the midseason report card, Roar of the Tigers style

photo by Samara Pearlstein

OK, I’ve seen a lot of blogs on the magical internets doing these midseason report cards and scorecards. I am currently being bored to tears by the All Star game, so what the hell. Obviously this is going to be RotT-style, but you already knew that, didn’t you?


Jeremy Bonderman
Grade: n/a
Reason: deceased

the Bovine kid
Grade: C
Reason: Every time he goes out there and doesn’t sit down on the mound and start screaming, it’s a plus for us. He’s not handling major league hitting all that well but then again nobody really expected him to do so. In an ideal world (or a less-than-ideal world that nonetheless did not include the destruction of Bondo and Dontrelle) he wouldn’t be anywhere near the big league roster right now.

Freddy Dolsi
Grade: A-
Reason: I saw the very first ever pitches he threw in the big leagues in person, and it seemed eminently likely that the poor kid was going to be scarred for life. This has not been the case. Leyland has been leaning on him awfully hard and he’s bearing up under the pressure remarkably well for a kid who is 12 years old and weighs about 100 pounds.

the Fossum Possum
Grade: D
Reason: Look, it’s Casey Fossum, what do you expect? He doesn’t fail because a) he’s a lefty and b) he gives me an opportunity to say ‘Fossum Possum’.

Arrrrrrrmando Galarrrrrrraga
Grade: A
Reason: The thing with Arrrrmando is that he SHOULD be like Bonine– every time he goes out there and doesn’t start screaming hysterically on the mound, it’s a major plus for the Tigers. But Arrrrmando has been serviceable. Heck, more than that, he’s actually been GOOD. He has been performing so far above any reasonable expectations that it would be downright churlish to give him anything other than an A and a bunch of extra Rs in his name.

Rollercoaster Jones
Grade: B-
Reason: I know this is going to seem insanely generous to a lot of cats, but Jonesy is dead weird and cannot be graded according to the standards of normal people. Sure, his ERA sucks. Sure, his WHIP sucks a LOT (a 1.54 WHIP is pretty bad for a starter, let alone a closer; the best closers in the league right now all have WHIPs under 1.00). Sure, he only has 17 saves– of course the Tigers haven’t given him a ton of save opportunities. But, insanely, he only has 2 blown saves. This compares favorably with some of the best closers in the league. Mariano has none, but Joe Nathan has 2 and Papelbon has 4. Jonesy is frustrating in the extreme but he’s not ACTUALLY deadly most of the time. It’s weird. So, B- .

Aquilino Lopez
Grade: A-
Reason: He’s been fairly good, and kind of flying under the radar. It’ll be interesting to see if the Tigs do manage to convert him to a 5th starter at some point. The best thing about him is still the fact that his name is Aquilino.

Zach Miner
Grade: D

Clay Rapada
Grade: C
Reason: Eh. Sometimes he pitches OK. Mostly he comes up when we need a spare left hand in the bullpen, and gets sent down when more reliable options become healthy/available/sane. Probably the coaches have a good reason for this.

Nate Robertson
Grade: C+
Reason: Nate has had some hard luck this season, we all know that, and he’s pitched some amazingly amazing games, but he’s also pitched some awful games. In a beautiful world filled with fluffy kittens and the ballplayers who hug them, Nate would be a #5 starter. Unfortunately, we do not yet live in that world, and Nate has to play like a less marginal pitcher because we barely have 4 starters, let alone 5.

Grade: C-
Reason: Watching Fernando fail on the mound, when I KNOW that he has the latent ability to throw deadly, unhittable pitches, is one of the most frustrating things in the whole wide world of baseball. Fernando makes me want to pull out my own hair and at the same time reach through my TV screen to strangle him. It’s very healthy. He doesn’t get a D because he is at least still (slowly) (incrementally) dragging his numbers back down towards respectability, and because he’s from a city that’s only one letter off from my name. I dig that.

Kenny Rogers
Grade: C
Reason: I am so bloody underwhelmed by our starters this season. Sure, Kenny’s ERA is better than Nate’s, but he’s got a slightly worse WHIP and he’s walking more guys than he’s striking out, which is really, REALLY not a good thing. Lefties are actually hitting him slightly better than righties so far this season, which is not normal for him. SIGH.

