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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. Central

The A.L. Central through June 4th.

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

TEAM

W

L

WIN%

GB

HM

RD

RS

RA

PYTH

1-R

MINNESOTA TWINS

32

25

.561

—-

15-14

17-11

266

248

30-27

8-7

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

28

28

.500

3.5

14-12

14-16

265

282

26-30

9-11

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

25

33

.431

7.5

16-12

9-21

228

270

24-34

6-9

CLEVELAND INDIANS

23

34

.404

9.0

14-14

9-20

232

289

22-35

4-9

DETROIT TIGERS

16

40

.286

15.5

5-21

11-19

175

275

16-40

8-7

 

MINNESOTA TWINS (32-25 ? 1st Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review"

The Twins were extremely hot, winning 2/3 from both Oakland and Seattle on the road.  Then they came home and took both games of a two-game series against the A?s and the Mariners came to town for a four-game set.  And, of course, the Twins lost all four games and were outscored 30-13.

 

Baseball is really a funny game sometimes.  You can go on the road against two very good teams and look great and then come home and lose four consecutive games to the same exact team you just beat on the road.  Overall, the Twins went 7-7 since the last "Bi-Weekly Review" and gained three games in the standings on the second-place Royals.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Dustan Mohr is now officially the everyday right fielder and has started 30 straight games.  I?m the biggest Bobby Kielty fan in the world but along with Kielty being unable to play the field for most of May, Mohr has simply forced his way into the lineup with the way he is hitting.  He was at .125/.125/.300 on April 30th.  Since then, he has raised his hitting all the way to .299/.325/.497, including an amazing .396/.423/.623 with 42 hits in the month of May.

 

Kielty, who has been unable to play defensively until a few days ago because of an injury, has been splitting the DH playing time with Matthew LeCroy.  With Kielty unable to play the outfield, the Twins sent first baseman Todd Sears, who had done very well in his stint in Minnesota, back down to Triple-A and called up outfielder Lew Ford, who was hitting .318/.370/.486 in Rochester.  Ford singled in his first major league at bat and then homered a couple days later.

 

Rick Reed is once again dinged up and this time he needed to go on the disabled list.  Johan Santana takes his spot in the rotation and Micheal (yes, MichEAL) Nakamura was called up from Triple-A to take his spot on the roster.  Nakamura was 4-4 with a 2.01 ERA in 40 innings at Triple-A and had an awesome 55/8 strikeout/walk ratio.

April versus May:

The Minnesota Twins went 11-14 in April and 19-9 in May, and the improvements came from both their pitching staff and their offense.

MINNESOTA PITCHING

MONTH

RA/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

4.52

.235

.302

.427

23.3

17.1

11.3

4.9

May

4.17

.267

.311

.393

50.7

17.2

15.4

7.0

 

A weird thing happened for Twins? pitchers from April to May.  The struck out about 40% fewer batters per game in May, saw their opponent?s batting average go from .235 to .267 (a direct result of less strikeouts) and yet chopped their runs allowed per game down by nearly 10 percent. 

 

How?d they do it?  Simple, they kept the baseball in the ballpark.  Serving up home runs was Minnesota?s biggest weakness early in the season, particularly among their starting pitchers.  The Twins gave up a homer every 23.3 at bats in April.  In May, they cut that by more than 50%, giving up a long ball every 50.7 at bats.  So, instead of giving one up every six innings, they limited them to every 13 innings, and that makes a gigantic difference.  In addition, Twins pitchers improved upon their already outstanding control.  They gave out the second-fewest walks in the AL in April and the fewest in May.

MINNESOTA HITTING

MONTH

RS/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

3.92

.247

.309

.388

44.6

19.7

12.5

5.0

May

5.43

.292

.349

.470

28.4

18.4

12.3

5.9

 

After an extremely slow first month offensively, which had even the most loyal Twins fans wondering what the heck was wrong with the offense, the Minnesota bats came alive in May and increased their scoring by nearly 40%.  Their batting average jumped up 45 points, their on-base percentage went up 40 points and their slugging percentage, which had been the worst of any non-Detroit AL team in April, jumped over 80 points.  They walked a little bit more in May and hit more homers, but mostly the improvement came because a lot more singles started dropping.

