Hey, kids. Professor Rogo here to give out first half grades on everyone that's worn a Tigers uniform this year. But first, real quick, in the history of baseball, has there ever been a more frustrating first place ballclub? None that I know of...
Curtis Granderson, B
Grandy entered today hitting .256 for the year. He's struggled against lefties and his power stroke seems to have impacted his batting average. But 18 first half homers and stellar defense can't be ignored. That's why he's playing in his first All Star Game next week.
Miguel Cabrera, A
The man has been "protected" by guys like Don Kelly, Clete Thomas, and a struggling Magglio Ordonez this year and is still hitting well over .300 with 16 dingers. Plus, the big guy has become one of the better fielding first basemen in the league. He's been the only consistent offensive force in the lineup for the entire first half.
Placido Polanco, C-
Playing in the final year of his contract, Polly hasn't been himself at the dish this year hitting around 50 points less than the .300 we've come to expect from the guy. But he's still solid in the field and is showing signs of breaking out lately. Let's keep our fingers crossed for Mr. Potato Head to continue this trend.
Brandon Inge, A
He keeps proving me wrong and I hope he continues to do so. His average has slipped to .269, but he leads the Tigers with 19 homers and 54 RBIs. Add to that a Gold Glove caliber performance at third base and a possible fan vote into the All Star Game and Mr. Inge really is becoming a Special Little Guy and having a career year. He is the Tigers' MVP of the first half among position players.
Magglio Ordonez, D
My favorite current Tiger looks to be done. .266, 4, 28, .332, .352. Those are not numbers associated with Magglio Friggin' Ordonez. He's had personal problems involving his wife's health, he's getting older, and he's cut his hair. Magglio will always have a place in the hears of Tigers fans, but the cord will be cut soon if there isn't immediate improvement due to his contract issues.
Gerald Laird, C+
He doesn't hit for much, but Laird has played a LOT of baseball at catcher for us this year and has handled the staff (at least the starters) to near perfection.
Adam Everett, B
Good defense and a better than advertised bat have made #4 (grrr) a pleasant surprise and a great bargain for the Tigers this season.
Josh Anderson, C+
When the Tigers got Mr. Anderson from the Braves this spring, I had no clue who he was. Now, he's one of my favorites. The kid needs to work on his patience (.279 OBP), but his blinding speed and good defense has me excited about his future. I just wish he's get more playing time to develop a rhythm at the plate.
Ramon Santiago, B
"The Little Tiger Who Could" is showing that last year's performance wasn't a fluke. He's been great in the field and, in limited playing time, is 4th(!) on the team with 6 home runs.
Clete Thomas, C+
I've never been a member of Clete's Cult, but the guy did an okay job for us when he was up. His .237 average wasn't anything to write home about, but he showed surprising pop at times and has a good glove and arm. I'd love to see him get called up again instead of Jim Leyland's new pet, Don Kelly.
Ryan Raburn, B
After a nightmare start, Ryan's tore it up since then slugging .481 for the year. Plus, he provided maybe the most exciting moment of the year thus far with a walk off homer against the Cubs.
Marcus Thames, C
Injured much of the year, Marcus has come back to, um, do what Marcus does. He hits .250, hits a homer every 12 at bats, and goes into a funk for days at a time. I love Marcus, but he's not the answer on an every day basis in the cleanup spot.
Carlos Guillen, Incomplete
Guillen was horrible at the plate before going on the DL. I'll let him off the hook until he comes back.
Jeff Larish, C-
I like Larish a lot and wish he'd have gotten a longer look in the show this year. But despite showing some power, Larish was sent back to Toledo after 74 at bats and hitting only .216.
Don Kelly, D
He hasn't been up with the team long enough to get a great look at him, but he appears to be yet another in a long line of skinny, white outfielders the Tigers are batting 5th for no particular reason. His line of .250, 0, 3, .308, .354 in 48 at bats does little to justify it. The Pirates let him go, for crissakes...
Dane Sardinha, D+
Pretty good glove. Great at handling pitchers. Worst hitter I've ever seen.
Dusty Ryan, C
Only 14 at bats...not much to say other than anything's an improvement at the dish over Sardinha.
