By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

Everyone gets theIr turn at the end of every season to grade the Tigers, and in our inaugural season, Totally Tigers will join the fray.

Here is how our grading works. We grade from A+ down to E, accompanied with one line of rationale. But we can’t grade everyone; some of these guys haven’t given much to grade them on.

Players like Nathan, Nesbitt, Moya and Machado; we left out, just because the resume is so incomplete.

So, let’s start with the pitchers.


ALEX WILSON: B-  (Holly) / B- (Kurt)

Holly – Better ERA but he’s giving up a hit per inning and his earned runs as a reliever are disconcerting.  But he’s young still …

Kurt – Actually saved our bacon when there was nowhere else to turn.  But ended but being overused, which hurt his performance and his grade.  Overall, very valuable in all different roles.

AL ALBURQUERQUE: C- (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – Allowed 1.5 runners on base per inning and earned runs that added up to a full half of the total innings pitched.

Kurt – A polarizing pitcher for the Tigers. Great arm, but often loses focus. Again was not trusted real late in games, despite his tools.

MATT BOYD: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade. Called up too soon.

Kurt – Matt was hit pretty hard, gave up lots of homers, made a lot of mistake pitches, but didn’t seem rattled. Not enough time to offer a grade.

BUCK FARMER: Inc. (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade. Needs more seasoning in the minors.

Kurt – Brought up way too soon. Not ready for prime time. Big arm, poor location.

NEFTALI FELIZ: D+ (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – A couple good outings can’t negate the .300+ BA, 1.5 WHIP and ERs uncomfortably close to the # innings pitched.

Kurt – Can still throw hard, but showed why he was cut by Texas. Were forced to use him more than he deserved.

JEFF FERRELL: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info.

Kurt – Who?

TOM GORZELLANY: D- (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – More hits than innings pitched and not a single save.

Kurt – Only reason he’s not an E was how he responded to the ¾ delivery, had some success with it late.

SHANE GREENE: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade. Diagnosed injury may have impacted his stats.

Kurt – Who knows how early in the season he was hurt. Went from very effective early to highly ineffective in a blink of an eye, and never recovered.

BLAINE HARDY: C (Holly) / B- (Kurt)

Holly – Not as bad as the other relievers but stats that also don’t make you smile.

Kurt – Blaine pitched a lot and what reasonably effective. Not mad at him, which says a lot in this pen.

GUIDO KNUDSEN: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough pitching time.

Kurt – Don’t ask me a thing about him; have no idea.

IAN KROL: D+ (Holly) / E (Kurt)

Holly – More hits than innings pitched. ERs uncomfortably close to innings pitched and a 1.71 WHIP.

Kurt – Great arm, but issues upstairs. Too talented to give up on. But promise was always left on the bus from Toledo.

KYLE LOBSTEIN: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Repeated injuries and shuffling from minors to majors and experiments with starting and relief.

Kurt – Didn’t see near enough of him to form an educated opinion.

DANIEL NORRIS: B+ (Holly) / B (Kurt)

Holly – High ratio of SOs/inning, low offense against him and a WHIP of 1. Competitive attitude to match.

Kurt – Showed poise, promise and live arm with good stuff. Injury kept him from maybe earning an A.

BRUCE RONDON: D (Holly) / E (Kurt)

Holly – His stats match those of the team’s middle relief and nowhere near closer numbers. Attitude is a negative, too.

Kurt – He quit. Unacceptable. Any higher grade negated after letting teammates down.

KYLE RYAN: Inc. (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – Too soon to tell. Starting, relieving – they have him all over the board.

Kurt – Has value. Good change of pace stuff. Much yet to be proven however.

ANIBAL SANCHEZ: C (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – Decent BA against him as well as WHIP. But if he wasn’t injured for much of the year, it could have been B+.

Kurt – Led the league in homers against. Struggled with location. May have been injured longer than realized.

ALFREDO SIMON: C (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – The average of two grades – a D and a B for his two different sides. When he was good, he was very, very good. When he was bad, he was very, very bad.

Kurt – You never knew what you were going to get. Very unreliable. Drove me nuts all season.

JOSE VALDEZ: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info.

Kurt – Looked good in his uniform.  Other than that, I got nothin’.

DREW VERHAGEN: A- (Holly) / A (Kurt)

Holly – Best ERA on the team and best ratios between IP and offensive numbers. Very promising so far.

Kurt – Great live arm. Nice breaking pitch. Showed real promise out of pen.

