I want to preface this by saying I love the Tigers. Always have, always will. This season honestly hasn't been that terrible, we Tigers fans that saw 2003 can attest that this is nothing compared to that all encompassing, apocalyptic tempest of a team that pretended to play in 2003. I'd call them a dumpster fire, but that's insulting to dumpster fires.
Regardless, the team this year wasn't good. It was bad, but it wasn't as miserable as many of us thought it would be. Beginning this season, I wanted the team to not lose 100 games. Knock on wood, I don't think they will. The team has some intriguing pieces, and 2019 might be a fun year for the Tigers. Hell, the 2018 Athletics were supposed to be miserable, and haven't they surprised us all?
That being said though, this team has had some good moments, and has played reasonably competitive baseball. Lets take a look at some highlights and some low lights of the 2018 season.
BEST TIGERS PITCHER
I'm going to go off script a bit, and say.... BLAINE HARDY.
That's right. Come fight me bro. I'm going with Blaine Hardy. Why? Because this Tigers team was held together by Elmer's glue, especially the pitching staff. Blaine came with almost no expectations, to MAYBE fill a few spot starts and eat some innings while presumably getting knocked around like a dingy in a storm.
Instead, he pitched the 6th most innings on the team, with a respectable 3.70 ERA and 82+ innings. His stuff is underwhelming, but he manages none the less. His simple approach, genuine appreciation of the game, and grit was a welcome blast of fresh air. His great season reminded me of Quintin Berry and Matt Tuiasposoposaillasopapa. A guy that has little on his shoulders, but brings real heart and energy to a team that really needed it.
The highlight of his season was his FANTASTIC performance on August 3 against a stacked Oakland lineup. Taking a no hitter into the 7th inning, B-Dizzle's final line was 7 innings, six strikeouts, with a walk and a hit allowed.
Gotta love em.
A much safer pick, I have to go with Victor Martinez.
HA. Gotcha. No, its Nicholas Castellanos.
This is pretty straightforward, he led the team in hits, home runs, OPS, and pretty much every offensive statistic minus walks (Candelario) and triples (Jacoby Jones).
Nick is starting to really look like a valuable piece to keep in the long term. I'd love for him to stay long term.
He also loves his bubble gum.
Needs to work on not getting gum in his goatee. Otherwise, solid season.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Its Jeimer Candelario. Its tempting to give it to Niko Goodrum, simply because he lacked any expectations, but Nike was a total black hole on defense.
The Candy Man led the team in walks with 69, and led rookies in home runs with 19. He displayed serviceable defense and an excellent approach at the plate with an OPS of .723, which is about league average. Not bad for a rookie.
Go ahead. Give yourself a hand Candy Man.
EDIT: He's "technically" not a rookie, which is a mistake that I should have noted, but c'mon people I needed something to work with.
BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE YEAR
I'll give it to Niko Goodrum. No expectations, poor previous performances with the Twins, he looked like he was on his way out of baseball. Instead, he's likely earned himself a modest payday next season with some team.
There is always something really inspiring to see a guy who's spent years languishing in the minors not only get his chance to reach the bigs and stick, but to thrive.
Good on you Goodrum.
BEST SINGLE PLAY
Well theres, ah.....
Well. Hell. Nothing this year really stuck out this year.
So here, Victor Reyes making a really good catch.
BEST WALK UP SONG
It will always belong to Josh Reddick and his immaculate choice in Careless Whisper by WHAM!
There is no debate or other opinions. I don't care if he's "technically" not a Tiger. He's played in Comerica. Close enough.
BEST TIGER POSITION PLAYER
Nicholas Castellanos. For aforementioned reasons. I don't really even see that much competition from anyone else to be honest. He's been hands down the best.
BEST "I CAN PLAY ANYWHERE" GUY
This category can best be described as follows.
Only Niko has been any good. Rodriguez hasn't hit or played good defense, Jacoby has stuck to the outfield... and that's all I got.
Besides, the Patron Saint of this category has and forever will be:
*indicates that both best and reliever are insanely relative. Relative to the following image.
Oh lordy. What a cavalcade of wretchedness. What? The Tigers have a suspect bullpen? YOU DON'T SAY! It feels like this has been a constant theme over the years. Hopefully
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 will be better.
Hell, Dumpster Fire isn't enough. This is the current Tiger Bullpen
I'll say Joe Jimenez. On account that everyone else SUCKS or has too few innings.
Joe has pitched 61 innings, struck out 76, and has at stretches looked totally unhittable. Both him and Greene have been leaned on heavily, and the wear and tear has likely diminished some of their effectiveness.
Overall, Jimenez has excellent stuff, has had good control, and has displayed a great ability to bounce back from tough losses.
PROSPECT I'M MOST TOTALLY NETTLED FOR BRO
Christin Stewart. Apparently its not Christian, which I've totally been calling him for years without knowing.
He's looked solid at the plate, and doesn't look at all over-matched. He's walked, hit for power, and played... ok defense. So far. He looks to stick next year.
And that swing, man oh man that's pretty.
I've always disliked a lot of baseball nicknames, as they are often super un-original. For Example
Mike Moustakas (Moose)
Miguel Cabrera (Miggy)
Eric Hosmer (Hoz)
Nicholas Castellanos (Nicky)
WEAK. WEAK WEAK WEAK.
My favorite overall is clearly Bartolo Colon aka Big Sexy. He's a glorious mountain of congealed sex appeal, and I won't hear otherwise.
Lordy lord. Control your wild lust people, he's married.
Regardless, I'm going to go with Zach "Rosin-Bagger" Reininger. Its unique, its funny, and it clearly has a story about it. Its not contrived or forced.
Too bad Zach hasn't had more success. I'd love to hear it more often.
WORST UMPIRE CALL
Nothing this year really stuck out in my mind as especially egregious, so lets go old school to on e of the absolute worst calls in game history. Without question.
Jim Joyce blew it. Totally blew it. He later apologized and seemed genuinely and deeply remorseful. Galarraga took it with grace, and the world moved on.
A history ruining call.
WORST SINGLE PLAY
Matt Hall's performance on September 15 against the Indians. The less said the better.
WORST WEATHER RELATED DISASTER
I don't get this one. Like, rain delays?
I'm going to go with a "nature related disaster", with the villainous traitor-ism of this fellow
The Rally Squirrel betrayed its home team and aided the Cardinals to a 5-2 victory on the 9th of September.
THE WORST "THEY SHOULDA WON THAT ONE" GAME
September 3. Shane Greene turned a fantastic 9th inning rally into a 4-2 loss by allowing three hits, two of which left the yard.
It was damned embarrassing. Shane does have quite the mane however.
Majestic. His smile, however, leaves much to be worked on.
WORST PLAYER'S WEEKEND NICKNAME
Nicholas Castellanos AKA.... Nick.
Really pushing the envelope there, Nick.
Its been an ok year. On an unrelated note, I'm attaching an unrelated poll on an issue I'm debating with a friend. I've had fun with this. Go Tigers.