Detroit Tigers 2015 Mid Season Report Card


Are Detroit Tigers fans truly surprised about the mediocre team that we have seen for half of the year?  With four consecutive American League Central Division titles under their belt and a disappointing finish in the post season last year, expectations were certainly high for our Tigers.

Nearing the All Star break and halfway the Tigers hover around .500 and are in third place in their competitive division.  Behind the Minnesota Twins.  I’ll say it again. Behind the Minnesota Twins.  I, for one, am disappointed in the Detroit Tigers half way effort.

The Tigers have certainly been plagued by unexpected injuries in Justin Verlander, Alex Avila and now Miguel Cabrera.  The premature return of Victor Martinez from his significant knee injury set the Tigers back a bit as well.  An up and down bullpen has been what we expected with some solid closing, when they have had the opportunity to close.  The Tigers have four all-stars in Miguel Cabrera, David Price, Jose Iglesias and J.D. Martinez.  And their manager has proven to manage as I expected – inconsistently and poorly.

Let’s take a look at the players and assign them their mid-term grades.


CF- Rajai Davis – B:  Davis is having a very similar year hitting .277/.338/.441 vs .282/.320/.401.  Consistency is a nice thing to have in your center fielder.  You are off pace in RBI and home runs from last year and you’re trying to steal less than you did in 2014.  Solid effort.

CF – Anthony Gose – B:  The acquisition for Gose to compliment Rajai Davis in filling the loss of Austin Jackson has proved to be successful so far this season.  Gose brings youth, speed, consistency as well.  You started off hot and have cooled down a bit.   Your numbers almost mirror Rajai’s at .277/.319/.380 and you have also brought more speed and a solid glove to the lineup.

2B – Ian Kinsler – C+:  Oh showed such great promise in 2014 and most of us were looking at the injured Prince Fielder thanking our lucky stars.  This year most of us are looking at Fielder’s comeback and shaking our heads.  What happened to you?  Your power numbers are atrocious at two home runs and thirty-six RBI (versus seventeen home runs and ninety-two BI last year in total); your key hitting metrics have slipped and yet Miguel Cabrera is still doing great with you being a C+ player this year.  For nearly $10 million a year, you need a better half if the Tigers have a shot.

1B – Miguel Cabrera – A:  Damn you Miggy for getting hurt!  I wanted to talk about your Triple Crown and MVP quest again this year.  There is no doubt that you have cemented the Hall of Fame for yourself and you are the best player that is playing baseball on this planet today.  Anyone want to argue that? His slash this year?!?  .350/.456/.578 versus his career average of .321/.399/.564.  Unreal.  On pace for thirty home runs and 104 RBI, we will miss you.  There’s a reason you are a ten time all-star.

DH – Victor Martinez – C:  I put some of the blame of the early return of Victor Martinez on Victor Martinez.  As a pro athlete, you must know when you have it or you don’t.  You clearly knew you didn’t  have it  yet.  For the team and for yourself, you should’ve identified that earliuer.  An atrocious and painful start to watch the season, you have bounced back nicely as we know what a healthy Vmart can do.  You hit .326/.370/.488 in June and are hitting .353/.389/.523 in July with two home runs and twelve RBI in the seventy at bats you have had in your second comeback this season.

RF – J.D. Martinez – A-:  So many Tiger fans were down on you early on the season even though your numbers were solid.  You are the typical American League power hitter.  You are one of two  Tigers to hit at least twenty-four home runs before the All Star Break in the last twenty years.  Your month splits show each month you are improving. So far the best month is July with .478/.520/1.043 and four home runs and ten RBI.  Keep up the great work J.D.!

LF – Yoenis Cespedes – B+:  I loved the acquisition for Yoenis in the off-season and especially seeing now what Rick Porcello is doing for $20 million a year.  The power numbers might be off, but you are having a career year in hitting, seem comfortable in a Tiger uniform and bring a cannon to the outfield.  It would be nice to see you stick around the D a bit longer.

