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Brennan Boesch, Alex Avila among best and worst Tigers at getting the run home

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There are a couple of ways to figure out who does a good job getting the run home and who doesn't. The one you hear most often is a recitation of a player's batting average with runners in scoring position, or maybe how many RBIs they have. It's simple and easy to understand.

Let's see how some of the Tigers are doing this year, through Sunday's games.

Tigers with the highest batting avg with runners in scoring position

Player Average RBI
Miguel Cabrera .500 (19-for-38) 28
Austin Jackson .321 (9-for-24) 7
Brennan Boesch
.313 (5-for-16) 9


No real surprises there. Cabrera and Jackson have the highest two batting averages in the American League right now. That they are able to get hits when there's a runner on second or third is no surprise. By the way, if you prefer to use on-base percentage -- as avoiding making outs is pretty important, no? -- Johnny Damon moves into second but the above are still all in the top four.

Tigers with the lowest batting avg with runners in scoring position

Player Average RBI
Alex Avila
.000 (0-for-14)
0
Gerald Laird
.050 (1-for-20) 0
Adam Everett
.125 (1-for-8) 1

And really, no surprises here either. All three players have struggled to get on base, period.

But the statistic I prefer to look at when deciding how well a batter does at getting a runner home from scoring position is the one that tell us just that. Batted In %. Of all the runners on second base when a player was up to bat, how many scored as a result of that plate appearance? Pretty intuitive, really.

So here we go. The batters who do the best job at getting runners home (source: Baseball Propectus):

Best BI% with runner on second base

Player Runners scored from second Runners on second
BI%
Brennan Boesch 4 15 26.7%
Miguel Cabrera 10 38 26.3%
Carlos Guillen 5 20 25%

Best BI% with runner on third base

Player Runners scored from third Runners on third
BI%
Miguel Cabrera 13 21 61.9%
Austin Jackson 3 7 42.9%
Brennan Boesch
3 7 42.9%

These confirm what we knew, of course. Cabrera, Jackson and Boesch have been good at getting the run home. I don't know what the average or above-average production would look like but I have to believe Cabrera would be pretty high up on the list. By the way, in fourth place for getting the runner home from second base? Don Kelly at 2-for-11 (18.2 percent). Magglio Ordonez and Ryan Raburn are also in the top five for one or both of the above lists.

Worst BI% with runner on second base

Player Runners scored Runners Total Percentage
Gerald Laird
0 20 0%
Alex Avila 0 12 0%
Ramon Santiago 1 17 5.9%


Note I drew the cutoff line at 10 runners minimum. You can add Adam Everett to the list for scoring none of seven runners, however.

Worst BI% with runner on third base

Player Runners scored Runners Total Percentage
Alex Avila 0 8 0%
Gerald Laird 0 7 0%
Brandon Inge 3 15 20%

And no surprises in these two charts either. Avila, Laird, Inge and Everett have really struggled at the late, and it shows up whether there are runners on base or not. In any case, it's amazing just how bad the Tigers' catchers are doing. Don Kelly is 0-fer at getting the runner home from third but only had four opportunities. Besides, I figured you'd be curious about Inge.

In all these stats, we have to remember they are not great predictors of the future because of the small number of at-bats taken in these situations. Tracking this from Saturday through Monday, I saw 10 or 15 percent movements from some players. But the names remained largely the same.

But what we can see: The Tigers' run-scoring has been driven mostly by the top five in the lineup, while the bottom four have struggled pretty badly. Detroit will need for some of them to step up, obviously, as it seems unrealistic to expect even Cabrera to continue at quite that level of success, while Jackson's success has been helped by a BABIP that remains greater than .500. The offense is just so rookie-driven, it makes me a bit nervous going forward.