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2014 ALL-STIFF TEAM.....Th, 7/17/14
Posted on: 07-16-2014

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>>caption:  TWO-TIME STIFF B.J.

    Every year since 1981 we've
unveiled our first half "All-Stiff"
Team at the MLB All-Star break.
    It's a tradition we take seriously
and there are some serious stiffs in
our 2014 list of underachievers.....  

CA.....ALEX AVILA...DET...There are catchers with worse stats than
    his 7-HR, 24-RBI and a .230-BA. But he's just so darn frustrating when
    he flashes that occasional doubles and LONG homerun power, then
    follows it up with countless strikeouts with the bat on his shoulder.
    Enough already of Rod Allen and Jim Price defending Avila's handling
    of the pitching staff. Instead consider this:  Avila is 12th among the
    13 Tiger position players in batting average. The only one worse is
    utility infielder Andrew Romine at .217.

1B.....CHRIS DAVIS...BAL...Last year's homerun and RBI champ has
    respectable numbers in those categories at 15 & 48, but both
    are far off his 2013 pace. Davis' .199-BA at the ASB puts him 26th
    among the 26 MLB qualifiers at his position and his 106-K are the
    most by any AL first sacker.

2B.....DARWIN BARNEY...CHC...Two years ago he was handed the 2Base
    job on a talent poor Cubs team. He's handed it back with 2-HR, 16-
    RBI and a .225-BA in an even 200-ABs.

3B.....CHASE HEADLEY...SD...Corner infield spots are power positions and
    7-HR, 29-RBI & a .226-BA doesn't fit the bill. As recently as 2012 Headley's
    full season numbers were 31-HR, 115-RBI and a .286-BA.

SS.....YUNEL ESCOBAR...TB...One of the reasons T-Bay has tanked are
    Escobar's 4-HR, 22-RBI & . 249-BA (way below his career mark of .276).
    The Rays deserve what they get from Escobar, who has been an enigma
    wherever he's played.  

LF.....SHIN-SOO CHOO...TEX...9-HR, 33-RBI, a .242-BA and three
    stolen bases in six attempts in 90 games are not what the Rangers
    had in mind when they inked Choo to a huge, multi-year, free agent
    contract last winter.

CF.....B.J. UPTON...ATL...7-HR, 26-RBI and a .215-BA at the break. His
    numbers are actually better than last year's 8-HR, 20-RBI & .177-BA
    when he also made our All-Stiff Team.

RF.....JAY BRUCE...CIN...10-HR, 41-RBI and a .229-BA. Without injured
    Joey Votto in the Reds lineup to protect him Bruce has become very

DH.....BILLY BUTLER...KC...3-HR & 36-RBI. Hardly worthy of a clean-up
    man. His .273-BA is 23 points lower than his career mark for 1108 games.
    He still stings Tiger pitching though.

SP.....BRANDON McCARTHY...NYY...McCarthy hopes a July change of
    scenery from Arizona to the Bronx will signal an upturn in his luck.
    (Based on only one start for the Yankees it has.) McCarthy's 3-10
    record with a 4.80-ERA and .300-BA against are a big reason D-Backs
    MGR Kirk Gibson is wondering about his job security.

RP.....JOE NATHAN...DET...What Tiger fan didn't want Detroit to sign
    free agent Nathan last winter? Yet, here we are at the ASB and his
    5.61-ERA is the worst on a bad bullpen with a 1.51-WHIP that's second
    poorest to Ian Krol's 1.59. Nathan has five blown saves in two dozen
    chances, less than you'd think given the stats I just quoted. Nathan
    replaces ex-Tiger Jose Valverde, the 2013 All-Stiff closer, on our 2014
    All-Stiff Team.

MGR.....WALT WEISS...COL...It would be easy to pile on Gibby at Arizona
    or Bo Porter in Houston, whose teams are tied for the second worst
    records in MLB just ahead of injury-riddled Texas. However, I think
    the Diamondbacks and Astros misfortunes have more to do with the
    front office than the skippers. Our choice instead is Weiss, whose
    third worst Rockies are 40-55. In a season and a half Weiss has failed
    to rise above nondescript and therefore may be headed back to high
    school coaching.



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