Carlos Guillen appreciation time

There has been great consternation about the Tigers offense over these first few weeks, and rightly so. With things starting to take off, I wanted to step back and recognize the start that Guillen has put together.

How many times have we heard during the complaints about the offense that Clete Thomas and Brandon Inge were the only Tigers hitting? And then we’d laugh at how pathetic it was. Yet all the while Guillen was producing. And not just doing okay, he was terrific.

Going into Wednesday night’s game Guillen had a .372 batting average – 5th in the AL. He had a .698 slugging percentage which was second in the AL. And he was the owner of a .481 OBP which was good enough for 3rd. He ranked second in OPS to only AJ Pierzynski. And he did the bulk of the damage with one leg. He’s managed to hit 5 doubles without being able to run. When there was frustration with the team rushing at-bats it was Guillen who was seeing over 4 pitches per plate appearance.

Yet those accomplishments went largely unnoticed. Maybe it was because he didn’t have gaudy RBI totals, or maybe it was the rather normal home run total. Or maybe he just hadn’t been clutch enough, despite hitting that game tying homer on Opening Day. Yet one of the 2 or 3 best offensive performers in the league was largely unnoticed even by his own fan base.

With the offense starting to roll and Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez finding their groove they will deservedly get the bulk of the attention. But when no one else was producing Guillen was carrying the load.

2008 American League Expanded Leaderboards – Baseball-Reference.com

19 Comments

  1. Phil

    April 16, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t acknowledge Guillens good start through all the opening hoopla. The man has been a consistent performer when healthy and deserves the adulation. Thank goodness the guys in front of him are finding their groove now he can actually knock someone in!

  2. JML

    April 16, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Great post. thanks for recognizing Carlos. I’ve noticed Carlos’ success, but I’m biased as he is my co-Tiger (along with Placido). ;-)

  3. ez

    April 16, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Here here, Bilfer. Spot freaking on.

  4. Brian P

    April 16, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    There was no love for Carlos on Baseball Tonight last night either. He didn’t make the game highlights or Touch ‘em All. Maybe they do it so Miller and Morgan can sound more knowledgeable calling him underrated on Sunday Night Baseball.

  5. tiff

    April 16, 2008 at 10:50 pm

    Amen to that. The fact that he’s hit .320 in his past three years consecutively and isn’t the BEST hitter on the team shows how easy it is to overlook him. But he’s definitely underrated, and a total pro at that.

  6. rings

    April 16, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    He’s one of the best, one of my favorites (especially after meeting him in ’05) and he’s regularly overlooked by nearly everyone. Most likely, its because he quietly goes about his business, similar to Alan Trammell, who was also underrated – particularly by the national media.

  7. Rick G

    April 17, 2008 at 6:21 am

    Good call Billfer. Carlos is far and away “my Tiger,” to the point where my wife and kids make fun of me for how much I love him. But my daughter will wear number 9 on her T-ball team, and she’ll like it! :)

    You nailed the main reasons, but I’d also like to add the fact that his rather embarrassing defensive play made people think that his hitting was not worth talking about.

    Now if we can just get my second favorite Tiger back out there in center field…

  8. Zappatista

    April 17, 2008 at 7:38 am

    Good point Bilf. At times you are little too analytical for a slack jaw as myself, but this one hits out of the park. I remember reading someone’s comment on BYB (not BB Ian, a commenter) about how Leyland should get him out of a game a few back and thinking, “who else is going to hit the ball?”

    NP.

  9. scotsw

    April 17, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Yep, Guillen has long been a favorite of mine — but then, I really like most of these guys. My worry is that on one of those doubles, that hammy goes pop and we don’t see him again for 6-8 weeks. They need to be resting him when they can.

    And Phil is right on: Put some ducks on the pond for Carlos!

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  11. greg

    April 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    I better duck while I say this, but in my opinion, I think Carlos Guillen just might be the most overrated player of all time, at least the most overrated that I can think of at the moment. I’ll grant you he swings a good bat. No dispute there, but his defense is x-rated, Children shouldn’t be allowed to see it, brutal to watch, i mean excruciating. As a Tiger fan the last 3 years, he’s the most frustrating, painful Tiger to watch, at least for me.

    I will admit that, there was a brief stretch last year in which he played an average 1B. That was tolerable. But this year the snafus in the field have returned, in batallions . Seeing him do his part, defensively, to turn 1 run gems by Verlander into 10+ run routes, its tough to take. Last year we saw him blow scores of double play balls, not catch literally dozens of ground balls that he would catch easily if he just bent over farther, I’m not even asking him to dive, just bend over a little more and he’d field it and retire the batter easily. But no. Like Bartleby the scriviner, he prefers not to.

    Kudos to him this week though for his key contributions offensively during the rallies. I’d also love nothing more than for him to turn it around defensively and make this post look silly, but until he does, I’ll have to start closing my eyes when the ball is hit his way.

  12. Chris in Dallas

    April 17, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t expect greg to post again. I think he was just struck by lightning. Anyway, I love me some Carlos but he’s starting to become one of those guys who gets called underrated so much by so many people that I think he’s now overrated. OK maybe not overrated. I’d say he’s rated.

  13. tiff

    April 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    overrated player of all time?

  14. cib

    April 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    What Tiff said.

  15. billfer

    April 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Most overrated of all time? Really? Up until the end of last year he was better than Jeter defensively. And there’s no knocking Guillen’s offense. And yes, he had a rough first week defensively but has he had a miscue since that? I think other than that first week his play at first has been fine.

  16. Mark in Chicago

    April 17, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    The most overrated player in the game today is David Eckstein, although at one time a case could be made for Barry Zito, I suppose. I won’t even venture a guess who is the most overrated player of all time. But I am 100% certain it’s silly to say it’s Carlos Guillen.

  17. Mark in Chicago

    April 17, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I would also like to nominate Juan Pierre as perhaps the most overrated, expecially since he makes like $10 million a year. He consistently makes more outs than any other player in the game, due to his refusal to take a walk.

  18. greg

    April 17, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    Hey Billfer, yes, really. We’ll have to agree to disagree, as in my opinion, Carlos Guillen at SS last year made Jeter look like Ozzie Smith. I think we agree, for the most part(I don’t want to digress on that point), on his offense. I just wish he was a DH….yes I know that’s not happening.

    Keep in mind overrated doesn’t mean the worst, just overrated.

    IMHO, I wouldn’t call Juan Pierre overrated because, for the past 4-5 years, the circles I mix with, and the articles I read, the majority of sources I’ve read/heard rip him pretty bad, quite often stating that he has no business starting in the Majors. I guess he’s so overrated that he’s no longer overrated, if that makes sense. Of course most of what I read is saber/roto oriented, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball HQ etc. that genre.

    If Guillen can return to the form I saw briefly last year at 1B towards the end of the year, I’ll be happy.

  19. Mark in Chicago

    April 17, 2008 at 8:32 pm

    Greg,

    Fair point that Pierre may no longer be as overrated, but until last year he was a starter ahead of a younger, cheaper, better player. So people that matter in baseball circles thought enough of him to bat him leadoff, even.

    I still maintain David Eckstein is the most overrated player in the game. Most beat writers, analysts, and baseball people think he’s a “gamer”, which apparently is a euphemism for “not very good at the game of baseball”.