Vote Early, Vote Often, Vote Inge

by billfer on June 15, 2009 · 55 comments

in 2009 Season,Awards

A vote for Inge is a vote for...

A vote for Inge is a vote for...

The campaigning has been going on since April when teams started to promote their players for the All Star Game. On basic principle I try to wait until at least June before filling out a ballot. So much changes so quick early in the season and hot starts can be misleading. But, with 60 games in and the game only a month a way it is time.

The All Star game doesn’t really matter, and when the fans and players and managers make mistakes in the voting people are sure to either a)complain or b) further announce the game doesn’t mean anything. Others say they don’t want their team’s players going and that they’d rather see them rest. I don’t buy any of it. The game is supposed to be fun and I know I have more fun when my guys are playing.

The trouble with the Tigers this year is that it is hard to find a candidate to throw support behind. Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson are certainly deserving at this point, but fans don’t get to vote for pitchers. Miguel Cabrera started off strong, but his recent fade and the seasons of Mark Texeira, Kevin Youkilis, and Justin Morneau don’t even leave  him in the top 3. Curtis Granderson has been okay but not nearly good enough to warrant a big push. But fans do have one position player who they can throw their support behind without feeling too homerish. The man, the myth, the most polarizing force among Tigers fans, Brandon Inge.

I’ss start by saying I’m not going to say that Inge is the best third baseman in the AL.  Right now I’ll make that case for Evan Longoria, so if you want to vote the absolute best player then this post isn’t for you. Alex Rodriguez easily has the strongest career resume, and he’s hitting fairly well and the only knock is that he missed a chunk of the season. But the AS team will have more than one third baseman and Inge deserves serious consideration.

The Offense

I honestly never expected Inge to hit this well at this point in his career. When he started off crushing balls I thought it was a novelty that we’d soon look back on fondly. While the home run rate as waned, Inge has continued to be productive at the plate. His slash line of 264/367/500 produces a wOBA of .372. The numbers for  his contemporaries are:

  • Longoria: 305/387/584 wOBA .410
  • Rodriguez: 230/386/500 wOBA .390
  • Young: 316/359/500 wOBA .375
  • Rolen: 320/386/457 wOBA .372
  • Figgins: 326/402/415 wOBA .373

Longoria is clearly superior with the bat. A-Rod is off to a nice start but he has 100 fewer PA’s than the others. After that things are pretty tightly packed between Michael Young, Scott Rolen, Chone Figgins, and Inge.

But offense is only part of the equation. It’s actually the part of the equation that gets valued the most, but for the sake of an informed electorate let’s look at the total package.

Defense

The defensive metrics help to sort things out a little more. Using the most recent UZR rankings and +/- data from billjamesonline.com (UZR Runs|+/- plays):

  • Inge: 9.6 | +12
  • Longoria: 7.7 | +11
  • Figgins: 2.4 | +8
  • Rolen: 0.4 | +7
  • Rodriguez: -3.8 | -5
  • Young:-10.2 | -18

Young clearly drops out of the picture as he has been awful defensively, a least a win worst than his main competitors. Rolen has been above average but not stellar. Longoria is very good and it remains clear he’s been the best in the league.

Total Wins

The beauty of Fangraphs is that they put all of these things together and show a player’s value in terms of wins above replacement (WAR). The WAR numbers taken into account batting runs and fielding runs and adjustments for playing time and position. So without further ado, your AL third base leaders in terms of WAR:

  1. Longoria: 3.5 WAR
  2. Inge: 2.8 WAR
  3. Figgins: 2.2 WAR
  4. Rolen 1.6 WAR
  5. Beltre 1.1 WAR

Young’s fielding is so bad he doesn’t even show up in the top 5 and Rodriguez is held back by a lack of playing time. But it continues to play out that Inge, while not deserving of the starting spot, does have a legitimate case to make the team.

Now this probably didn’t change anyone’s opinion. You’ll either vote for Longoria (and you’ll be justified) or Rodriguez (and most would understand) or you were going to vote for your hometown guy (and for the bulk of readers this will be Inge). Inge also has a lot of ground to make up in the voting and not a lot of time and I know he won’t win the vote. But let’s at least turn this into a respectable showing.

