Wednesday, August 12, 2015

2007 Tigers Progress Report (129 games)

There has been plenty of this of late: Leyland signals to bullpen.
The team was sitting pretty at 53-33 at the All-Star Break, with a 5-game lead on Cleveland & 10-game lead on 3rd place Minnesota. The team was batting .284, while the pitching had a 4.06 ERA. We actually won more games against Cleveland Indians up to this point (compared to real-life), while the Minnesota Twins had a three-game advantage differential against up.

Placido Polanco was batting .316 at the break, but struggled so bad in July, that his batting average dipped as low as .290, in a season that he batted .341 with 200 hits. So I made a change to move him to the 5th slot, from the #2 slot. Since I moved Polanco to the 5th spot, I had no desirable #2 slot, except for Ryan Raburn; Raburn in real-life, had 138 at-bats. Due to the struggles of Marcus Thames and Craig Monroe in left, and Brandon Inge at third, Raburn has found himself playing more often than he is supposed to. I have tried to keep it as realistic as possible, but at the same time, the team started to struggle in July, and I have done what I can to keep us competitive. After our recent blunder with the Oakland Athletics, I have also decided to go with a four-man rotation in an attempt to get my best starting pitcher, Justin Verlander, a APBA Grade B-X, out there every 4 starts. I am now starting Raburn everyday in the #2 slot, either at LF or 3B.

Ordonez & Granderson have lived up to their 2007 through APBA replay.

The lineup now looks like this...

1. Curtis Granderson - CF
2. Ryan Raburn - 3B/LF
3. Magglio Ordonez - RF
4. Gary Sheffield - DH
5. Placido Polanco -2B
6. Carlos Guillen - SS
7. Sean Casey - 1B
8. Brandon Inge - 3B/
Marcus Thames - LF
9. Ivan Rodriguez - C

Here is a progress report on the hitters of the Tigers.

