Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ryan Raburn and Bad Starts

Ryan Raburn was just sent down to AAA Toledo. He was hitting .146/.209/.211/.420 with a homer and 7 RBI, so it wasn’t a big surprise. Ryan Raburn has a reputation of getting to notoriously slow starts. So how does this year compare to recent past seasons?

2012 – 135 PA, .146/.209/.211/.420, 1 HR, 7 RBI
2011 – 170 PA, .197/.238/.325/.563, 4 HR, 15 RBI
2010 – 69 PA, .177/.261/.290/.551, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Yikes! Those are bad numbers. 2012 does seem to be the weakest of them all but I have to imagine that the Tigers would have sent him down even if he had a .550 OPS like the last 2 years. The Tigers as a team aren’t horrible on offense, they are only averaging 4.35 runs/game, a tick below league average of 4.40 runs/game. But they are way below expectations. Here’s how other Tiger hitters are doing:

Brennan Boesch - .243/.282/.373/.655, 5 HR, 18 RBI
Delmon Young - .252/.299/.374/.674, 3 HR, 16 RBI
Ramon Santiago - .197/.279/.250/.529, 0 HR, 6 RBI
Don Kelly - .164/.261/.164/.425, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Boesch and Young have picked it up recently, but still below what people were predicting. Of Raburn, Santiago and Kelly, Raburn still had an option remaining, so they were able to send him down while keeping him under control.

For whatever reason, Raburn has been great in the 2nd half of the season:
June/July/August/September/October (regular season):

2012 - ???
2011 – 248 PA, .296/.337/.504/.842, 10 HR, 34 RBI
2010 – 341 PA, .301/.356/.511/.867, 15 HR, 57 RBI

In fact, it was these numbers that made the Tigers think that Raburn can be an everyday player. He just can’t hit in the first half. Random variance will tell you that it’s just a coincidence and one of these years he’ll have a great first half, but the evidence to the contrary is right there. I hate to go the mental route, but maybe there’s something psychological going on. In any case, the Tigers need another spark in their offense, so they turn to…

Omir Santos – 3rd string catcher.

Huh? Santos was up with the Tigers briefly last year, hit .227/.227/.227/.455 with 0 HR and 0 RBI in 11 games. Now he was hitting .310/.315/.417/.731 at AAA, but at 31 years old, I doubt he suddenly figured it all out. Maybe Avila or Laird has minor injury and won’t be able to play for a few days. This is a mind-boggling move for sure, especially when it took them a half a day to announce his call-up. Makes me wonder if they were working on a trade and it fell through.

Getting back to Raburn, my prediction is that he’ll rake in AAA and the Tigers will be forced to call him back up within 2 weeks and he’ll continue to do what he did the last 2 years in the 2nd half. Unfortunately, the Tigers won’t have the option to hide him AAA until the 2nd half next year.

1 comment:

  1. The fact that we called up Santos shows how few options we have. A couple of injuries and this season may get out of reach really quickly.