Friday, July 10, 2009

What I Really Think About Brandon Inge

Don't get me wrong. I think it's really good Tiger fans united and essentially put Brandon Inge into Tuesday's All Star Game.
That's what the process of voting for the final spot is all about - the fans. And I think that's a good thing. Inge had a good enough first half that it is not a stretch in the least he is on the American League squad.
And I like and admire the guy in many ways, too.
But...
I also believe that if Inge didn't get into the All Star Game, it would not have been an injustice. Carlos Pena leads the league in home runs and Ian Kinsler is having a good season, too. They were just as worthy - or more so.
Inge is hitting .264. He is a lifetime .239 hitter. My best guess is his batting average will drop the second half of the season. I also believe he will have trouble matching his power numbers from the first half during the second half.
While he is a very good fielder with solid power, Inge is generally vastly overrated by Detroit fans, who tend to cloud their judgement about Inge's performance based on liking his persona.
Magglio Ordonez has done a lot more for the Tigers down through the years than Inge - and has been shunned by their fans this season. Tigers fans have been indifferent to Curtis Granderson's first all star berth, although he has consistently been a much better player than Inge in his career.
Although Granderson - who like Inge is clearly a "character" guy - is having a comparable season, Inge is considered to be having a "great" year, while Granderson's season has often been labeled "disappointing."
The same Tiger fans who are overly critical of many of their players are quick to rush to Inge's defense the first sign any of his flaws as a player are pointed out.
I can't think of an athlete in this town so many fans have been less objective about than Brandon Inge.
At times, honestly, I think it's absurd.


My column in Saturday's Oakland Press: http://tinyurl.com/kvaz2x

14 Comments:

Anonymous Michael C said...

Its the nature of a midseason all-star game that most of the players will have worse second halves. The players that have the best first halves are on the team, so of course they're going to regress to the mean. Their likely 2nd half decline doesn't mean they don't deserve to be there, as they've being selected based on what they've done so far this year.

Granderson's year so far has been somewhat disappointing because he's actually having a down year for him so far. His career OPS is .836, and he's at .796 this year. It was .913 in 2007 and .858 in 2008. Meanwhile Inge's career OPS is .709 and he's at .860 this year. Of course people are thrilled with that! Who would've thought Inge would outperform Grandy in the first half after hitting .200 last year?

Many Tigers fans were calling for Inge's head on a platter last year, so I don't think its a personal bias. I think its mostly just that after how badly Inge struggled the last couple years we would've been happy with Inge hitting .240 with 10 HRs, 35 RBIs, and a OPS of .720 at the halfway point, and instead he's blowing our wildest expectations out of the water.

3:51 AM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

As for Granderson's all-star nod, I think its mostly a career achievement award from his fellow players. Not as much as Pacino's Oscar for Scent of a Woman, but he's had better years (where he probably should've made the team) and most importantly will have better years in the future.

I doubt there's a single Tigers' fan out there that thinks Inge is more important to this team's future than Granderson. Its not even close.

4:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

Posts like this are why I keep reading and keep listening to your radio show. Thank you. I could not agree more.

Curtis Granderson is a young superstar who has become a great international ambassador for the game. Magglio Ordonez put the Tigers in the World Series with a dramatic walk-off home run and followed it up by the best offensive season that any Tiger has had in decades. Carlos Guillen is a natural leader and an All-Star who has graciously moved to 4 different positions in 2 years. Miguel Cabrera is a top 5 hitter in the game today and the best offensive talent the team has had perhaps since Kaline. Jeremy Bonderman couldn't win the Final Vote in 2007 after being one of the horses to lead us to the 2006 World Series; there was no rally for him.

But Brandon Inge gets the loudest cheers at Opening Day and gets the votes to win the Final Vote? I think it's great to have 4 All-Stars from my team this year, and I am happy for all of them, but something just doesn't make sense with all this. Why all the love for Inge when he hasn't accomplished a fraction of what the other guys that I mentioned have? Overrated indeed.

Travis

7:58 AM 
Blogger Barry said...

