In the offseason, the Tigers have let their center fielder roam freely through the streets of Beijing. And before he was too busy with that, Curtis Granderson was working as an analyst with TBS this post season. It must feel nice for the lead-off hitter to be able to do what he pleases. Especially after a 2008 campaign, in which management held him in check on the basebaths.
Last Season, Granderson was held to twelve stolen bases in sixteen attempts. Ever since getting the call to the big leagues, It seems that Granderson has been held in check. But is there any good reason to this? Sure you cut down the probably of losing a runner, but with Granderson more active, you also create more oppurtunities with runners in scoring position. Could you imagine Curtis Granderson already on second with no outs for Placido Polanco? Granted, Granderson is a doubles machine, this could help out the bottom of the order more than anything.
His ability to stretch the basepaths goes beyond stealing as well. Granderson was only doubled off twice last season. A lot of that has to do with his caution as well. In 34 chances to advance from first to third base, Granderson only made the turn ten times. Is it the Tiger management that held Granderson back? It would seem so. With 26 chances to go from second to home, Granderson went 21 times. So why not put the wheels on and turn the corner to third?
It seems that the Mike Scioscia approach of going from first to third anytime possible was not in the Tigers plans, but maybe it should be. Even though the Tigers scored the third most runs in the A.L. (821), it seemed at times they didnt come at the right time. Home Runs were the killer though. The Tigers jacked up 200 big flys. The only team close was the Texas Rangers. The spontaneity of the homer is why the Tigers offense struggled to be consistant. They couldn’t find a rhytym. Maybe if they tried to play some small ball, then we could see that offense progress in 2009. It all starts with Curtis Granderson. Sure, let the big bats slug it out. But you have to move runners.
I’ll end this arguement with one last statement. I’ll guarentee that the Tigers will win more ballgames no matter what the pitching situation, if they move runners better. They wont put up the offensive numbers they did in 2008. Not even close.
But they will manage games better.
Tags: Curtis Granderson