Making The Grade(s): 2009 Final Edition

After giving it some time after the Game 163 fun, Professor Rogo is here to give out final grades for everyone that wore a Tigers jersey in 2009. This will be my second attempt at this since I wrote it all out once and accidently deleted it because I am a moron. (Write it in Word first...I know. Shut up.) So here's how this will look.

Player: Final Grade (Midseason Grade)
2009 Value Over Replacement Player
(for hitters) Avg, HR, RBI, OBP
(for pitchers) W-L, ERA, IP, K's

Easy enough? Great. Here's my midseason grades if you have even more time to kill. On we go.


Miguel Cabrera: A- (A)
VORP: 57.1
.324, 34, 103, .396
The guy is great but with a bit of patience at the plate, he could be outstanding, methinks. Jim Leyland hinted at that same thing earlier this season by commenting that he thinks Cabrera seems to not concentrate enough in every at bat. His other big stat of the year, the .26 BAC, may be the thing that finally gets him completely serious about baseball, since the media had a field day with it. We'll see. Fine season overall for Cabrera, especially considering the stiffs he had surrounding him in the lineup for most of the season.

Placido Polanco: B (C-)
VORP: 15.0
.285, 10, 72, .331
Mr. Potato Head started the season poorly and spent most of it in the .260 range at the plate. His defense seemed to slip a bit, as well. But down the stretch, Polly was one of the few guys that didn't seem lethargic at the plate and played a key part in winning several games. He looks to be finished as a Tiger due to budget issues, which is a shame. Thanks for everything, Placido. Hopefully, someone on ESPN learns how to pronounce your name properly before you retire.

Brandon Inge: C+ (A)
VORP: 2.4
.230, 27, 84, .314
Only Brandon could hit 27 homers and have a VORP of 2.4. I called him the first half MVP of the team at the All Star Break. Since then, he's battled gimpy knees and a frustrating habit of swinging at curveballs in the dirt. The guy is amazing in the field, yet an abortion at the plate. If he ever learns to put it all together, then I'll finally be able to understand the love he receives from all the fat girls with tramp stamps that scream when he's introduced at the CoPa.

Adam Everett: C (B)
VORP: -6.9
.238, 3, 44, .288
When the Tigers signed Everett, I said that he was possibly the worst hitter in the league and the best fielding shortstop at the same time. He wasn't either of those things, but it was close. Adam produced pretty much what was expected of him. He even managed to stay healthy for the whole year. Who knows if he'll be back, but I'd rather see Ramon Santiago at short, any day.

Gerald Laird: C+ (C+)
VORP: -6.2
.225, 4, 33, .306
Along with Inge and Everett, G-Money was the third member of the "Tigers Black Hole of Suck" where rallies went to die in the batting order. But I feel bad for Laird. The guy deserves a gold glove for his efforts behind the plate this year, and his offense was bound to suffer as Leyland trotted him out there for 135 games this year. The injury to Mr. Misty-May didn't help things to start the season. With Alex Aliva "arriving", hopefully Laird will get some more rest next year and his offensive production will increase. Hopefully.

Ramon Santiago: B (B)
VORP: 4.1
.267, 7, 35, .318
"The Little Tiger That Could" is a DNR favorite that I would like to see get a chance to be the everyday shortstop over a full season. Being a DNR favorite, look for him to be released or traded any day now. (See Anderson, Josh, French, Luke, and Sheffield, Gary) Ramon is great with the glove, has occasional pop in his bat, and looks like he's 12 years old, which is always amusing. If only he'd get to play in more than 100 games in a season. (93 in '09)

Aubrey Huff: D (none)
VORP: -6.8 (Det)
.241, 15, 85, .310 (Bal & Det)
Huff was the bat that Dave Dombrowski acquired for the stretch run to protect Miguel Cabrera. Instead, Huff grounded out to second base almost every time he came to the plate. Aubrey gets a "D" instead of an "F" because I happened to be at the "bat flip" game where he hit the tying home run in the bottom of the ninth against the Blue Jays. That was an awesome moment...his only as a Tiger. Aubrey's a decent ballplayer that I think just crumbled under the pressure of his first playoff race.

Jeff Larish: C- (C-)
VORP: 1.1
.216, 4, 7, .344
Larish was sent down around midseason and got hurt, preventing a September call up. 2010 will be a big year for him to see if he's ever going to be a big league ballplayer or if he's going to be a Mike Hessman.

Alex Avila: B+ (none)
VORP: 7.5
.279, 5, 14, .375
Who saw this coming? Son of one of the bosses. Can grow a full beard in under two hours. Hits the crap out of the ball. Catches a decent game, too? 2010 will intersting to see if Alex is more of a Lance Parrish or a Matt Nokes, a one and done guy. He'll be important for the Tigers in resting Laird and providing some pop off the bench.