 

Check out some of the individual improvements in OPS (on-base % + slugging %) from April to May:

 

Player         April     May   Difference
Dustan Mohr       .270   1.046     + .776
Doug Mientkiewicz   .678   1.065     + .387
A.J Pierzynski     .646     .842     + .196
Matthew LeCroy     .735     .922     + .185
Luis Rivas       .542     .700     + .158
Jacque Jones     .767     .879     + .112
Denny Hocking     .414     .509     + .095
Torii Hunter     .727     .802     + .075
Chris Gomez       .678     .725     + .047

The only regulars who didn?t improve from April to May were Corey Koskie, Bobby Kielty and Cristian Guzman.  Kielty had a 1.013 OPS in April and it dropped to .771 in May.  Koskie?s OPS dropped from .821 to .751 and Guzman was essentially the same (read: not good) in both months.

Down on the Farm:

Justin Morneau continues to tear things up in Triple-A.  The Twins? first baseman of the future is hitting .316/.401/.667 with 12 homers and five doubles in 32 games at Rochester.  Combined with his .329/.384/.620 performance at Double-A earlier in the season, Morneau has already set a career-high in homers with 18.  It?s going to very tough keeping Morneau off the roster for much longer.

 

Michael Cuddyer, who began the year as Minnesota?s starting right fielder but was sent down to Triple-A last month, is hitting .397/.500/.534 in 17 games and has been playing all over the field defensively, including four games at second base.

 

In the low-minors, Joe Mauer is really on fire.  Mauer was hitting .258 with zero extra-base hits on April 20th and .310 with just two extra-base hits on May 5th.  Now he is batting .345 with a homer, 12 doubles and a triple.  He also sports a nice 21/20 BB/K ratio in 54 games and has even stolen three bases without being caught.

Fun with paces:

Jacque Jones ? 145 games, 17 homers, 43 doubles, 11 walks, 122 strikeouts, 17/17 SBs

Cristian Guzman ? 145 games, 0 homers, 26 doubles, 20 triples, 23 walks, 94 strikeouts

Torii Hunter ? 156 games, 23 homers, 34 doubles, 6 triples, 99 RBIs, 71 walks

Corey Koskie ? 151 games, 20 homers, 23 doubles, 88 RBIs, 91 walks, 14/17 SBs

A.J. Pierzynski ? 139 games, 17 homers, 31 doubles, 82 RBIs, 20 walks, 43 strikeouts

Dustan Mohr ? 134 games, 20 homers, 28 doubles, 14 walks, 119 strikeouts

Doug Mientkiewicz ? 136 games, 17 homers, 45 doubles, 40 walks, 57 strikeouts

Luis Rivas ? 127 games, 3 homers, 17 doubles, 6 triples, 20 walks, 58 strikeouts

Joe Mays ? 34 starts, 199 innings, 80 strikeouts, 60 walks, 31 homers, 20 wins, 9 losses

Johan Santana ? 54 appearances, 106 innings, 114 strikeouts, 51 walks, 3 homers

Latroy Hawkins ? 74 appearances, 78 innings, 85 strikeouts, 14 walks, 3 homers

Eddie Guardado ? 68 appearances, 70 innings, 65 strikeouts, 6 walks, 9 homers, 45/45 saves

Coming up:

6/6-6-8 ? @San Diego

6/9 ? Off Day

6/10-6/12 ? Colorado

6/13-6/15 ? Arizona

6/16-6/19 ? @Kansas City

 

After a very tough stretch of games against Oakland, Seattle and San Francisco, the Twins get to a fairly easy portion of their schedule.  They square off against the bottom three teams from the NL West and then travel to Kansas City for a series with the Royals, at which point they may be able to put Kansas City away for good.

 

KANSAS CITY ROYALS (28-28 ? 2nd Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review"

The Royals continued to play like the 1995-2002 Royals and not the first-two-weeks-of-2003 Royals.  They went 4-10 overall, including losing 8 of 11 from the same two teams, Oakland and Seattle, that the Twins squared off against.

 

Since starting 16-3, the Royals are now 12-25 - a .324 winning percentage or the equivalent of going 52-110 over a full-season.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

The Royals have had a lot of injuries lately.  Carlos Febles, Dee Brown, Albie Lopez, Runelvys Hernandez and Miguel Asencio have all gone of the disabled list in the past two weeks.

