was unlikely to ever be a bad offense, but if things broke poorly, it was definitely one with risk.
Through a week, though, that risk hasn't really been present. Through Tuesday's games, the Tigers have scored 53 runs, second only to Oakland's 55 (Kansas City, with only seven games and 52 runs, is scoring more per game). Castellanos is the only starter with an OPS+ under 98 (heck, he and Victor Martinez are the only ones under 140), and Cabrera and Jose Iglesias are both hitting better than .470. Ian Kinsler leads the league with 11 runs scored. I mentioned how I saw the Tigers as having a high-variance offense; if that's the case, then just about every single positive outcome has been realized.
The Tigers have nine regulars. I've mentioned eight so far. It's the ninth, then, that I'm really going to focus on here.
Anthony Gose is hitting .391 so far, with a .696 slugging percentage so far. That's obviously not going to continue — none of these crazy-hot hitters will continue at this level. But at this point, some of our questions have been answered. Cabrera and Victor Martinez aren't hurt to start the year. At least some of the 2014 J.D. Martinez emergence persists. A week into the season, we can't reach any real full-season conclusions, but we can learn some things about health, for example.
What that all means is that Gose is leading off at the top of a good lineup. Maybe a great one, it's possible, but unquestionably a good one. And while his big-league track record hasn't been great — he entered this season with a .301 career on-base percentage, a 76 OPS+, 34 steals in 202 games — Gose's minor-league numbers were much more enthusiastic about his ability to get on base and run, with some big stolen-base numbers (76 in both 2009 and 2011). He hasn't been running much so far this season, but it's certainly in the offing.
Assuming he can continue getting on base at a moderately competent clip — and he should — Gose is going to have plenty of chances to (a) run the bases and (b) score. He's not going to give you power, but you aren't looking for power.
There is only one Billy Hamilton in the game. After him, there's only one Dee Gordon as well. Both are owned in 98 percent of leagues. The other major steals guys — Jose Altuve, Ben Revere, etc. — are all heavily owned as well. Gose might be a little step below the biggest names among the steals guys, but he's also only 47-percent owned in Yahoo! leagues, and that number's just too low.