Bobby Seay
Grade: B+
Reason: He’s a should-be lefty specialist who is doing significantly worse against lefties this year. Weird. His overall numbers are pretty good, although I still sometimes find myself saying, “Oh ugh, Bobby Seay, great, this is SO not what we need right now,” when he comes in, which on some vague plane of existence is not a good sign.

Justin Verlander
Grade: B-
Reason: This pains me in my inner bits. Justin was supposed to be a solid A this year. He was supposed to be an A+! Instead he is barely scraping a B-, skirting dangerously with the depressingly mediocre Cs. He’s throwing 14 billion pitches per start. He is confused and bemused. He is, to his credit, throwing a lot of strikes and pitching better than most of our starters. Sadly, that’s not saying much at all.

Dontrelle Willis
Grade: F
Reason: When Dontrelle throws a baseball, he does not actually know where it is going. Left or right? Forward or backwards? Up? Down? Charm? Strange? Who can say? Not Dontrelle. He does not know.

Grade: B+
Reason: He’s been pretty good since he came back from his injury. I’m not giving him an A until he throws something other than a fastball, though.


Grade: B
Reason: His OPS is not so hot, but he can still catch, he can still throw guys out, and he’s already got 16 walks, which is loads more than he had for all of last season. So, y’know, progress!

Vance Wilson
Grade: n/a
Reason: deceased

Brandon Inge
Grade: C-
Reason: Trust me, Brandon, that grade hurts me as much as it hurts you. But holy freaking cats, learn how to hit again, OK? Being named a backup catcher does not mean you automatically have to start hitting like most lifelong backup catchers do.


Miguel ‘the Puma’ Cabrera
Grade: B+
Reason: Dude has power. Dude’s adorable. Dude’s stuck playing first base for the foreseeable future because he is defensively inept everywhere else despite the fact that he is only 25 years old and thus should be all young and nubile and such.

Carlos Guillen
Grade: B+
Reason: Basically the Miguel Cabrera redux. He’s hitting OK, you know, all things considered, and he’s OK defensively, but he’s no Brandon Inge, if y’know what I mean, and yeah, you do know what I mean. I mean consistently good at playing third base.

Mike Hollimon
Grade: B
Reason: He’s pretty much done what we asked him to do when he’s up. I don’t hate him.

Placido Polanco
Grade: A-
Reason: Ah ha ha ha ha oh man you guys his slugging percentage is SO BAD. Do you know what he’s slugging? Do you? Do you? .392. Ah ha ha ha ohhhhhh wow. Still, he’s Placido Polanco. We don’t expect power from him. I wish his OBP was higher, but that’s why he doesn’t get a straight A. He’s batting .305 and he plays a good second base and he doesn’t generate drama for us. Also sometimes he wears silly cold-weather things on his giant head and we all laugh and laugh and laugh.

Edgah Renteria
Grade: F
Reason: Do you know what Edgah is slugging? .326. That’s right. Worse than Polanco, whose slugging percentage is LAUGHABLY BAD. That makes Edgah’s slugging percentage PURE FAILCAKES. And Edgah doesn’t even have a BA over .300 to help soothe the pain. He needs to be shipped back to the National League before something tragic happens in the clubhouse.

Ramon Santiago
Grade: B
Reason: He’s hit well in his limited time with us and he’s defensively useful. I declare him to be on the positive side of neutral.


Brent Clevlen
Grade: C+
Reason: Limited action, limited hitting.

Curtis Granderson
Grade: A
Reason: Look, if you don’t like Curtis Granderson, you don’t like America and freedom and happiness. Basically you need to look deep inside yourself and think real hard about where you went so wrong with your life.

Matt Joyce
Grade: A

Grade: A-
Reason: The minus is for being injured, and for being the 5,000th oblique injury of the season. The A is for the hitting and the hair, which really deserves a separate grade all its own. However, we didn’t give Brandon Inge’s ass a separate grade, so it’s only fair that Maggs and his hair get graded together.

Ryan Raburn
Grade: B-
Reason: Poor kid. A lot is being asked of him and he’s responding by flailing weakly at the plate. He’s still OPSing better than Polanco, Renteria, and Pudge, though. He loses points because some people have taken to calling him ‘RyRa’ and my hatred for this unnecessary and clumsy contraction knows no bounds.

Grade: D
Reason: Despite my multitude of well-documented reasons for generally disliking Gary Sheffield, I’ve been giving him many benefits of the doubt this season. He’s been hurt, he’s been playing hurt, he’s almost 40, etc. He’s batting .217 and OPSing .662. I am not inclined to give him many more doubt-benefits.

