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Carlos Guillen, Gary Sheffield and Craig Monroe

With the off day, I took some time to flip through some of the Tigers numbers.  With the season being just two and a half weeks old, it’s hard to rely too much on these because of the sample sizes but they’re interesting to look at none the less.

While Carlos Guillen is hitting only .255, he leads the team with 12 walks for an impressive OBP of .388.  Oddly, he’s done it with a team low (tied with Sean Casey) pitches per plate appearance of 3.4.  So he’s either swinging away early and putting the ball in play or picking up the walk.  Just as odd is the team leader, Craig Monroe, who averages 4.7 pitches per plate appearance.  Since Monroe leads the team in strikeouts, is he being too selective or is he just getting down in the count and fouling a couple of pitches off before going down?  I’ll have to keep an eye out next game to see which is the case.

We all know Gary Sheffield has struggled and his batting average (.132) reflects that.  What’s really odd is how bad he’s been against left handed pitching.  In ten at bats, he doesn’t have a single hit yet and this is a career .313 hitter against left handed pitching.  If I were a betting man, if the over/under on Shefs batting average were .270 overall, I’d take the over.  I have a feeling that when he hits out of this slump, it’ll be in a big way.

Craig Monroe is tied for the team lead with 11 RBIs yet he’s hitting just .212.  That bodes well for when he finally heats up.  You wonder if this is the year that Craig racks up 100 RBIs.  He has to work on the strikeouts though (18 strikeouts versus three walks), although like I said above, he’s working the pitcher for 4.7 pitches per plate appearance so at least when he goes down, he’s making the pitcher work.

Just a couple of quick last things.  Nate Robertson has gotten off to a good start but oddly, he’s had a hard time against lefties who have hit .316 against him.  Last year, he held lefties to a minscule .181 batting average so you wonder how good he’ll be once he starts getting that lefty batting average against down.  Fernando Rodney has a 2.31 WHIP and a .350 batting average versus right handed hitters.  I guess just looking at that, we can’t be too surprised by his 1-3 start.

a point to ponder. lets say Sheffield finally “heats up.” will it be vintage Sheffield? no. Is an aged Sheffield any better than a Marcus Thames who is given the chance to play everyday? I don’t know…but it would be close. Bringing Sheffield here causes a DH problem after this year. You have two guys, Sheff and Magglio, who are both headed for the DH spot. What are going to do? Magglio cannot patrol the outfield after this year. he is brutal defensively. Where is he going to play? We are going to have to eat one of those gigantic contracts soon.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 8:25 am

Gary Sheffield is a Hall of Famer hitter and Marcus Thames has all of three good months in the majors (May and June of 2006 and July of 2004). I know you have a man crush on Thames too, but the guy hit .199/.278/.432 after the break last year. I like Thames too, but I’ll take an aged Sheffield.

Posted by Brian on April 19th, 2007 at 9:55 am

Tony Gwynn is a Hall of Fame hitter as well. Go sign him to a massive contract then! You love to use that “Man Crush” term. Thames has crushed the ball for his entire Minor League career. he has never been given a full season in the majors to show what he is capable of. Why is that? guys like Inge have offensively sucked their entire careers, but after a flash off offense, are given a lifetime membership into the “everyday players club.” Thames can flat out hit. if he played every day, the worst he would be is the exact same as Craig Monroe. How many homers do you think Thames would have had last year if given a full season of at bats? He would have hit close to 40.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 10:16 am

Uh, I’ve used the man crush term twice.

As far as the what ifs, you don’t know that about Thames. And a lot of players hit well in the minors and then struggle. All I’m saying is, Jim Leyland is on the field every day with these guys. So what is it that you know, that he doesn’t that would make me want to pus for Thames over whoever, be it Gary Sheffield (future of Hall of Famer) or someone like Craig Monroe. You want to put Thames in the Hall of Fame, and he hasn’t done squat. YOU think he’d be better then Monroe. You think this, you think that, yet you’re dealing with a set of facts that’s incredibly lacking. You don’t see them practice, you just see them when they go up to the plate or when they’re in the field.

And for all I know, he might not have hit 30 if given a full year. He had a bad second half. That’s three months. And who’s to say he wouldn’t have stunk coming out of camp had he gotten the starting job and rode that into a horrible May and June.

All you’re doing is guessing based on who you like. And you try to make it sound like a fact, when it’s not.

Posted by Brian on April 19th, 2007 at 10:27 am

I never said that I think Thames is a proven hitter. He has never been given the chance. You are assuming that he would have had a terrible second half last year to justify your point. if he had a mediocre second half he would have more than likely hit 35 homers. If he had a fantastic second half he might have hit 45…might have.Monroe had a full season of at bats and finished with i think 28…right? so we know what Monroe would have done given a full season of at bats because he was given a full season of at bats. Thames finished 1 homer behind him.

Personally I think Sheffield should be able to still produce. Its odd, given his HOF track record, that he is tanking it. I pray that he turns it around. But its not certain. I have more of a problem with them resigning Casey, who is so obviously finished at the plate. He is obviously in there strictly for his defense. Defense at first is overrated. Your first baseman needs to hit and hit for power. Because he is in there, every time he scoops a ball, i am to assume that Thames would not have scooped it…right? Thats all we really talking about when we talk about defense at first. that and being able to knock down a ground ball. look, i share the same love for the Tigers that you do. i have a different opinion on the way things are going. I want more than anything to be wrong. But….I have a serious problem when a bench guy hits 27 homers. he shouldn’t be a bench guy.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 10:39 am

See Michael, and that’s where you make your mistake. You say “Marucs Thames whould have hit 40 homeruns” like it’s some kind of fact. It isn’t. I don’t know, you don’t know.

But that’s fine, while you were getting all bent out of shape about the “bad” moves the Tigers made last year, I was having a blast watching the Tigers make it to the World Series. Just like I’m having fun now watching the Tigers win. They’re 9-6, and I would have taken that had you asked me at the beginning of the year.

Posted by Brian on April 19th, 2007 at 11:01 am

See Brian, and that’s where you make your mistake. I never said that in my above post. what I said was
“if he had a mediocre second half he would have more than likely hit 35 homers. If he had a fantastic second half he might have hit 45…”

I used words like “might have hit” and “more than likely hit”.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 11:17 am

That time you did, but in an earlier comment you didn’t. That’s fine. And yes, i can live with 35 homeruns had he played the entire season. But you start losing me when you starting sounding so certain when you really don’t know.

Posted by Brian on April 19th, 2007 at 11:29 am

Thats my point. i don’t know…but going by him numbers, he should be given a shot so we then know. His homer total last year in that amount of at bats is a red flag to me that this guy is a power hitter. Why not give him a season and find out? Thats all i meant.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 11:55 am

Sorry for the grammatical butchering.

Posted by Michael on April 19th, 2007 at 12:19 pm

That’s all you and I have ever said about Thames, and it is somehow a “man crush”. We know what Monroe is. He’s not going to get any better than what he already is. Thames seemed to have turned a corner about two or three years ago, and he’s been jerked around ever since.

Posted by Dan on April 19th, 2007 at 12:26 pm

It’s not the grammar because I know I make my share of mistakes. It’s the arrogance. You think you have the answers from your arm chair, when you really don’t.

Posted by Brian on April 19th, 2007 at 12:34 pm

I like Thames more than I do Monroe and I think Thames should play everyday.Sheffield is the “Most Feared A.L. Hitter.”But now what happened?He is batting .132,I pretty much thought he would do more.Maybe he will catch on fire later.Who knows.

Posted by Matthew on April 20th, 2007 at 5:03 pm

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