 

With Carlos Febles on the DL, the Royals called up Brent Abernathy from Triple-A.  Abernathy, who was hitting .308/.378/.424 in Omaha, started a few games in place of Febles at second base, but went 1-12 and has been replaced by super-utilityman Desi Relaford.  Relaford has now started 25 games at 2B, seven games in RF, 5 games at 3B and four games at SS.  He even played an inning in centerfield.

 

Runelvys Hernandez has not pitched since May 14th and, in his absence, Darrell May was put back into the rotation.  May has actually pitched pretty well this year (4.13 ERA in 57 innings).

April versus May:

The Royals were on fire in April, going 16-7.  They followed that up with a 10-19 May that saw their pitching staff give up nearly 50% more runs and their offense produce about 20% fewer.

KANSAS CITY PITCHING

MONTH

RA/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

4.13

.250

.331

.382

45.2

19.2

8.9

5.7

May

6.10

.299

.351

.481

28.2

16.9

11.9

6.5

 

While the KC offense did decline from April to May, the pitching staff is the real area to blame for their 10-19 May.  They allowed more than six runs per game, despite striking more batters out and walking fewer.  Just like the Twins improvement, the reason for the Royals decline is simple: Homers.  After giving up a homer every 45.2 ABs in April, they served one up every 28.2 ABs in May.  In addition to that, the Royals? opponent batting average rose nearly 50 points, despite them allowing fewer balls in play, which means their defense was worse at converting BIP into outs in May.

KANSAS CITY HITTING

MONTH

RS/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

5.30

.277

.349

.458

25.3

17.4

10.6

5.5

May

4.52

.250

.314

.385

35.9

23.9

11.4

5.9

 

Kansas City?s offense declined from April, but it was actually still somewhat respectable in May.  They scored more than 4.5 runs per game, which isn?t completely awful.  Still, they struck out more, walked less, hit fewer homers and fewer doubles.

 

Some of the main culprits for the offensive decline in May were Joe Randa (.152/.218/.232), Ken Harvey (.211/.242/.333), Angel Berroa (.236/.310/.337) and Brent Mayne (.188/.246/.303).  The almost team-wide offensive struggles more than offset a solid month by Mike Sweeney (.337/.443/.517) and the return of Carlos Beltran.  Beltran missed more than half of April and hit .301/.404/.538 in May.

Down on the Farm:

One of Kansas City?s top pitching prospects, former first-round pick Jimmy Gobble, is putting together a very nice season at Double-A Wichita.  He is 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 12 starts and has a 52/24 K/BB ratio.  Their top hitting prospect, Alexis Gomez, has struggled all season at Triple-A Omaha and is hitting just .232/.278/.342 in 49 games.

 

Kansas City?s #1 pick in last year?s draft, Zack Greinke, is having one of the best seasons by any pitcher in minor league baseball.  The former 6th overall selection is currently 8-0 with a 1.31 ERA in 10 starts.  He has 57 strikeouts in 62 innings pitched and has only issued 10 walks.

Fun with paces:

Raul Ibanez ? 159 games, 23 homers, 35 doubles, 6 triples, 81 RBIs, 95 runs

Michael Tucker ? 145 games, 20 homers, 38 doubles, 6 triples, 78 RBIs, 14/31 SBs

Angel Berroa ? 150 games, 14 homers, 29 doubles, 26 walks, 113 strikeouts, 23 HBPs

Mike Sweeney ? 145 games, 26 homers, 20 doubles, 90 RBIs, 107 walks, 72 strikeouts

Coming up:

6/6-6/8 ? @Colorado

6/9 ? Off Day

6/10-6/12 ? Arizona

6/13-6/15 ? San Francisco

6/16-6/19 ? Minnesota

 

The Royals travel to Planet Coors and then come home for a 10-game home stand, including a visit from Superman himself.

 

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (25-33 ? 3rd Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review"

The White Sox continued to be a complete mess.  They went 5-9, including dropping 2/3 to the Tigers and then three in a row to the Indians.

 

After a win against the Orioles back on April 22nd, the White Sox stood at 12-8.  Since then, they have gone 13-25.  The "Jerry Manuel Job Watch" has officially begun.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

With Willie Harris out after separating his shoulder, the Sox called up their top prospect, Joe Borchard, from Triple-A.  Borchard was hitting just .224/.255/.351 in Charlotte, but has been their everyday centerfielder since being called up.  He is hitting .211/.283/.316 in 12 games.

