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Sunday, January 26, 2014

CAPUTO: Pieces to the Tigers’ puzzle should fit together better in ‘14

The Tigers have picked up three players – second baseman Ian Kinsler (in the Fielder trade with Texas), utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi (in the Fister trade with Washington) and outfield Raji Davis (as a free agent), who don’t clog the bases.

Rookie third baseman Nick Castellanos has average speed, which means he is more athletic than Fielder (two-time AL MVP Miguel Cabrera has been moved back to first base from third). Jose Iglesias, acquired late last season to replace Peralta, who was suspended for 50 games by MLB for violating its performance enhancing drugs policy, has excellent speed and range defensively.

Infante was a solid defender, but his range and base-running were hindered by a badly sprained ankle last season. Kinsler has better range – regardless. Kinsler’s WAR, 5.2 (the Baseball-Reference.com version), was 15th-best in the American League last year. There is a big emphasis in the statistic on base running and fielding range measures. Infante’s WAR in 2013 was less than half Kinsler’s – 2.4.

...“I’m more concerned with players who can drive in runs,” Dombrowski said. “We have a lot of players who can drive the ball into the gaps. I’m a big doubles guy.”

Li Na might be looking for a new partner…

 

Repoz Posted: January 26, 2014 at 10:44 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: tigers

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   1. I Am Not a Number Posted: January 26, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4646442)
who don’t clog the bases.

Here we go.
   2. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: January 26, 2014 at 11:44 AM (#4646455)
Hard to clog 'em if you ain't on 'em.
   3. BDC Posted: January 26, 2014 at 12:05 PM (#4646463)
Kinsler's walk rate was indeed well down over the past two years. So was his SB%. So yes, he's been doing less clogging than he used to.
   4. Dale Sams Posted: January 26, 2014 at 02:09 PM (#4646496)
Jose Iglesias, ... has excellent speed and range defensively


Uhhh...if he's intimating he's a great stolen base threat...no. He does get out of the box quickly and of course has great defensive speed.


   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: January 26, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4646501)
The bases probably weren't the only thing Prince clogged at Comerica.
   6. Tim D Posted: January 26, 2014 at 02:27 PM (#4646505)
Iglesias does have great speed; he beats out infield hits constantly. Agreed he has no base stealing instincts. Clogging the bases in this context means a runner not scoring from second on a deep single in the gap, not going 1st to home on a double that goes to the wall (even with two out). Victor Martinez is still going to have singles that hit the wall, but at least the guy on second will score. Many times last year they had base runners all over the place and would end up with 2-3 runs. (A major reason they finished 6 games below their pythag.) Kinsler was hurt most of last year and is still young enough to have a bounce back year. He was still better than Infante last year, and could be much better. Fielder's OBP will be missed, and the difference between his bat and Castellanos will be big. But the defense is going to be way, way better, making the rotation even more of a force. They still need some more arms in the pen, they need Smyly to transition to the rotation, several other issues. But Caputo is right; they will be at least as good and maybe better than last year.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 26, 2014 at 09:39 PM (#4646586)
Ian Kinsler was worth 4.9 WAR last year, what could he bounce back to? An MVP season?

Agree he's a splendid addition that should make the Tigers even stronger.
   8. madvillain Posted: January 27, 2014 at 12:47 AM (#4646618)
Agree he's a splendid addition that should make the Tigers even stronger.


I'm not so sure it's a stronger team than last year's, although it's certainly more balanced. The Prince trade allows them to shift the infield around so that it's better defensively and it's hard to get any slower on the bases after removing Prince and placing less of a defensive (and injury risk) burden on Cabrera, who is now (in theory) free to play more 1B and stay closer to 100% health.

Fister and Fielder or the obvious losses, but it's not like Infante was some bum at 2B, he had 2.7 bWAR and a 345 OBP in 118 games.

They underperformed their component stats last year, but they also got worse on paper. I'd put them down for around 92 wins, which should be more than enough to win the central.

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