SIMPLE MATH

By:  Kurt Snyder

Are the Tigers just your typical .500 team? Is there any way to forecast that this is who they are? A team that disappoints for stretches, then evens things out with stretches of winning?

Well, in a game of numbers, maybe the players themselves can give you an idea of where they are headed. If you grade every player with a plus or a minus given their year-to-date performance, could you tally things up and determine the team’s future?

Let’s give it a shot.


Miguel Cabrera – minus. So far, very disappointing at the plate, injury issues.

Ian Kinsler – minus. So far, very disappointing at the plate, injury issues.

Joe Iglesias – plus. His defense in my eyes overwhelmingly compensates for any lack of hitting.

Nicholas Castellanos – minus. So far, very disappointing at the plate.

Catcher – plus. This position is a positive because of the overwhelming and completely unexpected production of Alex Avila.

Justin Upton – plus. Has been more consistent and has provided early season power.

Centerfield – minus. Without naming names, this has been a position unfulfilled; a weakness both offensively and defensively.

JD Martinez – plus. Missed many games early, but has hit the ground running with tremendous offensive production.

Victor Martinez – even.  Nothing overwhelming.  Still needs to find his place further down in the lineup.

8 positions – 4 positive / 4 minus


Let’s keep going, please don’t tell me this is all it takes.

Justin Verlander – minus. He’s having an odd season; he has been both brilliant and ineffective. That’s not JV.

Jordan Zimmermann – minus. He’s been the biggest disappointment to date of all the starters.

Michael Fulmer – plus. The new workhorse. The future ace is evolving and taking valuable steps forward.

Daniel Norris – plus. Daniel’s outings are always constant battles. But has kept them in games. Still trying to learn how to win.

Matthew Boyd – minus. Sent to minors to work on his aggressiveness.

Buck Farmer – plus. One start, one great start. Can I make a judgment after only one start? Well, it’s all I have and he was dominant in that start.

6 starters – 3 pluses / 3 minuses

This was a close one as Daniel Norris could have gone either way, but maybe that fact says a lot as well in supporting the case.


Let’s keep going.

Francisco Rodriguez – minus

Justin Wilson – plus. Has solidified the closer role.

Alex Wilson – plus. Has a role and executes it.

Shane Greene – plus. Has a role and executes it.

Anibal Sanchez – minus. In Toledo trying to find something … anything.

Warrick Saupold – plus. Short stay but big results.

Blaine Hardy – even. We have seen both sides of the coin with Blaine. So he is right in the middle.

I say we stop there and call the bullpen, in large part, a success.


Stick with me on this. Let’s look at the bench.

Andrew Romine – plus. Can’t say enough about how he masters his role as the team’s super-utility player.

Dixon Machado – even. He’s been average, but trending upward of late.

James McCann – minus. I have to treat him like a backup, given how dominant Avila has been. Injuries affecting him again, but mostly poor at the plate when healthy.

John Hicks – plus. Surprise dividends from this guy. Needs to stay with the big club.

Alex Presley – even. Early returns have been good and bad. Offensively, some big hits. Defensively, some struggles.

Tyler Collins – minus. Enough said.

Jacoby Jones – minus. Good defensively, but horrific at the plate.

Mikey Mahtook – minus. He’s a consistent weakness on this club, what can I say.

These guys as a group, did not measure up. Overall grade – minus.


Can’t forget our coaching staff can we?

Brad Ausmus – minus. Thought early on he may be evolving as a manager. Thought wrong.

Coaching staff – minus. Still poor baserunning. So many offensive droughts. Still poor defense, primarily in the outfield. Pitching staff has been a wash as a whole.

Manager and Coaches?  Minus; no help to this team.


If I forgot someone, chances are, they had little to no effect on the bottom line. Forgetting them was a message in itself.

Overall, even a simple study like this shows a roster and a coaching staff trending toward the negative. A team that looks like it will constantly battle to break even. It’s exactly how the team has played to this point; languishing under .500, showing spurts and then sputtering again, right up until Tuesday night.

As a team?  Right smack in the middle heading toward the negative.

No science, No analytics. Just good old fashion evaluation of talent and how it translates into wins and losses.

Is it as simple as that?  Maybe…

8 thoughts on “SIMPLE MATH

  1. Management–Al Avila. MINUS. No sense he grasps what is necessary for true readership. Almost everything which has put his fingerprints on has failed. Plus he left one big minus in place–Brad Ausmus. Ilitch Family–Who in the world knows?

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  2. Kurt, it would be interesting to get your take on our scouting “department”, Al Avila & Chris Illitch. Is there anything you can add about the implementation efforts for the vaunted Tigers Way manual? (I suspect you’ll report that it’s a BIG MINUS, but your commentary will tell all!)

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    • The performance of the scouting department may be the most important piece in the whole puzzle. However, because their success or failure is not measurable for three or more years after the decisions are made, accountability is diminished. We CAN say that the scouting department of 3-5 years ago deserves a very big minus.

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  3. Great job on the report card Kurt. Yes, only missing minus is K. Rand …. accountable perhaps for Miggy & Ian’s minus grade (oft injured) ?

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  4. Kurt, I think you are unduly condemning Brad because he won’t move V-Mart down in the order. I continue to disagree with you on your desire to move him down. By moving V-Mart down you will clog the base-paths throughout the order and your desire for speed and taking extra bases is totally stopped when he and Miggy get on.

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  5. To rank the “minus” grades to JV, Miggy, and Kinsler as equal in importance to the “plus” grades to Buck Farmer and Hicks is misleading. We were counting a great deal more on the stars that are not producing than the role players who have been a pleasant surprise in significantly less important roles. On the whole, considering that, there is reason to hope the team is underachieving.

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  6. We are only 2.5 games out and I think if the team had a scrappy manager and scrappy players; an entire team that ran out infield grounders; players who threw things in the dugout when they lost; I think we would all feel a little better about the team.

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