Hopefully you’ve caught the other posts handing out grades to the Detroit Tigers through the halfway point of the season. This is the last edition to clean up the guys that weren’t mentioned earlier: the rookies.
Charlie Furbush: A-
Despite giving up a run in four of his last five appearances, Charlie Furbush has been a stabilizing force in a Tigers bullpen that struggled earlier in the year. His nearly 2:1 strike out to walk ratio is solid and his flexibility has allowed Jim Leyland to use Furbush as a long reliever and in more situational roles. His performance in long relief, particularly when he first joined the big club, combined with Phil Coke’s struggles have propelled Furbush into the starting rotation.
Andy Oliver: D
Anyone hoping to see improvement in Andy Oliver over last year was sorely disappointed in his two starts about a month ago. Oliver finished his two start stint with eight walks against five strikeouts, not a recipe for success against the sox whether they be of the red or white variety. The Tigers lost both games and received no indication that Andy Oliver is ready to be asset to their pitching staff.
Adam Wilk: C-
Used as mostly a long relief/mop-up man, Adam Wilk was mostly unremarkable in his four appearances despite striking out eight against just one walk. Perhaps it was allowing a home run in each of his last three appearances that left a sour taste. His last appearance came against the Rockies after Rick Porcello flamed out and while the game was already something of a laugher, Wilk’s performance was something less than what would have been required for the Tigers to attempt a legitimate comeback.
Al Alburquerque: B+
Joaquin Benoit may be the primary setup man but Al Alburquerque has been Jim Leyland’s go-to guy in some particularly sticky situations. Al Al’s legendary strike out rate breeds confidence but a BB/9 rate approaching seven keeps fans on pins and needles. On the whole, Alburquerque has been much more of a solution than a problem and I’d hate to think where this team would be without him.
Casper Wells: B-
Despite making the team out of spring training, Casper Wells had fewer games played in the second quarter than mid-season call up Andy Dirks. Wells has become the newest Tiger to receive a “Free player X” campaign now that Scott Sizemore has been freed all the way out of the organization. Wells is a natural fit for a team that has a glut of fourth outfielders.
Andy Dirks: C+
Have you heard that the Tigers have a glut of fourth outfielders? Andy Dirks is another one of those guys. He’s flashed some nice leather and come up with a few big hits but there has been too few hits overall. I’m not sure what ultimately distinguishes Dirks from Wells, that is one of the problems the Tigers face.
Danny Worth: A
Would Danny Worth be an “A” player over the long haul? No, but I’ll give it to him for his 17 games of action this year. Worth is regarded as a slick fielding, light hitting infielder but he did manage to hit .310 in his 29 at-bats. No errors in the field and exceeding expectations at the plate? I can respect that.