 

Other than Borchard replacing Harris and some musical first basemen action, the Sox have been pretty much playing the same guys in the same roles.  Billy Koch continues to stretch the limits of how long the tag "Established Closer™" can stay with someone.

April versus May:

The White Sox are just a mess, plain and simple.  They went 14-12 in April and then 11-16 in May.  Their pitching staff was much worse in May and their offense declined a ton too.

CHICAGO PITCHING

MONTH

RA/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

3.96

.240

.314

.402

29.3

20.8

10.3

4.8

May

5.33

.277

.348

.451

28.9

17.6

8.9

6.1

 

Chicago pitchers gave up homers and doubles at about the same rate in both months, but they walked more batters and struck out fewer in May.  Their opponent?s batting average jumped up 37 points and their OBP and SLG did about the same.

 

After an okay first month, Mark Buehrle fell apart in May.  He went 0-4 with a 7.16 ERA and walked 16 men in 28 innings, while striking out only 10 and giving up four homers.  Danny Wright came back from the DL and was awful, going 0-3 with a 6.57 ERA.  Rick White was amazingly bad, giving up 20 hits, four homers and 15 earned runs in just nine May innings.

 

On the plus side of things for May, Damaso Marte was almost un-hittable, Billy Koch was actually very good and Esteban Loaiza?s deal with the Devil did not expire.

CHICAGO HITTING

MONTH

RS/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

4.58

.251

.330

.440

25.8

16.4

9.7

6.7

May

3.56

.241

.310

.377

35.6

21.2

10.8

6.0

 

Apparently, the hitting coach was not the problem after all.  After the offense struggled for the first month and a half of the season, the Sox fired hitting coach Gary Ward and replaced him with Greg Walker, their Triple-A hitting coach.  Since the switch, the White Sox have scored 53 runs in 14 games, which works out to 3.8 runs per game or about 5% worse than they did with Ward at the helm.

 

The horrible offensive May came despite pretty good months by the three guys that got the most at bats in the month.  Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee and Frank Thomas all OPS?d above .800 and all slugged above .470.  The rest of the team however, was awful.  Joe Crede hit .209, Jose Valentin hit .153, Paul Konerko hit .181 with one homer in 81 at bats and Willie Harris hit .162 before getting injured.  As a whole, the White Sox had the worst May OPS in the American League.  Yes, lower than even Detroit (although it was close).

Down on the Farm:

Several hitters are having very nice seasons down at Triple-A Charlotte.  Little-known infield prospect Aaron Miles is hitting .325/.358/.513 in 46 games.  Minor league veteran Cliff Brumbaugh is hitting .321/.385/.522 with eight homers and 11 doubles in 184 at bats.  Former Chicago Cub and Colorado Rockie prospect Ross Gload is hitting .297/.320/.515.  The pitching side of things in Charlotte isn?t so pretty and the Knights have the worst team ERA in the International League.

 

Down in Double-A, Neil Cotts, whom they got from Oakland in the Koch/Foulke deal, is 7-2 with a 2.11 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 60 innings, although he did have to leave his last start after just two innings with a shoulder problem.

Fun with paces:

Magglio Ordonez ? 159 games, 28 homers, 34 doubles, 6 triples, 95 RBIs, 78 runs, 45 walks

Carlos Lee ? 154 games, 25 homers, 39 doubles, 95 RBIs, 81 runs, 45 walks, 17/20 SBs

D?Angelo Jimenez ? 142 games, 17 homers, 25 doubles, 14 triples, 75 walks, 73 strikeouts

Joe Crede ? 148 games, 11 homers, 25 doubles, 59 RBIs, 17 walks, 75 strikeouts

Frank Thomas ? 151 games, 28 homers, 36 doubles, 70 RBIs, 109 walks, 106 strikeouts

Paul Konerko ? 145 games, 8 homers, 22 doubles, 42 RBIs, 39 runs

Bartolo Colon ? 34 starts, 241 innings, 159 strikeouts, 67 walks, 25 homers, 14 wins, 14 losses

Esteban Loaiza ? 34 starts, 224 innings, 182 strikeouts, 64 walks, 11 homers, 22 wins, 6 losses

Mark Buehrle ? 36 starts, 223 innings, 95 strikeouts, 87 walks, 25 homers, 6 wins, 22 losses

Billy Koch ? 70 appearances, 63 innings, 56 strikeouts, 23 walks, 17 homers, 17/23 saves

Coming up:

5/6-5/8 ? @Los Angeles

5/9 ? Off Day

5/10-5/12 ? San Francisco

5/13-5/15 ? San Diego

5/16-5/19 ? Boston

 

The ChiSox travel to LA for three games before returning home for a 10 game home stand.