All Star Voting Party

If you want to get together with your fellow fans the Tigers are hosting an All Star Voting party at Hockeytown Cafe this Thursday night. Punch ballots, watch the Tigers take on the Cardinals, and there will be a raffle with autographed balls, tickets, and a Ramon Santiago game used bat. The party takes place from 8-10 pm.

One other thing…I kind of dismissed Granderson’s candidacy earlier in the post, but Curtis does rank 5th in WAR for AL outfielders so I think you could feel pretty good voting for him as well.

 
 

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David June 15, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Yea it’d be real nice(as I mentioned about a month back) to see Inge make the team, even in a reserve capacity.

With a 125 OPS+ and 69 runs produced in 63 games along with being tops in web gems and obviously as Bill stated a superior defender even as he is aging. There is no doubt in my mind that he should be there.

Considering he is already 32 (time flies) he’s a “late bloomer”, but better late than never.

Vince in MN June 16, 2009 at 12:34 am

The biggest reason that the All-Star game is meaningless is because the voting is rigged. Back when the players were the ones voting (and as far as I recall they only got 1 each), there was some integrity to it. Now it is just a beauty contest – yawn. And the hype – it practically starts on opening day.

On the other hand it does provide a break from the rigors of the race. For three days you get to pick up your butt from in front of the computer or tv, maybe go to a park that has no ball diamond, pack a picnic basket and go to the lake, or engage in some other non-competitive social activity. Anyway, that’s what I’ll be doing.

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 1:56 am

What? Please vote as you please, but don’t claim it’s not a homer pick. First off, while you waited until June, you’re still voting based mostly on his one great month, April. The only thing that hasn’t tapered significantly since then is the BB’s (which considering the subject, is definitely amazing). The safe money is on him sitting firmly in the middle of the 3B pack in most of the stats you reeled off (excluding sketchy defensive stat of the week) when the end of the year rolls around. And that’s why you probably should consider track record/reputation/regression to the mean, if you’re trying to be fair when voting. It’s actually appropriate in this case.

And no, Brandon Inge did not magically figure out how to hit in this, his ninth frickin’ season. If you spend time digging into his numbers (he has 38 runs created so far, btw), you’ll see that’s he’s obviously one of these guys who doesn’t fit the mold so to speak, making metrics like OPS+ and WARP somewhat difficult to use with absolute authority. For example, take the last 7 days. Small sample, yes, but it caught my eye because he has a 101 OPS+ with a .000 BAbip. And this line:
105/320/421
25 PA, 2 hits, 2 HR, 5 BB, 7 SO
So yeah, that’s one way to OPS+ 100, but does that line really == league average 3rd baseman (let alone an All Star)? But wtf, .000 BAbip, he’s getting really unlucky !1!11

(p.s. Another fun one, check out his splits for number of times facing a starter pitcher. Significantly better 1st AB then 2nd AB, with the 3+ AB being the worst. Maybe he should start refilling Jobu’s rum at the midway point of games).

billfer June 16, 2009 at 7:06 am

Why would he sit in the middle of the pack in sketchy defensive stats when for his career he’s always rated amongst the leaders?

But here are some less sketchy defensive stats: http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/index.php?view=fielding&linesToDisplay=50&orderBy=zone_rating&direction=DESC&qual_filter=1&season_filter=2009&league_filter=1&pos_filter=5&Submit=Submit

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 10:24 am

I said excluding defensive stats. Yes, his defense is very good.

Chris Y. June 16, 2009 at 9:13 am

Based on your (idiotic) argument — track record/reputation/regression — David Ortiz should start at DH and John Smoltz should be the starting pitcher for the AL. Put Manny in LF! Heck, if Eric Chavez hadn’t gone under the knife, maybe he should have been at the hot corner.

Look, Inge is not Evan Longoria at the plate, but he has held his own this year (so far). Further, if you had actually watched him play in the field, even once or twice, you would be hard pressed to argue he ISN’T the best fielding third baseman in all of baseball (and has been for some time).

Contrary to popular belief, defense matters (it is half the game). Just look at run prevention for the Tigers as a team this year versus last.

