There’s an interesting piece over at Baseball America today that ranks the top three in each league at a host of wonderful categories. There are some head-scratching picks, as there are in any list, but nothing too egregious.
I’d recommend reading the whole thing, I mean it’s just a list. BA offers no explanation of why each player was ranked where they were. I’ll give you Tigers-centric the highlights after the jump.
Everybody’s hero, Miguel Cabrera tops the AL rankings as the best hitter and (in a tie) as the player with the most power. The next Tigers that appears is Justin Verlander, whose fastball and curve are both ranked as the top in the league.
Brandon Inge makes a cameo appearance as well, listed as the third-best glove man at third base, behind Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. Jim Leyland is listed as the third-best manager in the league.
My take? I whole-heatedly agree with the rankings that Cabrera got. There is no question that he has become the best hitter in the American League this year and his power (tied with Josh Hamilton) is also unmatched. Just think of where the Tigers might be had Dave Dombrowski not swooped in and traded away all those prospects for Cabrera a few years ago. It’s a scary thought, indeed.
Verlander’s rankings simply underscore my assessment of him from the other day. Here’s a guy that has the best fastball in the league and couples that with the best curve. His change-up and slider didn’t make the list, but both of them are quality pitches. Overall, he has to have the best arsenal in the league, yet he doesn’t translate that into being one of the absolute elite pitchers.
Call it competitiveness or stubbornness or whatever, there’s a mental block somewhere with him. He’s locked up to a huge contract, and I applaud the Tigers for doing so, but he’s got to get more consistent with the results he gets. I do realize that I’m saying all this about a guy who won 19 games last year, who has thrown a no-hitter, won a rookie of the year award, and is generally considered one of the games best pitchers. But he has the stuff to be the best, he just needs to be better at being the best more often. There’s no reason to think he won’t, not with his talent.
I thought Inge got short-changed quite a bit, not only in his ranking as the third-best glove man, but in not making the list of best infield arms. I have no real issue with Beltre making the list ahead of Inge at third, but I’ll take Inge’s defensive package over Longoria’s all day. It would be nice if Inge could hit like Longo, though.
As for Leyland, I wonder how much of that ranking is based on his reputation. And by reputation I mean age. Leyland has been around for quite some time. He’s won in Pittsburgh and no one else has since Leyland left town. He won a World Series with Florida and he took the Tigers from laughing-stock to AL Champs in his first season in Detroit.
He also hasn’t shown the same sense of urgency in recent seasons. Part of that is due to having a much older club that the one he inherited in 2006, I’m sure. The two managers listed ahead of him are Ron Gardenhire and Mike Scioscia, and I would agree that those two are the best, in that order. I suppose Leyland, given his resume, his as good a pick for third as anyone. I might put Joe Maddon or Terry Francona ahead of him I suppose.
Anyway, take a look at their rankings and let us know what you think. Should there be a few more Tigers on the lists?