Detroit Tigers Regression Candidates


Somebody has to be the spoil sport at this site. May as well be me I guess. When I saw Chris Hannum’s article on the Tigers rebound candidate, Rick Porcello, I knew that there would have to be a post on the player(s) due to regress. With much of the bottom of the Tigers batting order struggling through the 2012 season, it seems that it may be difficult to find guys that might actually regress on this team. Well, I promised misery and to be a spoiler, so here it goes.

Oct 27, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson catches a fly ball in the sixth inning during game three of the 2012 World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

It’s clear to anyone that watches baseball even casually that Austin Jackson is steadily improving. We all knew that two years ago, his batting average was due to drop, due in large part to a unsustainable BABIP. In 2011, it did indeed drop and it looked like Jackson was going through a sophomore slump. 2012 proved to be a breaking out of sorts for Jackson, where not only did his batting average recover, but he added some power, and his BB rate increased, while his K rate decreased. These of course are all positive markers. The negative marker, and cause for concern? Of course, BABIP has reared it’s head again. Though Jackson’s BABIP in 2012 wasn’t as high as 2010, it is still up there at .371 this past season. Again, if we see a regression in that number, especially because he is putting more balls in play, we could see a drop in average once again. If he doesn’t continue to increase the walk rate or power, it could be an overall regression again, though I don’t believe it would be near the one we saw in 2011.

Mr. Andy Dirks is a prime candidate for a 2013 regression. In 2011, Dirks was undeniably a little bit unlucky. However, in 2012, he was clearly the recipient of some positive baseball Gods vibes. His .365 BABIP is quite unsustainable, especially when you couple that with a 15% K rate, and a low walk rate of 6.7%. The more balls in play, the more likely he is going to make an out. Not to mention the line drive rate was high as well at 24%. I suspect that Andy will fall somewhere in the middle of 2011 and 2012, and we will all see the .280 hitter with moderate pop that we suspected.

Yeah, Miguel Cabrera is in line for a regression too. I’m not going to throw advanced statistics at you, but anytime someone wins the triple crown, those kind of numbers are going to be hard to repeat.

I do have a pitching candidate for regression as well. I don’t have the scientific data to back this one up, so it’s just more of a feeling than anything. Scherzer’s HR/9 isn’t unusually low or anything, and in fact, his FIP and xFIP suggest that his 2012 numbers should have been even better. Scherzer did pitch in some bad BABIP luck this past season, but that might be in large part due to his high strikeout numbers. I guess the main reason I believe there might be a regression is the end of the year shoulder soreness.

I know he pitched fine in the playoffs, but I’ve never been a fan of hearing about shoulders and pitchers, no matter how small it may seem at the start.