  • Curtis Granderson (CF) - Overall has outperformed his 2007 version in APBA, he has been in the .330 batting average range all season, struggling only in May (.270). He is currently hitting .343, while logging a .400 OBP with .562 slugging (.962 OPS). Granderson already has 41 stolen bases, while only stealing 26 in 2007. I am trying to duplicate his historic feat of 20 HR's, 20 SB's, 20 triples & 20 doubles in the same season; in which he and only like 3 other players EVER did in MLB history. He is only 2 HR's away from 20, while for some time the triples were lacking, he recently logged a few, and has 14 for the season -- So he has some work to do to duplicate his feat. By the way, Granderson only batted .302 in 2007, compared to .343 in the replay.
  • Ryan Raburn (LF/3B) - Real life: .304, 4 HR & 27 RBI (.340 OBP/.507 SLG/.847 OPS) in 138 at-bats / 2007 Replay: .317, 9 HR, 37 RBI (.347 OBP/.577 SLG/.924 OPS) in 208 at-bats. He is a APBA J-4, so I have to be careful not to lose him to injury, because it would hurt the lineup dramatically to lose him at this point. 
  • Magglio Ordonez (RF) - Won the 2007 A.L. Batting Title by batting .363, with 28 HR & 139 RBI -- with a 1.029 OPS. "Mags" was batting .397 with 23 HR & 71 RBI at the All-Star Break for me, flirting with .400 for awhile -- he nearly had an OBP of .500 at .495. Currently, Magglio is hitting .369, 31 HR & 97 RBI -- leading the team in batting average & home runs for the season; He also has 44 doubles & 95 runs.
  • Gary Sheffield (DH) - Sheffield in real-life started off hot in 2007 with his new team, then got hurt & struggled in second half; Sheffield finished with .265, 25 HR, 75 RBI & 22 steals -- with .462 SLG/.378 OBP, combining for a .840 OPS. 2007 Tigers Replay: Sheffield has outperformed his numbers -- .276, 29 HR & 106 RBI with 33 SB's; He had 20 HR & 23 Steals at the break, while batting .296! At one point he was on pace for the 40/40 club at age 38 (he will be 39 in November), still has shot to do it, but will most likely reach 30/30 club. By the way, "Sheff" is 33-for-33 in steals attempts & leads team in RBI department.
  • Placido Polanco (2B) - His move to the 5th slot is starting to pay off, after Polanco's struggles in July. Polanco's 2007 real-life totals: .341, 9 HR, 67 RBI & 7 SB (.388 OBP/.458 SLG/.846 OPS); Polanco's 2007 Replay: .299, 10 HR, 72 RBI & 11 SB (.347 OBP/.426 SLG/.773 OPS). "Polly" has shown power of late, and is starting to hit the ball again, so his OBP & SLG numbers should help pull up that .773 OPS to get him closer to his real-life numbers -- has already more HR's, RBI & steals than his real-life totals.
  • Carlos Guillen (SS) - He has been downright frustrating since April's hot start. In April, he batted .330 with a.361 OBP/.484 SLG/.845 OPS -- very similar to his 2007 marks of .296 avg, .357/.502/.859 OPS. After April, he plummeted in which his 2007 Replay totals come nowhere close to the real deal: .210 AVG, 15 HR & 45 RBI with a .266 OBP/.369 SLG/.635 OPS -- he is .224 OPS off his real-life mark! In actual 2007, he also hit 21 HR & 102 RBI. Sometimes in APBA you get weird cases such as this.
  • Sean Casey (1B) - In real-life, Casey is known for getting on-base (.353 OBP in 2007), in APBA he has struggled to reach base (.286 OBP), while only batting .252 compared to his .296 AVG in 2007. He has already hit more HR (5) than his 2007 total of 4... while his other numbers seem to be on par in the runs & RBI departments. His batting average being 44 points lower, of course is effecting his on-base percentage.
  • Brandon Inge (3B) - Inge batted .236, 14 HR & 71 RBI (.312 OBP/.376 SLG/.688 OPS) in 2007 for the Tigers; In the 2007 Replay, he is lacking the power -- with only 5 HR & .302 slugging. His batting average (.195) and on-base percentage (.287) are noticeably down as well, all contributing to a miserable .589 OPS!
  • Marcus Thames (LF) - Where is the power, Marcus? Thames in real-life hit 18 HR (.498 SLG) in only 269 at-bats. So far, in 118 at-bats, he has hit 4 HR (.415 SLG) -- which would give him 9 HR's (only half of total), if he matched real-life 269 AB's. Thames is not making matters better by only batting.203 compared to real-life .242 batting average.
  • Craig Monroe (LF) - "C-Mo" has recently been traded to the Chicago Cubs... He will not be missed, had no impact for me on the season, and had only one at-bat in recent 20 Tiger games. In real life, he had 343 AB's by time he was traded -- I only gave him 153 AB's, in which he hit .196, 4 HR & 14 RBI. Real life for Tigers: .222, 11 HR & 55 RBI -- his replay .561 OPS was noticeably lower than .638 OPS. A far cry from his 2006 totals to help Tigers win the American League Championship, batting .255 with 28 HR & 92 RBI.
  • Ivan Rodriguez (C) - Has been as frustrating as Carlos Guillen at times, batting only .229 with 10 HR & 55 RBI; Even though his HR & RBI numbers are both on pace to be up, he is not doing well in the batting average department (.229 compared to .281), while his Slugging & On-Base numbers are lower as well. "Pudge" has a .610 OPS in the replay, compared to .714 OPS in actual 2007.
  • Mike Rabelo (C) - Rodriguez's back-up through 69 AB's, is out-performing his card so far. Rabelo in real-life finished .256, 1 HR & 18 RBI (.300 OBP/.357 SLG/.657 OPS) in 168 AB's -- compared to the replay .275, 0 HR & 8 RBI (.333 OBP/.435 SLG/.788 OPS). He might be getting more at-bats, if the team's season starts to tank. Rabelo, by the way, would later be part of the 2008 trade package with the Florida Marlins that would bring in Miguel Cabrera.
  • Timo Perez (LF/PH) - Perez was a good occasional start option for Jim Leyland in 2007, in which he batted .389 with 13 RBI (.427 OBP/.533 SLG/.960 OPS) in 90 at-bats/29 games. For me, not as much, he has had some big clutch at-bats in pinch-hit role, but so far has under-performed his card (which by the way has a 51-7, 62-9 & 64-9) -- In 72 at-bats, he is batting .250 with 6 RBI, with a .280 OBP/.403 SLG/.683 OPS clip. 
  • Ramon Santiago (SS) - Has played exactly like his card so far, batting .283 with 7 RBI (.314 OBP/.370 SLG/.684 OPS) in 46 AB's compared to real-life .284 with 7 RBI (.324 OBP/.388 SLG/.712 OPS) in 67 AB's. 
  • Omar Infante (IF/OF) - Only batting .170 with .490 OPS in 88 at-bats for me, while batting .271 with .662 OPS in 2007 for Tigers. The one good thing is he has already duplicated his 2 HR total for me, in 88 at-bats.
  • Mike Hessman (1B) - The all-time minor league HR champion has only played in 14 at-bats (.142 AVG & 1 HR) for me, when Sean Casey didn't start, I usually plugged Carlos Guillen in at first. He had 4 HR in 51 at-bats, while batting .235 for the Tigers. 
  • Neifi Perez (IF) - has been used primarily as a pinch-runner for me, he only batted .172 in real-life, 64 AB's. He has only one hit for me, a HR, matching his real-life season total.
Bonderman out-pitching actual 2007 season stats.