The River Thames
Grade: A
Reason: Some cats will squeal that he’s only batting .265. I would like to remind those people that he is OPSing .907 and therefore they should shut up and be wrong. The River has also been fun to watch in a way that not so many people or things are, this season. And in my books, that counts for something.

Clete Thomas
Grade: B
Reason: A solid B for a solid ballplayer. Also I am falling asleep. Enjoy the rest of the break, folks and felines!

18 responses to “the midseason report card, Roar of the Tigers style

  1. Thanks for the Quantam Willis. And for making the season bearable for someone in Indians TV land.

  2. Excellent mention of Inge in Maggs’ grade. Matt Joyce is the best grade of them all.

  3. ha ha ha… love it… “Look, if you donít like Curtis Granderson, you donít like America and freedom and happiness.”

  4. Favorites for Miguel, Curtis and Matt the Catt Joyce.
    Hurrah, baseball is back. I hate the break.

  5. n/a
    ha ha!

  6. Battlestar gets an A!

  7. Darn straight… here’s for generally higher SLG%’s and OBP’s the rest of the season.
    And I’m holding out hope that some how, some way Dontrelle will learn how to pitch again before the year is over. *watches millions of dollars bounce against the backstop in single A*

  8. Poor Bonderman, taken from us while he was still so young.

  9. Emil, I was wondering if someone would get that. :) And just think, it could be worse, you could be in Wrong Sox TV land… imagine, having to listen to the Hawk all the time…
    Jeff, it seemed only fair.
    Stacey, I only write the truth of the matter!
    tiff, I had a feeling those might appeal. :)
    PfP, :D
    Adam, word.
    Paul, let us hope that the numbers will, generally, rise. Remember that the first two months were so bad for so many guys on the team… those months will have dragged their numbers down. They can only rebound… right? Hopefully right.
    David, the tragedy must remain foremost in our minds, so that we may do what we can to guard against its recurrence.

  10. Brilliant. Simply put.

  11. Matt “the Catt” Joyce. Brilliant.

  12. Just want to say I’m a fellow UM alum, and an insane Tiger fan, and I love your blog. It’s the first one I read every day. Your analysis is knowledgeable and witty. I’m often laughing out loud. Thanks!

  13. Rapada has been excellent this season.
    (Small sample size warning!) Batters are OPS’ing only .542 against him, only one of his ten hits allowed was an XBH (a double), and his WHIP is 1.15. Maybe he gets sent down often b/c he has options remaining?
    Zumaya hasn’t exactly been baserunner-hostile. He has a 2.12 WHIP, and batters are OPS’ing .770 against him.
    It seems like Rapada and Zumaya had their grades switched. Dolsi probably made the switch from his bullpen laptop. Sneaky 12 yr. old…

  14. Zach Miner To start the game on Monday

  15. Phil, aww, thanks. :)
    Jeff, tiff gets full cred for that one.
    Jennifer, thank YOU! Glad to help brighten your morning routine (or at least render it mildly more interesting on an irregular basis. We aim high here at RotT!).
    Mike, you gotta understand that this is the least precise grading system on the internet– many of these grades could very easily and rationally be argued. I mean, Clete Thomas got a B because I was tired. You make some good points, although I don’t think Zoom should be knocked down quite that far. I still reckon that, despite the baserunners, he has showed evidence that his pitching testes are intact as he tries to come back from his injury, something that, say, Fernando Rodney has done much less convincingly.
    Kevin, I think that’s more or less a wash, because Bonine, in all likelihood, was not going to be anything to write (or blog!) home about. Hopefully Miner will have got some of his control back by now…

  16. Second half grades will drastically improve for many of the Tigs. If the pitching is servicable and they find the consistant offense they should possess, Tigs will roar into October!

  17. Rick, hopefully so! I think that ‘if the pitching is serviceable’ is the key, though, because we have no guarantee that that’ll be the case with the starters we have right now. Justin looks like he’s turning himself around, but Arrrrrmando may not be able to keep on pitching like he’s been doing, and who knows what the heck is up with Kenny and Nate…

  18. “Matt Joyce
    Grade: A

    I’m so glad my office has a door because I’m pretty sure I just snorted. God, I miss Joyce.

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