The bewildering case of Ryan Raburn
Most nights, when a team just hands the opposition runs like that, it costs them the game. The Tigers were fortunate.
Raburn does have one plus, that's his bat. Or at least it's supposed to be. In a fairly large sample size in the major leagues, his average 162-game season is .264 with 16 home runs and 65 RBI and a .767 OPS. Problem is, he is hitting below .200 this season, and has been a constant rally killer. This is not a young player; he is 30 years old. The Tigers signed him to a two-year, $3.4 million deal after Raburn finished strongly in 2010, saying with their actions they thought it would save them money in the long run because Raburn is arbitration eligible. It doesn't look like such a bargain right now. He did hit well in pennant race pressure in 2009, but not until after the issue was decided in 2010.
I've always been perplexed by Raburn, who was a very good hitter in the minor leagues. He seems athletic enough, and will at times make plays. It's just there are so many moments like Tuesday night. His fielding percentage as a left fielder in the major leagues is .965 - and that doesn't take in account the misplays that are turned in hits. His best position is second base, but he is below average there in terms of range.
Playing Raburn is only worth it if he hits - really hits. He is not doing that currently. At least for now, the Tigers would be wise to stick with Danny Worth at second base - a superior fielder, who had a couple hits Tuesday - and their other corner outfielders until Magglio Ordonez comes back.