April 11th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

Tiger's have gotten off to a good start this year. Something they have had trouble with recently. Hopefully they can keep this going and get to the playoffs. Great to see Magglio back to his 2006 form too, that's a huge boost to this ball club.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 6:23 PM ^

Maybe you're forgetting about the .225 he put up over all of last season. Or the fact that he's a career .245 hitter. The guy is not a major league level hitter, it's only his defense that is keeping him afloat....but it only will for so long because of the swiss cheese hole he puts at the bottom of the lineup. Same goes for Everett compared to Santiago. How many innings can these guys kill with their inability to even do simple things like hit sac flies or move runners over when their replacements (Santiago, Avila) seem to do a much better job while being at least marginal in the field? It's annoying.

Edit: If you're going to put a shitty hitter in the lineup, at least let it be a young player who is learning the ropes. Why they continue to waste time with an over-the-hill player who never even made it up the hill in the first place is beyond me.

david from wyoming

April 11th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

No, I'm not forgetting anything. Being a career .245 hitter career average is just about average...for a catcher. Other than the genetic freak of nature that is Joe Mauer, most catchers don't have a lot of offensive prowess. Last year Russell Martin hit .250, Carlos Ruiz hit .255, Ryan Doumit hit .250, Jason Kendall hit .241, Rod Barajas hit .226, Dioner Navarro hit .218. Yes, there are some big name catchers that are good hitters, but once you consider every active catcher in the entire league, and not just the ones you draft in fantasy baseball, Laird is a more-or-less average catcher in baseball.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 7:05 PM ^

but that's about it.

Last year, Laird's rank in the following categories out of the 45 catchers who had at least 200 plate appearances.

Average- 36th
OBP - 30th
SLG - 41st....his SLG was .320! There were 25 catchers with a higher OBP than that last year. That's crazy.
OPS- 40th

I used 200 plate appearances to get some part time players involved. Laird had over 400 last year (13th most in the majors)....so this in effect doubles the amount of crap he laid last season.

To go even further, you named five interesting players. Ruiz, Barajas and Kendall (who is arguably the worst offensive player in baseball and has been for some time) are all excellent defenders....better than Laird. Russell had easily the worst season of his career last year and Doumit was hurt most of last year and also had a career worst output.

I'm not advocating catcher as an offensive necessity, just that it not be a black hole, which with Laird it has been and will likely continue to be. He doesn't hit, and when he does it's basically singles.

Edit: I am probably being a bit too harsh on him, but there's a lot to like about Avila's game and I am hoping he starts to see full time duty soon because he should.

david from wyoming

April 11th, 2010 at 7:24 PM ^

In no way shape or form am I'm trying to make the case that Laird can hit the ball, I just want to re-state that. I do think he is about league average for a catcher, if compared to all the catchers in the league.

I would make the case that just looking at stats from catchers with 200 plate appearances skews the stats. If you could calculate the stat of choice for every catcher, I think Laird would end up more or less in the middle of the pack. A lot of teams rotate through backup catchers or rotate between a few guys that are backup catchers during the season. These platoon guys might get 150 at bats or less, and by selecting only catchers with 200 at bats or more, you can selectivity comparing Laird to the better catchers in the league...because they guys get playing time. Over the course of the entire MLB season, these backup catchers each only get ~100 at bats, but there are a lot of them in total. Guys like Ramon Castro, who is AJ Pierzynsk's backup last year hit well under .200 last year, but in a limited number of at bats.

Also, what method do you use for baseball stats. I look up stats through Baseball-Reference.com, but for debates like this I wish it was more flexible.

Edit: Maybe I'm defending Laird a bit much, but I really think the defense of a catcher and his ability to manage a pitcher is vastly underrated.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 11:40 PM ^

As far as split type stats I use ESPN actually. It's organized and real easy to use. The deeper I go, the more I lean towards BR, and the more saber I get I use Fangraphs.

Even using catchers who only made 75 PA last year (69 players), which is less than 20 games worth, Laird is still near the bottom in most offensive categories. Still almost last in SLG and OPS. His average would be worth the hit if he could provide some kind of power but the combo is awful.

He is a good defender....but I guess my overall point is that he's become such a liability offensively that it's not worth his defensive abilities to keep him in the lineup.

Edit: I've also never been a big fan of the "manages pitchers well" argument either. It might apply in some cases, but the idea is thrown around as if a certain catcher is necessary to a pitcher's success. Like when Varitek finally retires, Beckett and Lester are going to be garbage all of a sudden. Good pitchers will pitch well regardless of who is behind the plate. Young pitchers will eventually turn out if they are bound to turn out...they won't succeed because some catcher held their metaphorical hand as they learned the ropes in the majors.


April 11th, 2010 at 7:33 PM ^

I have never really liked him. About a week ago I heard some type of interview saying that the Tigers' hitting coach had fixed Laird's batting stance and turned him from his usual .240 average into a .270 hitter. Maybe his new stance is a reason for his struggles, but I don't see him ever becoming anywhere close to a .270 hitter.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 8:38 PM ^

You hear this kind of garbage every year though with different players.

Player X lost 20 pounds this offseason.

Player Y had lasik eye surgery.

Player W has a renewed passion for the game.

Player Z is in the best shape of his life (if I had a dime for every article I read this offseason with this as one of the main points, I'd have about $2.20)

I believe Tim Dierkes from MLB Trade Rumors has done a running analysis of any player mentioned in an article with these types of comments and what not. As you would expect, the success ratio doesn't really differ much from players who you don't read this stuff about.

Steve Lorenz

April 11th, 2010 at 2:41 PM ^

Jackson draws another walk today. His development of plate discipline is the only thing keeping him from becoming an elite leadoff hitter IMO. He struggled getting on base a bit in the minors as far as walks go....so it's encouraging to see him draw counts out and eventually get to first.


April 11th, 2010 at 4:43 PM ^

Wow. Didn't see the game, but from Gamecast it seems that Perez totally choked down the stretch. Good patience from Damon or just a bunch of bad pitches?

Blue boy johnson

April 11th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

Cleveland out choked us today I guess.
27 baserunners
18 LOB
This was going to be one of those blown opportunity games, but it turned into an improbable victory. This is what makes baseball so fascinating.


April 11th, 2010 at 7:57 PM ^

what it is not's exactly clear...

PS- I referred to Laird as "Lard" last season and received at least -20 in MGOBLOG neg bomb credits...whatever they are worth. I tried to cash them in at the local 7-11 and gave them Brian's name but just got a cold stare.


April 11th, 2010 at 8:54 PM ^

Regardless of the level of competition and suspect "come from behind" games, this team is doing Detroit fans (and themselves) proud. This kind of cushion really helps a team's swagger and I could see us building this into a great position in the division come Memorial Day weekend. They are hitting the ball well and have more than adequate starting pitching assuming Bonderman can continue his comeback and Willis can produce even 50% quality starts. Our bullpen looks pretty solid, Zooms especially.

Go get em' Tigers. No game is over till it is over.