JUSTIN VERLANDER: A- (Holly) / A- (Kurt)

Holly – The ace is back. Has MLB’s best ERA since the break and easily would have 12 wins if offense supported him.

Kurt – JV pitched in a vacuum. Seemed to have one goal – to be himself again. Not bothered by team turmoil, worked hard to return to dominance.

RANDY WOLF: D- (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – Stats are just horrible. Too bad I can’t give him extra credit for great attitude and mentoring. Really nice guy.

Kurt – Emergency acquisition. Probably delayed his retirement to pitch for the Tigers. What can you expect?


ALEX AVILA: No grade (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – It’s not fair to grade him. He shouldn’t have been playing.
I think the multiple concussions have significantly impacted his physical and mental capabilities.

Kurt – He was bad and I gave him a D. His time has ended.

BRYAN HOLADAY: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade.

Kurt – When did he play?

JAMES McCANN: A+ (Holly) / A (Kurt)

Holly – He is everything a player should be. And he’s a leader.

Kurt – A leader beyond his years. Tremendous catcher already. Must register that gun of his.

MIGUEL CABRERA: A on the Miggy scale but in MLB it would be A+ (Holly) / A (Kurt)

Holly – Stats that are still off-the-board but the fans saw a little less this year because he is still injured.

Kurt – Began like a house-a-fire, got hurt, missed 50 games, won batting title that no one has bothered to really notice. Amazing.

NICK CASTELLANOS: B- (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – Overall improvement in offense and defense, but still aways to go. He’s still young and raw.

Kurt – Trade bait. Not impressed. Billed as stud, still waiting.

JOSE IGLESIAS: B/B+ (Holly) / B+ (Kurt)

Holly – So exciting to watch. So frustrating to watch. He’s capable of more if the Tigers can figure out how to best use him.

Kurt – Incredible talent. Best shortstop we’ve seen here in a long time. Dust up and attitude lowered grade.

IAN KINSLER: A (Holly) / A (Kurt)

Holly – Bulldog, intense, leader. The Tigers need more of him. He brought it all this year and for all year, too.

Kurt – Ball player. Emerged as leader when no one else would. Difficult out in the second half. Tough as nails.

JEFRY MARTE: Inc. (Holly) / C- (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade.

Kurt – Showed some power, gained valuable experience. Minor league talent at this point.

ANDREW ROMINE: C (Holly) / B- (Kurt)

Holly – He fills a need and purpose. A decent utility player who does a good, but not great job.

Kurt – Valuable multi position bench player.

JOSH WILSON: Inc. (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade.

Kurt – Made more money than me, but I worked harder.

TYLER COLLINS: B- (Holly) / C+ (Kurt)

Holly – Iffy glove but has the ability to drive in runs and be clutch. Very promising given his youth and inexperience.

Kurt – Valuable bat off the bench. But we knew that.

RAJAI DAVIS: B (Holly) / B (Kurt)

Holly – So much to like about him including some great offensive numbers. More consistency in play and use is needed.

Kurt – Valuable player, great attitude. And speed. Can’t have enough.

ANTHONY GOSE: C+/B- (Holly) / C (Kurt)

Holly – Rajai’s opposite twin. Better defense, worse offense but unlike Rajai, I think he’s hit his limit.

Kurt – Played a very good centerfield. Hit more than I thought he would, but struck out a lot. Not a leadoff hitter.

JD MARTINEZ: A (Holly) / A+ (Kurt)

Holly – What’s not to love? Dedicated, determined and driven. Now if he could just get his range factor up a little….

Kurt – Backed up his coming out party season with a career year. Great power to all fields. Played an above average right field.

VICTOR MARTINEZ: Not fair to grade him (Holly) / Inc. (Kurt)

Holly – He gets an A for effort but he’s been favoring and dragging that leg all year. Can’t perform with that level of injury.

Kurt – Pushed by the Tigers all season. Felt bad for him.


AL AVILA: Inc. (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – Not enough info to comfortably grade.
Kurt – Homework incomplete. Bombed first exam.

BRAD AUSMUS: D- (Holly) / D- (Kurt)

Holly – Won’t go into the obvious but I give him partial credit for having some players stand up for him.

Kurt – Failed year 2 as manager, gained a shred of respect for handling Rondon situation.

GENE LAMONT: ? (Holly) / ? (Kurt)

Holly – I simply can’t grade him, which really doesn’t say anything good.
How do you grade an enigma who offers nothing to the media or viewers about what he brings to the table?

