Thursday, April 27, 2006

Hitting Woes

Going into the season, most Tiger fans felt that hitting would be a strength if the team could stay healthy. At the same time, the pitching staff was filled with question marks. Now, 22 games into the season, the Tigers lead the league in fewest runs allowed per game (3.7) but are 10th in runs per game (4.6).

So what’s the problem with the offense? Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez are healthy and hitting well and the only significant injury has been Dmitri Young’s hamstring. Why are they not scoring runs? The chart below shows how they rank in several key offensive categories:

Table: How the Tigers’ Offense Ranks Among AL teams




Batting Average (BA)



Walks/Plate Appearance (BB/PA)



Isolated Power (ISO)



On Base Percentage (OBP)



Slugging Percentage (SLG)



OBP plus SLG (OPS)



Runs Created Per 27 outs (RC27)



The table shows that, while the Tigers are third in the league in isolated power, they are not getting on base that much – 7th in BA, 11th in BB/PA and 8th in OBP. Who’s not getting on base? Craig Monroe is batting .215 with an OBP of .259. The designated hitter position (Dmitri Young, Marcus Thames, Alexis Gomez, etc) is batting .224/.275. Fan favorite Placido Polanco is batting .289 but has only one walk and a .302 OBP. Those are not the only ones who need to do better but they are the biggest culprits so far.

The other thing that the table shows is that the Tigers do not seem to be scoring as much as they should given their offensive performance. They have 4.96 RC27 but have actually scored only 4.55 runs per game. Why are they not getting more out of their offensive output? One reason is that they are not hitting well with runners in scoring position (RISP). With RISP, the Tigers are batting .231/.304/.356. This is much worse than their performance without RISP: .279/.330/.489. I won’t get into individuals here because the sample sizes are too small. I’ll just say that that, as a team, they are not hitting well enough with runners in scoring position.

Since the pitching will almost surely slow down soon, the Tigers are going to have to score more runs. This means they’ll need to get on base more and they’ll need to come through with runners in scoring position.

1 comment:

  1. Me too. The last two games have been fun to watch.



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