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 10:30 am

No need for name calling. I am simply making a prediction that he is going to fall off significantly, and that he isn’t deserving. I did not say that track record is the only criterion.

“Holding his own”, Right, agreed, not really my All Star criterion again.

Just look at run prevention for the Tigers as a team this year versus last”.

Dude, it’s the pitching. I don’t need to paste the stats, we all now the improvement from a terrible season a year ago.

scotsw June 16, 2009 at 11:38 am

The criterion is getting votes.

Every voter has his/her own metric. For some, OPS+; for some, “holding his own”; for others, cuteness of butt. Interestingly, each is equally valid.

Chris Y. June 16, 2009 at 1:20 pm

StealthMuscles: I didn’t call you anything! No place for that here. I just said your criteria for an All-Star vote was idiotic (from my perspective); you DID say: track record AND reputation AND regression to the mean.

Also, your argument simply failed to consider defense as an important contribution to the game. I realize that defense hasn’t mattered to voters or the average fan since the pre-juice era, but it got more than a couple guys into an AS game.

And “dude”, the pitching has more than benefited from the jump in defense. Next to last in the AL in 2008 to 3rd in 2009 is quite a jump. Inge at third has played a big part in that, no question.

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm

Ah, semantic fun (my words are idiots). Anywho, I think measuring defense is statistically a work in progress and a separate discussion. If you think defense is the bee’s knees and more old school, no problems here, although I think there were definitely popular sluggers from days long past who were stiffs in the field. One might even have a statue somewhere…

But to say “no question” about the importance of defense is just not correct. It is a question (see the previous post on this blog). How important is improving your third base defense? More important than improving your SS? Do you really think we improved more at SS or 3rd over last year? Or how about in RF when Mags isn’t there? And is hitting overemphasized because maybe it’s easier to find someone who can play a decent corner infield compared to someone who can really hit? All valid, non-trivial questions me thinks.

All that said, those pitching comments cannot slide. Brandon Inge’s glove did not cause Verlander to increase his SO/9 by 4 and decrease his BB/9 by 2 over last year. Those are just two simple counting stats, you can look at defense-independent pitching stats as well. The assertion that the good pitching is an effect, and not its own cause, is truly idiotic. Next you’ll be wanting to give the credit to our third string catcher and his ability to correctly guess which finger to extend (just to show I’m not failing to consider anything).

Chris Y. June 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

OK, clearly your argument is superior.

Carry on.

David June 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Brandon Inge’s glove work has lowered our team ERA no doubt about it.

You talk as if pitchers and defenders have no effect on one another.

You take a team with 8 Brandon Inge’s manning Catcher, 1st, 2nd, SS, 3rd, LF, CF and RF

Then you take a team(same pitching) with Jim Thome manning Catcher, 1st, 2nd, SS, 3rd, LF, CF, and RF.

You tell me which one is going to convert more balls into outs…

Granted it is an extreme example and sadly we cannot clone Brandon, but it should show you something you seem to be blind to. Defense matters a heckuva lot and is forever intertwined with pitching performance/stats/team wins and losses.

If Verlander and the rest of the staff struck out 27 batters/game then you’d have a point, sadly they don’t even come close and are very lucky to reach half that point(14k’s in a game) in a start one-2 x/year.

In sum, you’re wrong, plain and simple. The truths/facts are against you and it is useless to try and argue it.

Mike R June 16, 2009 at 2:38 am

I’m failing to see the relevance of talking about what Inge has done in the last 7 days after you just chastised people for praising him/voting for him because his production is based on one good month.

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 3:01 am

Actually the funny thing is if you say OK, forget the good 1st month for Inge, and just look at the last 28 days, and compare Inge to Longoria over the same period, you get:

Longoria 3 HR 12 RBI .231 .355 .410 .765 13 BB 24 SO
Inge 4 HR 14 RBI .245 .336 .426 .762 11 BB 27 SO

So who again is being overrated based on one good month?

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 10:21 am

Well, noone, because that wasn’t the point. The 7 day example (which is of course a small sample) was simply to show how even a “good” stat that everyone throws around can be somewhat misleading.