Dane Sardinha: D- (D+)
VORP: -6.4
.097, 0, 3, .091
Decent defender. Worst hitter ever. I doubt he'll ever see Detroit again. That's okay because I hear he likes the scenery in Toledo just fine.

Dusty Ryan: D (C)
VORP: -3.0
.154, 0, 4, .267
Jim Leyland seemed to forget that he was on the team at times. So did I.

Brent Dlugach: Incomplete (none)
VORP: -0.8
.000, 0, 0, .000
I can't grade a guy that got into 5 games and had 3 at bats. Annoying last name, though.

Matt Treanor: F (F)
VORP: -3.3
.000, 0, 0, .071
Epic fail. Say hi to the wife for me.


Curtis Granderson: B (B)
VORP: 25.8
.249, 30, 71, .327
Grandy had the highlight reel catch of the year robbing Grady Sizemore of a home run early in the season. He made the All Star team for the first time. And he hit a career high 30 dingers. But too often, he seemed to be more Marcus Thames at the plate than Curtis Granderson, especially against left handers. Too much boom or bust...not enough gappers to start a rally. Lynn Henning wants him traded...I just want the old Granderson back...the guy from before he was trying to save the world and hit home runs all the time.

Magglio Ordonez: B (D)
VORP: 22.9
.310, 9, 50, .376
It's all been said. The personal problems. The contract. The lack of power. The townsfolk with pitchforks calling for his head. Then a funny thing started happening with Maggs. He started hitting again. Magglio was a beast down the stretch, arguably the offensive MVP the final month of the season. If his head is on straight all season, he stays healthy, and Jim quits pulling him in the 6th or 7th inning every night, Magglio may still have another productive year or two left in him.

Carlos Guillen: C- (Incomplete)
VORP: 3.5
.242, 11, 41, .339
Carlos says he's an everyday player. Well, if he can quit getting hurt every time he rounds second base, maybe he can prove just that. Carlos was too streaky once he started playing this year to be an impact player. He's shown that he can be an asset when healthy. But that's easier said than done with Carlos Guillen. Since the end of the season, he's been running his mouth about his position and playing time. I hope he's just letting off steam from a disappointing season's end and isn't as delusional as his comments seem to make him out to be.

Ryan Raburn: B (B)
VORP: 19.4
.291, 16, 45, .359
Other than the first 20 at bats of the season, Ryan Raburn seemed on a misson this season to prove that he should be in the lineup every day. So, of course, he only got 261 at bats playing for Jim Leyland. But the guy produced, putting up the 4th highest VORP on the team behind Cabrera, Granderson, and Ordonez. Maybe 2010 will be the year that Ryan Raburn gets his shot at an everyday role. But with expensive guys seemingly manning the corner outfield spots, who knows...

Clete Thomas: C- (C+)
VORP: -0.5
.240, 7, 39, .324
Ladies and gentlemen, our #3 hitter for much of the year...a guy with a negative VORP. Regular readers of my little poop joke blog here know that I'm not much of a fan of 'ol Clete. But much of that stems from the fact that he was put in a position in the lineup where he just did not belong. He was set up to fail. The guy has a cannon for an arm, but not much else other than a goofy name, a goofy face, and a weird fan base. The man sucks at hitting a baseball. He sucks a LOT at hitting a baseball. Clete's a #4 outfielder at best. He is not a #3 hitter in a major league lineup. He gets a C- from me, overall, for his defense and a couple timely hits that he did manage to get during the year.

Marcus Thames: C- (C)
VORP: 5.9
.252, 13, 36, .323
Ahh, Marcus. For the 3rd straight year, at least, I read that THIS was the year that Marcus was going to get some at bats for the Tigers. But due to injury and his usual streaky play, Marcus only made 294 plate appearances. His power numbers dipped and he wasn't called upon in Game 163 to bat for Gerald Laird (even though I was drunkedly screaming for Leyland to do so...three different times). Marcus may be done as a Tiger, I'm afraid.

Don Kelly: D (D)
VORP: -0.8
.250, 0, 3, .311
The Tigers sure do love their generic, white outfielders, don't they? I honestly don't know what they see in this guy. Even the Pirates didn't want him. And that fly ball he lost in the Metrodome...don't get me started.

Wilkin Ramirez: B- (A)
VORP: 2.5
.364, 1, 3, .385
Trade bait. That's what I see in this kid. Sell high. There's no room in Detroit for him for another couple years with the contracts we have unless Carlos or Magglio's legs fall off. Then again, that could happen at any time. Wilkin seems like a good player, but he's another that I just haven't seen enough of. I do know that he's good at getting picked off of base at crucial times.

