The Detroit Tigers – the team I follow — were expected (by just about everyone) to win the Central Division in the American League this year. But even after winning today, the Tigers are five games under 0.500. And even if the Chicago White Sox lose tonight, the Tigers will still be five games out of first place.
So what happened? When I have a question about the Tigers I turn to Lee Panas. Lee’s website – Tiger Tales – offers the kind of statistical analysis you don’t see from the media’s coverage of the Tigers (or the media’s coverage of any team). This is not surprising since Lee doesn’t just have a blog. He is also the author of one of my favorite baseball-stats books: Beyond Batting Average.
Since I think the numbers are likely to provide the answers I seek, I naturally asked Lee this question: What if the Tigers had just an average second baseman this year?
Lee was nice enough to provide an answer at his blog tonight. And as an added bonus, Lee also asked what would happen if the Tigers’ right fielder was average?
Quick summary of the answer: If the Tigers had just average players (not “good” or “great” players) at these two positions, the Tigers would be in first place in the Central Division. Hopefully when the media takes another look at the Tigers’ struggles, Lee’s analysis will be something that gets discussed.