The difference (of course) between Inge and Longoria is Inge’s is why over all of his career numbers, as I said OPS+. He’s an established below average hitter (who does have power, etc.). The chances of him sustaining what he did in April for a whole are significantly low.

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 2:42 am

It’s hard to argue that Inge is an all-star if you completely eliminate fielding as a criterion (which stealthmuscles seems to do, unless he knows some non-sketchy ones he’s holding back on); but I don’t really see the point in pointing out things like a 7-day BA/OPS comparison–and I’m not even sure what’s necessarily horrible about a line of 25PA 2Hits 2HR 5BB 7SO (which came by the way with DET down 1-0 and ahead 2-1)…

I mean the 7 days previous to that he had a BA of .346, what do you make of that?

And I suppose he could regress…but to what? And can we assume Polanco, Ordonez, and Cabrera will all be regressing upwards to make up for it?

StealthMuscles June 16, 2009 at 11:06 am

Well, that was the point I was trying to make (fail). 7 days is obviously a small sample. But so is 60 days. I understand that’s how All Star voting has to work, but that is why I think you need to consider track record in cases like this. Do you really think he has improved so drastically this year (not rhetorical)? I clearly don’t. I think he had a very hot April.

You should expect Inge to regress in just about every stat, certainly OBP and SLG. Just look at where he’s at and where’s been. And yes, we all watch him play every day. Can he hit any pitcher with a decent breaking ball? Hats for bats.

scotsw June 16, 2009 at 11:43 am

If I were a GM, I’d throw a lot more money at Longoria than at Inge, sure. But I’d also throw more at Cabrera than Teixeira — Cabrera’s better when healthy. But clearly, Teixeira has had a far more All-Star-worthy year thus far, and though less clearly, I think Inge’s year has been better than Longoria’s.

Maybe it’s a homer vote, but Inge’s got my vote. He’s been terrific this year.

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 2:51 am

The # times facing starter stat is interesting; Inge’s BA drops a lot (although not his OBP or SLG); in fact the Tigers as a team also decline (.265 / .251 / .247 BA 1st-2nd-3rd time vs starter). The AL avg goes up each time from 1st-2nd-3rd, so the Tigers are going against the norm here. I’m guessing the Tiger numbers reflect what happens when you leave the opponents with low pitch counts…

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 3:20 am

Apparently the Polar-Ingeing effect is universal and not limited to Tiger fans…

jud June 16, 2009 at 3:41 am

Inge has almost single handedly held this offense together for awhile now if you look at everyone’s stats..Granderson has helped some….Inge has been consistent from day one. This is his year to be at least a reserve if not voted in.

Ian C. June 16, 2009 at 6:50 am

Wow, I had no idea Young was playing so poorly, defensively.

But Inge making it to the All-Star team would just be a great story, and provide some nice punctuation to what’s been an impressive turnaround.

rings June 16, 2009 at 3:59 pm

To be fair with Young’s defense, he has moved to a new position – you may recall A-Rod (a superior SS suffered the same dropoff in a move to 3B) and our own Carlos Guillen (a brutal first month at third, before becoming relatively steady thereafter) – had a tough time with the switch.
As it is, the Rangers, as a team, have improved tremendously in the field, moving from the AL’s worst team UZR to its best this year, led by Elvis Andrus, the new SS, who is leading AL UZR rankings himself.

rings June 16, 2009 at 10:09 am

Inge has had a very suprising, wonderful season to this point. However, the biggest thing holding him back in fan voting is the fact that he was abysmal offensively last year (and most of the time before that). Most voters are kids and lots of people who have no idea what WAR, UZR or wOBA mean…

While Bilfer makes a strong case for consideration, and Inge has always been strong defensively (but sorry, Chris Y, still not the “best” so long as Beltre – who is more consistent and better range since ’06 – is in the league – if he makes the team, it will be as a reserve, which means supporters should start emailing Joe Madden.

On the game as a whole, it will be interesting to see if we get anyone besides JV and EJ on the squad…in shades of Maggs’ big year being overshadowed by A-Rod: what a bummer to see them both having Cy Young caliber seasons in a year where Halliday is other-worldly.