Pat, wonderful trade bait next winter. Always trade overrated players. I am happy with Inge though as along he hits 250 and plays a stellar 3B. But if we can get a stellar arm in a trade, you have to do this winter. He is a bargain at $6 million if he continues at this pace. DD must have the Gaints on speed dial. Pat, can Dlugach or Worth or Rhymes slide over to 3B? How is Sizemore glove progressing?

10:12 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat,

I understand that you are working under the premise that the best players get to the all star game - I am working under the fans premise that the guys the fans want to see get to the all star game.

Deep down we all know that Granderson is twice the ball player. And we are all big Granderson fans. I bet his following is twice that of Inge in Detroit - because half the fans hate Inge the other half love him.

And everyone love Curtis.

Maybe, just maybe - Inge got a little better. Not just a hot spurt - maybe he got better.

Who do you think will appreciate being at the all star more this year? I think it's fair to say this is likely to be Brandon's only invite.

Detroit needs all the good news stories it can get right now.

It's funny. The Tigers I love won't be the same when the day comes that Inge isn't there.

8:52 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Grandy is the only player I haven't heard fans bash at any point this year. With how wishy washy some of the fans are, bashing anyone that has a cold streak, that may be the highest compliment a Tiger can get.

Some even wanted the Tigers to get rid of Verlander "while he still had trade value" after he struggled in his first couple games ... hell, some fans still complain about Cabrera not doing enough too.

2:29 AM 
Blogger Kathryn said...

Pat the Book Caputo is a moron, I listen to him on the radio and I think his IQ is around 80, being kind. Especially when he tries to talk about anything other than sports, what a joke!!!Who is running that station?

3:31 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
No question that Inge has played above expectations and Granderson slightly below. But this is Granderson first All Star appearance, too. Seems like it's been glossed over because of Inge.
Caputo

4:42 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Travis,
That doesn;t mean Inge isn't a good player or have value to the Tigers or isn't having an excellent season, but come on, in some ways the "love" has gotten out of hand.
Caputo

4:45 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Doubt they'll trade him. For one thing, there is no replacement. Secondly, he is a solid contributer. Thirdly, there'd be a fan revolt.
Caputo

4:46 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Kathryn,
Everbody has a right to their opinion. I respect yours. I would never attack you or anybody personally.
Caputo

4:48 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

But everyone knew Grandy would make an all-star game sooner or later, Pat. No one thought Inge ever would. That's the key difference in fan reaction.

9:09 PM 
Blogger Jim15032 said...

Brandon is a popular player, but not to the exclusion of others. He is having the season Tigers' fans wanted to see, and were disappointed they didn't see last year. Catching was tough on his body, and batting behind Craig Monroe and Pudge Rodriguez was hardly a prime spot in the lineup. Batting with 2 outs and bases empty is something a selfish player like Wade Boggs feasted on with slap singles to the off field, but team players hitting at the bottom of the order know that if you get an extra base hit something can happen, and, otherwise, the top of the order leads off the next inning. This year, Inge scores and drives in more runs than anyone else on the team, and only Granderson and Cabrera are close, despite more plate appearances. Two years ago he produced a lot more runs than did the .300 hitting Sean Casey.

I thought Granderson would just keep getting better, and he may still. But any thought that he is not as popular as Brandon Inge is just not so.

As for Magglio, that obscene pay package he would get if he meets his incentives numbers is just too scary. He seldom drives the ball, has very limited range in RF, and his slow speed on the basepaths makes it hard to score and leads to a lot of double plays. Yes, he had a great year in 2007. Yes, he was a big part of the 2006 pennant. And Norm Cash had a fine year in 1968.

How about an analysis piece on Polanco? Or on Guillen's future with the Tigers?

3:04 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Pat

Some guys just have the look of a ballplayer, the way they move between the lines and carry themselves on and off the field. Not scientific, but Inge has always had the look to me.

He seems to have discovered his stroke pretty solid right now also. The way I find my golf swing once every few months.

Can't help feeling good for the kid.

That Kathryn is sure a classy lady. Why publish that type of trash? Thats what they make delete buttons for.

Allan

4:44 PM 

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