Around the League: A Summer Roundup on How 12 Former Detroit Tigers Are Doing

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Top, from left: Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler.
Bottom: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Cameron Maybin.
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The author is a Detroit freelancere writer and former Detroit News reporter.
 
By Paul Harris
 
While the Tigers are not – so far, anyway -- as horrible as most people thought they would be this season, the team is still in a rebuilding mode.

That's far different than just a few years ago when the team routinely made the playoffs, reached the World Series and boasted of a roster with some of the game’s biggest stars.

Now, with the exception of Miguel Cabrera, who is out for the season with a ruptured biceps tendon and Victor Martinez -- who is clearly not the Victor Martinez of yesteryear -- those stars are with other teams.

Here’s a look at how some of them are doing:
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Justin Verlander

♦ Justin Verlander, Houston Astros: Since being traded last August, Verlander has returned to being one of best pitchers in baseball.

In 21 starts and 141 innings since leaving the Tigers -- the only Major League organization he had known -- Verlander is 14-2 with a 1.47 ERA, 173 strikeouts,  26 walks and an impressive WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched) of 0.744.

Despite turning 35 in February, Verlander seems to be performing like a youngster.  After being the final piece of the puzzle to help the Astros win the World Series in 2017, he has a 9-2 record with a 1.60 ERA, 130 strikeouts and 21 walks in 16 starts and 107 innings and has a 0.776 WHIP, which is the best in baseball, this season.

Verlander also leads the league the Majors in fewest hits per nine innings (5.215) in 2018.

Also, with 197 wins, he is three short of 200 for his career, which should cement his case for the Hall of Fame.

Max Scherzer

♦ Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals – After two consecutive National League Cy Young Awards in 2016 and 2017, in which he also led the league in strikeouts,  Scherzer is delivering more of the same this season with a 10-3 record, a 2.09 ERA with a Major League-leading 161 strikeouts.

But his most notable accomplishment this year came on June 5, when he posted the second immaculate inning (striking out the side on only nine pitches) of his career, in a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
 
He is the fifth pitcher in history with two immaculate innings. The other four are Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson … Not bad company at all.

And with three career Cy Young Awards to his credit (he won the A.L. Cy Young with the Tigers in 2013) and 151 career wins at age 33, we can seriously discuss his Hall of Fame chances.

J.D. Martinez

♦ J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox – Picks up where he left off last season, when he produced 45 home runs and 104 RBI and a .303 average in only 119 games split between the Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks - after signing as a free agent in Boston. He is tied for second in baseball with 22 homers, and is second with 55 RBI and is hitting .315 in 2018.

♦ David Price, Boston Red Sox – Bounces back from an injury-shortened 2017 season with an 8-5 record, 3.81 ERA and is averaging almost a strikeout per inning (82 K’s in 87 1/3 innings.)

♦ Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox – After a subpar 2017 campaign (11-17, 4.65), Porcello is 9-3 with a 3.44 ERA this season. A groundball pitcher who did not rely on strikeouts with Detroit, Porcello is averaging almost a strikeout an inning in 2018 (94 in 99 innings).

(Dave Dombrowski, now the Red Sox G.M., obviously is doing fine with the above three of his former Tiger employees as Boston holds second place in the A.L. East and tied for the second-best record in the league ocerall.)

Ian Kinsler

♦ Ian Kinsler, Los Angeles Angels – Is struggling this season with only a .220 average along with 10 home runs and 20 RBI in 61 games. It’s the second-consecutive sub-par season for Kinsler, who recently turned 36, after being one of the most consistent performers in the game for the first 11 seasons of his career. Despite 22 home runs with the Tigers in 2017, his batting average was only .236.


♦ Doug Fister, Texas Rangers – He endured a horrible start (1-7 with a 4.50 ERA) before a right knee sprain put him out of action.  Fister is currently on the 60-day disabled list.

♦ Justin Upton, Los Angeles Angels – Having a typical Justin Upton season: Good home run and RBI numbers (16 and 43), with an unimpressive batting average (.252) and a lot of strikeouts (86) in 72
games.

Justin Upton

Rajai Davis, Cleveland Indians – Still a valuable fourth outfielder at 37, and still has speed (14 stolen bases in 17 attempts in 50 games).


♦ Anibal Sanchez, Atlanta Braves – 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA in eight games (seven starts) this season, which was interrupted by a stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury.

 ♦Austin Jackson, San Francisco Giants – A fourth outfielder these days at age 31, he is hitting .432 with 13 RBIs in 52 games.

♦ Alex Avila, Arizona Diamondbacks –  He's hitting only .124 with three home runs and seven RBI in 45 games in a mostly platoon role.
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Alex Avila

♦ Curtis Granderson, Toronto Blue Jays – Now 37, and winding down a solid career that has seen him hit 325 home runs, Granderson is now a platoon player, hitting .253 with six home runs and 23 RBI in 59 games. His trade from the Tigers after the 2009 season brought Scherzer and Jackson to Detroit.

Cameron Maybin

♦ Cameron Maybin, Miami Marlins – A fourth outfielder, the 31-year-old is hitting .235 with 11 RBI in 67 games.

♦ Brad Ausmus, Los Angeles Angels - The former Tigers manager is a special assistant to the general manager for the Los Angeles Angels. It's likely a stopgap position for Ausmus, as he awaits another managerial opportunity. Ausmus interviewed for the then-vacant Boston Red Sox job after being fired by Detroit during the offseason.
 
In case you're wondering, he had no apparent role in either fromer Tigers Ian Kinsler or Justin Upton playing for the Angels. The team hired Ausmus last Nov. 24. Upton was traded to Los Angeles last August and the Angels had been interested in acquiring Kinsler long before the trade last Dec. 13, which sent him to L.A.

 







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