Josh Anderson: C- (C+)
VORP: -4.8
Sold to Kansas City like a side of beef, Josh Anderson never got enough consistant playing time in Detroit to show what he could be. He hit over .300 with the Braves, but was part of platoons in his limited Tiger action. I loved his speed and thought he'd be crucial off the bench as a pinch runner late in the season. Dombrowski disagreed and kept Clete Thomas instead. Sigh.


Justin Verlander: A+ (A)
VORP: 60.6
19-9, 3.45, 240.0, 269
When I grow up, I want to be Justin Verlander. Rebounding from a poor 2008 season, JV was a beast this year. Despite averaging around 345 pitches per game (look it up), Verlander survived the season and led the AL in strikeouts by 27 over Zach Greinke. Oddly enough, when balls were put in play against Justin, batters had an BABIP of .325. The only Tiger with at least 32 innings pitched with a higher BABIP? Nate Robertson at .342. Other than that weird stat, JV was an ace in every way for Detroit.

Edwin Jackson: B+ (A+)
VORP: 49.2
13-9, 3.62, 214.0, 161
Anyone miss Matt Joyce? Didn't think so. EJax in the first half was the suprise of baseball. The second half? He ran out of gas. It'll be interesting to see how he pitches in 2010. Will he be one of the best #2 starters in baseball? Or will he be the guy that both the Dodgers and Rays gave up on? My guess is somewhere closer to the first as his stuff is just too good to not be an asset to the rotation. He would have won 17 or 18 games if he had any run support.

Rick Porcello: B+ (B-)
VORP: 32.2
14-9, 3.96, 170.2, 89
Dreamboat Rick surprised everyone that was calling for him to start the season in AAA (including Your Party Host) by putting together a Rookie of the Year type season. His lethal sinker led to ground ball after ground ball and was the guy the Tigers turned to in Game 163 to get them the win. He did his part, but perhaps an early yank by Jim Leyland was the difference in that game. Regardless, Kid Rick's first season was hopefully a sign of things to come in the future.

Jarrod Washburn: D- (none)
VORP: -5.7 (Det)
9-9, 3.78, 176.0, 100 (Sea & Det)
He had one good start against the mighty Royals, at least. Other than that, Washburn was a failure in every sense of the word after being acquired from Seattle at the trade deadline. Sadly, the Tigers knew of his knee injury when they traded for him and have no one to blame buy themselves. He won't be back in Detroit next year...most likely returning to Seattle.

Armando Galarraga: D (C-)
VORP: 3.4
6-10, 5.64, 143.2, 95
Sophomore slump or was he just an optical illusion last year? Armando started well and went to hell quickly afterwards. His control left him and he just couldn't be counted on to give solid innings throughout the season, so much so that Leyland and company went with unproven starter Alfredo Figaro on the final Saturday of the season against the White Sox. We'll see where his head is at come springtime, I guess.

Nate Robertson: D+, (F)
VORP: 0.4
2-3, 5.44, 49.2, 35
Our Hero battled injury and the fact that he sucks for most of 2009. Surprisingly, he did manage to put together a decent start or two down the stretch before getting yet another ouchie to end things. Here's something positive. His 0.4 VORP is miles ahead of the -13.4 he put up in 2008. Way to go, Nate! Earn that cash!

Eddie Bonine: C-, (D)
VORP: 4.1
1-1, 4.46, 34.1, 19
Hey, he pitched a decent game in Chicago for us. Other than that, Bonine was useless as one of the 20 #5 starters we tried this year. He did his best, but Eddie Bonine in your rotation does not make you a playoff team.

Dontrelle Willis: F (F)
VORP: -5.3
1-4, 7.49, 33.2, 17
When's he off the books again? Great idea signing him to an extension before he ever took the mound, Dave. Wish I had your job security.

Alfredo Figaro: D (C)
VORP: -1.7
2-2, 6.35, 17.0, 16
Figaro didn't belong in the majors, making the jump from AA since no one pitching and wearing an Old English D could stay healthy this year. Check back on him in a couple years.

Chris Lambert: F (F)
VORP: -6.2 (Det)
0-1, 10.22, 12.1, 11 (Det & Bal)
Sigh. Thanks for taking him, Baltimore. Idiots.

Luke French: B (B)
VORP: 6.5 (Det)
4-5, 5.21, 67.1, 42
"The Tickler" pitched well in his brief time as a Tiger before being shipped to Seattle in the now regretted Washburn deal. In Seattle, French got hammered, doing his best Washburn imitiation for the M's. He was never a top prospect, but he would have been a better option down the stretch for us than Figaro, Bonine, or Lambert.