Now the pitchers....
The rotation is as follows...

1. Justin Verlander (B-X)
2. Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ)
3. Nate Robertson (C)
4. Chad Durbin (C)
5. Kenny Rogers (C)

  • Justin Verlander (B-X) - J.V. in 2007, is starting to give us a glimpse of what's to come in the future for Motown (he would have a down year in 2008 though). For the replay, Verlander is 12-8, with a 3.98 ERA, 3 complete games (2 shutouts) with 159 K's in 176.3 innings. His walks are definitely up (73 walks through 129 games) compared to his 2007 real-life total of 67 in 201.2 innings. He has allowed 19 HR's through my replay so far, the untimely homer has been partially responsible for his higher replay ERA of 3.98 compared to that of 3.66; He allowed 20 HR's in real-life that season. His strikeout numbers are on pace to be spot on.
  • Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ) - Bonderman has been playing more like a B starter for me, for that I won't complain. He experienced back-to-back shutouts, during a stretch he went 23 consecutive innings without allowing a run. His record stands at 13-5, while both him & Verlander had 10 wins at the All-Star Break, the team has not supplied much run support of late, which both have slowed down in the victories department. His 3.65 ERA is considerably lower than his 5.01 ERA in real-life, which makes it a bit more surprising that APBA gave him a C starting grade -- Then again, they must have been following him as close as most of Tigers fans that year, Bonderman pitched pretty good in first half of 2007, coming off his successful 2006 season... but like the Tigers, Bonderman's second-half was a different story, which may have been an indication of his injury woes to come in 2008 & beyond. His strikeout numbers are down in APBA, while his walk numbers are up.
  • Nate Robertson (C) - He was a fan favorite during these times, a good guy to interview, down to earth, although he was really nothing special, especially when you compare him to the starting pitchers that the Tigers would add by 2010-2014. Nate has been horrific for most part in my replay, he is currently 6-12, with a 5.56 ERA; In real life, he also had a losing record in a 9-13 season that sported a 4.76 ERA. After Verlander, Robertson has gave up 17 long balls, with 33 games in the season remaining. Robertson had two good outings recently, until allowing 9 ER's in 1 inning of work against the New York Yankees in Game #129.
  • Chad Durbin (C) - Durbin was winning in the first-half due to good run support or good Tigers timely hitting & the bullpen holding down the victory; He managed to go 9-1 during the first-half, despite a 4.58 ERA. He has not won since, and his ERA has rose to 5.06; In real-life, he went 8-7 in 19 starts, 17 relief appearances. Due to Mike Maroth traded to St. Louis & Andrew Miller's D-YW, Durbin has started 23 games for me, we even asked a bit more out of the old vet Rogers as well.
  • Kenny Rogers (C) - Everything hit the wall for "The Gambler" in 2007, a pitcher who didn't really suffer injuries, a model of endurance in his career, once he had his injury you knew it was up, especially at his age. Here is an interesting statistic for Rogers, from 2002-2006, at the ages of 37-41, he won a total of 75 games during that stretch -- very impressive! Okay, now onto how's he played for the 2007 Replay: 2-4, 4.87 ERA, 47 K & 41 BB's in 81.3 innings & 15 starts; In actual 2007, he started only 11 games & pitched 63 innings, going 3-4, with a 4.43 ERA, with 36 K & 25 BB's. 
  • Andrew Miller (D-YW) - Let me come on out & say that I was not a big fan of Andrew Miller. I did not like the fact that he had it in his contract (during signing bonus) that the Tigers had to call him up for 2007 season -- They pitched him too many starts (13!), and had a 5.63 ERA to show for it, those 13 starts may have been the difference in a division title. I could only start him 3 games until I said "f@%k it!" -- for the other 19 appearances he has been out of the bullpen for me, mostly in mop-up duty in lost games; His ERA? Oh, a wonderful 6.40 in 32.3 innings -- surprisingly he only gave up one long-ball for me. Since 2012, he has reinvented himself into one of baseball's best relievers -- showing off the same potential that was witnessed when he pitched at UNC.
  • Mike Maroth (D-R) [Now with Cardinals] - Tigers fans will remember Mike Maroth for two things in his career, losing 21 games in the ill-fated 2003 season & Maroth's month of April in 2006 -- his season would come to an end, due to an arm injury that would effect the rest of his career, which the remainder was 2007. In real life, he pitched 116 innings with both Tigers & Cardinals, with a combined ERA of 6.89 (0-5, 10.66 ERA with Cards -- Ouch!). On the other hand, in my replay, Maroth was pitching out of his mind for a Grade D-R [R is reduced strikeout on newer boards, for those who may not know] -- Maroth went a perfect 4-0, in 17 games & 7 starts, with a 3.16 ERA (51.3 innings) during his time with the Tigers.

