Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cobb and Everyone Else in Center

Today, I'll continue the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) series using Sean Smith's WAR database to rank Tigers center fielders. Other parts of the series including an explanation of WAR can be found in theWAR folder.

The fact that Ty Cobb dominates Tigers center fielders with 153.7 WAR (Table 1) comes to no surprise to anyone. What is interesting is that no other player has accumulated that many WAR for one team. Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds have more total WAR than Cobb but their WAR was more divided among different teams.

Following Cobb are Chester Lemon (27.6 WAR), Curtis Granderson (19.2) and Jimmy Barrett (14.9). If you are unfamiliar with early Tigers history, Barrett was an original Tiger playing 589 games from 1901-1905. He is considered by some historians to be the first Tigers star.

Table 2 shows that Cobb leads by a huge margin in WAR per 600 plate appearances (WAR600). His 7.8 WAR is almost twice as high as Granderson (4.02), the second place center fielder. It may surprise some fans that Granderson has the 17th highest lifetime WAR600 among Tigers.

Table 1: Top Ten Tigers Center Fielders by WAR

Player

PA

WAR

Tyrus Cobb

11,824

153.7

Chester Lemon

4,629

27.6

Curtis Granderson

2,867

19.2

Jimmy Barrett

2,589

14.9

Hoot Evers

3,054

12.6

Mickey Stanley

5,401

11.9

Heinie Manush

2,293

11.8

Barney McCosky

2,674

11.3

Gee Walker

3,206

11.2

Ron Leflore

3,532

11.1



Table 2: Top Five Tigers Left Center by WAR600

Player

PA

WAR600

Tyrus Cobb

11,824

7.80

Curtis Granderson

2,867

4.02

Chester Lemon

4,629

3.58

Jimmy Barrett

2,589

3.45

Heinie Manush

2,293

3.09

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Rodney Signs with Angels

Fernando Rodney signed a two year $11 million deal with the Angels today. After saving 37 games in 38 opportunities for the Tigers in 2009, he will have a different role in California. He'll be the set up man for left-handed closer Brian Fuentes.

I always thought Rodney was under appreciated by Tigers fans. He was never a great pitcher but he was good when healthy. He played an important role during the pennant winning 2006 season helping Joel Zumaya set up closer Todd Jones. Rodney compiled a 3.52 ERA in 63 games that year.

In 2009, Fernando had 4.40 ERA in 73 games but that was inflated by a few really bad outings in non-save situations. When the save was on the line last year, he came through 97% of the time. He also finished 8th among American League relievers in Win Probability Added, a statistic which gives pitchers more credit for higher pressure innings. The Tigers would not have made it to game 163 without the work of Rodney.

Like him or dislike him, Rodney had style. We'll remember the short (for a pitcher) stocky righty strutting around the mound wearing his hat crooked like a tough guy. Some complained about the cap and I don't usually like that sort of thing but it somehow fit Rodney. It went well with his sinister goatee and the seemingly uninterested expression on his face, win or lose. Beneath the cool exterior though, you sensed from the beads of sweat rolling off his face that he was a competitor, who did care.


The Tigers have now lost Rodney, Brandon Lyon, Curtis Granderson, Placido Polanco, Edwin Jackson, and Marcus Thames since the end of the season. Fans are looking forward to the new young players - Max Scherzer, Scott Sizemore, Alex Avila, Austin Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, to name a few. And there is every reason for us to be excited by such a promising group. Still the departing veterans will be missed and may not be replaced as easily as some think.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Veach Heads List of Tigers Left Fielders

Today, we'll continue the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) series using Sean Smith's WAR database to rank Tigers left fielders. Other parts of the series including an explanation of WAR can be found in theWAR folder.

The Tigers have had some outstanding outfielders over the years - Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Sam Crawford to name a few. One outfielder, who doesn't receive a great deal of attention, is Bobby Veach, the Tigers leading left fielder with 42.7 WAR (Table 1). Veach starred for the Tigers from 1912-1923 but was overshadowed by the great Cobb. His two best years were 1917 (6.5 WAR) and 1919 (6.6 WAR).

Behind Veach were Willie Horton (25.0), Bobby Higginson (21.4), and Charlie Maxwell (18.9). Higginson gets a bad rap from many Tigers fans but it needs to be remembered that he had some good years before his career soured at the end. He had four years of 120 OPS+ or better between 1996 and 2001.

Table 2 shows that Veach also leads in WAR per 600 plate appearances (WAR600) but just barely, 3.91 to 3.90 over Rocky Colavito. After leading the Indians in home runs in 1959, Colavito was traded to the Tigers for batting champion Harvey Kuenn before the 1960 season. Rocky proceeded to provide strong slugging and solid defense for the Tigers from 1960-1963.

Table 1: Top Ten Tigers Left Fielders by WAR

Player

PA

WAR

Bobby Veach

6,544

42.7

Willie Horton

5,923

25.0

Bobby Higginson

5,596

21.4

Charlie Maxwell

3,112

18.9

Rocky Colavito

2,691

17.5

Matty McIntyre

3,346

17.0

Steve Kemp

2,892

14.2

Dick Wakefield

2,489

13.3

Fats Fothergill

2,611

12.3

Davy Jones

2,462

11.2



Table 2: Top Five Tigers Left Fielders by WAR600

Player

PA

WAR600

Bobby Veach

6,544

3.91

Rocky Colavito

2,691

3.90

Charlie Maxwell

3,112

3.64

Dick Wakefield

2,489

3.21

Matty McIntyre

3,346

3.04

Sabermetrics Book

Sabermetrics Book
One of Baseball America's top ten books of 2010

Blog Archive

Subscribe

501 Baseball Books

501 Baseball Books
Recommended by Tiger Tales

Stat Counter

Site Meter