Thursday, July 15, 2010

DNR Detroit Tigers First Half Report Card

Here it is, your DNR Detroit Tigers Report Card for everyone that’s taken the field for the D in 2010 so far. Lots to get to here, so no unfunny monologue this time. I’ve got some stats, a grade, and an explanation. Simple enough for everyone? Sweet.


Miguel Cabrera, First Base
.346 Avg, 22 HR, 77 RBI
47.4 VORP, 182 OPS+

Grade: A+

Analysis: What more can be said about the near Triple Crown first half of Big Mig? The man has been unstoppable at the plate this year and it has been awesome to watch him play on a daily basis. If you really want to nitpick, you can look at his defense, but I’m not in the mood to nitpick. Thank you, Mr. Cabrera. You deserve a drink. Or not.

Carlos Guillen, Second Base
.289 Avg, 5 HR, 28 RBI
10.6 VORP, 109 OPS+

Grade: C

Analysis: Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see Carlos back in the lineup again. But you cannot overlook his inability to stay healthy and his shaky defense at second. Seriously, Los, quit throwing sidearm. But Carlos is a welcome presence in the sixth spot which was a nightmare spot in the order before his return from the DL. Hopefully the second half will see him stay healthy and get more comfortable at his fifth defensive position since joining the Tigers.

Brandon Inge, Third Base
.264 Avg, 6 HR, 29 RBI
9.1 VORP, 109 OPS+

Grade: C+

Analysis: A couple weeks ago, I was ready to take my usual stance of calling Brandon names and making fun of the fat girls that cheer for him like he’s the second coming of Kaline. But a funny thing happened. The little bastard quit trying to hit every ball into the left field stands and started spraying the ball around. And his batting average has slowly crept up to respectable levels. This is a Brandon Inge that I can support and get behind. Sadly, I have little confidence that he’ll stay the course. Why would I? In the field, he hasn’t been as dynamic as he’s shown in the past, yet he’s been more efficient, making only five errors. You may make it out of the DNR doghouse yet, Special Little Guy.

More after el jumpo...

Gerald Laird, Catcher
.192 Avg, 2 HR, 13 RBI
-10.3 VORP, 41 OPS+

Grade: D-

Analysis: Laird has had a nightmare of a season at the plate. Seriously, look at those VORP and OPS+ numbers. At least before, you could say that he’d keep his job due to his defensive advantage over Alex Avila behind the plate, but the youngster has closed the gap so quickly in ‘10, G-Money has gone and lost his starting job. And he’d better get over the Mendoza line soon, or he may lose the backup position, too.

Ramon Santiago, Shortstop
.268 Avg, 2 HR, 13 RBI
4.9 VORP, 81 OPS+

Grade: C-

Analysis: Little Ramon has received the best chance of his career to be an everyday player for Detroit this year, and as feared, is not consistently producing that way we’d like to see a starting shortstop play. He’s been great in the field, but not so much at the dish. I’ve always been a supporter of seeing Santiago get a shot, but I think this year has shown that the Tiger shortstop of the near present and future is probably not on the team right now. Superb utility player, though.

Alex Avila, Catcher
.222 Avg, 4 HR, 14 RBI
-0.9 VORP, 72 OPS+

Grade: C-

Analysis: Alex was heading down the Laird highway of suck for most of the first half, but has perked up a bit as the season’s gone on. He’s also played better than advertised defense behind the plate and seems to be comfortable with the pitching staff. The Boss’ Kid has taken over #1 catching duties, and though I don’t think he’s ready to be a starter as of yet, he’s the best option that we have in the system.

Danny Worth, Shortstop
.274 Avg, 1 HR, 7 RBI
1.6 VORP, 79 OPS+

Grade: C+

Analysis: I gave the guy I call Worthless a C+ because he’s been pretty much what was expected out of him, but slightly better at the plate in limited action. I see Worth as a career backup, if anything, but the kid is solid in the field and hasn’t embarrassed himself in his first action in the show.

Scott Sizemore, Second Base
.206 Avg, 1 HR, 8 RBI
-3.2 VORP, 58 OPS+

Grade: F

Analysis: Placido Polanco’s replacement in Detroit was an epic fail in Act One of his big league career. He appeared lazy in the field at times and just couldn’t put anything together at the plate before being shipped down to the Mud Hens 30 games into his time in the show. Since then, he’s found his stroke with Toledo, but Carlos Guillen has second base locked up…until he gets hurt again. Hopefully when Scotty gets his chance at redemption, he takes the ball and runs with it.

Adam Everett, Shortstop
.185 Avg, 0 HR, 4 RBI
-5.9 VORP, 25 OPS+

Grade: F

Analysis: I didn’t even realize that it was possible for a big league player to have an OPS+ of 25. Remember, 100 is average. We all knew the man with the best hair on the team couldn’t hit, but this year was a new low even for him. Adam’s above average glove wasn’t enough to save his job and the Tigers released him a few weeks back. The curse of #4 in Detroit continues.