Now for the bullpen....
  • Jason Grilli (C*-Y) - Long after being the 4th overall pick in 1997 & long before being a closer for the Pirates in 2013 (for his lone All-Star performance), Grilli had a rebirth in his career under Jim Leyland in Detroit from 2006-2008. He was a bit more effective in the pennant winning 2006 season, while in 2007, he pitched 79 innings, with 62 K's & 4.74 ERA. For my Tigers replay, Grilli has hit a skid, he did have a 3.94 ERA in 48 innings at the All-Star Break -- he has since allowed 13 ER's in only 8.2 innings, watching his ERA rise to 5.40! His walks are quite up with 31 walks allowed in 56.7, compared to his real-life 32 walks in 79 IP.
  • Joel Zumaya (C*-YW) - One of the most tragic baseball stories in recent times, this guy really could be one of today's biggest closers, if it was not for an unfortunate crack in his shoulder blade -- He once recorded baseball's fastest pitch at 104.8 mph! You should read about the freak injuries from Guitar Hero to moving boxes HERE, you really can't make this stuff up, so much promise! For my 2007 Replay, he has done better than his actual 4.28 ERA (33.2 IP), then again, I have not put him in high-pressure situations, and he has coasted to a nice 3.18 ERA (28.1 IP), his high walks are spot on, while his K's are down for me. Zumaya retired from MLB Baseball in February 2014.
  • Fernando Rodney (C*-XY) - Like most of my bullpen, Rodney has already pitched beyond his innings of real-life (50.2 IP) with 54 IP for my 2007 Replay through 129 games. The difference is that he's been pitching great for me with a 2.50 ERA compared to actual 4.26! His strikeout numbers are much better as well, with 70 K's through 54 innings (11.7 K per 9 IP) compared to 54 K's. He's pitching more like Grade B*-K for me, at least that!
  • Zach Miner (C (B*)) - Miner started one game for Tigers in 2007, and was used primarily as a reliever. He has been used as a long reliever in winning or close game situations for me, and is 5-4 for me, with a 3.49 ERA through 80 innings -- he only pitched 53 innings in real-life with 3.02 ERA; Miner did have 2.89 ERA for me at the All-Star Break. Just like most of my guys with no control Z grades, the walks have been higher in my replay. 
  • Tim Byrdak (B*-XYW) - Byrdak already has more appearances (51 to 39) and more innings (49 to 45) than in real-life 2007; Brydak has also had more decisions, going 2-6 compared to his actual 3-0 record. His walk numbers are definitely up, with 37 walks in 49 innings, while sporting a 3.67 ERA (3.20 in 2007). Byrdak has actually lowered his ERA from 5.33 to 3.67 since the All-Star Break, one of the few to go the opposite direction, while everybody else has gone south.
  • Todd Jones (C*) - Nicknamed by Tigers fans as "The Human Roller Coaster" for his roller coaster relief results. There was a time in the season that I was getting by with Jones being my closer, I wanted to try to be as realistic as possible -- but eventually he started blowing more games, and was making things far too interesting for me to keep him as the closer. Jones had 18 Saves at the break, and at one point was definitely on pace for his 38 Saves. Jones has 21 Saves for the season, and Bobby Seay now has 9 Saves as the Tigers' new closer. Jones has floundered with a 5.45 ERA in 33 innings & 7 blown saves.
  • Bobby Seay (A*-XZ) - I have already pitched Seay 34 more innings than in his actual 2007 season. Seay was my set-up man for Todd Jones, but I had to make some adjustments, and make Seay the closer. Seay has a 3-6 record, 9 SV, 1.82 ERA & 61 K's in 79.2 innings. For Seay, 2007 was as best as it would get, with 2.33 ERA in real life.

We have momentarily fell to 3rd place, behind Minnesota now (by 1 game) & 2.5 games behind first place Cleveland. At no point in real life after April 29th, did the Tigers fall back to third place... so this is not a good sign for me, especially after being ahead of real-life pace at All-Star Break (5 games up on Cleveland compared to 1 game). 

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