Monday, March 26, 2012

Why Brandon Inge should be on the Tigers opening day roster

Standard baseball procedure is meaningful player evaluations aren't done in spring training. It's also to leave the door open for change early in the season.
Those are the two reasons the right decision by the Tigers would be to keep Brandon Inge on their roster for opening day, even though he has clearly been outplayed this spring by Danny Worth, who has more overall value as a backup infielder because he is probably their best shortstop defensively - in addition to being a solid third baseman and a very good second baseman.

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Inge hitting .171 in spring training doesn't mean as much as hitting .324 as a club is clinching a division title in September, or posting a .929 OPS in extensive postseason play. Inge did turn it around after biting the bullet and going to Toledo late last season. Worth is having a good spring with a .296 batting average and a .931 OPS. At 26, he is primed for his shot as a backup infielder, which will be his role if he is able to perform well enough to remain in the major leagues. He is a very good fielder. He is, at best, an OK hitter. He hit .256 at Toledo last year with a .759 OPS, which was a good season by his previous standards.
Inge is the better option at third base over Worth. It's another factor with Miguel Cabrera's situation there becoming even more precarious because of injury.
Inge's contract is another factor. The Tigers should find out for sure he is the Inge from the first half of the last season, not the late season and postseason version, before unloading $5.5 million. There can also be a danger, though, in keeping a player for those reasons. We saw it during the Alan Trammell regime when Dmitri Young led a mutiny in the clubhouse because Bobby Higginson made the team over Marcus Thames. But Inge isn't the polarizing figure in the clubhouse Higginson had become, nor has Worth established his credentials to to the degree Thames did. And Jim Leyland has a much stronger grip on his clubhouse than Trammell did at the time.
What the Tigers can't do, is if Inge does not perform up to major league standards, is let it go on for months like last season, especially if Worth is performing well at Toledo.
I don't believe they will this time.


Blogger Barry said...

Your right Pat, that Inge is on the team because of his contract. Worth should be on the team but because he still has an option left why not let him play everyday at AAA. Worth has a stop next year. Use Inge against left handers and late innings for a defensive replacement.

5:20 PM 
Anonymous woody said...

i agree with much of what you've said. spring training stats aren't worth much. how he does in the early regular season will determine whether he continues with the team.

to me, whether Inge makes the roster is not a significant decision for the outcome of this season. the main issue regarding him is how much playing time he's given. at this stage of his career he's a platoon guy against lefties, not an everyday player.

considering the alternatives on the roster, he should play sparingly vs righties. guys like Dirks, Thomas, and Santiago should be better offensive options vs righties.

Barring major injuries to the guys listed above, 200-250 ABs for Inge seems about right to me.

5:38 PM 
Anonymous tbird said...

yeah hes a better fielder but he still has to pull his weight and at 181 it doesnt look like he is. I disagree that spring training numbers dont count. lots of people get cut because they dont have the numbers in spring training. And inge doesnt have the numbers. hes been told hes being looked at for his batting numbers and he hasnt produced. Its the coaches duty to put the best team on the field day in and day out. When inge comes to bat its like an automatic out and we cant afford to give away outs. we dont need another backup infielder we have plenty of them already.

7:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.171 in spring training is brutal. For the most part, except maybe the 1st at bat, you're facing guys battling for a backup starter, not one of the opponents aces. He's had his best years that were average at very best. It's time to send his a$$ down the road.

11:23 PM 
Anonymous Chris said...

I'm getting a little tired of how Inge is constantly making excuses for his low average. He claims that he doesn't care at all about his average, and that a good at bat is him hitting the ball on the screws. What world is he living in? Baseball is about results, and probably is more indicative of stats holding a high worth than any other sport. It's time for someone else to get a shot, Inge's time has passed. His act is wearing thin, please Mr. Dombrowski cut him!!!

11:41 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inge is competing for the second base job, not utility infielder/25th man spot. He is losing big time.

You keep bringing up Inge hitting over .300 in September, but ignore the fact that he hit .076 the last half of September. Besides, anyone can get hot for a short span. His problem is the spans are few and far between and when he is not hot, he is useless.

He can avoid the embarrassment of being cut by simply retiring.

1:01 PM 
Blogger msu1983 said...

Over his last 1046 at bats, since his flame out in the 2009 HR Derby, Inge is hitting .219 with an OPS of .650 He has 22 HRs / 119 RBI and 293 Ks during that same span. What MORE exactly do we need to see ?

11:38 AM 
Blogger msu1983 said...

Over his last 1046 at bats, since his flame out in the 2009 HR Derby, Inge is hitting .219 with an OPS of .650 He has 22 HRs / 119 RBI and 293 Ks during that same span. What MORE exactly do we need to see ?

11:39 AM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

The answer is easy Book, make Inge your 5th starter. Every Inge fan will tell you he'll be great at it and he won't be able to bat - think of him as a defensive pitcher.

Of course, the media soundbites of Inge explaining why he is unable to strike anybody out will be worth the pain of watching him pitch. Statements like - I don't really care about my ERA - as long as I keep putting my fastball in the strike zone ...

Here is to 2012 and what I hope to be an Inge-Free season.

12:19 PM 
Anonymous Shang said...

Cmon, even Ray Oyler has a ring!

4:10 PM 

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