 

CLEVELAND INDIANS (23-34 ? 4th Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review"

Unlike every other team in the entire division, the Cleveland Indians actually played well for much the entire two weeks since the last "BiWR."  They took 3/4 from the Tigers, lost 2/3 to the Red Sox, in Boston, and then bounced back by taking 2/3 from the Tigers and all three games from the White Sox, in Chicago.  Overall, they were 8-6 and are closing in on third-place in the division.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Travis Hafner was activated from the DL on May 27th, but was optioned back to Triple-A, instead of rejoining the Indians.  Hafner?s replacement at first base, Ben Broussard, is hitting .305/.354/.509 in 19 games.

 

After being called up initially because of injuries in Cleveland?s outfield, Jody Gerut has earned everyday playing time by batting .274/.293/.516 in 29 games, while playing primarily right field.

April versus May:

Cleveland improved from 7-19 in April to 14-12 in May, and I am still not exactly sure how they did it.  Their pitching staff gave up nearly 15% more runs per game and their overall offensive numbers were almost identical from month to month.

CLEVELAND PITCHING

MONTH

RA/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

4.85

.279

.348

.440

32.3

16.5

10.3

7.4

May

5.46

.271

.336

.425

33.9

17.7

9.6

5.8

 

After striking out a measly 4.64 batters per game in April, the Indians increased that to a still-mediocre 5.94 in May.  They walked a few more batters, but their opponent?s batting average dropped eight points.  In fact, their opponent?s everything dropped in May.  The OBP was 12 points lower and the slugging was 15 points lower.  Yet, somehow they gave up more runs.

CLEVELAND HITTING

MONTH

RS/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

3.31

.241

.307

.388

35.2

18.0

11.7

5.4

May

4.88

.244

.315

.394

37.6

15.4

10.3

5.5

 

If you thought the pitching staff?s performance was confusing, check out the offense…

 

Maybe you can figure this out for me:  The Indians hit .241/.307/.388 in April and .244/.315/.394 in May.  Almost identical numbers, right?  Except somehow they scored almost 50% more runs per game in May!

 

The only way I think it can be explained is that the Indians were either very bad with runners in scoring position in April or very good with RISP in May ? or maybe both.  Otherwise, their batting average, OBP and SLG are essentially identical.  Their home run rate actually went down and they hit a few more doubles.

 

Whatever it was, it worked, because the offense was able to support a sagging pitching staff and somehow post an above-.500 month.

Down on the Farm:

Cleveland?s top prospect, catcher Victor Martinez, is starting to heat up a little bit down in Triple-A.  After a very slow start, he is now up to .273/.369/.390 with a 24/24 BB/K ratio.  The stars of the Buffalo Bisons have been speedy centerfielder Covelli Crisp (.346/.429/.490) and minor league veteran Greg LaRocca (.333/.384/.500).

 

After a fast start, outfield prospect Grady Sizemore has cooled down, but is still having a good year at Double-A.  Sizemore is hitting .283/.351/.444 with six homers and 12 doubles in 57 games.  Last year?s #1 pick, Jeremy Guthrie, is having an awesome year for the Aeros.  He is 6-2 with a 1.44 ERA in 63 innings pitched.  However, he has only 35 strikeouts (5.0/9 IP), which is worth keeping an eye on.

 

Pitching prospect Cliff Lee, whom I like a lot, was activated off of the 60-day DL and made his first appearance of the season for Double-A Akron, after making one start in Single-A.  He pitched five innings and gave up two runs off four hits, while striking out six and walking two.

