ONE TOPIC – TWO TAKES

By:  Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

It’s report card time, Tigers! As we wait for baseball to resume, it’s time to take a look at each and every Tiger and each every coach, our manager and even our GM.

They are all getting mid-term grades today; one from Holly and one from Kurt. There is much to do, so let’s get started.


MANAGEMENT & COACHES

AL AVILA

Holly: C+ / 4 good signings, 3 iffy ones so far but hard to grade after only half a year for the new GM.

Kurt: C / Preseason moves very encouraging; not all have panned out to this point.

BRAD AUSMUS

Holly: C- – / Definitely improved this year but still way too many decisions that are truly baffling and games lost.

Kurt: C / Perfectly average manager; fits well on an average baseball team.

RICH DUBEE

Holly: D+ / See a step back in pitching strategy and inability to help starters figure out their issues.

Kurt: C- / Expected a more noticeable impact, still waiting.

OMAR VIZQUEL

Holly: C- / Gets an A as infield coach but an F as base running coach.

Kurt: C / Base running has not improved which is on him. But infield defense has been stellar.

DAVE CLARK

Holly: D- / Averages 3 runners/month cut down at the plate but even worse as outfield coach.

Kurt: D / Last year as a Tiger coach, nothing extraordinary to offer.

GENE LAMONT

Holly: NA / I’m being extremely kind here but there is no way to grade someone who doesn’t move.

Kurt: D / If he’s helping Brad, STOP!

WALLY JOYNER

Holly: B- / The team ranks well in most offensive categories but lack of “small ball” and patience at the plate hurts consistent run production.

Kurt: C / Good hitting team that falls into ruts way too often. Does hitting coach have control over that? It seems he doesn’t!


STARTING PITCHING

JUSTIN VERLANDER

Holly: A- / He could easily be 12-2 if his team had given him run support. Lowest WHIP of all starters.

Kurt: A- / He has pitched much better than his numbers indicate. Has worked very hard and it shows.

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN

Holly: A- / An incredible strong start with recent performance most likely injury-based.

Kurt: B+ / Injury bug robbed him of an All-Star appearance. Came flying out of the gate early.

MIKE PELFREY

Holly: B- / 4 games pitched when given zero run support. 3 games where he gave up no earned runs but lost. Could potentially be 7-3.

Kurt: C / Has gotten robbed on the run support end and he has pitched well of late. Could be trade bait for someone looking for depth.

ANIBAL SANCHEZ

Holly: D / Pitched a number of tough luck games earlier in the season that he should have won but he’s going downhill in a hurry.

Kurt: E / Most important pitcher with failing grade? As bad as it gets.

MICHAEL FULMER

Holly: A+ / No need to explain!

Kurt: A+ / Stud! Future ace. Next Verlander.

MATT BOYD

Holly: NA / Not enough IP to grade, esp. considering he was brought up too soon.

Kurt: C- / Showing more signs of talent the more we see him. Big future.


BULLPEN

(Only pitchers with a good amount of innings were graded, all others; too little to tell)

FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ

Holly: A / A few scary games and a 2.93 ERA – otherwise perfect.

Kurt: A / A reliable closer wearing the D. I just might cry.

JUSTIN WILSON

Holly: C+ / Jekyll and Hyde performances with lots of SOs but also lots of hits.

Kurt: B- / Has fit into role established for him. But has been inconsistent.

ALEX WILSON

Holly: C / Just below all of his “brother’s” (Justin) stats.

Kurt: C / Expected more from him.

SHANE GREENE

Holly: B- – / Still too soon to tell but his SOs are great as is his WHIP.

Kurt: B / Has found niche in pen. Good late inning production.

KYLE RYAN

Holly: D / Like Hardy, more hits than IP and low SOs.

Kurt: C / Still like Kyle, important lefty.

BUCK FARMER

Holly: C / Nothing remarkable.

Kurt: C- / You figure him out. I can’t.

BLAINE HARDY

Holly: D / More hits than IP and low SOs.

Kurt: D- / No longer dependable. Don’t know what happened to him.

DREW VERHAGEN

Holly: NA / Re-occurring injuries so potential is not realized.

Kurt: D / Had big role planned for him. Not to be in ’16.

MARK LOWE

Holly: E / No need to explain.

Kurt: E / Promising signing. Big role planned. Total failure.


INFIELDERS

JAMES McCANN

Holly: C+ / Much better behind the plate than at the plate and maybe due to sophomore slump and injury.

Kurt: C / Very good catcher. Better hitter than he is showing.

JARROD SALTALAMACCHIA

Holly: B- / Solid Fielding% and OPS which could even be better if he got regular playing time.

Kurt: C / Has given the Tigers what they needed. Good veteran backup with power potential.

