Here is a look at how the Tigers rank among American League teams in various offensive categories through games of June 1st, after 54 games.
|On Base Pct||.347||First||.335||2nd|
|ISO (Isolated power)||.153||11th||.154||10th|
|Extra base hits||167||9th||481||7th|
|Caught Stealing||3||Last (Best)
|Stolen Base Pct||86%||First||72%||10th|
|Hit by pitch||5||15th||57||5th|
*To get the pace that the Tigers are on, multiply the 2013 number by 3. For example, 61 Home Runs x 3 = 183. The Tigers are on pace for 183 Home Runs. Note that Detroit has played fewer games than some teams in 2013.
So what do these numbers tell us so far?
- The Tigers are scoring plenty of runs. In fact, the offense leads the league in hits, batting average, and on base percentage.
- Detroit has both the third best BB rate and the second lowest K rate, giving them the second best BB/ K ratio in the league.
- The club led the league in grounding into double plays last year, but they have dropped all the way down to 9th this season, actually a bit below the league average.
- The Tigers are dead last in stolen bases, but at least they're smart enough to know when to run, leading the league in stolen base percentage at 86%.
- The power numbers are in the middle of the pack, but the team is on pace for more homers and doubles, though fewer triples than in 2012.
Now, let's break down offensive performance by defensive position. We all know where the issues were in 2012.
|Catcher||.288/ 12th||.681/ 14th|
|First Base||.375/ 4th||.865/ 6th|
|Second Base||.303/ 8th||.694/ 7th|
|Third Base||.434/ First||1.027/ First|
|Shortstop||.345/ First||.799/ First|
|Right Field||.345/ 6th||.786/ 6th|
|Center Field||.306/ 10th||.687/ 11th|
|Left Field||.320/ 10th||.716/ 12th|
|Designated Hitter||.264/ 15th||.601/ 15th|
|Pinch Hitter||*||.665/ 6th|
|Team Total||.339/ 3rd||.778/ 3rd|
So, the Tigers are getting excellent production out of third base and shortstop. They have gotten poor offense out of their catcher, left field, and the DH. Right field and first base are above average, and the rest are toward the middle of the pack. Yet they score more runs than any team in the league.
Tiger pinch hitters are hitting just .194, but that's the league average for PH, and the OPS is well above average.
Now, let's look at some situational splits. I promise this is the last chart, for your sake and mine. Just the AL rankings.
Note that there have been only 52 AB's with the bases loaded, an unreliable sample size, but I have to satisfy curiosity nonetheless. Otherwise, the Tigers are productive across the board in all situations, other than the one we mentioned in this article. Detroit is last in Avg and OPS in the late innings, from the seventh inning on.
Offense is about scoring runs, and the Tigers are scoring at a league leading pace, over three quarters of a run better than last year's pace, which wasn't too shabby.
What these numbers do not show, but should be plain to most observers, is the fact that the Tigers offense can be a feast or famine operation. One day, they put up double digit runs, and the next day they're being shut down by a mediocre finesse pitcher.
The Tigers have been shut out five times, and in games where they score three runs or less, they're 2- 17.
They also struggle in the late innings to score runs, as we wrote about in this article. Just a total of eight runs in the ninth inning, and the Tigers are 2- 6 in extra inning games. I'm still at a loss to explain that phenomenon.