At the (Second) Quarter Pole: Infielders

The Tigers have reached the halfway point in the season, so it’s time to take another look at how they did in the past quarter of the campaign. Earlier today, Chris broke down the bullpen, Jordan tackled the starting staff and James graded the outfielders. Zac will be along later today with the rookies, so you won’t find their names listed here.

Remember, these grades are for the second quarter only, but I’ll include the grades that Matt had assigned for the first quarter as well, just for reference.

Catchers

Alex Avila A+ (1st quarter grade: A-)

As good as he was in the first 40 games, he’s been even better in the last 41. Avila has compiled a line of .333/.414/.556/.970 in the second quarter to go along with 14 extra-base hits and 21 RBI. If he’s not an all-star, they shouldn’t even hold the damn game at all.

Victor Martinez B+ (A)

VMart missed only one game during the second quarter and while his numbers look pretty good, they are a touch below where they were in the first quarter of the season. He has only six home runs this year, with just two coming in the past 40 games. His line of .329/.369/.445/.814 will play well in any lineup, however, and he’s hitting something like .430 after the Big Fella gets walked.

Omir Santos INC (INC)

Santos was with the team for about a week this quarter but didn’t sniff the field. No grade for him.

Infielders

Miguel Cabrera A+ (A)

He really is on a different level than maybe any other hitter in baseball. Cabrera’s two mammoth blasts last night gave him an even ten in the second quarter of the season. He walked 29 times against 19 strikeouts and posted a line of .362/.471/.645/1.116 in the last 41 games. The guy is just a monster.

Jhonny Peralta A (A-)

Jhonny’s second quarter has seen a significant power surge with eight long balls, a triple, and eight doubles in the last 36 games. His defensive work remains steady if unspectacular, but his stick is what has carried the day. His second quarter line is .319/.354/.570/.925. There are a pair of elite shortstops in the National League that everyone talks about, but in the Junior Circuit nobody is having a better season at the plate at the position than Peralta.

Brandon Inge F (F)

Inge has been merely average defensively this year, according to UZR, and if he’s not saving runs with his glove, he just doesn’t provide any value at all. He missed a lot of time in the second quarter thanks to a bout with mono, but his bat hasn’t yet come off the disabled list. In the first 40 games this year, Inge posted a .198 average and OPS of just .547. In the second quarter, limited to only 20 games and 68 plate appearances, Inge has actually gotten worse; posting a .200/.279/.200/.479 line with zero extra-base hits.

Ryan Raburn F (D)

Raburn spent the first quarter in the outfield, but in the last 41 games, he’s been almost exclusively a second baseman. His defense hasn’t been all that bad, rating at just slightly below average by UZR. His bat, on the other hand, hasn’t yet woken up. In fact, it’s gone in reverse. After a first quarter that saw him struggle to a .214 average and .622 OPS, Raburn fell to a line of .198/.228/.313/.551 in the last 41 games. How bad is it? So bad that Raburn’s presence in the lineup has forced Jim Leyland to hit Inge eighth instead of ninth.

Ramon Santiago F (B)

Santiago got a favorable first quarter grade based on stellar defense and solid, if unspectacular hitting. In the second quarter, however, Santiago hasn’t hit at all. True, he doesn’t get many opportunities, but he’s posted a line of only .148/.200/.246/.446 over his last 65 plate appearances. If you’re looking for reasons why Leyland continues to use Raburn at second, there’s one right there.

Don Kelly C (C)

Kelly has actually been outstanding defensively at third base according to UZR this year and he’s played more innings there (175) than all other defensive positions combined. His bat hasn’t been great, but it’s been a huge improvement over a pair of Tigers regulars when he’s gotten the chance to play. In the second quarter of the season, Kelly turned in a .250/.298/.352/.650 line, which doesn’t look appealing (especially in the two-slot), but look at that line and then look at the ones offered up by Raburn and Inge.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that James and I both graded Kelly and Raburn. Given their versatility it seemed appropriate. You’ll also notice that you don’t see a grade for Danny Worth, but Zac will cover him later today.

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Tags: Alex Avila Brandon Inge Detroit Tigers Don Kelly Grades Jhonny Peralta Miguel Cabrera Omir Santos Ramon Santiago Ryan Raburn Victor Martinez

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