Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ryan Raburn Needs the Inge Treatment; He Needs To Be Gone

By Sean Gagnier

Let's face it, there is no earthly reason why Ryan Raburn consistently suits up and takes the field as the Detroit Tigers starting second baseman; there just isn't. Statistically, he is one of the worst second basemen, if not the worst in the entire league.

The offense is the problem for the Tigers right now, they are not getting the clutch hits and they are leaving runners on base. Detroit's starting pitchers have a sub-2 ERA over their last seven starts but only have three wins to show from it. The offense is not picking up their pitchers and Raburn is a major offender.

Raburn has played in 23 games for Detroit so far this season, mainly at second but occasionally being shifted to left or right field for defensive purposes late in game. In those 23 games Raburn has had 71 at-bats and in those at-bats he has only nine hits, just three of which were for extra bases.

His terrible at-bats has pushed his batting average all the way down to Brandon Inge territory at .127 and an on-base percentage of just .192. But another stat that shows just how poorly Raburn is playing is his on-base percentage plus slugging or OPS. A mediocre OPS is between .700 and .800. Anything over .800 is a mark of a solid every day starter, if a batter has a 1.000 OPS he is elite in the league. With that in mind, Raburn's OPS is a mind blowing .361.

When a player has a .361 OPS they better be giving the team the defensive skills of a Hall of Famer or be sitting in the Super 8 motel because they aren't playing. There is no excuse for a player with numbers this bad should ever see the field.

Raburn can't get on base in any fashion; he can't hit the ball and he can't draw walks. In his 71 at-bats Raburn has drawn just four walks, compared to his 19 strike-outs, he is by far the worst second baseman in the league.

Delving into sabermetrics on Raburn gives better insight on his mediocrity. In 2012, Raburn's WAR, or wins above replacement, is at -0.9, meaning that he costs the Tigers about one win per season. His dWAR, or defensive wins above replacement, is also negative at -0.3 meaning that once again Raburn isn't helping the Tigers, he's hurting them.

Raburn isn't making much money, just about $2 million, so he isn't commanding a whole lot of the Tigers pocket book, meaning that they need to give him the Inge treatment and get him out of town as soon as the wheels touch the tarmac in Detroit. Give Danny Worth 100 at-bats and see what he can do and if that doesn't work, throw some players the quality of the Wilson Betemit trade the Royals way and get Michigan-native Chris Getz to take over at second for Detroit.


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