Austin Jackson, Center Field
.300 Avg, 1 HR, 20 RBI
15.8 VORP, 102 OPS+

Grade: B+

Analysis: I kind of feel bad giving AJax only a B+ as he’s been such an exciting player to watch this year. People were ready to burn down Comerica Park after overrated, but much loved, face of the franchise Curtis Whatshisname was traded to the Yankees, but Jackson has shut everyone up with his play. The kid’s been amazing on defense and ended the first half at the .300 mark mainly due to his hot start. The only weak points to his game are his lack of power and proneness to striking out (88 K’s in 313 AB). Luckily, these are two things that usually get better in time with young players. I love this kid.

Magglio Ordonez, Right Field
.313 Avg, 11 HR, 56 RBI
20.7 VORP, 130 OPS+

Grade: A-

Analysis: Ladies and germs, your Comeback Player of the First Half, Magglio Ordonez. Maggs was written off by most “experts” entering the year, but has been the Magglio of old for the first half. If he finishes this year the way he did last, Ordonez could be contending for a batting title once again while being a key piece in the middle of the Tiger batting order through their push for the playoffs. Also, and don’t tell anyone, but Magglio hasn’t been nearly as bad as people say on defense this year. Remember last year when The Marlboro Man pulled him every game in the 7th inning? I never doubted you, Maggs. Now grow the damn hair back.

Brennan Boesch, Left Field
.342 Avg, 12 HR, 49 RBI
31.4 VORP, 160 OPS+

Grade: A

Analysis: I’ll never forget the reaction of most of the patrons of the sports bar that I run when Boesch first came on the scene. “Who the f-ck is this guy?” Well, who he is, is a friggin’ hitting machine. No one expects Killer B to keep up this pace, but if he’s going to continue to do so, I’m not going to argue. He’s over 260 plate appearances now, so the kid is getting out of “fluke” territory. His defense still needs work, but for a guy that 95% of Tigerland had never heard of three months ago, I think Mr. Boesch has done a damn fine job.

Johnny Damon, Designated Hitter, Outfield
.274 Avg, 6 HR, 28 RBI
15.7 VORP, 109 OPS+

Grade: B

Analysis: I’m not sure what JD’s going to have to do to win people over in Detroit. He’s second on the team in walks, second in steals, fourth in OBP, has two walk off homers, and has been the perfect replacement for Polanco in the #2 spot in the order. He’s already become a team leader and “one of the guys” at the same time. I love everything about Johnny Damon as a Tiger so far (except his throwing arm) and hope he keeps doing exactly what he’s been doing…everything right.

Ryan Raburn, Outfield, Second Base
.208 Avg, 2 HR, 16 RBI
-2.8 VORP, 69 OPS+

Grade: D-

Analysis: Ryan is making it hard for me to keep defending him this year. He just can’t seem to get on track after a stellar 2009 campaign. Granted, it’s been tough to get him playing time with Boesch exploding on the scene, but Raburn has done little to show he belongs out there. He’s downright scary on defense most of the time and can’t find his groove while hitting. I still think that he’s going to come around, though. Remember now…I’m always right about these things. Except for Josh Anderson.

Don Kelly, Outfield, Infield
.220 Avg, 1 HR, 8 RBI
-6.2 VORP, 42 OPS+

Grade: D

Analysis: Don Kelly is terrible at hitting a baseball. Have I mentioned that in the past? I think I may have. But Donnie Boy has earned my respect in the field this year. I still haven’t gotten over him losing the ball in the Metrodome roof last year, but the kid’s played his butt off as a defensive replacement for Boesch and Damon late in games in ’10. He has a use. There. I said it. I still want him DFA’d ASAP, though. And if Leyland continues to torture fans by batting Kelly leadoff or third occasionally, he should be taken to the vet and put to sleep.

Casper Wells, Outfield
.222 Avg, 0 HR, 2 RBI
-0.5 VORP, 46 OPS+

Grade: Incomplete

Analysis: Casper only got into 4 games and had 9 at bats in the D this year, so I can’t give him a grade. However, I remain convinced that he’s yet another product of Dave Dombrowski’s secret farm that produces nothing but crappy hitting, white, “scrappy” ballplayers. Burn it down, Dave. Burn it down.

Starting Pitchers

Justin Verlander
11-5, 3.82 ERA, 115.1 IP, 39 BB, 110 SO
21.7 VORP, 114 ERA+, .295 BABIP

Grade: A-

Analysis: Maybe I’m spoiled by JV. Maybe I just expect him to be lights out in every ballgame. But though he’s been good this year, I still think he’s capable of doing better. He again had a terrible April and still averages, I believe, 350 pitches per game. But JV’s the unquestioned ace of the staff and seems to take pride in the role. Amazingly on a team a half game out of first, he’s the only starter with a winning percentage over .500. Plus, the stare is still there. No one else has that.