MIGUEL CABRERA

Holly: A- / Great glove, excellent offensive stats but his drop in driving runners in lowers his grade.

Kurt: A / We are spoiled. At what point do we realize that even with a stat decline, he is still elite?

IAN KINSLER

Holly: A+ / Where would we be without this guy who does it all in the field, at the plate and in the clubhouse and dugout.

Kurt: A+ / The Tigers’ MVP for the first half. Great at the plate. Great in the field. Great for this team.

JOSE IGLESIAS

Holly: B+ / Glove is an A but he’s been struggling with the bat this year and earns a B- at the plate.

Kurt: A- / See signs of fans taking him for granted. Not many shortstops out there like him. Importance of his defense cannot be dismissed.

ANDREW ROMINE

Holly: B / Utility players are never exciting but this guy has played 8 positions this year, including pitcher and is decent on the base paths.

Kurt: B- / Prototypical utility player who has good value. Much needed.

NICK CASTELLANOS

Holly: A / Most improved player with great hitting and decent glove with some exceptional plays.

Kurt: A / Well, look who has emerged! Power has been impressive and defense is vastly improved.


DESIGNATED HITTER

VICTOR MARTINEZ

Holly: A / If his knees were better, he’d earn an A+ but otherwise he and Kinsler are the glue and needed attitude of the team.

Kurt: A / Not much more you can ask of Victor. Tough as nails. Battles through his physical issues and still hits for average and power.


OUTFIELDERS

JUSTIN UPTON

Holly: B- / A below-average glove and hitting stats that are average and ranks behind both JD and Maybin in both categories.

Kurt: C+ / Expected him to thrive in #2 spot in front of Miggy. Didn’t happen. Needs to really come on now.

CAMERON MAYBIN

Holly: A+ / A godsend with glove, speed, bat and attitude.

Kurt: A / Under the radar signing proving to be priceless. He’s what this team needed. Could use a couple more like him.

J.D. MARTINEZ

Holly: A / The team’s best outfielder and great offensive skills despite being moved within the lineup.

Kurt: A / Was headed for a big year again. Injury unfortunate. Important part of lineup.

STEPHEN MOYA

Holly: C+ / Very impressive offensive stats but very inexperienced in the outfield.

Kurt: C / Horrible outfield defense has overshadowed improvement at the plate.

MIKE AVILES

Holly: D+ / Don’t see what he brings to the table that Romine can’t fill.

Kurt: D / Actually liked his signing. But now? We can do better.

10 thoughts on “ONE TOPIC – TWO TAKES

  1. Hard to believe but I see it realistic. The duo Romine/Aviles might not show much, but their versatility gives more depth and has allowed to carry 8 relievers in the pen, which might be one of the reasons, other than the powerful lineup when it shows up, to not be completely out of the hunt.

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  2. This was a good one! Actually agree with most give or take a plus or minus. I found you a bit generous with Brad, Dubee, Clark, & Ryan. A good day begins with laughter, & your take on Gene Lamont & Buck Farmer provided it! 🙂

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  3. For Holly. Maybin a “godsend with his glove”? Poor routes and basically shaky in the field all around. Now if you are comparing him to the corner guys I would agree. Romine still shows more defensively even with his limited play in CF. If Maybin wasn’t hitting you would all be wishing Gose was back.

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    • Hi, Doug – Yes, I’m comparing him to the corner outfielders and unlike 2 of his recent predecessors, he’s not afraid to dive for a ball. Thanks for continuing the discussion! – Holly

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  4. If the grades are accurate, and I agree for the most part, how could the Tigers be a 500 team and looking up a steep incline to the Indians? Been saying this for 2 years: pitching DECISIONS, lineup DECISIONS, game STRADEGY and Team ATTITUDE. That’s ALL on BRAD. Quick fix..dump Ausmus, Aviles, Lowe, Hardy, Farmer, and Ryan.

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  5. I don’t see how its possible to give Justin Upton anything but below average which in the teaching world translates to a D, D+ or D- .

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    • Hi, Walt – I won’t speak for Kurt, but I averaged Upton’s early days with the last month considering he was adjusting to a new league. He got a D early on, but his last month, he’s shown a .289 BA and close to a .800 OPS which is an A-. That averages, for me, as a B-. Thanks for continuing the conversation! – Holly

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  6. Holly,
    Your rating of Lamont is off. I clearly remember seeing him move once……NO, I did, I really did Holly, honest I did…..I swear to you, I saw him move a couple of times……..honest.

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  7. Kurt, I’m with you on Aviles. Thought it was a great signing–he always seemed to be an asset for his former teams. Haven’t seen much of it for Tigers (yet?). Great article both of you, thanks!

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