We’re sitting here on the couch, you and me. We’re talking baseball. Baseball, we agree, is a great sport that is filled with controversy and drama and the human element. It’s good and it’s bad at times. Fans shouldn’t just appreciate the team and shut up. This sport is a passion for millions of people. People with opinions. People with access to the internet.
We’re sitting here on the couch, you and me. We’re talking Tigers baseball. We’re talking expectations. We’re talking disappointment. We’re talking infielders. We’re talking Ryan Raburn. We’re both in agreement that at this point, Ryno shouldn’t have a major league job. You’ve said this since Spring Training. I said that he’d be fine.
I can’t hide behind his second half stats anymore. Not given his play during the first two months of the 2012 season. Not given the way he has approached the game offensively. Not given his defensive performance. It’s been brutal and no matter how many times the ‘apologists’ (myself included) repeat that he will hit in July and August and September…he’s not hitting now…at all.
There’s a point where you have to take a look at a player and admit that he needs help. He needs something to change and he’s too involved in it to get himself out alone. The only way to get out is to take a step back. Go away for a bit. Take a vacation to the North Pole.
I don’t have any inside information, despite what some of you think, but I can tell you with 100% confidence there have been serious conversations in the Tigers management on what they’re supposed to do with Ryan Raburn, a player who is already, after two months, worth negative 1.0 WAR. I mean, how can they not have?
Some may think that he’s been unlucky at the plate thanks to a season batting average on balls in play of .193. But there’s always two sides of the coin. There’s the unlucky side, then there’s the plain bad side.
Look at his Plate Appearances and BABiP since 2009. Bear with me, in an attempt to figure this wonder-kin out, I’ve broken it down month by month.
Over the last two years, he has sported a BABiP under .175 in the month of May. Do you chalk this up to bad luck in May? I honestly don’t know. I’ve watched the games. You’ve watched the games. Ryan Raburn doesn’t look unlucky. Ryan Raburn looks bad.
Here is his hit trajectory since 2009. Note the absolute drop in BABiP on ground balls this year. Is that an anomaly? Or is it because he’s not making good contact? I’d lean towards the latter on this one.
This strikeout to contact ration is the same as it always has been…wait…you know what. Here’s another damn chart:
That’s enough charts for now, and while they tell us that Raburn has had the same contact rates he hasn’t hit many line drive and his ground balls haven’t gone through the infield, they, frankly, mean pretty much nothing.
Why? Because for the Tigers to even make a move they need to have options and what options are there? Unfortunately, they are as limited as they have ever been.
Ramon Santiago? The longest tenured Tiger is not an everyday player. He’s proven this year in and year out. Whenever he’s given a surplus of at bats he fails. Miserably. There’s no argument here. No ‘let’s see how he does’. We’ve seen what he does. We know who he is.
Danny Worth? A 26 year old minor league player with limited range, no power, and below average contact? There’s a reason he doesn’t play much. He’s barely a division two starter who was simply promoted to Triple-A a couple years ago because there was no one to play there and has found himself bouncing up and down ever since then because there’s no one else to play in either league. Not too mention he might be sent down again because of Quintin Berry’s emergence.
Eric Patterson: He’s hitting .244/.365/.315 in Triple-A with eight extra base hits in over 200 plate appearances. He has nine steals. He may walk, but there’s a reason he is 29 and bouncing from team to team. Major league pitchers would attack and expose him faster than paparazzi on Lindsay Lohan after a rehab assignment.
Hernan Perez is 21 and nowhere near major league ready. Brandon Douglas is 26 in Double-A can’t get on base better than 30% of the time.
Audy Ciriaco may be the most exciting name of the bu…oh wait, his on base percentage is .249? In Triple-A? No thanks.
A trade? There’s a point where you say, yes we’re interested, but when other teams know that you’re desperate, there’s no chance you won’t give up a ton of talent for a marginal return. Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos are the Tigers prized possessions. They aren’t going anywhere.
Unfortunately the Tigers options lay in the hope that Raburn can turn it around. After Tuesday nights 6-3 to Boston, they optioned him to Triple-A Toledo? Leyland said that Worth and Santiago will split time until he comes back reinvigorated.
The funny thing about this is that everyone expects him to dominate AAA pitching, then come back and post his usual plus .900 OPS like he has done the last three years. Will he? I have no idea. I’ve never seen him look as boring at the plate in his career. Maybe Toledo will build his confidence. Maybe Toledo will embarrass him enough to do something.
I don’t know what to feel about Raburn at this point other than betrayal. I’ve stood up for you, Ryno, a lot of us have, and I hope you figure it out. Luckily for you, there’s no one else better and you’re getting as many chances as you can, and many, many, more than you deserve.