C – Alex Avila – D:  Eighty-one games left until we no longer have to see Alex Avila in a Tigers uniform.  Please.  Awful.  I’ve never been a fan and having you injured allowed us to see what James McCann was capable of and we now know you can replace.  The only reason I didn’t give you an E was because I was afraid your dad might read this.

Nick Castellanos – D+:  A few weeks ago I wrote an article, Nick, casting you down to Toledo.  I am glad that you read it, took it to heart and took some lessons.  You have been awful for most of the season with your glove and bat.  That gold necklace you wear doesn’t help at all.  I am glad that you have improved in the last eight games hitting with a eight game hitting streak and hitting .414/.433/.552.  Lay off those first pitches,  or you and your gold necklace may find your way to Toledo.

Jose Iglesias– A:  When you went down injured earlier in the season we all took a deep breath and muttered “china doll”.  Well maybe not all of us.  How do you make playing shortstop look so amazingly easy?  You are easily a Sports Center Top 10 highlight reel most nights.  You make great contact with the ball and have batted up and down the lineup when asked to.  A tremendous asset for this Tigers club and hope you have as long of a career here as Alan Trammell did.


James McCann – B+:  One of the subtle highlights of the first half of the season was seeing you get an opportunity behind the plate.  Your first home run was an inside the parker?  Then your other two were walk offs?  Solid numbers for hitting and great presence behind the plate.  Welcome to Detroit – catcher of the future.

Andrew Romine – A:  One of my favorite players growing up was utility player Tom Brookens.  Every team needs a utility player and you have become that for the Tigers.  You have done everything they have asked of you.  You stepped in for slumping Castellanos, injured Iglesias, and now an injured Cabrera.  And you are having a career year?!  Hitting .320/.358/.440.  Keep up the great work, Andrew, we need you.


Justin Verlander – Incomplete/D:   Editor Matt Pelc made a great point Monday on MCB Tiger Talk – if you aren’t in mid-season form,  why didn’t you stay down in Toledo to rehab more?  That’s why you get a D.  You should get an incomplete, but you demanded to come back and pitch.  And you have cost the Tigers four games and not won one since your return.  The injury you suffered last year has really set you back and I think all of us Tiger fans would advise you and Kate to look in the mirror and reinvent yourself as a non fastball only pitcher.  Please.

Anibal Sanchez – C:  What happened the first quarter of this season?  It was awful.  You ERA’s in April and May were atrocious at 5.46 and 5.97, but you have settled down nicely to a 2.63 ERA in June.  We need to have the Anibal we saw in June the rest of the season.

David Price – A:   We are truly enjoying watching the last season you will have in a Detroit Tigers uniform.  Well that’s when you decide to stay in it for the entire game.  Great first half of the season at near perfection.  8-2, 2.54 ERA, 107 strike outs.  Keep it up and you will be in the Cy Young contention.

Alfredo Simon – C+:   I wrote an article before the season questioning this trade.  I stand by it.  The hot start was smoke and mirrors.  In April and May, respectively, your ERA was 3.13 and 2.10 and your W-L was 5-2 in total.  Your June and July?  ERA is, respectively, 5.40 and 8.74, and 3-3.  Your career history shows that your second half is worse than your first.  You’re trending that way and trending to be disastrous in the back half of the season.

Shane Greene – D-:  One word – Toledo. Microphone dropped.

Joakim Soria – B+   The reluctant closer, Joakim Soria, after Joe Nathan blew his elbow out.  It’s great to see you return to closer form with eighteen out of twenty save opportunities, ERA of 2.48 and a WHIP of 0.95.  The Tigers haven’t given you the ball near enough as we hoped and there needs to be a slight improvement in your non save appearances to earn you an A.


Brad Ausmus – C-: Miscommunications with starting pitchers, leaving pitchers in too long, not disclosing injuries, not experimenting with your lineup.  Looking dreamy Brad is only part of the Detroit Tigers’ manager job.  Actually managing effectively is the bigger part.  Robin Ventura might make you look Ivy League smart, but the rest of us are waiting for you to get a clue yet.