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The Legend of Granderson Grows

Curtis Granderson has done everything a player could possibly do to exceed Tigers fans pre-season expectations so far. He has been a catalyst at the plate, leading game winning rallys by getting big hits or simply just getting on base. He has also been exceptional in the field this season, making things look almost too simple in centerfield.

But in comparison how good is Curtis Granderson compared to the other typical "leadoff" hitters in the league? I guess you have to figure out how the typical "leadoff" hitter is measured to find this out. The stereotype of a solid hitter batting in the first spot is one that takes a lot of pitches, draws walks, gets on base however possible. This player will get a lot of extra base hits as well and will perhaps even steal some bases to create runs.

One way that a leadoff hitter, or any hitter for that matter, can be measured is by the use of the RPG (runs/game) statistic. This statistic will measure approx how many runs a lineup consisting of 9 of a certain player will score per game. To find this number, certain stats are taken into account:

Batters are rated on FIVE CATEGORIES:
(1) RUNS SCORED
(2) ONBASE (hits+walks+hbp)
(3) TOTAL BASES
(4) RUNS BATTED IN
(5) (SB * SB)/SBA
where SBA = SB + CS

A sixth category, OPS is listed at the end of each player line. OPS = OnBaseAverage + SluggingAverage

Note that the category ONBASE is simply the following measurement of the batter's onbase total: (H + W + HBP) And OUTS is simply (AB - H + CS)


Using this stat to judge a players real-life offensive value, where does Grandy rank among the typical "leadoff hitters" in major league baseball? Here's the list of the top 5 in the AL through yesterday, June 25th:
  1. Kevin Youkilis, BOS - 8.29 RPG
  2. Alex Rios, TOR - 7.36 RPG
  3. Ichiro, SEA - 7.24 RPG
  4. Grady Sizemore, CLE - 7.06 RPG
  5. Curtis Granderson, DET - 6.84 RPG
So, a lineup consisting of only Curtis Granderson batting 9 times would create 6.84 runs per game, a very solid number. It's the best on the Tigers actually with Magglio Ordonez coming in a close second. In fact, here are the Tigers top 5:
  1. Granderson - 6.84
  2. Ordonez - 6.71
  3. Guillen - 6.19
  4. Shelton - 5.67
  5. Pudge - 4.82
I have a feeling that this is a very good stat to go by to judge an offensive player's value, although I feel that the true importance of a "leadoff" hitter is somewhat embellished. A guy that bats #1 in the lineup may get an extra at bat during a game and thus more over the course of a season, but comparing these hitters is always a fun thing to do.

As you can see Granderson is a very valuable guy to have htting anywhere in your lineup. He ranks 21st in the league overall in RPG, which is very good for a young guy like him to possess. I think it's safe to say that Curtis Granderson is what the Tigers needed in their lineup and out in centerfield. He is quickly becoming a fan favorite in Detroit, and for good reason. There seems to be nothing but a bright future ahead for the Tigers young CF, and it will be a joy to watch him perhaps become one of the best players in the league.