November 20, 2007 at 12:58 pm
The offense will be slightly better with Renteria replacing Casey in the lineup. The Defense will be slightly better with Renteria replacing Guillen at SS, slightly worse with Guillen replacing Casey at 1B and slightly better with J Jones replacing Monroe/Thames/Raburn/Perez in LF.
The big question is will the pitching, both starting and relief, get any better?
Matt in Toledo
November 20, 2007 at 1:00 pm
Guillen worse than Casey at first? That seems unlikely to me.
November 20, 2007 at 1:20 pm
Casey is solid at first and made grabs out of the dirt that not many make. That said, I don’t think there will be a truly noticeable difference in defense at first.
The bullpen worries me the most and will depend on some of the youngster’s stepping up and folks putting a good year together. Bobby Seay came out of nowhere last year and will need to continue and Rodney needs to stay healthy.
November 20, 2007 at 2:50 pm
I don’t suspect there’ll be a dropoff defensively at 1st base. But the difference between Renteria (who is slightly above average still at SS, despite limited range) and Carlos Guillen at SS is monumental. Add in above average corner outfield defensive play from Jacque Jones and the defense is greatly improved, even if Jones is simply platooning.
And I know some have said I’ve got the “rosy perspective” and what not (especially after the Renteria deal which I was a big fan of) I will say that at the end of the day, objectively, I think the Tigers are still in the high 80′s in wins — and that’s assuming Kenny Rogers comes back and we get league average results from the No. 5 spot in the rotation.
How important is 1st base defensively anyways?
The least most important position on the field
Is Guillen better than Casey – from what I’ve seen yes, but remember he doesn’t dive for balls which is what you’d like a every positon player to do. Can he pick a throw from Inge,Rentaria,Polanco from what I’ve seen yes.
Hopefully this will keep him fresh and help his O#s
Plus the fact that he is more protected by Rentaria (assumed) batting behind him.
110 RBIS ?
November 20, 2007 at 9:21 pm
David…it’s almost as valuable as 3rd base, seeing as every pick Inge makes needs to then be thrown and caught by Guillen. All the times Casey dug the balls out of the dirt and saved an EZ “would-be” error are now going to be entrusted to Carlos.
Not to mention EVERY other play in the infield gets to first base almost every time.
I mean, just look at Ryan Howard.
November 21, 2007 at 8:21 am
Actually,pretty important,David-”least most important” is probably a good way to phrase it.The traditional practice of placing bigger,slower,and older players there unfortunately lessens the difficulty of playing the position in some people’s minds,but when you’re talking about the relative difficulties of playing one position or another on the ball field,you’re talking in terms of feet,not miles.
First base is essentially a second “hot corner”,with many of the same demands,excluding a strong arm(which is still helpful,along with agility and quickness,in turning a 3-4-3 double play).There’s also the additional demand of covering the position while holding a runner on.
November 21, 2007 at 8:57 am
Well, if you have a calculator, bill james’ pythagorean win expectation formula, a calculator and a few minutes, you can plug in a team’s expected runs scored per game and team era and get their expected wins. I had all those things:
if the tigers score 5.25 runs per game (in the middle of james’ offensive output projections) and have a 4.75 team era (worse than this year’s 4.57), they should have 89 wins.
If they score 5.25 a game and have a 4.50 era, that works out to 93 wins.
5 runs a game scored and a 4.00 era works out to 98 wins.
all in theory anyways.
November 21, 2007 at 9:11 am
Also, what guillen lacks defensively – range, arm – are not all that important at first base, and what guillen still has defensively – good hands, footwork – is the most important. Casey was fine at first, but guillen should be an upgrade after a few more months of experience there.
November 21, 2007 at 10:17 am
While it’s possible you included this Don, what about unearned runs?
November 21, 2007 at 11:06 am
Doh! This is why I’m a attorney, not an accountant. The last couple years the tigers averaged around 60 unearned runs a year.
If you have a 4.00 era and give up 60 unearned runs a year that works out to a 4.37 runs/game. so with the 5 runs/game example a 4.00 era and 4.37 runs/game, that would work out to 92 wins – which makes more sense.
anyways – it usually works out to be that an additional 10 runs scored or 10 runs prevented over the course of a year equals one win, so My above numbers are probably 6 wins too optimistic given the unearned runs thing.
So what’s realistic? 5.25 runs a game and an era around 4.25 with 60 unearned runs gets us 91 wins. Add 10 runs for or subtract 10 runs allowed to get us additional wins.
November 21, 2007 at 11:35 am
Hah yep I mean anyone who is playing out there is important, but I think that the most important positions on the field to have top notch defenders are catcher,SS and CF – where most of the balls end up.
Casey picked most everything that came his way if I remember correctly, I’m just not sure how much difference Guillen will make over Casey.
Rentaria over Guillen however….
The thing that I do think it will help is his offense and his durability.
If he stays healthy all year it would make me happy.
November 21, 2007 at 2:35 pm
Billfer – anyone left off the 40 man roster you see as a potential rule-5 ‘casualty’?
November 22, 2007 at 12:20 am
Don: I pretty much agree with those assessments of the runs scored/allowed. Honestly, I think this is closer to a 87-89 win team then a 91-94 win team. And thus, I think we’re a 2nd — possibly 3rd — place team in the AL Central. I only put in a possible 3rd place finish solely dependent on if the Twins trade Santana. If they get a good package back — Like Robby Cano and Phil Hughes — I think with Scott Baker, Matt Garza, and the return of Liriano, that team could leap frog the Tigers. But that’s just my speculation without delving into any sort of depth regarding the Twins (with a ton of time and the entire Winter Meetings to go, too. So they could upgrade/down grade a lot over the next month or so).
November 22, 2007 at 8:22 am
Sure, things have to break right for the tigers to get into the playoffs. I’m not worried about minnesota, they’re looking to compete in 09-10, not in 08. they’ll have decent enough pitching but a lineup completely full of holes – they’ll get haul for santana, but not something that plugs enough holes for them to win more than 82-84 games.
I also don’t think the indians are necessarily a 95 win team, by any means. Since we’re talking pythagoreans, cleveland had 96 wins last year but their runs for/against showed that they were more in line for a 91-71 record. Their starting pitching is shallow and will take a step back in 08 – carmona threw 155 more innings in 07 than in 08, CC threw over 260 innings last year after averaging less than 200 over the previous 6 years. That matters. Then byrd, westbrook, lee, sowers? no thanks. They have a solid pen, but their offense is no better than detroit’s, for sure. I think the central comes down to indians and tigers each winning between 89-91, I definitely don’t see us as inferior to cleveland. the wildcard will come out of the east though.
November 22, 2007 at 8:37 am
Also, minnesota had a .391 team slugging % last year and just lost hunter, the only guy with a .500. That production won’t be replaced in 2008. Morneau and mauer are solid, cuddyer and kubel are below average at their positions, and the rest is pure garbage. they have no good hitters near-ready in the minors. That’s not something that gets fixed with a couple trades or FA signings. even if they get a hughes/cano package for santana and their pitching is lights out they’d still be lucky to win 82 games with that offense.
November 22, 2007 at 8:43 am
Greg – I’m working on a post about the 40 man that should be up this weekend
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