Irrationally Overrated MLB Players: Detroit Tigers Brandon Inge

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The reason for overrating these MLB players could be one of the following: a prolonged term of service, being a crucial part of a championship team, or for doing one thing exceptionally well.

H. Jose Bosch tells us what’s up:

It’s gotta be Brandon Inge for the Detroit Tigers. He is LOVED by the fans and yet only four players IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME have had more plate appearances and a lower career BA than Inge. It’s painful to watch him. He’s batting.184. Let me say that again….1-8-4. Do you know how hard a legitimate Major League Baseball player has to try to his that low? His slugging is .251. That number shouldn’t even exist.

Then you have his supporters who say “But his defense is so good!” I was even one of those people. And his defense was pretty damn good. His peak was in 2006 and 2007. But since then, if you adjust his UZR to 150 games, his defense was slightly above average in a injury-shortened ’08 (6.2) and in ’09 (.6.9). Last season his UZR/15 was 3.5. This season it’s 3.8. That puts him slightly above the middle of the pack among third basemen.

In other words, he’s no Brooks Robinson.

But a lot of teams have a shitty everyday player. It’s a diluted league and managers have to fill nine slots in the lineup. What makes Inge most infuriating, aside from his average defense and terrible hitting, is his contract.

He’s making $5 million this year. He’s making $5 million next year. He has a club option in 2013 for $6 million and if the team wants to buyout, they have to pay him $500,000.

That is ridiculous.

I looked up the best third basemen based on UZR/150 (I don’t even care what they’re hitting because I know it’s not lower than Inge). There are three players considerably better than Inge in the hot corner making a lot less money this season: Brent Morel ($414,00), Jack Hannahan ($500,000) and Alberto Callaspo ($2 million). Placido Polanco is a much more reliable player and he’s just barely making more than Inge ($5.25 million). Finally there’s Scott Rolen, who may be aging, but is remarkably the second best defensive third baseman in the league. He’s making $6.5 million.

Inge can’t be blamed for David Dombrowski’s stupidity but that doesn’t stop me from hating him.

This season, It’s a lot easier to dislike Inge because, for God’s sake, he’s hitting .184. But as one Tweeter noted, Ryan Raburn (another guy who could be on this list) gets a whole hell of a lot more shit for his play than Inge does. While Raburn’s defense his atrocious, he’s still hitting 59 points better than Inge. He’s batting .213!

For whatever reason, there are fans who still get behind Inge no matter how painfully obvious it is his skills are deteriorating. Maybe it’s because he’s a 10-5 guy and Detroit LOVES athletes who stick around. Or maybe it’s because Inge is, by all accounts,  a hard worker who has also worked to help the city off the field. Whatever the reason, Inge has plenty of supporters.

And while Raburn gets mercilessly booed on a regular basis, despite
having some semblance of an upside, Inge will continue to be the
second face of the franchise (behind Verlander) and ride this gravy
train until he gets a cushy team-related job post-retirement.

Only then, when he stands and waves to the crowd on occasion, will he be close to consistently producing.

irrationally overrated players archive: White Sox Mark Buerhle

 

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