Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Inge, Magglio Will Find Their Level

Is Brandon Inge having a terrific season or did he just have a really good month of April, which is skewing his overall stats?
Inge hit .319 with seven home runs and 18 RBI in April. He walked 13 times and struck out just six times. He had 10 extra base hits in 69 at bats.
This month, Inge is hitting .247 with five home runs and 15 RBI. He has walked just six times, but struck out 27 times in 81 at bats. He has just seven extra base hits this month.
His OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) was 1.114 in April. It is .764 in May.
Inge is a .239 lifetime hitter. His career OPS is .706, but he was higher than that - but still in the .700s - during his most productive major league seasons in 2004-2006 when he exclusively played third base.
What is happening is that Inge is finding his level as a hitter. He is going to hit some home runs, he is going to strikeout a lot, he won’t walk that much and is prone to slumps. He also saves the Tigers runs with his glove at third base.
Conversely, it wouldn’t surprise me if Magglio Ordonez starts hitting the ball with more authority. You see some signs of that lately with a hitting streak, but he hasn’t really begun to sting the ball yet. Changes are he will.

Random Thoughts

- Can you imagine an Orlando-Denver NBA Final? I’m sure David Stern couldn’t, either. At least if it does happen, we’d know this much for certain: The conspiracy theory about the NBA would be shattered. It would be the nightmare matchup compared to the dream one with LeBron and Kobe.

- The Lions signing of offensive tackle Ephraim Salaam didn’t get a lot of attention, but it was a solid move. Salaam is a versatile player with a lot of smarts. He has played a lot at left tackle. He is at least another viable option off the bench besides George Foster.

Column I wrote for Sunday's Oakland Press on NHL Officiating: http://tinyurl.com/pw5qa2



Anonymous Marty said...


One thing I noticed about Brandon Inge is that he hits better when it is cooler outside. Once it warms up in the winter, his BA always seems to take a huge nosedive. It comes back up a bit in the fall, which also corresponds to the theory that he is more comfortable hitting in cooler weather. (I know you don't subscribe to the theory of hitting better in weather where you are more comfortable, but when hitting is such a difficult thing; it only makes sense that something small like that would make a difference.)

Another player that I have noticed to do this is Carlos Pena. He always started really slow for the Tigers, but once it warmed up outside he would be lights out. Once it cooled down outside in the fall, so did he. Notice how he suddenly played much better in the spring and fall in Tampa Bay? It only adds support to the theory that he hits better the warmer it is.

A lot of people say that Magglio is also a historically better hitter in warmer weather, but I don't really know. I stopped watching the Tigers everyday, when I had kids, and I haven't been paying as much attention to the little details as I used to. (Magglio was still coming off his major injury the last time I was able to devote a lot of time to the Tigers.)


2:47 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat da'Book,

It is known that Inge has worked hard in the off season on changing his swing - shortening it and letting the arms out a bit more.

I think it is a change that will last longer than a month. I think his level will rise as I think he is capable of improving.

I realize Inge suffers in the media from "over-zealous-fan-itis" which drives some crazy and makes others quickly want to put him in his place - but I am seeing a better Brandon Inge in 2009 than in 2008 - and that is all one can hope for.

But with Inge - it does seem like when he does come through - it's more often in a clutch situation than not.

Maglio - I am not as optimistic as you - but I am as big a fan of Mags as I am of Inge - in fact my wife would leave me in a heartbeat for Mags - and I don't discourage her.

5:46 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

I don’t know about you Pat, but the Tigers have a super DH in Maggs. You want a great hitter at DH and the Tigers got one. Play the kids in right. Inge only super contribution to the team is his glove and I can live with that and as along he hits his 240 and 23 HRs per year. They might as well trade the Thumper (Thames) for a decent AAA pitcher.

10:11 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I'm sure certain hitters do hit better in different weather. I just don't think it's right to automatically say players from Latin America don't hit well in cold weather, because many of them clearly do. Magglio has done well in cold weather many times in his career - and slumped in hot weather.

11:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I, too, think he deserves tons of credit for improving. It's just lately we're seeing more of Inge of the last couple years - and less of him from 2006. I do expect he'll have decent power numbers at the end. At 35, Mags can expect questions every time he slumps. Comes with the territory at his age and salary.

11:51 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I think Clete Thomas is a better outfielder than Mags, but what have people seen in Josh Anderson to think he is a good fielder. Just because he can run doesn't mean he is a good outfielder.

11:52 PM 
Anonymous Mike said...

Anderson isn't Clete Thomas (who seems to make at least one great play in the outfield each game), but he has made a couple big throw outs in key spots this year, something Magglio rarely does.

Also, compared to Magglio, Guillen, or Thames, Anderson is a great fielder. They're slower than dirt and in the spacious Comerica Park will allow many more balls to drop, especially in left field. I don't mind Magglio playing right, but Guillen and Thames in left are cringworthy. Guillen's limited range was a HUGE part of that Seattle game earlier in the year where Verlander had his perfect game turn into a 5 run inning earlier in the season.

9:18 AM 

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