Fun with paces:

Omar Vizquel ? 153 games, 6 homers, 32 doubles, 6 triples, 101 runs, 69 walks, 52 strikeouts

Ellis Burks ? 150 games, 17 homers, 32 doubles, 78 RBIs, 78 walks, 130 strikeouts

Milton Bradley ? 124 games, 12 homers, 49 doubles, 75 walks, 78 strikeouts, 14/20 SBs

Ricardo Rodriguez ? 35 starts, 209 innings, 95 strikeouts, 72 walks, 38 homers, 9 wins, 17 losses

C.C. Sabathia ? 32 starts, 205 innings, 136 strikeouts, 69 walks, 14 homers, 12 wins, 6 losses

Coming up:

6/6-6/8 ? @Arizona

6/9 ? Off Day

6/10-6/12 ? San Diego

6/13-6/15 ? Los Angeles

6/16 ? Off Day

6/17-6/19 ? @Detroit

 

Cleveland?s upcoming schedule looks pretty favorable.  They go to Arizona for three games and host the Dodgers for three, but they also six games against the Tigers and the Padres, the two worst teams in baseball right now.  The Indians have a very good chance of being in third place by the next "Bi-Weekly Review."

 

DETROIT TIGERS (16-40 ? 5th Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":

From the last "BiWR": "After starting the season 1-16, [the Tigers] went 3-9 between the first and second “BiWR” and have gone 5-8 since then. I?m pretty sure that, if they keep this pattern up, they could have an above-.500 two week-stretch by 2009 or so."

Well okay, it wasn?t an above-.500 two week stretch, but it was a .500 one and that?s pretty good, right?  Detroit went 7-7 over the last two weeks, bringing their winning percentage from .214 (a 34 win pace) to .286 (46 win pace).

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

In an effort to find the single best speedy centerfielder who can?t hit in the entire universe, the Tigers have gone through Gene Kingsale and Andres Torres and have been forced to go outside their own organization to bring in Alex Sanchez, whom they believe has a chance to be the speediest and suckiest of all.

 

Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski has denied media reports that the Tigers have been secretly developing a way to somehow combine all three speedsters into some sort of three-headed supersucky centerfielding monster, the likes of which has not been seen in Detroit since the Brian Hunter Era (otherwise known as "that other time the team was really bad").

April versus May:

After a 3-20 April, the Tigers somehow managed to pull themselves together and go 11-18 in May.  They improved across the board, massively on offense and substantially in pitching.

DETROIT PITCHING

MONTH

RA/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

5.39

.283

.348

.459

34.3

15.8

10.5

6.8

May

4.59

.236

.308

.387

32.7

24.5

9.5

6.9

 

The Tigers cut about 17% off their runs allowed per game from April to May, allowing just 133 runs in 29 games ? sixth in the AL.

 

It was a good month all around.  Mike Maroth picked up his first (and only) win of the season after starting the year with nine straight losses.  Adam Bernero managed to squeak in his first (and only) win of the year on the last day of the month.  Franklyn German went 2-1 with three saves and a 1.46 ERA in 12 innings, although he had a 12/12 K/BB ratio.  Nate Cornejo continued to be the best pitcher on the team, going 2-1 with a 2.72 ERA, despite the fact that he struck out just five batters in 40 innings (that would be 1.13 per game, otherwise known as "non-existent").

 

Despite the overall improvements from the pitching and the offense, three Detroit pitchers remain in the running to be the first 20-loss pitcher since 1980.  Mike Maroth has been banged up and missed a start and could possibly be out for a while longer, but he is currently on pace to go 3-29.  Jeremy Bonderman has pitched much better after his rough first couple of weeks in the big leagues, but is on pace to go 6-20.  Adam Bernero is the dark horse candidate in the group, because he has been horrible but has managed quite a few no decisions.  He is on pace to go 6-17.

 

I have a feeling Brian Kingman will be watching a few Tigers games in September.

DETROIT HITTING

MONTH

RS/G

AVG

OBP

SLG

AB/HR

AB/2B

AB/BB

AB/SO

April

2.35

.184

.258

.262

67.4

35.3

10.7

4.5

May

3.55

.242

.309

.379

35.7

26.0

10.7

5.2

 

Believe it or not, Detroit?s offense was almost of major league-quality in May.  They improved their batting average by 32%, their on-base percentage by 20% and their slugging percentage by 45%.  I say almost MLB-quality because, even with the massive improvements, they still scored the third-fewest runs and had the third-lowest OPS in all of baseball.

