Granderson versus Logan

Lynn Henning has a piece in today’s Detroit News once again touting Logan as the Tigers starting centerfielder – and leadoff hitter. Let’s take a look at this step by step.

But he was pretty good the first half of the season

We submit that one of Leyland’s pet projects during spring training will include doing everything possible to make Nook Logan a starting center fielder and leadoff batter.

Those who tried to do the same thing with Logan last year — former manager Alan Trammell and his coaches– will say to Leyland: Good luck. And they have a point. But Leyland and new hitting coach Don Slaught will work with Logan under the assumption that a guy who hit around .300 into June can hit .270 for a season if he makes some manageable adjustments.

I’m fully on board with trying to develop Nook Logan offensively, then again I’m on board with trying to develop any player offensively. But people are too fondly remembering Logan’s early start in the context of his entire professional history. Logan’s season last year was fueled by a very impressive 45 at-bat April in which he posted 422/447/578 line. It would be the only month of the season that his OPS was north of 700. From May 1st on, his line was a meager 231/286/296.

To turn Henning’s argument around, should the Tigers work under the assumption that a guy who posted a 579 OPS the rest of the season really be salvaged into a leadoff hitter?

But he’s really fast

Because Leyland understands he needs something to counter the seriously good teams in Detroit’s division: Chicago, Cleveland and the Twins. Speed is a key, and Logan has more of it than perhaps any player in baseball. Speed disrupts, it can equalize and it can break up ballgames. That’s why Leyland and Slaught will try their own approach with Logan and work to make him a .270 hitter, which they believe is within his range.

I agree that Logan, if not the fastest, is probably one of the 3 fastest players in baseball. So yes, he can run faster than the rest of the division. But if the Tigers plan to counter the seriously good teams in the division is Logan leading off and hitting 270 then the Tigers won’t be very effective. Logan is spectacular to watch on the bases, I won’t argue that. But a career OBA of 316 doesn’t really give him a lot of chances to show his speed off on the bases. Now that’s not to take away from his gazelle-like ability to track down fly balls in the outfield.

But what about Curtis Granderson

Meanwhile, the Tigers have another pretty fast player in Curtis Granderson. Now he’s not Nook Logan fast, but Granderson is quick, and athletic, and plays good defense, and shows every indication of being able to hit 270 with some power. And that’s where my rub is with the situation. The Tigers have a better option. It isn’t out of any animosity towards Logan, and I can definitely see a spot for him on a big league roster. But Granderson has performed well at every stop of his professional career, while Logan has been fast.

Granderson’s minor league career:

Year	Team Name    Age	Level	AB	Avg	Obp	Slg	Ops
2002	Oneonta	        21	A	212	0.344	0.417	0.495	912
2003	Lakeland      22	A	476	0.286	0.365	0.458	823
2004	Erie	        23	AA	462	0.303	0.407	0.515	922
2005	Toledo	        24	AAA	445	0.29	0.359	0.515	874

Meanwhile here are Logan’s numbers

Year	Team Name	Age	Level	AB	Avg	Obp	Slg	Ops
2001	West Michigan	21	A	522	0.262		0.335	665
2002	Lakeland	22	A	506	0.269	0.321	0.336	657
2003	Erie	        23	AA	514	0.251	0.316	0.333	649
2004	Toledo	        24	AAA	427	0.262	0.303	0.351	654

I don’t think it is even really close. Across their minor league careers Granderson’s worst season was still 158 OPS points better than Logan’s worst. I understand wanting to incorporate Logan’s speed into the lineup, and it’s great that they want to make him a 270 hitter. I’d understand it even more if the Tigers didn’t already have a very viable (and preferrable) option on hand.

detroit tigers, baseball

12 Comments

  1. ripi$money

    January 16, 2006 at 11:07 am

    I like Nook, but I’d go with Granderson. Nook is a suitable backup/Sunday player, and his speed will come in handy late in games as a pinch runner. Maybe he’ll prove us wrong.

  2. Brian A.

    January 16, 2006 at 12:17 pm

    At this point I would say that playing Logan at the expense of Granderson is a huge mistake.

  3. Jeff M

    January 16, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Agreed. Keep him. Develop him. Don’t start him. Trade him if a good deal appears.

  4. tiger337

    January 16, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    Logan makes a good backup outfielder – defensive replacement, pinch runner, some starts against left-handers. He’s not a starter and certainly not a lead off hitter. I hope this idea is something Henning has concocted in his mind and not the real plan of Jim Leyland.

  5. BigMax

    January 16, 2006 at 5:28 pm

    Nook should play every day — after the 7th inning as a pinch-runner and/or defensive replacement. There is no way he should start unless he makes an Inge/Infante in 2004 type transformation.

  6. Mike

    January 16, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    To my reading of the article, Henning’s thinking was more as a spring training project rather than as a long term sitution. Nook needs to show that he can walk and hit going into the season, and he may not get much of a chance once the season starts to do more than fill in if he can’t.

  7. Walewander

    January 17, 2006 at 1:41 am

    Ugh. I like Nook too, but this a disturbing omen for the Leyland era.

  8. Jeff K

    January 17, 2006 at 10:57 am

    I hope this idea is something Henning has concocted in his mind and not the real plan of Jim Leyland.

    Let’s remember that we saw Henning state over and over again since the end of the 2005 season that Rodriguez was going to be traded and Inge was going to be the full-time catcher for 2006. We’re still waiting, Lynn.

    Hell, Logan might be decent trade bait right now, as in: “Hello, Boston Red Sox? My name is Dave Dombrowski, and I have a center fielder that you might have an interest in…” Still, I’m in favor of letting Leyland and Slaught at least have a go at Nook for Spring Training. I think that the group concensus here that Nook is probably a fantastic 4th/5th outfielder is dead-on (just occurred to me that he might be 5th/6th, depending on what kind of shape Dmitri is in when he shows up in Lakeland).

  9. billfer

    January 17, 2006 at 12:02 pm

    I apologize if the table isn’t lining up properly for you. It looks great in Firefox, but is screwed up in IE. If I fix it for one, the other gets messed up. Sorry.

    Oh yeah, this might be a good time to mention that you should be using Firefox :-)

  10. nick

    January 22, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    It seems to me that Nook and Granderson are both statistically about the same (average). So the deciding factor in choosing who should be the starting center fielder should be based upon who has the most potential to perform above average. Based upon what I saw last season Nook definitly has the most potential to be a star. Furthermore, I think that Nooks speed is an asset to the tigers roster. Who else on the team can we depend upon for regular steals and succesful bunts. The tigers need to be ble to successfully stir up a game with some speed from time to time. Although I believe that Nook is only an average player that is expendable I belive you will see him in the starting lineup at the begining of the season.

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