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Written by Matt Snyder | 20 June 2012

MiguelCabreraWe need to be very careful whenever we discuss advanced defensive metrics, such as UZR (click here for a UZR explanation), when the sample size is small. Conventional wisdom says three years of defensive data is as reliable as one year of offensive data (due to factors such as number of fielding opportunities and the limitations in available batted ball data), so our current 67 game sample on Miguel Cabrera would be akin to 22 games worth of batting numbers.*

So we obviously can’t make any “true talent level” claims based on this small data set, but we also can’t say that UZR tells us what has happened so far this year. All we can discuss is what UZR has recorded as having happened so far this year. The distinction may seem small, but it’s important.

*We know that 22 games of batting data is full of noise due to random variation. For example, Ramon Santiago hit .163/.208/.224 through his first 22 games this season. Since then (29 games), he’s hit .284/.392/.388. Are either of those stretches his true talent level? No. In fact, we probably get closest if we just average the whole year together to get his .233/.318/.319 line.

But it wouldn’t be fun to simply put aside the data while calling it unreliable would it? Let’s take a look at his UZR data (as reported by FanGraphs) for this season.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 19 June 2012

Ramn_SantiagoThe production the Tigers have received from second basemen* this season has been atrocious. Ryan Raburn, Brandon Inge, Danny Worth, Ramon Santiago and Hernan Perez have combined to hit just .187/.256/.264 in 363 total plate appearances.

*None of these players, with the exception of Perez is only a small handful of games, played second base exclusively for the Tigers this season, but they’re the players that have been in the mix at the position, so I’m lumping their batting totals together. This represents their total hitting line, not just while playing second base (Inge’s totals only represents his time in Detroit this year).

I’m sure Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers’ scouts have second basemen on their radar ahead of July 31’s non-waiver trade deadline, but I can also imagine that it would be difficult for the organization to pull the trigger on a move for a couple of reasons.

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Written by Brian Buckey | 18 June 2012

Max_Scherzer_pictureThe Tigers have been rolling of late. Winners of seven out of the last ten games, Detroit won its third straight series after beating the Colorado Rockies 5-0 in the series finale on Sunday. The lone blemish in the series came in the first game when the Rockies exploded for eight runs in the top of the 10th inning in a 12-4 win.

Aside from the one disastrous inning the Tigers’ pitching was dominant allowing only six other runs during the three-game series. The Tigers are now just two games under .500 with a record of 32-34. They made up ground on both the White Sox and Indians. After both teams lost on Sunday the Tigers trail the division leading White Sox by 3 games and the Indians by 1.5 games.  

Here are some of the top performers from the Rockies series:

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Written by Matt Snyder | 14 June 2012

I had the opportunity on Thursday night to chat with Dave Mitchell of UltimateSportsTalk on his weekly BBA Baseball Talk radio show (hosted by BlogTalkRadio). Our topics included the Prince Fielder signing, Mike Ilitch's desire to field a winner, Jose Valverde, the second base problem, injuries, infield defense, Victor Martinez's prognosis, Jim Leyland's smoking habit, and the Central Division race.

Feel free to check out both of the websites linked above, and listen to the show (embeded below or via download). My segment starts at about the 30:30 mark, and lasts about 15 or 16 minutes.


Listen to internet radio with Ivie League Prod on Blog Talk Radio

Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 14 June 2012

JustinVerlanderThe Tigers defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-3 on Thursday afternoon to take the series and lift their record to 30-33. The Tigers were supposed to shred the American League Central en route to their second consecutive division crown, but this series win, after taking the series from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend, marks only the second time this season that the Tigers have won back-to-back series.

In fact, we have to go all the way back to April 12 to remember this feeling. The Tigers swept the Boston Red Sox to open the year, then took two of three from the Rays, and then pretty much fell off the radar. They’ve won a few series in the mean time, and even swept a couple of them, but they hadn’t put back-to-back wins together in those 17 series.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 14 June 2012

Ryan_RaburnI’ve seen a lot of overreaction by Tigers fans across the net to Ryan Raburn’s recall from the minor leagues. He hadn’t hit well in Detroit, he hadn’t hit well in Toledo, but many feared that the skipper would automatically pencil him back into the lineup the moment he returned to the locker room.

Hopefully Jim Leyland put some of those fear to rest today when he announced to the press that Raburn wouldn’t be taking over at second base. Chris Iott of MLive has the tweet:

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Written by Matt Snyder | 14 June 2012

RyanRaburn2Blisters seem like the silliest injuries for pitchers, where we usually think of elbow or shoulder damage, but they’re incredibly tough to deal with, especially when they’re as large as the one Drew Smyly developed during his last start on Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds.

So Smyly and the Tigers have no choice but to let the finger blister rest and heal over before he can resume throwing. Detroit will make his DL stint retroactive to June 11, so he’ll be eligible to pitch again on June 26. Smyly’s immediate replacement in the rotation hasn’t been announced, but I think the hope is that Doug Fister will be feeling well enough with his side strain to be activated in time to pitch on Saturday.

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