Last year the Tigers seemed to improve overnight from a 2005 record of 71-91 (.438) to end the 2006 season 95-67 (.586). This year it seems that the Detroit offense has made a similar improvement. The 2006 offense wasn’t quite that anemic and ended the year 8th in runs scored (822) and 10th in batting average (.274). This year’s team has started the year significantly slower than the 2006 team but has since been outstanding with a batting average above .300 in both May and June.
And now the team is leading MLB in numerous offensive categories with many individual players leading some offensive categories as well.
So what has lead to this turn around?
Many have attributed the improvements to the addition of Gary Sheffield into the #3 spot in the lineup and the “protection” that has provided for Magglio Ordonez.
A healthy Ordonez is obviously a huge part of the Tigersâ€™ offensive success. Heâ€™s only been helped by the presence of Gary Sheffield, who in the No. 3 spot is hitting directly in front of Ordonez. Those still questioning the validity of protection in a lineup need only look at the improved Tigers lineup and the big numbers being put up by Ordonez and Sheffield to understand that the idea does have more than a little substance.
Gary’s addition into the lineup has no-doubt helped the team immensely. Both his power and patience have helped a team that was swing happy last year take a few more pitches and, in turn, walks. However the team offensive improvement has also been greatly helped by a number of individual improvements lead, in part by Sean Casey and Curtis Granderson.
|Player||2006 BA||2007 BA||Difference|
|Sean Casey||.245 (Detroit Only)||.297||.052|
Additionally, as a team the Tigers have increased their BB% from 7.08% in 2006 to 8.48% so far this year while also dropping their SO% from 20.08% in ’06 to 17.09%. This year’s team has improved at the plate which has really payed dividends. The addition of Sheffield has helped but we shouldn’t overlook the great improvements that the team has seen around the board from each player.