Kurt – Tigers had an extra uniform and gave it to Gene. He apparently thought he could sit in dugout. Tigers too embarrassed to ask him to leave.

JEFF JONES: D+/D (Holly) / C (Kurt)

Holly – Kudos for helping JV and partial credit for Price and Norris. But Tigers pitching was near the bottom this year.

Kurt – Average grade not good enough for pitching coach.

WALLY JOYNER: B (Holly) / B (Kurt)

Holly – Team offensive categories were all near the top this year. Wally’s not responsible though for getting those runs in.

Kurt – No issue with Wally. Thought he was a good hire. Still do.

OMAR VIZQUEL: C+ (Holly) / C (Kurt)

Holly – A “D” as base running coach, an “A-” for his job as infield coach.

Kurt – Good mentoring presence for Iggy. Has to take some of responsibility for poor Tiger base running.

DAVE CLARK: D+ (Holly) / D (Kurt)

Holly – An “E” moving runners around the bases and a “C” as outfield coach.

Kurt – Risky third base coach.

17 thoughts on “THE REPORT CARDS ARE OUT

  1. I thought the grades were generally excellent. My major disagreements involved clear favoritism for Avila and V-Mart who both had horrible performances defended defend them by “shouldn’t be playing”- is a card that could be played for any player who is hurt. I also object to “A” for Verlander. Though I was thrilled by his finish, early in the season he did not perform.


    • Hughie, I agree with your thoughts about Verlander. I would have rated him C- for his early season pitch-ability and a B+ for his personal drive that allowed him to get back to the standards we expect from him. Overall grade; C+/B-. – Kurt


    • Hi, Hughie – I wasn’t defending Avila and VMart. I was making a statement. Both men shouldn’t have been playing this year. Not fair grading when they really couldn’t play. Victor was grimacing at every bat and couldn’t pick up his injured leg leaving the box, dragging his foot in the dirt as he left. Avila should be retired – esp. given the reports out about poor Bill Freehan and the connection between catcher concussions and serious health problems. – Holly


  2. You have to give an honorary grade to Kevin Rand. I give the poor man a C. Frontline Army Medic like pace for him this year but no back bone or influence on stopping the rush back of V Mart and others who went down or should have. Also, Al Avila is an F. I feel he has shown us already…”Can’t win with him.”


  3. I did t see Alex Wilson on the list. He was a pleasant surprise but I think generally overrated. He wasn’t good with inherited runners. His E.R.A was deceiving.


  4. Think you guys took your ” nice” pills before doing this. VM was a C-. JV a gutty comeback earns him a B. The grade for terrible is an E and that’s what both Ausmus and Avila and now Al Sr. deserve. Ian only gets a B+. Iggy & Miggy lose points with mental attitude for me, give them both B+. My new fave, McCann gets a B+, was fantastic until he slipped last month.


  5. I saw Nick Castellanos play for the Whitecaps a few times and he was clearly the best hitter on the team and one of the best fielders as well. How much of his issues do you think stems from the Tigers’ decision to try to convert him to left field for a season, only to switch him back to third?


  6. With these grades in mind, the only players that I would absolutely keep for next year are McCann, Norris, JD, and maybe Verhagen. I’d test the market for all of the other players, and of course demand a lot for Cabrera, Verlander, or Kinsler.


    • That is a surprising statement! I’m interested to hear more Bob. Whats your plan in trading Cabrera, Verlander and Kinsler?


  7. I’m confused as to why you give incompletes to Boyd, Lobstein and Greene? They all started 11+ games and pitched 60-80+ innings, roughly at least 1/3 of a season, yet pitchers that pitched a lot less got grades. And VMart had 485 plate appearances? What are you minimum standards to not get an incomplete?


  8. Hi, Bob – We listed the rationales given our limited space. All 3 were starters and evaluated along starter qualifications. I won’t speak for Kurt but I didn’t think it was fair to include performance probably dictated by injury for 2 of them. Boyd only pitched 50 innings in a span of 8 weeks – just too soon for a new rookie. As for Victor, as I previously mentioned, his injury significantly impacted play the entire year, creating a single abnormal performance year. He should have been on the DL. Thanks for your question! – Holly


  9. Holly I liked your grade on Gene Lamont but Kurt, your grade on him made me laugh hard out loud!!! Thanks for everything both of you do to help “us fans” get through a rough year and the winter,waiting for players to report in Lakeland.

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