Chris Y. June 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

rings, I lived in Seattle for a while and got to watch Beltre a lot. He’s close (certainly has a more accurate arm and a vacuum for a glove), but I’d like to see where he has more “range”. Not from watching the two on a near daily basis for years.

rings June 16, 2009 at 10:27 am

Its close. While the problem with many of the “new” stats is that they’re subjective in terms of WHO is doing the classification, much like traditional error scoring by a park’s “official scorer,” Inge trails Beltre in RF this year 2.84 to 2.79 and ’07 (Inge’s last full season) 2.87 to 2.86. Inge was better last year, but didn’t play nearly as much obviously.

The biggest improvement I’ve seen with Brandon this year is that he’s eliminated his stupid mistakes in the field, at least after the first month. We’ve seen fewer bobbled DP balls, fewer poor throws, fewer routine E’s that kept his error total high in previous years…we’ve also seen fewer touches of third in non-force situations (LOL!).

On a related note, if anyone received this week’s SI, their player poll among 352 MLB players was asked to name the game’s best fielder in baseball without voting for a teammate. Here were the results (interestingly all AL players):
Torii Hunter, Angels CF – 16%
Omar Visquel, Rangers SS – 13$
Adrian Beltre, Mariners 3B – 7%
Brandon Inge, Tigers 3B – 5%
Grady Sizemore, Indians CF – 4%

Mark in Chicago June 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

Man, even when Inge is having a good year he still ends up being the most polarizing guy on the team. Unreal.

David June 16, 2009 at 1:42 pm

Yea.

At least most of his regular detractors on this site over the past several years haven’t said much negative stuff this year, actually it has been mostly positive and deservedly so! :)

David June 16, 2009 at 1:40 pm

I think a lot has already been said to discredit Muscleboy.

1) D counts a heckuva lot
2) We don’t (or shouldn’t) vote on previous years – that is why it is called the 2009 All Star Game
3) Inge has had a fantastic year both with the glove and the bat- comparable and/or superior to any third baseman you can pick

As a huge Inge supporter I’d like to add this -

Where would we be without him? I seem to remember a ton of huge clutch hits, where if he were not in the lineup it would have been a loss. Also add in the D.

If I had to guess I’d say we’d be at or slightly under KC right now battling them for fourth without him.

And whether he keeps this up(which he has to some extent) is immaterial, the ASG is supposed to be for what players do this year as Chris Y said.

Raul Ibanez, Aaron Hill, Brandon Inge, Torii Hunter, Zack Greinke, Edwin Jackson etc. this is THEIR YEAR to shine and be voted in for ’09.

And that 7 day excerpt is downright foolish. You can get a decent sample size with when you’re past the 1/3rd mark, you can’t get even close in a week.

Also Rings I saw that too awhile ago. You have to take it with a grain of salt. Granted they all aren’t horrid, but…

Beltre has been at the hot corner since 1998 vs 2004 for Inge – quite a stark difference. Plus Beltre has 2 (along with Grady – who arguably isn’t the second best defensive CF in baseball) and Inge has 0 – and GG as we all know is tied to offense.

Still nice to see getting him mentioned.

JAY RC June 16, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Inge? Really
I love the Detroit Tigers but come on! Cringe is terible! His .239 career average has tortured me for years! Be excited that he’s hitting .270, I mean even I am. But don’t forget the last 7 seasons of hell folks! Your stats even show that Longoria Figgins Lowell and yes eve A-Rod are better. Chicken little gets sooo much love from you folks yet you rag on Maggs and Poly because for the first time in their career in yet a young season they are not exactly mashing. It really makes me laugh…Cute campaign though.
I really wish he’d remove his blonde soulpatch too…What is he a member of the Chicago WhiteSux?
Best of luck to your Cringe Campaign

rings June 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I find it entertaining to have JAY RC’s trolling reality check posted directly below David’s semi-regular love sonnet…LOL!

Good stuff and enlightening for the continuing contrast of opinions on BI…

David June 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

What did I write that wasn’t reality?

You don’t agree that he hasn’t helped us win on both sides this year?

Jay RC isn’t hasn’t been watching our games obviously.
1) Inge has had several decent offensive years for what he has been paid. See 2006, 2005 and 2004.

