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Craig Monroe, Sean Casey and the Hit and Run

This has come up frequently in the comments so it’s time to put some numbers to it.  How much is having Craig Monroe in the lineup hurting our team?  In looking at today’s starting lineup, two things jumped out at me.  Craig Monroe and Brandon Inge have a pretty low batting average compared to everyone else.  Even Alexis Gomez is hitting around .280.  Inge has an excuse because he’s out there just as much for his glove then anything.  While his hitting has been below average, he already has 12 fielding runs above average.  Last year, he had 13 total and he was a top five third baseman.  So I can live with that.

From a corner outfielder, that’s an entirely different matter.  Right now, Craig Monroe has a zero Batting Runs Above Replacement.  Let that sink in for a minute.  In 253 at bats, Monroe has hit about as good as you’d expect a decent AAA guy would hit if he were called up to fill in a spot.  That’s not good so that’s one strike against Monroe.

He’s actually done okay with the glove.  He has two fielding runs above average so he hasn’t hurt us there, but you also have to keep in mind who he’s taking at bats away from.  Marcus Thames has played in 58 games and has 192 at bats.  So there have been 27 games where he hasn’t even touched the field (or the plate).  So he’s only played in 2/3 of the team’s games.  With 21 batting runs above replacement so far this season, Thames could easily be up close 25 or 30 at his current pace.  So if you take what Thames has lost because the team’s stuck with Monroe, you have about five to ten runs, or about one win.

The latest guy who’s been named in a Tiger trade rumor has been Sean Casey, and it sends a shiver up my spine.  Yes, he’s a career .305 hitter, but he also grounds into a ton of double plays.  27 last year alone.  He’s also been hurt this year and his last good season was 2004.

On the radio, a bigger deal was made about the fact that Leyland didn’t have Monroe bunt in the tenth after Carlos Guillen got to second on a stolen base then the botched hit and run attempt in the fifth.  While I’m sure Jim Leyland’s reasoning was that he didn’t want Wilson to hit into a double play, I agree with the Dan and think it was a bad move.  Vance Wilson is a career .250 hitter and a back up catcher and you can’t expect him to make contact consistently nor should you expect Chris Shelton to be able to run it out and get the stolen base.  The net result was one run, which was the difference in the game.

The Tigers won today and they avoided the sweep. Now it’s on to Seattle for a three game set before the All Star game. Part of me doesn’t want Justin Verlander to win that final spot on the team because I think he’d be better off with the rest. As it stands, it looks like Francisco Liriano is in the driver’s seat right now.

With Jordan Tata lighting it up in Toledo, we now have an overabundance of good pitching: I wouldn’t touch our five starters or Zumaya, but then there’s Miner, Colon, Ledezma, Tata, Rodney, and Humberto Sanchez.

Surely we can trade some of these guys so that Monroe’s one-handed strikeouts no longer plague the team.

Posted by Jason on July 5th, 2006 at 7:24 pm

I don’t know what blows my mind more, the possibility of Contreras starting the All Star game, or Kenny Rogers starting the All Star game. They’re both pitching over their heads this first half (although Rogers has already started plummeting to Earth).

Posted by Chris J on July 6th, 2006 at 12:40 am

[…] You learn something new everyday: The Tigers, by the grace of some higher power, still have the best record in baseball, this despite the putrid play of Craig Monroe. (TigerBlog) […]

Posted by The Big Lead » blog » The Roundup: Good Teams, Bad Players; Cheerleaders; Idiots, and ESPN Bashers. We’ve Got It All! on July 6th, 2006 at 3:22 am

Sean Casey is not a significant improvement over Monroe, and they may actually be looking for some insurance against an extended slump by Shelton. I actually think Shelton is fine, and in all but his very worst slump he’s a better ballplayer than Sean Casey. Casey is ridiculously overrated. Plus, he broke his back (his BACK!) this year. No thank you.

Posted by Dan on July 6th, 2006 at 6:23 am

Its insane that they are hell bent on getting a “lefty” bat, instead of a great bat regardless of which side of the plate he stands on. Its equally insane that we might see dmitri young hacking away at the plate once again this year!

Posted by Michael on July 6th, 2006 at 12:02 pm

Of course, Monroe is replacement level for a corner outfielder.

Still, the Tigers are a good team with great chemistry. Acquiring a “proven bat” at the deadline might do more harm than good.

Posted by Jason on July 6th, 2006 at 7:29 pm

AJ Pierzynski


Posted by Chris J on July 7th, 2006 at 1:16 am

I don’t always buy the chemistry arguement because winning heals all wounds. Is the team winning because they have great chemistry, or do they have great chemistry because the team is winning?

I think it’s the later.

Posted by Brian on July 7th, 2006 at 2:22 am

I think the left thing has been overblown. If they can get a good stick and the price is good and it is a righty I would hope they pull the trigger. Casey is not an answer either, if they want a backup at 1b, I would rather take a chance on DY, if his head is on straight he will be a solid addition. Also Josh Phelps is having a solid year at Toledo: .305/.364/.511

Posted by Ryan on July 7th, 2006 at 4:10 am

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