Detroit Tigers C Grades
Miguel Cabrera – Cabrera’s 2022 season has been a remarkable study in game impact over physical impact. He is on his way to a historically low power numbers from a designated hitter, but he also leads the team with 31 RBIs because he’s batting .386 with runners in scoring position. When he’s at the plate he’s more like a tennis player than a baseball player, masterfully manipulating his bat to execute drop shots and lobs that find the open grass.
Harold Castro – Harold Castro is doing what Harold Castro does. He’s hitting .276 with below-average power while posting the lowest walk rate in baseball (min 180 PAs) and playing below-average defense at multiple positions. It all adds up to a slightly below average WAR and a wRC+ of exactly 100.
Rony García – If these grades were about performance against expectations, Rony García would probably get an A. García came into the season looking like a candidate to be released, but instead he stepped into the rotation and performed remarkably well before his recent injury. His 48.1 innings are the 4th most on the team this year, and aside from some home run issues, his overall stats look fairly close to Tarik Skubal’s.
Eric Haase – Haase just wasn’t playing much over the first few months of the season, and when he did play he didn’t produce. But something has clicked for him, and he’s batting .300 with 5 home runs and 15 RBIs since the beginning of June. He may begin to see the plurality of time behind the plate.
Drew Hutchison – If you blink you may miss Drew Hutchison. The Tigers have signed him to three different contracts this year, and soon he will likely be designated for assignment for the third time. He has performed admirably under the circumstances, with a 4.30 ERA over 29.1 innings, but the Tigers seemingly always have a pitcher or two coming off the injured list, and Hutchison is the easiest player to release.
Austin Meadows – It has been an utterly bizarre season for Austin Meadows, who began the year as something of an on-base machine for the Tigers. Then he got vertigo and missed three weeks. He came back for one week and then got COVID. And then he strained both of his Achilles while working out. The end result is fewer than 150 plate appearances, very little power, and a wRC+ of 100.
Michael Pineda – Michael Pineda looked exactly like a 5th starter for five outings before breaking his finger. He has since come back for two outings and looked exactly like a 5th starter. His strikeout rate is low, his walk rate is low, and his FIP is almost two runs higher than his ERA. But that ERA is 3.62 over 32.1 innings, and that seems just fine.
Eduardo Rodriguez – Eduardo Rodriguez is currently in the midst of the most confusing situation is Detroit sports. He got off to a rough start, then pitched pretty well, then hit the injured list with a ribcage strain. He returned for one comically dominant rehab outing in Triple-A Toledo (4IP, 2H, 9K), but then he disappeared to deal with family issues. And apparently he hasn’t even been in contact with the Detroit Tigers in more than three weeks. Bizarre.
Will Vest – Vest has been another solid addition to the bullpen this season, but there are so many other good arms around him that he feels like the odd man out at times. He’s another pitcher who altered the shape of all his offerings, and so far he’s seeing much better results with his fastball and slider. His 3.30 ERA is solid, and he may take on a larger role after the trade deadline.