July 7, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers catcher Gerald Laird (9) pitching coach Jeff Jones (second from left), first baseman Prince Fielder (28) relief pitcher Jose Valverde (middle) shortstop Jhonny Peralta (second from right) and second baseman Ramon Santiago (39) meet on the mound during the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park. Detroit won 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Tigers Mid-Season Grades: The Infield

Another day, another series here on MCB. Of course, when it gets to the All-Star break, it’s natural for sites like this to look back and bring some grades to you from the first half. So, in an effort to be predictable, I wanted to give you a position by position look at how I think the Tigers grade out this season.

No reason to delay…

Prince Fielder- B-

Prince has been pretty darn good with the bat. Hitting mostly around .300 for the entire season, he uses the whole field better than I imagined. The power numbers have been a little down compared to his career, but I think that was a little bit expected given the move to Comerica Park for half of his games, and him hitting in a new league in general. Prince is hitting .299 on the season, with a very good OPS of .876. He is also on pace to clear 100 RBI for the Tigers. His glove? Terrible. Enough to drag his grade significantly.

Ramon Santiago- D

Santiago is looking a step defensively, and that tremendously hurts his value, because there isn’t much offensive value there. Santiago is hitting just .235 on the season with a .635 OPS which is sadly the best of all the Tigers 2nd baseman. I’m not going to give him credit for that. His fWAR is -0.1. That’s not good.

Jhonny Peralta- C-

There isn’t much to like about Jhonny Peralta’s season, except maybe he is drawing a few walks. Defensively, he has been okay, just slightly below average, which reminds me of his Cleveland days more so than what the Tigers got from him last year. Offensively this year, he just isn’t hitting the ball with much authority. He is batting .253 on the season, but his OPS is just .698. That would be okay for a top notch defensive guy, but isn’t good for Peralta.

Miguel Cabrera- A-

Cabrera is pretty much an A player all the time. His down year is better than 95% of baseball players, but he has been mashing the baseball of late, much to the liking of Tigers fans. Cabrera is hitting .324 on the season with an OPS of .938, and well on his way to another 120 RBI season. Defensively, he isn’t great, but has been better than most expected I think, keeping his errors to a minimum. The biggest criticism, and the reason the grade took a half grade hit, is Cabrera’s walk rate is significantly down from previous years.

Alex Avila- C

I don’t have a problem with Avila’s offensive season. If people were expecting a lot better, I think that is kind of nuts. His BABIP last year was way out of whack for a guy that doesn’t get infield hits. This year it’s normalized, so he is hitting .246. His OPS is a plenty respectable .728 for a catcher. His power is down, but I think that can be attributed to his legs giving him trouble. Defensively, I don’t think he has been as good as he has been in the past either.

Gerald Laird- A

Who woulda thunk it? Well, I didn’t expect him to be playing like he has this season, but I didn’t have a problem with the Tigers re-signing Laird in the off-season. It hasn’t been the glove that is carrying the backup catchers good season, it’s surprisingly been the bat. Laird might even be playing himself into more playing time, hitting .306 on the season with an OPS of .790. More Gerald Laird please?

Ryan Raburn- F

Nothing to even talk about here.

Tags: Alex Avila Detroit Tigers Gerald Laird Jhonny Peralta Miguel Cabrera Prince Fielder Ramon Santiago Ryan Raburn

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