As more Top 10 lists are released, more Detroit Tigers players are getting the respect they deserve.
In fact, several Detroit Tigers players are ranking high one of the toughest lists to crack: MLB Network’s “The Shredder.”
Article continues below ...
As the Shredder knocks around the numbers, these are the Tigers who are showing up as some of the best in the league. Of course, there are predictable names on the list, but there are a few surprises as we anticipate the 2017 season.
The Shredder is an analytics machine that looks at offensive and defensive numbers. It uses specific formulas to rank the top 10 players at each position. What makes the Shredder different from the lists of top analysts is that the formula does not take personality and “intangibles” into account. The Shredder does not use any bias; it doesn’t have favorite players. It only recognizes greatness. Interestingly, the analysts, like Brian Kenny, Bill James, and Mike Petriello, get similar results without looking as deeply at the numbers. Even though these three analysts know the game, it is difficult for them to remove any form of bias from their lists.
First Base: This is going to be an obvious one: Miguel Cabrera. He is perennially in the Top 10, but he has not been ranked number one for a few years. This is because the Shredder takes defense and offense into account. In 2017, Cabrera is ranked second. the Shredder ranked Paul Goldschmidt in the first spot. Three is held by Joey Votto and four belongs to Anthony Rizzo. Mike Petriello said of Cabrera: “While he’ll be 34 in March and isn’t the defender that Rizzo is, there’s little doubt that Cabrera is one of the best right-handed hitters to ever live, and he’s still acting like it.”
Petriello also put Cabrera in the number two spot on his list. He ranked Anthony Rizzo ahead of Cabrera. His third and fourth place finishers were Votto and Goldschmidt.
Second Base: This position is stacked with All-Stars and some potential Hall of Famers. There is little doubt why the Shredder placed Jose Altuve at the top of the list. He can hit and he can field. But, this list is about the Tigers. So, where does the Shredder place Ian Kinsler? Fifth. The second through fourth spots belong to Robinson Cano, Daniel Murphy, and Dustin Pedroia. Kinsler finished farther from the top than his 2016 Gold Glove award signified, because of his age and because his fielding ability is so similar to the other players.
Shortstop: Unfortunately, the same goes for Jose Iglesias. His competition lies with NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager, Francisco Lindor, and Carlos Correa. This isn’t to say that Iggy is bad at his job, there are just men who can field better (amazingly so) and hit better.
Jul 10, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Detroit Tigers left fielder Justin Upton (8) reacts after striking out during the sixth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Toronto Blue Jays won 6-1. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
So far the Shredder has not yet released its names for centerfield and right field, but since the Tiger literally do not have a centerfielder, we all know no Tiger will appear on the list. It’s tough to compete with Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, and Dexter Fowler. Maybe someday, the Tigers will have a centerfielder who can make it on the list.
The top right-field players list has not been released yet. However, the Tigers do have one of the best right fielders in the game – certainly a top 10 player. J.D. Martinez will most likely rank between 7 and 10. According to RotoChamp and its fantasy baseball rankings, Martinez is the seventh best right fielder. The Shredder will be close.
Left Field: The only outfielder that has been ranked by the Shredder is left field. And, surprisingly, Justin Upton did well. The best left-fielder according to the Shredder is Ryan Braun and J-Up ranks seventh. After the mixed up season that Upton had, his ranking was a surprise. In 2016, he has been average, but those 31 home runs had an effect on the Shredder. He’s played since 2007 and he is still only 29. Who knows, maybe year 10 will be better than average.
Starting Pitcher: The Shredder and the humans had difficulty coming to a consensus on the top 10 best pitchers. They did agree on the two best, Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer, but the rest weren’t even close. Only one Tiger starting pitcher appeared on the Mike Petriello’s Top 10 List: Justin Verlander. The Ace finished in the seventh spot. The Shredder did not recognize JV for the skills he showed in 2017. He did give up the most home runs in 2016 – along with teammate Anibal Sanchez.
Unfortunately, catchers and relief pitchers have not yet been released by MLB Network and the Shredder. Like center field, the Tigers most likely will not have any relievers on the Top 10 list. If any do show up, it would Francisco Rodriguez – but it is difficult to compete against Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, and Zach Britton.
The Shredder’s catcher has not yet been released and it is safe to say that James McCann will not be on the list. While he is a top defensive catcher, his hitting leaves much to be desired. As usualy, the top catchers should include Salvador Perez, Gary Sanchez, Jonathan Lucroy, Yadier Molina, and Buster Posey. McCann will get his turn, eventually; but, he has to get that swing to make more contact.