Fernando Rodney: B (C)
VORP: 12.3
2-5, 37 SV, 4.40, 75.2, 61
Captain Crooked Hat is probably done as a Tiger. I couldn't be happier. Yes, he went 37/38 in saves. That's why I gave him a "B". But my blood pressure couldn't possibly stand another season of watching this guy save games for us. And that one blown save against Cleveland at Progressive Field? Yep...I was there. I hate you, Fernando.

Brandon Lyon: A- (C)
VORP: 27.0
6-5, 2.86, 78.2, 57
People were calling for "The Cowardly Lyon's" head early in the year after a poor start. But as the season went on, Lyon became "Lyonheart", the leader of the Tigers' bullpen. No one down the stretch was better than Brandon out of the pen and I'm hoping the Tigers can sign him for another season as either the closer or to be competition for Zoom and Perry to be the 2010 closer.

Zach Miner: C (C-)
VORP: 12.6
7-5, 4.29, 92.1, 62
I like Miner better as a starter. Leyland likes him better out of the pen. Either way, Zach Miner is nothing more than an average big league pitcher with a decent sinker. Orlando Cabrera took him deep for the big drive in Game 163, but I don't think Zach had any business being in there. If you give a chimp a gun and the chimp shoots you blame the chimp? No...blame the moron that handed him the gun.

Ryan Perry: B- (C)
VORP: 11.0
0-1, 3.79, 61.2, 60
Perry's still just a cub, yet another rookie that wasn't expected to make the team, but did. He did okay...just needs to work on his control. They're calling him the closer of the future. Then again, they did that with Joel Zumaya, too.

Bobby Seay: C+ (A)
VORP: 9.3
6-3, 4.25, 48.2, 37
Started well, ended poorly. Sound familiar by now? Bobby's a solid workhorse out of the pen, but we do have cheaper options in lefty relievers with Ni and Rapada. Don't expect Bobby to be with the team for more than another year.

Fu-Te Ni: A- (A)
VORP: 11.5
0-0, 2.61, 31.0, 21
"Made In Taiwan" was very impressive for the Tigers. He led the team with a .205 BABIP and showed good control. That and he can do impressions! What more do you need in a lefty out of the pen?

Joel Zumaya: D (C)
VORP: 2.6
3-3, 4.94, 31.0, 30
"Glass Joel" disappointed his legions of fans again in '09. He can't stay healthy and his fastballs aren't as difficult to hit as they used to be. However, I do understand him a bit better now. I recently bought "Guitar Hero: World Tour" and managed to hurt my wrist playing "Schism" by Tool. Add in my drinking problem and Joel and I are two peas in a pod. All kidding aside, they expect Zoom to compete once again for the closer role in 2010 if he's healthy. Insert your own "Joel getting injured" joke here.

Casey Fien: F (none)
VORP: -3.4
0-1, 7.94, 11.1, 9
Fien was great as a Mud Hen. As a Tiger? Not so much. Another year in the minors will tell us what we have in Casey Fien.

Freddy Dolsi: B+ (B+)
VORP: 1.0
1-0, 1.69, 10.2, 3
Dolsi continues to do well in the majors when called upon. Thing is, they hardly ever call upon him. Not sure what it is, but Leyland doesn't seem to have much faith in him.

Jeremy Bonderman: F (incomplete)
VORP: -3.0
0-1, 8.71, 10.1, 5
Bondo was el busto in 2009 again. Hurt all year, he came back late in the year to get smacked around out of the pen. Entering 2010, he's a mystery if he'll ever achieve the promise that people have had for him for years now.

Clay Rapada: D (C-)
VORP: 0.2
0-0, 5.40, 3.1, 2
I like Rapada. Of course, that means he's doomed to a career in the minor leagues.

Juan Rincon: D (D)
VORP: 0.8 (Det)
4-2, 6.87, 36.2, 35 (Det & Col)
Great spring. Sucked in real games. Got bombed in Colorado, too. May be about over for Senor Rincon.


Jim Leyland: C+ (D)
Expecting a lower grade after I took pot shots at him this whole time? I constantly disagree with Mumbles McMarlboro's decisions, but he got the Tigers to a second place finish...exactly where I predicted them to finish at the beginning of the year. Look it up...right here. (That Mets pick...what was I thinking?) So yeah, I can't totally crap on the skipper. With all of the injuries to his rotation, it's a miracle that we finished where we did. When you can't score more than 3 runs a game, it's hard to win games. But the Tigers did. And as much as Jim Leyland drives me crazy at times, you have to respect the fact that the Tigers were there at the end.

We'd have all taken that at the start of the season. Class dismissed.