What a difference a year has made for the Detroit offense

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.

2007 Batting Average

And now the team is leading MLB in numerous offensive categories with many individual players leading some offensive categories as well.

Category Rank Value
BA 1st .292
OPS 1st .829
RBI 1st 445
2B 1st 185
H 1st 795

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 Tigers’ offensive success. He’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
Magglio Ordonez .298 .377 .079
Sean Casey .245 (Detroit Only) .297 .052
Curtis Granderson .260 .294 .034
Placido Polanco .295 .324 .029
Carlos Guillen .320 .325 .005
Brandon Inge .253 .258 .005
Ivan Rodriguez .300 .285 -.015
Marcus Thames .256 .238 -.018
Craig Monroe .255 .232 -.023

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.

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3 Responses to What a difference a year has made for the Detroit offense

  1. calvinboy says:

    “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.”

    Very good point. I assume that, by this point, “each player” implicitly excludes Monroe.

  2. Dan says:

    I also think you can give a little credit to another year’s worth of seasoning. Especially in the case of Granderson. He is the most improved Tiger in my opinion. His triples (and other extra base hits) give the Tigers a huge spark out of the leadoff spot.

    He even walked TWICE in the last game!

  3. Eric Jackson says:

    Ya, Craig has clearly not been much of an asset. Thames has been disappointing as well but has come through in a couple of tight situations.

    Curtis has been the most improved and in the best spot to do it. Casey’s improved over last year’s Detroit stats but really has just come back in-line with what the Tigers initially expected from him.

    I think in the next few years Curtis will be solidly in the upper tier of ceterfielders in the league. Maybe already is.

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