 

After no Tiger with more than 25 at bats had an OPS above .665 in April, several Detroit batters actually had good months in May.  Dmitri Young hit .355/.417/.636 and drove in 25 runs in 29 games.  Bobby Higginson hit .314/.413/.431 and scored 18 runs.  Carlos Pena had a three-homer game and slugged .489 for the month.  And…well…actually, that?s about it for good performances, but three is a whole lot better than zero, right?

Down on the Farm:

With the major league team stinking it up, the Tigers have slowly started to drain Triple-A Toledo of all their "veteran hitters."  First, it was Craig Monroe, who was hitting .400/.449/.667 before they called him up.  Then it was Kevin Witt, who was hitting .305/.383/.588.  Now it is Warren Morris, who was batting .278/.332/.410.  The Mud Hens still have some interesting hitters (Ernie Young, Tom Evans, A.J. Hinch, etc) and they recently got Andres Torres back after the Sanchez trade.

 

Former closer Matt Anderson has been trying to work out his problems in Toledo and hasn?t had a whole lot of success.  He is 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in 18 innings of work, although he does have a 13/3 K/BB ratio.

 

The catcher for the minor league "All-Name Team," Maxim St. Pierre, is not having a good season, despite his excellent name.  He is hitting just .228/.307/.373 in 46 games.  Although, I guess a .373 SLG with a .228 BA is pretty good isolated power from a catcher.

 

Joel Zumaya, an 11th round pick in last year?s draft, has continued to put up awesome minor league numbers.  He had a 1.93 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 37 innings last year and has a 3.35 ERA and 69 Ks in 48 innings at Single-A West Michigan this season.

Fun with paces:

Dmitri Young ? 159 games, 32 homers, 20 doubles, 12 triples, 104 RBIs

Bobby Higginson ? 159 games, 12 homers, 26 doubles, 3 triples, 52 RBIs

Carlos Pena ? 142 games, 17 homers, 23 doubles, 58 RBIs, 43 walks, 124 strikeouts

Ramon Santiago ? 133 games, 0 homers, 17 doubles, 0 triples, 14 RBIs, 3/9 SBs

Nate Cornejo ? 32 starts, 194 innings, 35 strikeouts, 49 walks, 23 homers, 9 wins

Jeremy Bonderman ? 32 starts, 172 innings, 145 strikeouts, 72 walks, 23 homers

Franklyn German ? 64 appearances, 71 innings, 78 strikeouts, 75 walks, 43 hits

Mike Maroth ? 35 starts, 197 innings, 93 strikeouts, 43 walks, 26 homers, 3 wins, 29 losses

Coming up:

6/6-6/8 ? @San Francisco

6/9 ? Off Day

6/10-6/12 ? Los Angeles

6/13-6/15 ? Colorado

6/16 ? Off Day

6/17-6/19 ? Cleveland

 

Detroit pitchers get their first chance to have balls they pitch land in McCovey Cove and then head back to Comerica for a nine-game home stand.

 

Aaron Gleeman Posted: June 05, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: June 06, 2003 at 02:12 AM (#611302)
The only thing missing from your Sox review is: "stick the tip of a knife in them and you'll see the juices run clear." Time to trade Loaiza for some guys who'll help the manager after the next manager. Dagnabit.
   2. Robert Dudek Posted: June 06, 2003 at 02:13 AM (#611315)
The problem with the Twins is that they don't have bats to replace Guzman and Rivas - the weak offensive links. They play in a hitter's park, so contrary to appearance, their offense is decidely average.
   3. Aaron Gleeman Posted: June 08, 2003 at 02:13 AM (#611324)
The problem with the Twins is that they don't have bats to replace Guzman and Rivas - the weak offensive links. They play in a hitter's park, so contrary to appearance, their offense is decidely average.

Obviously I completely agree about Guzman and Rivas. However, with regard to their offense...they do play in a slight hitter's park, but their offensive "appearance" is pretty much "average" as it is. Last year they finished 9th in the AL in runs and 7th in OPS. In 2001 they finished 8th in runs and 7th in OPS. And so far this year they are 9th in runs and 7th in OPS.

Is there any word on how Cuddyer is fairing defensively at 2B? I haven't read anything about it. Aaron seems to be up on these sorts of things.

To tell you the truth, I have no idea. All I can say for sure is that he has yet to make an error at Triple-A this year, while playing 4 games at 2B, 2 at 3B, 2 at 1B and 11 in the OF.

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