2) Why not complain about Maggs and Poly? Maggs esp. b/c he is not getting it done the only way he knows how – with the stick – and might be getting paid 18 and 15 mil the next two years.

billfer June 16, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Your stats even show that Longoria Figgins Lowell and yes eve A-Rod are better.

They don’t actually show that. They show Longoria is better, which was noted.

RPS June 16, 2009 at 4:11 pm

As a long time Inge hater, it pains me to be actually considering this.

Mat June 16, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Since there is no criteria for who should be an “all-star” any debate on the matter is purely opinion and personal preference. Voting for Ortiz or Bonds is as valid as voting for a hyped up rookie or whatever secondbaseman has the highest OPS in the league for the season.

When I vote I consider what a player has done in the last year (since the previous all star break) because the last 2 or 3 months isn’t much more than a streak. Also, I vote on who I want to see. And since Inge turned me away when he had the selfish attitude about catching (and chose to go public with it) he’s the very last Tiger I’ll be voting for.

David June 16, 2009 at 5:10 pm

Selfish attitude?

1) He ended up catching
2) He was being shifted around positionally on the diamond more than the dirt
3) Some guys don’t like catching, or feel much less comfortable doing it.

Complaining that you don’t want to catch and would rather play IF or OF, in my mind at least, is a lot different than saying what Young said, or Soriano said for example.

Catching is the one position on the field that is totally and utterly significantly different.

Even still, baseball is a mental game, if you inherently don’t feel comfortable playing somewhere – shouldn’t you let it be known?

He ended up doing what the organization wanted without too much public griping anyways.

If one quote is going to ruin it for you in a paper so be it… can lead a horse to water…/

Mat June 16, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Letting your coach know your preference is one thing. Talking about it in the media is another. Its not that I don’t understand his perspective (I’d rather play 3B too), its that I prefer a guy who doesn’t think me-first, and does whatever the team asks of him. Guillen, Raburn, and many others face position switches with far more professionalism.

Andre in Chi June 16, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I don’t recall any excessive gripping on Inge’s part, especially considering that he was very publicly put on the trade block early in the season, and shuffled constantly for the remainder. I think he handled the season remarkably well.

I recall him expressing his preferences in order: 1. play 3B for the Tigers; 2. play any other position for the Tigers; and 3. play 3B somewhere else if the Tigers wouldn’t have him. He never refused to play were they asked him to including, as I remember OF, 3B, and C (not exactly close-relatives positionally). He always framed his concern with playing catcher in terms of the extra attention he needed to devote to preparing and calling a game being detrimental to his (already low-ish) production at the plate.

billfer June 16, 2009 at 6:32 pm

He did gripe and I was turned off by it. He asked to be traded, which is why he was on the block.

Mat June 16, 2009 at 7:06 pm

He griped and being traded wasn’t a real option with his contract. Of course, he could have taken less money if he really wanted it…

Andre in Chi June 16, 2009 at 9:06 pm

My bad on not remembering the trade request. Part of me still wants to say that he handled the season relatively well.

JAY RC June 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Oh I forgot
The board on this website is superior!

Sorry I dropped in to have an opinion

You are right
Inge and his .239 line is sure to get him a statue in comerica

Ryan P. June 16, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Nobody said he was getting a statue, and a player’s career BA has absolutely nothing to do with his chances to make the all-star game.

Mat June 16, 2009 at 5:57 pm

Nothing has anything to do with it. Career BA is just as valid as this season’s to-date BA. MLB doesn’t define the criteria, so its what you want it to be, even if its mustache length. In which department, BTW, Inge is a total failure.

Ryan P. June 16, 2009 at 6:09 pm

Inge isn’t going to be voted in, and while MLB doesn’t define criteria for the reserves either, I’m going out on a limb and assuming that Maddon has at least half a brain and isn’t going to choose the roster based on career BA.

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I think you could be surprised; I have a feeling Inge is more highly regarded by opposing players and managers than he is by fans.

billfer June 16, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Now you’re being ridiculous

David June 16, 2009 at 7:13 pm

You’ve got a problem. Did Inge eat one of your babies? Or kick your dog?