Max Scherzer
6-6, 4.61 ERA, 93.2 IP, 35 BB, 88 SO
5.7 VORP, 95 ERA+, .325 BABIP

Grade: B-

Analysis: The good outweighs the bad to me with Mad Max. He started well, but the team didn’t score for him. It was Edwin Jackson all over again. Then, he went into the sh-tter. The Tigers made a bold move and sent him down to Toledo where be became Superman. Since his recall, Max has been the pitcher the Tigers hoped he would be when acquiring him in the offseason. He is the unquestioned #2 on the team, though I’d feel much more comfortable if he were a #3 after a trade (if in the cards).

Jeremy Bonderman
5-6, 4.79 ERA, 97.2 IP, 27 BB, 68 SO
4.9 VORP, 91 ERA+, .300 BABIP

Grade: C

Analysis: I admit it. I don’t particularly care for Jeremy Bonderman. I give him credit for staying healthy this year, but you never know who you’re getting when he takes the hill for Detroit. Sometimes he makes you think he might have the #2 starter stuff that he was supposed to develop into years ago. Other times, he makes you wish that Steve Sparks was still in the rotation. Bondo is Bondo and this is probably the last year we’ll be seeing him in the Old English D. He’s playing for a contract and that’s the only optimism that I have left for him at this point.

Armando Galarraga
3-2, 4.45 ERA, 54.2 IP, 17 BB, 22 SO
6.1 VORP, 98 ERA+, .265 BABIP

Grade: C

Analysis: Yeah, he had that one game. And it was sweet. But keep in mind, that game was against the Indians, who any of us reasonably could throw a perfect game against if we could get the ball over the plate. Other than that, Armando has not been anything special. He’s got spotstarter stuff on most days and isn’t fooling people the way he was in his rookie season. Armando may be a class act, but he’s not a guy I feel comfortable getting the ball every fifth day in a playoff race.

Rick Porcello
4-7, 6.14 ERA, 70.1 IP, 22 BB, 33 SO
-9.6 VORP, 71 ERA+, .345 BABIP

Grade: F

Analysis: Sophomore slump? I don’t know. Kid Rick’s been shelled this year both in the majors and in AAA. His first start in Toledo was great, but other than that, Porcello has looked like the kind of pitcher whose biggest help to the team would be if he went out and shot himself. Obviously, he’s still incredibly young and has plenty of time to pull it all together, but this is Detroit. For every Justin Verlander over the years, I’ve seen thirty Kenny Baughs.

Andy Oliver
0-3, 6.38 ERA, 18.1 IP, 8 BB, 14 SO
-5.6 VORP, 69 ERA+, .370 BABIP

Grade: F

Analysis: The kid’s not ready. He’s only made four starts, but he’s been shelled for 22 hits and 17 runs in a tad over 18 innings. Hopefully he learned something in his first taste of the big time, but this experiment needs to end, especially with such a tough stretch of the schedule coming up.

Dontrelle Willis
1-2, 4.98 ERA, 43.1 IP, 29 BB, 33 SO
3.1 VORP, 88 ERA+, .338 BABIP

Grade: D

Analysis: The now ex-Diamondback’s Tiger career was nothing short of a disaster. And yes, he was bad this year in Detroit and his release/trade had been building for a long time. What’s scary, though, is that he pitched better than Porcello and Oliver have. Time will tell if the D-Train will ever get back on track somewhere in the bigs. I wish him well.

Relief Pitchers

Jose Valverde
1-1, 19 SV, 0.92 ERA, 39.0 IP, 16 BB, 36 SO
18.7 VORP, 475 ERA+, .165 BABIP

Grade: A+

Analysis: Told you! Told you! Jose Valverde’s the best thing to hit the Detroit bullpen since Willie Hernandez went nuts in 1984. Papa Grande has danced his way into the hearts of Tiger fans in 2010 by being an unstoppable beast at the end of ballgames. For too long, Detroiters have suffered through the roller coaster efforts of guys like Matt Anderson, Todd Jones, and Fernando Rodney as closers. For the first time in decades, though, they’re getting a look at what one is supposed to be. Bravo, Big Potato. Keep making me look smart.

Phil Coke
5-0, 1 SV, 2.48 ERA, 36.1 IP, 14 BB, 30 SO
10.2 VORP, 177 ERA+, .317 BABIP

Grade: A

Analysis: The least talked about man in the blockbuster offseason trade of the Tigers, Yankees, and D-Backs has turned into a diamond in the rough for the Tigers this year. Coke has emerged as the one guy Jim Leyland can trust in trying to get the ball to Jose Valverde and he has delivered time and time again. Plus, the guy’s not all there, which I fully endorse. Whether it is his sprinting in from the bullpen or his constantly changing haircut, Phil Coke has been nothing but entertaining in 2010.

