Sparky Anderson always said to wait until after 40 games into the season before taking stock of your team. This year, Tiger management isn’t showing a lot of patience with players who aren’t getting the job done, at least as far as the bullpen is concerned, and they're not at all hesitant to run the buses up and down I-75 to Toledo. I’m not going to wait, either.
Here is a look at how the Tigers rank among American League teams in various categories after April's 25 games. We'll focus this segment on the lineup.
|On Base Pct||.348||First||.335||2nd|
|ISO (Isolated power)||.133||13th||.154||10th|
|Extra base hits||71||11th||481||7th|
|Caught Stealing||1||Last||23||Last (best)|
|Hit by pitch||5||15th||57||5th|
*To get the pace that the Tigers are on, multiply the 2013 number by 6.48. For example, 6 triples x 6.48 = 38.88. The Tigers are on pace for 39 triples. Note that not all teams have played the same number of games in 2013.
So what do we know from these numbers? Well, the Tigers get plenty of hits, and plenty of walks, but they’re not hitting for much power so far this season, so they’re just fourth in the league in runs scored.
On the bases, the Tigers are well down the list, as you might expect, in stolen bases, but they have swiped nine out of ten and have the highest success rate in the league, being caught just once. Of course, steals are just one part of base running and we can probably attribute the gap between getting on base and scoring runs to both a lack of home runs and doubles, as well as some of the guys not being fleet afoot.
Some other points of interest:
- The Tigers are on pace for 230 more hits for the season than in 2012, but fewer doubles and home runs.
- The club led the league in grounding into double plays last year, but they have dropped all the way down to 10th this season.
- Detroit leads the league in making contact and has the second lowest strikeout rate in the league.
- The Tigers led the league in triples last season, aided by the expansive grounds of Comerica Park. They’re on pace for the same number, 39, this season.
I won’t bother to speculate whether the power numbers set a trend for this season. Only time will tell. Suffice it to say that the same gap was there last season, when the team was near the top of the league in average and on-base percentage, but sixth in runs scored.
At the end of the day, offense is about scoring runs, and the Tigers better hitting, slightly less powerful lineup is on pace for 828 runs, which would have led the league last season. Other teams are on a better pace in the early going, but the overall run production is good. An injection of power could really boost the offense into high gear.