And the statue thing is a whole other deal. If he could hit like Pujols or even Ichiro and keep his fielding then we’d be talking about it. But he is never going to get one of those, not even close.

Speaking of statues Sam Crawford and Harry Heilmann deserve one each wayyyyyyyy over Willie Horton, but this is another argument entirely.

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Probably; but I’m all for honoring the living first, and for many of the fans Willie is a big part of their memories, and the statue has more of an effect (“wow that really looks like ‘ol Wahoo Sam” being an unlikely occurence)…

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm

I’ve been looking at the pitch count stats more, and it actually raises my opinion of Inge. Pitch counts are a funny thing because it clearly benefits a team when the lineup runs up opposing pitch counts (look at Tampa Bays or Boston’s pitch count-offensive stats); on the other hand it is just as clearly to the hitter’s advantage to swing at the 1st pitch; the deeper in the count you go the worse your odds for getting a hit become, and once you get 2 strikes you’ve got a problem. So there is a built-in tension here–what’s good for the team vs what’s good for each individual AB.

The Tigers are notoriously bad at seeing pitches, varying from worst to next-to-worst all season, with only two players above AL avg in pitches per plate appearance, Inge and Granderson. I don’t believe this is coincidental; i think both players view this as one of their roles in the offense (I think it’s noteworthy that when Granderson is 5th vs leadoff, he sees fewer pitches and hits better). The difference really stands out when you look between the total avg and the 1st pitch swinging.

Inge begins a ridiculously high 58% of his AB with an 0-1 count. Nonetheless, he swings at a lower % of his 0-1 pitches than anyone on the team — also at a lower % of his 1-0 pitches than anyone on the team. Consequently he ends up hitting with 2-strikes 54% of his AB, easily highest on the team. He also sees more 3-2 counts than anyone on the team. And more 2-2 counts, and…well pretty much more of any count. In fact not many Tigers regularly see a 3RD PITCH in their ABs:
% ABs with more than 2 pitches:

Inge 83%
Granderson 79%
Ordonez 66%
Cabrera 64%
Polanco 62%

Where would the Tigers offense be without Inge and Granderson? Would we ever even see relief pitchers? Inge has already seen 200 pitches more than Polanco this season. This is something that benefits the team more than it does Inge or Granderson, and I feel it should be noted. (Also, just maybe, if you’re really interested in making opposing pitchers work more, maybe the guy drawing the most pitches should bat more often? And might help out with those quick 1st innings too…)

David June 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Anyone

If you were rating Inge on a scale of 1-100 on these categories how would you rate him?

100 being tops in the league
50 being average
1 being not worthy of A ball

Contact vs RHP
Power vs RHP
Contact vs LHP
Power vs LHP
Patience
Pure Speed
Quickness
Bunting Ability
Base-running Ability
Range (in the field – laterally and back and forth)
Instincts
Throwing Strength
Throwing Accuracy
Fielding
Durability (ie Injury Risk)

Anyone can answer

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I don’t know if I could really rate him vs the league, but it’s obvious he kills LH pitching (.340 BA, 7 HR in 53 AB), and just as obvious that he isn’t going to see much, since our line-up draws the RHP matchups. (I still haven’t figured out why the Pirates brought in a lefty reliever when the 1st batter up was Inge, they deserved to give up the HR). Consequently his RHP stats aren’t going to be as good as his overall stats, so you’d have to downgrade him there.

It’s not one of the categories, but I think he fields pop flies as well or better than any player I’ve ever seen, period (the one in LF opening day, numerous in-the-stands leaps, and one incredible one from behind the plate vs Seattle where he made a sliding catch all the way out near the 1st base coach box).

Baserunning I’d give him mixed reviews–he’s generally a good baserunner, with decent speed, but he does get thrown out a lot (not a good SB-CS ratio).

Coleman June 16, 2009 at 7:18 pm

I meant to add as a tangent to the above: of our league-leading 66 GIDPs, 18 were hit on 1st pitches and 17 on 2nd pitches, which doubles the pitch-count problem (only 1-2 pitch AB, plus the DP costs an AB on top of that).

Maggie July 8, 2009 at 9:22 pm

I love Brandon Inge!!!!!!

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