The Detroit Tigers Kill Two Birds With One Stone

Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers went out and acquired starting pitcher, Anibal Sanchez, and Omar Infante, from the Miami Marlins. In return the Marlins received the Tigers top prospect Jacob Turner and two other prospects. The Tigers already had one of the best rotations in baseball, largely due to Justin Verlander, but you can never have too much pitching. The Tigers also had a glaring need at second base and Infante should help that a ton. The Marlins are also unlikely to make the post-season and Sanchez is a free agent at the end of the year. Continue reading

Chase Headley to the Tigers Has to Happen

During the off-season the Detroit Tigers and went out and signed all-star first baseman Prince Fielder. Everyone pegged the Detroit Tigers as the team to represent the American League in the World Series, but as we head into the All-Star break that doesn’t look like it will happen. The Tigers’ hopes aren’t over though. I believe if they make at least one critical move it could help them get right back into the mix. I believe that move has to be acquiring San Diego Padres third baseman Chase Headley. Headley is one of the more underrated players in baseball and is easily one of the biggest snubs as we head into the all-star break. He currently has 3.3 WAR and is a player that can easily make a team better. More after the jump. Continue reading

What’s Going on With the Tigers?

When the Detroit Tigers signed 1B, Prince Fielder, to a 9 year-$214 many expected the Tigers to easily win the American League Central division and be a sure lock for the playoffs and a good bet to make the World Series. On the contrary, the Tigers already had 1B Miguel Cabrera, and some people, including Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron thought that the Tigers could have done a better job spending their money. After about one-third of the season the Tigers season hasn’t been going as planned, they are currently 32-34 and are 3.5 games back from first. What exactly is the cause of the Tigers’ early season struggles? More after the jump! Continue reading

2012 Outlook: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers are coming off one of their better seasons, winning 95 games and making it to post-season play. Their offense and pitching were above league average, but not quite good enough to go far in the playoffs. The pitching was headlined by MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, while the offense was headlined by Miguel Cabrera. Continue reading

Can Prince Really Live Up to His Contract?

Many people, including myself, have shown shock at the deal the Tigers gave Prince Fielder earlier this week.  Most people in the sabermetric community do not believe Prince will produce at a level in line with his contract.  I do not think it is likely, but I can set up a plausible forecast that shows him producing nearly exactly market level. Continue reading

Prince Fielder Cashes in

Today, it was announced that the Detroit Tigers and Prince Fielder agreed to a 9/$214 million dollar deal. First thought that comes to mind is that’s a lot of money to give a future full-time DH. Fielder is really, really good, don’t get me wrong but in the end this could really blow up for the Tigers in the end. The Tigers recently lost  C/1B/DH Victor Martinez to a torn ACL and desperately needed to make a move, for the immediate future they may have made the right one but for the future it doesn’t look good.

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Justin Verlander didn’t Deserve the MVP

Today it was announced that Justin Verlander is the American League MVP. Many people that aren’t in the sabermetric community pegged Verlander as their MVP based on statistics that don’t tell us as much as sabermetrics. His 24 wins and 2.40 ERA are nice but he might not have even been the best pitcher in the American League. More on that later though. The other two main competitors for the award were Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista.

Both Bautista and Ellsbury had great years. Bautista continued right where he left off from last seasona and Ellsbury was out to prove that he wasn’t an injury prone outfielder.

Offensively Ellsbury had his best season to date. His WAR was 9.4 but there are other factors that should be taken into account besides WAR. He was never regarded as someone with a lot of power, his previous career highs in home runs and ISO were 9 and .114 which was in 2008. He did have a .155 ISO in 2007 but that was in 33 games. This year, out of nowhere, he had a .230 ISO to go along with 32 home runs. There a few statistics that could be a contributing factor to the increasing power. First is his GB%. In 2008 his GB% was 51.7%, then in 2009 it was 50.1%. This year it dropped by roughly 7%, dropping to 43%. He also saw an increase in his LD%. In 2008 he had a 20.3% and in 2009 it was 17.7%. Fast forward to this year and it was 22.9%. His BB% and K% didn’t change much but his OBP was 14 points better than his career average. For the year he had a .376 OBP compared to a .362 for his career. His wOBA was also a career high, .402, .033 better than career average. One thing that really sets Ellsbury apart from everyone else is his defense. This past season Ellsbury had a 15.6 UZR, only behind his 2008 season where he had a 21.2 UZR. The point is Ellsbury is a really good defender.

The other player who had a great season was Jose Bautista. Check out my article I did earlier in the season about why I believe he’s the best player in baseball. It may not seem possible but Jose Bautista had an even better season then 2010. He posted an 8.3 WAR and developed into a well rounded offensive player. He saw a sharp spike in his BB% percentage, something to be expected after his crazy power outburst the year before. His BB% jumped from 14.6% to 20.2%. Due to the spike in his walks he saw a sharp increase in his OBP, going from .378 to .447. His ISO went from .357 to .306 but that doesn’t take away anything, .306 is ridiculous in it’s own right. An observation on why he saw a power drop could be contributed to the increase in GB% that he saw. His GB% went from 31.1% to 36.9%. Despite all of that he actually created runs 15% better then last year. In 2010 his wRC+ was 166 and this past season it was 181. Unlike Ellsbury, Bautista isn’t known as a defender. He played the majority of the year in RF where his UZR was -8.6.

Based on the information I have provided Ellsbury is the better MVP candidate, a big advantage Ellsbury that Ellsbury has is his defense.

We’re not done though, we still have to look at Justin Verlander. Verlander had an amazing season, I won’t take that away from him but he still didn’t deserve the MVP. Some would argue that he wasn’t even the best pitcher in the American League. At seasons end Verlander had compiled a 7 WAR and 2.99 FIP. One pitcher who was arguably better was Yankee pitcher C.C. Sabathia. Besides ERA C.C. Sabathia had a better FIP- as well as xFIP-. Sabathia’s FIP – was 69 and his xFIP- was 75. Verlander on the other hand had a FIP- of 73 and an xFIP- of 77. Besides the FIP and xFIP differentials Sabathia and Verlander were close in a bunch of other stats. Verlander struck out batters 2.4% more of the time. 25.8% to 23.4%. Their walk rates as well as HR/9 were similar as well. One thing that Verlander did have was an extremely low BABIP. Verlander’s was .236 compared to Sabathia’s .318 BABIP. Verlander was defientely more luck then Sabathia this season. Verlander also has the luxury of pitching in the must easier division.

The AL Central is much, much more easier to pitch in than the AL East. The AL East had three teams that would have been in the playoffs in any other division and a fourth team that could’ve won a division like the AL Central. Out of 24 of Verlander’s wins only 4 came against teams with above .500 records. Verlander also only played in roughly 22% of his teams games, not nearly enough to be considered the MVP. Based on how good the AL East is it should be even more impressive what Sabathia did during the course of the season. If that weren’t enough Sabathia had .1 more WAR than Verlander. Sabathia was at 7.1 and Verlander had 7. WAR shouldn’t be the only stat you use but it shows how good Sabathia was.

Based on all the information I presented you I would have to say Jacoby Ellsbury should have been MVP. He had an amazing offensive season as well as an amazing defensive season. The most valuable player is the player who gave his team the most value, and this year that was Boston Red Sox center fielder, Jacoby Ellsbury