Matt Treanor, F
0 for 13, out for the year. Thanks for coming. Your wife is hot.
Wilkin Ramirez, A
The kid got 3 at bats and homered in one of them. Can't complain.
Edwin Jackson, A+
Biggest surprise of the year. 2.59 ERA and in the All Star Game. And people were actually complaining that we gave up Matt Joyce for him. Now if we could only score some runs for the poor guy...
Justin Verlander, A
The JV of old is back, it seems. 8-4 with a 3.54 ERA and 130 K's in 109.1 innings? That'll get you into the All Star Game, as well as my good graces. Verlander and Jackson are the main reasons we are in first place.
Rick Porcello, B-
The kid hasn't been great, but he's been solid. Teams are catching on to him now, though, and that scares me. But he's held his own and gets a lot of ground balls. The second half will be very interesting for our prized rookie.
Armando Galarraga, C-
Who are we going to see? Dr. Jeckyl or Mr. Hyde? Our only decent starter from last year can't decide who he is this year. He'll have to improve on his 5.34 ERA to stick around for another season.
Zach Miner, C-
Zach is another guy who's great one appearance and horrible the next. I feel for the guy getting moved from starter to reliever so many times, but just pitch, man. You have the talent.
Brandon Lyon, C
Is he Lyon-Heart or the Cowardly Lyon? Notice a pattern here? After the big two, the rest of the staff is a question mark. Lyon's been good at times and a human gas can at other times. His control isn't what we thought it was going to be, either.
Fernando Rodney, C
He gets an A for being 17/17 in save opportunities this year, but an F for every other appearance. That equals out to a C overall. Rodney is my least favorite Tiger and this is his walk year. He gave up the game winning homer tonight as I was typing this...go figure.
Dontrelle Willis, F
I was rooting for you, big guy. But it's over.
Joel Zumaya, C
99-104 mph heater. Doesn't know where it's going. If this kid ever learns command, he's going to be unstoppable. But that's a gigantic "if".
Ryan Perry, C
A surprise to make the team, Ryan did well in every aspect except his control. After walking 21 guys in 27.1 innings, he was send down to Toledo. I look forward to his return.
Bobby Seay, A
As usual, I have nothing bad to say about Bobby Seay. He remains the Tigers only consistent option in the bullpen with his great control.
Nate Robertson, F
A 7.71 ERA and a couple trips to the DL for Our Hero. He has managed to do what I thought was impossible: Be worse than last year.
Alfredo Figaro, C
One okay start and one nightmare one. For a kid called up from AA, I'm not going to hold it against him too much...even if he is Fernando Rodney's cousin.
Juan Rincon, D
This Spring, he looked like Mariano Rivera. Once the season started, he looked like Juan Rincon again. He was released shortly after.
Eddie Bonine, D
Eddie Bonine has no business in the major leagues ever again.
Freddy Dolsi, B+
Lots of people don't seem to like this kid, but in 7.2 innings he's only allowed 1 ER and toughed it out in our only win against Minnesota over the weekend in extra innings.
Luke French, B
"The Tickler" has a 2.35 ERA in 3 games with the big club. Leyland, in my opinion, pulled him too early against the Twins after 4+ innings, and we've yet to really get a good look at him. He's struggled with control a bit so far.
Fu-Te Ni, A
I was under the impression that everything made in Taiwan sucked, but Ni has looked very sharp since his call up from the Hens striking out 7 batters in 5 innings.
Clay Rapada, D
I wanted Nate's spot on the team to go to Rapada, but he did little to support that in his 2.1 innings with the Tigers this year allowing 2 hits and walking another pair. Maybe next time, kid.
Jeremy Bonderman, Incomplete
Bondo was back before being ready and it showed getting lit up in his only appearance this year. Now he's out until September, or so. To be continued...
Jim Leyland, D
We'll end with the skipper. The Marlboro Man needs to thank Verlander and Jackson for his contract extension, in my opinion. I've always been a Leyland supporter in past years, but things like moving Granderson down to 5th in the order, batting Kelly and Thomas so high, and his curious bullpen decisions this year have me leaning the other way. But we're still in first place for the moment. As with Brandon Inge this season, Jim...please keep proving me wrong.