Monday, May 07, 2007

TWFE Detroit Tigers 30 game review: Position players

After 23 mostly frustrating games, the Detroit Tigers finally began to put it all together. The Tigers we've seen over the past week is the team we expected to see in 2007. They are playing damn good baseball, as their current 7 game winning streak would attest.

Since we have reached the 30 game point of the season, and a well earned day off, it seemed like a good time to take another look at the 2007 Tigers. I'll start with the position players.

Sean Casey: This says it all about Casey's season to this point. During the Tigers recent hot streak, "The Mayor" has tripled his RBI output...To a total of 3. Unless Casey can start to, at the very least, hit for average, the Tigers will need to do something drastic about the lack of production at a position that requires lots of it.

Curtis Granderson: Granderson is smooth as silk in center. On offense, he has developed even more power, but is still somewhat inconsistent. He has improved his strike out rate to the point where he's only 4th in AL K's, rather than leading the league. Baby steps, people.

Carlos Guillén: Still the Tigers most consistent offensive threat, leading all AL shortstops in OPS. Yes, Guillén is even better than God's gift to all of mankind, Derek Jeter. Guillén has also has continued to make the same sort of inexplicable errors in the field that cropped up in 2006. Fortunately, Guillén's better than God's gift to mankind bat makes taking the occasional sting of his fielding tolerable.

Omar Infante: Still seems to be somewhat out of the Marlboro Man's favor, but he is the first infielder off the bench. Being that Infante's competition for playing time is the Black Hole of Suck, it's not saying much. Infante doesn't hurt the team when he plays, and for a backup infielder, that is saying a lot.

Brandon Inge: As always, Inge is just fine in the field. At the plate, things are looking up, and not only his Granderson-esque K rate. He's almost hitting his weight. Let's hope he's not on a Mendoza line diet...

Craig Monroe: Fortunately, Monroe looks to have found his power stroke during the current win streak, raising his average 49 points. Unfortunately, is K rate is Granderson-esque and Inge-like. Fortunately, Monroe hasn't appeared to lose his tendency for clutchiness at the plate. Unfortunately, his OBP is still MIA. That's Monroe in a nutshell, you have to take the occasional bad with the occasional good.

The Black Hole of Suck: Somehow the Baseball Gods got their wires crossed, and gave the BHoS a thunderous bat Sunday, allowing the BHoS to raise his average 81 points. Despite his Roy Hobbsian bat, I'm more comfortable with the BHoS using his skills in other areas, such as keeping the bench warm...In Toledo

Magglio Ordóñez: Who is this guy with the slightly shorter hair? And what has happened to the real Magglio Ordóñez? This impostor Magglio is channeling the elite level Maggs circa 1999-2003 by hitting to all fields, with considerable power. Faux-Maggs is all over the AL leaderboards. 3rd in RBI, 5th in slugging, 4th in OPS, 1st in doubles. Pseudo Maggs has put the team's offense on his shoulders.

Gary Sheffield: Sheff has shown how you can still be effective while not hitting your own weight. Even when Sheff couldn't hit a slow moving beach ball hard, he was still getting on base at a .380 clip. His bat is catching up with his patience, hitting .342 over his past 10 games. Now that he has found his stroke, and is swinging with considerable, as Rod Allen likes to say, "Anger," we are seeing what a stud hitter Sheffield can be. Tigers fans should thank the O's Daniel Cabrera for waking Sheffield out of his early season stupor.

Plácido Polanco: He's hitting .361, and playing excellent defense. Polanco is having an All-Star caliber season, and is a legitimate threat to win the AL batting title. If you don't make any Great Gazoo jokes, what more is there to say about him? Polly is the epitome of a number 2 hitter.

Mike Rabelo: To be blunt, Rabelo's bat is Neifi-riffic. In other words, it's so bad he should be DH'ed for in the lineup. Rabelo is a poor man's Vance Wilson, who can't return to backup Pudge soon enough. Thankfully, Rabello is not on the roster for his bat. He has been just fine during his infrequent appearances behind the plate.

Iván Rodríguez: God forbid something happens to Pudge. Knock on wood. As long as Pudge isn't batting 3rd, and not a total black hole offensively, he's just fine. I wouldn't be surprised to see Pudge play as long and as effectively as Carlton Fisk. As barren as the Tigers system is at the catcher position, (As driven home by the lack of offense from Mike Rabelo. He's the best the Tigers have?) I wouldn't be surprised to see Pudge the Tigers' catcher for the next several seasons.

Marcus Thames: He's seeing more and more time at 1st base, thanks to Casey's struggles. Thames hasn't taken total advantage of the opportunity, as he's only hitting .211. But his power dwarfs Casey's, which is reason alone to make sure Thames gets his AB's. I could care less about Thames BA. With him, it's all about the power. Considering the Tigers win with 3 run homers, rather than with small ball, the case can be made that Thames should be the full time 1st baseman.

Up next: "TWFE Detroit Tigers 30 game review: Pitching"

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