There is no way to put this gently: the 2019 Detroit Tigers are terrible. As of Friday morning, they are now locked into a losing record with 82 losses — the earliest in the year they have clinched this odious honor on recent record — and the first major league team to do so this season. The team has managed to win three of their past seven games, so there has been something to cheer about lately, but on the whole, this an ugly campaign for the boys in the Olde English D.
“(S)tared into some pretty darks stats for this one.”
— Jay Jaffe
This article from FanGraphs by the above quoted author breaks down exactly what is wrong with the current club and whether or not these timid Tigers can threaten all-time futility records. And when you look at the numbers, it is hard not to fathom that this team just might take the title of Worst Team Ever.
On offense, the Tigers are producing putrid numbers in both traditional and advanced metrics. They are either last in the American League or last in the majors in pretty much every category that counts, and not a single hitter has posted above a 100 wRC+ in 50 or more plate appearances; Nicholas Castellanos had, but he is now with the Chicago Cubs.
The Tigers Might Be Historically Bad https://t.co/v8wlkGFzBb— FanGraphs Baseball (@fangraphs) August 15, 2019
The defense has been a dumpster fire as well, with the team in 27th place overall in a few categories: defensive efficiency (.671), UZR (-22.1), and DRS (-54). And JaCoby Jones has not helped the cause, posting the lowest UZR among center fielders in the majors leagues, and has fallen precipitously in many other metrics. The rest of the team has also posted some pretty awful stats with their gloves, which combined with the poor offense has resulted in some very ugly WAR numbers.
On the pitching side, while Matthew Boyd, Spencer Turnbull and Daniel Norris have all done a decent job providing stability at the top of the rotation, the rest of the staff has been a rotating circus show complete with a clown car traveling between Toledo and Detroit as well as a calliope endlessly playing carnival music. The 5.68 runs allowed per game is fourth-worst in the majors, and the starters sit at No. 26 with an ERA of 5.28, though their FIP is ranked 16th at 4.65 and cumulative WAR is right in the middle at No. 14. The bullpen, however, has been just as bad as the eye test would suggest.
With the staff as a whole giving up that many runs while the offense is unable to score nearly as many, and a defense that cannot protect their pitcher, you pretty much have a perfect recipe for disaster. And a disaster is what has been witnessed, both on the field and on paper.
Miggy is not giving up easily
Despite the losing, the injuries and some of the recent negativity surrounding him, Miguel Cabrera is not giving up. Hobbled by a wonky knee, he can no longer play defense at first base, relying on his hand-eye coordination and his upper body to produce at the plate. But he is still moving forward despite the state of the team in the standings.
While his power is all but gone, Cabrera has remained a serviceable singles and doubles hitter who can still make good contact and drive a few runners across the plate. He also has a couple of round numbers not far in the future that drive him: he is only 26 home runs away from 500 and 213 hits away from 3,000, both major milestones for a Hall of Fame career.
Once in a while, we get a glimpse of vintage Cabrera, and those are moments to treasure.
Tigers farm system valued at $219 million
FanGraphs also added their most recent farm system valuations to their public database, which assigns a dollar value to prospects based on their future value grades and summates them for each team. The Tigers landed at No. 12 on the list, with a value of $219 million at an average of $6.1 million per player. They currently sit nestled between the Cleveland Indians and the Baltimore Orioles, with values of $220 million and $217 million, respectively.
Around the horn
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