Friday, July 06, 2007

Guillen, Not Mags, Is Tigers' MVP

Magglio Ordonez ranks among the American League leaders in many categories, not the least being batting average and runs batted in. He is, without question, the Tigers’ leading candidate for the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award. But is he really the Tigers’ MVP? I am not so sure.
The Tigers are, if nothing else, balanced. Every year, I vote for Tiger of the Year. Last year, I voted for Carlos Guillen, who won it. If I were handed my ballot and forced to decide today, I would still vote for Guillen. And, with all due respect to Ordonez, I might put Curtis Granderson second on my ballot.
Guillen is having an incredible season. He ranks among the major league leaders in OPS and has kept his batting near or above .300 - which he does every season. Defensively, he does have some breakdowns, but he more than makes up for it with his surprising range at shortstop. As importantly, he is the one protecting Ordonez in the Tigers’ batting order.
Granderson is among the league leaders in extra base hits and slugging percentage. There is all this fuss about Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore - and I like him, too, as a player - but Granderson just might be as good. Maybe he is even better. It’s amazing, honestly, how he gets the most out of what he has to offer in terms of talent. He isn’t that fast, yet few center fielders cover that much ground, and the number of triples he has hit is off the charts. He is a smart player with an extraordinary work ethic.
Beyond those two, where would the Tigers be without Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman? They are 19-4 combined.
So even though Ordonez is having a "Norm Cash, 1961" type of season, a strong case can be made he isn’t even the MVP of his own team. It says a lot about why the Tigers have emerged as a true power.

Note: You can vote in The Oakland Press poll for the 10 greatest athletes in Oakland County history by just clicking on the Contest/Events page at theoaklandpress.com. Just write them in, 1-to-10 in order. I will be doing a series of columns counting down the Top 10 in the reader vote, combined with our staff vote, later in the month. It’s amazing when you look at the ballot how many great athletes have come out of Oakland County. Also, my audio commentary "Three-Point Stance" will be coming to theoaklandpress.com late this month or early August.

Random thoughts

- It is good for the Red Wings they were able to re-sign Jiri Hudler. I thought he was an underrated factor in their success last season and he probably deserved to play more during the playoffs.

- I do like the way the Tigers bullpen is starting to take shape. The return of Zach Miner certainly has helped, and I do believe Jose Capellan and Macay McBride are upgrades. Todd Jones has also made some nice adjustments, most notably not throwing a first-pitch fastball to every hitter. And he has been getting those breaking balls over.

- I know the Tigers have to average near sellouts for all their remaining home games, but what a terrific feat it would be if they reached the three million mark in attendance this season. Personally, I think they will - sluggish economy and all. And I remember when people questioned if this was a great baseball town.

14 Comments:

Blogger Andrew M. Fanco said...

Guillen?

Come on.

I had to check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st.

How about our boy Perez getting suspended. I say release the bum.

2:21 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew m Fanco,
Maggs has been magnificent, but Guillen is the backbone of that team. Agree with you about Perez.
Caputo

2:53 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Guillen is pretty special, much more than most thought when they signed him. It is really amazing when they get that 3rd hit in an inning and are off and running. It was really special for them to take the series from the Indians and bash CC. Hopefully it will give them the boost back into overdrive to beat the good teams.

I also like Miner and especially Durbin in the pen. Nice to get 2 or 3 fairly calm innings from someone without blowing up. Todd's curve does seem to be keeping hitters a little off balance. All in all a good couple of weeks.

Looking forward to being at the park Saturday night!

What is the scoop on Rodney? Do you think they will deal him?

Cheers,
Danny

3:04 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

Guillen has been very good. He has been more consistent than Maggs too, and has a habit of coming through in the clutch. I don't have any problem with your assessment of Guillen over Maggs, but I would probably still vote for Maggs as Tiger MVP.

I'm glad that the Tigers took the series from the Indians, although I was really hoping for a sweep. I am going to Comerica in a few hours to watch the Tigers play the Red Sox. I still have a hard time believing that a reliever who doesn't close beat Bonderman for the final spot in the All Star game, even if he was from Boston.

3:25 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Our core is Pudge, Mags, Guillen and Polonco.

And now Sheff.

And Granderson.

Inge and Casey are pretty strong too.

Huh.

One potato - two potato - three potato ...

God I love this team.

I'm with Andrew M. Fanco re Perez.

I think that this Boston Series will tell us alot.

Boston is as tough as anybody in baseball. Everyone is winding down into All Star mode. If we take two off Boston, it will show me how serious we really are.

Have your podcasts started yet Book?

6:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
You know, I forgot about Durbin. Kind of like what he brings to the table as a reliever, too, although he must be careful not to try to throw too hard in a short role or he will be in trouble because then he loses the late life on his fastball. Noticed that happened in the outing he struggled. They won't trade Rodney now, but maybe after the season if he doesn't produce.
Caputo

7:37 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
They played very well in those last two games against Cleveland. They not only hit well, but they made a lot of very good plays defensively that helped their bullpen - particularly Inge on that slow roller.
Caputo

7:39 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Couldn't agree more about this series. Who wants it more? Thanks for asking about the podcasts. It will be here by the end of the month or early next month.
Caputo

7:40 PM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

How bout this for an argument...Guillen is the TIGERS MVP and Mags is the LEAGUE MVP? LOL have fun with that one! A side note - it's pretty difficult to make me go "Oh Wow!!!" but those will probably be my words when the season ends and we see how many triples Granderslam racks up.

7:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
The more I think about it, the more I realize this is a very, very good team. It could work out where one player is the league MVP and another the team MVP - with several other worthy candidates. I mean Gary Sheffield has been great since the first month. A lot of people like Polanco, too.
Caputo

7:06 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book,

So who's your Tiger? After that catch Granderson made on Sunday night in Bondo's 1-0 win against the Twinkies he has my vote. I'm hoping that J. B. has another stellar outing and, of course, that Curtis hits a triple.

My real question for you is who do want pitching between Verlander and Bonderman when the Tigers are slumping and the team desparately needs a win to right the ship? Ah, ah, ah, no fair picking Rogers even if he does look like he could pitch until he's 50. Satchel Paige move over.

4:28 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

(Sunday morning July 8)
That was a great game last night. Huge on so many levels:

* We won a tight multi-extra-innings game

* We didn't give up even after having 2 bases loaded opportunities to win it

* Our bullpen held tough.

* Our bullpen held tough!

* We kept scratching ... and clawing.

Not to mention Bondy pitched great after the first!

And we took two off those pink-soxed Bostonians with chance to sweep this afternoon.

Am I good at stating the obvious or what?

8:39 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
I'd still take Verlander. Bonderman is a little too inconsistent in the first inning sometimes, and still has trouble avoiding the big inning. Both are very good, though. Granderson should have been in the all star game ahead of grady sizemore.
Caputo

3:26 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
It was a huge series. We see whether they keep it up in Seattle. This is a very important series. The Mariners are a top wild card candidate that often gets overlooked.
Caputo

3:27 AM 

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