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…
I’m not sure how you get much worse than the player with the lowest fWAR among regulars in the American League. Boesch has been empty at the dish, posting a wOBA of just .279. To put that in perspective, the human wafer that is Jemile Weeks, who is only hitting .222, has been more productive than the Tigers corner outfielder. That’s in large part because Boesch is allergic to walks in the batters box, and just hasn’t slugged like his frame would suggest. Defensively, it’s not pretty in the least.
There is absolutely nothing that Austin Jackson has done this season that I think he could do better. He is hands down the Tigers MVP this year, and should get considerable American League MVP consideration with a strong Tigers second half. Austin Jackson is 3rd in fWAR in the American League, and that is with all of the time he has missed. He is hitting for average, hitting for power, running the bases, and of course defending at a high level. His wOBA, and OPS are higher than that of Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera. In effect, Austin Jackson has become one of the best players in baseball.
Delmon Young- D-
If it wasn’t for a recent power surge right before the end of the first half, Delmon Young would be joining Brennan Boesch in the land of the F’s. Still, the reality of things are that Delmon Young is not a very good baseball player. His fWAR of -0.3 is still one of the worst in the American League. He rarely finds a pitch he doesn’t find interesting enough to swing at, and he doesn’t have any business strapping a glove on his hand…ever. However, if he can stay in a DH role, he could hit enough home runs to help the offense a little in the 2nd half. Still, I wouldn’t be sad to see him go.
Andy Dirks- A-
Honestly, I really wish Andy Dirks would’ve stayed healthy for a couple of reasons. One, he was having a really good year, and seemed to fit in the 2nd spot in the batting order nicely. Secondly, the Tigers might have shed Brennan Boesch or Delmon Young off of the roster at this point. Dirks in only 37 games in 2012 has accumulated an fWAR of 1.2. If you multiply that by even 3 to get 111 games played, that’s a WAR of 3.6. That’s a heck of a player, and even if he didn’t contribute at the same rate, Dirks would’ve been likely to post at least 2.6 WAR this season. Andy was getting on base, hitting for power, and playing a pretty good LF. At least a better one than the alternatives.
Quintin Berry- A-
If I was the kind of guy that graded a players performance based on our expectations, Berry would get an A. However, I try to take expectations out of the equation. Berry has no doubt been a very productive offensive player, and given the Tigers a nice shot in the arm. The element of speed and energy has been something the Tigers have needed. Berry has provided the Tigers with the same level of production that Dirks was giving the Tigers, albeit in a different way. Berry isn’t as good a defender as Dirks, however, his on base ability and speed make up for it. If Berry was a better defender, he himself would likely have gotten an A from me. Would like to see a little bit of a cut down on the strikeouts as well. Just make contact and let the speed work for him.
Don Kelly- F
I think Don Kelly bought himself some favor from Tigers fans because of an okay post-season in 2011. He is like the little engine that could on occasion, but in 2012 he has been miserable. Let’s call it like it is, Don Kelly doesn’t belong on a major league roster, and if it wasn’t for Jim Leyland’s obvious affection for the young man, he would be in AAA when Andy Dirks comes back. He is hitting .185 on the season, and isn’t even defending well when he gets in there and plays. I’m tired of him, and it’s just time to move on. Perhaps Ben Guez is a better option?