Joel Zumaya
2-1, 1 SV, 2.58 ERA, 38.1 IP, 11 BB, 34 SO
10.4 VORP, 170 ERA+, .295 BABIP

Grade: A

Analysis: Yes, Lynn Henning’s secret crush is out for the year. But when he played, he reminded everyone why we all were in awe of him in 2006. Sure, the stikeouts weren’t what they used to be, but Zoom got the job done over and over again with much improved control. He’s had nothing but bad luck the past four years, but if anyone is going to bust his ass to get back again, it’s Joel.

Ryan Perry
2-4, 1 SV, 5.47 ERA, 24.2 IP, 14 BB, 20 SO
0.1 VORP, 80 ERA+, .348 BABIP

Grade: D

Analysis: Things started well for Ryan this year. Then, he was all sorts of suck. Next, we found out he was hurt and going on the DL. Now he’s back. And he still doesn’t look right. I can’t wait for the day where we can have confidence in the sleeved tattooed one, but that time doesn’t appear to be happening this season.

Eddie Bonine
4-0, 2.81 ERA, 41.2 IP, 15 BB, 19 SO
12.5 VORP, 156 ERA+, .242 BABIP

Grade:  B

Analysis:  I have never thought much of Bonine, even saying that he had no business being on a major league roster last year. But the addition of a knuckler has turned Eddie into a hell of an option in long relief for the Tigers. He can't strike anyone out and has let his share of inherited runners score, but in my opinion has looked like twice the pitcher he was last year.  I think Eddie’s earned the opportunity to replace Andy Oliver as the #5 starter, but for some reason the team doesn’t seem to agree.

Fu-Te Ni
0-1, 6.65 ERA, 23.0 IP, 19 BB, 22 SO
-4.9 VORP, 66 ERA+, .362 BABIP

Grade: F

Analysis: Ni’s control has been a problem all year after a great 2009 rookie year. He was sent down to Toledo to work everything out and if he comes back, hopefully Jim will be smart enough to use him strictly against lefties, who he handles well. Righties…not so much. All lefties can’t rule like Phil Coke does.

Brad Thomas
4-0, 4.12 ERA, 39.1 IP, 21 BB, 15 SO
6.1 VORP, 106 ERA+, .3.19 BABIP

Grade: C+

Analysis: Thomas hasn’t been bad for Detroit this year. But he hasn’t been particularly good, either. To me, he’s the new Nate Robertson out of the bullpen. When he’s in the game, it’s usually a sign that Leyland is waving the white flag. I don’t know what it is about him, but I always feel uneasy when he enters a ballgame. It’s probably because he’s Australian…creepy bastards.

Enrique Gonzalez
0-0, 2.25 ERA, 12.0 IP, 5 BB, 4 SO
4.3 VORP, 199 ERA +, .265 BABIP

Grade: B

Analysis: So far, so good. He’s not blowing anyone away in his limited time with Detroit, but Gonzalez is getting the job done. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Robbie Weinhardt
0-0, 2.25 ERA, 4.0 IP, 0 BB, 4 SO
1.4 VORP, 210 ERA+, .111 BABIP

Grade: Incomplete

Analysis: Three games, four innings, and the kid’s done well. I hope they keep him around and give him a shot.

Daniel Schlereth
0-0, 3.38 ERA, 2.2 IP, 2 BB, 1 SO
-0.3 VORP, 146 ERA+, .429 BABIP

Grade: Incomplete

Analysis: His dad’s a tool and he can’t find the plate. I have high hopes for the future, but we need someone more experienced with the club right now.

Casey Fien
0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
1.2 VORP, -- ERA+, .143 BABIP

Grade: Incomplete

Analysis: If there’s one kid in the system that I’m rooting for, it’s Fien. After being claimed and released by seemingly every team in baseball this spring, he ended up back in Detroit and has become the closer in Toledo. Good for Casey.

Jay Sborz
0-0, 67.50 ERA, 0.2 IP, 0 BB, 1 SO
-4.7 VORP, 10 ERA+, .750 BABIP

Grade: Incomplete

Analysis: Sbortz has a weird name and pitched a horrible game. Three hits and five earned runs in 2/3 of an inning. Then back to the minors. Poor kid. Stay there.

Alfredo Figaro
0-0, 27.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 2 BB, 0 SO
-1.5 VORP, 25 ERA+, .600 BABIP

Grade: F

Analysis: Why an “F” for him instead of an “incomplete”? Because he’s Fernando Rodney’s cousin. That’s why.

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