I think it’s probably safe to say that most people are upset about the state of the Tigers offense. We’re resigned to the bullpen woes, defensive struggles, and bad baserunning, but people counted on this offense to be better. Not so fast. Not so fast, at all.
The Tigers offense is not under achieving at all. They may go into slumps, but this is exactly how they were expected to perform. Allow me to demonstrate.
I grabbed all 13 players that have at least 50 plate appearances. We don’t care if Tyler Collins was bad in a dozen trips and we don’t care about how Iglesias was supposed to hit. No one would criticize a team for playing poorly because guys got hurt. What we care about is how the players who are on the team have performed relative to our expectations about them specifically.
Certainly, Cabrera is hitting worse and we all seem to think that’s because he’s injured, but let’s look at those 13 players with their preseason Steamer projections. Steamer is a projection system that forecasts how a player should perform based on their history. Below is a table of relevant wOBA’s.
|Name||Proj PA||Real PA||Proj wOBA||Real wOBA||Diff|
Some players are doing better, some are doing worse. But on the whole, they are hitting exactly as we thought they would.
I took it a step further and weighted this group’s projected wOBA by their projected PA to get a projected team wOBA of this particular set of players. It came out to .334. I did the same thing with their actual performance and it’s .335.
In other words, the Tigers are exactly the offensive club we thought they were.
You’re going to look at this list and see Cabrera and Avila (and Jackson) below their projections and you’re going to say these guys are under-performing. Sure, but you can’t just say that and ignore how much better JDM, VMart, Davis, and Suarez are hitting. That’s cheating! If Romine was hitting like an MVP this year and Cabrera wasn’t a scrub, you couldn’t rightfully say the team was under-performing because Cabrera wasn’t hitting because Romine was over-performing to the same degree.
I’ve said this all season long, the Tigers are an 89-91 win team. They upgraded a little but then got torched by injuries, so they’re probably an 87-88 win team right now. That’s who they are and who they’re playing like. If you think they should be better, that’s a failure of expectation. The preseason projections have been spot on offensively.