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Written by Matt Snyder | 21 May 2012

2012ASGMost teams have now played between 40-42 games, so we’re now pretty much at the quarter point in the season. If Wins Above Replacement was to select the American League All-Star squad at this point in time, what would that team look like*?

*For the purposes of this post, I’m going to average the WAR values as reported on FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference.

Before I get to the picks, here’s my selection process: I wanted to mimic last year’s roster composition of 21 hitters and 13 pitchers. For hitters, I selected the top two players in WAR at each position to have a starter and a reserve (I selected a second reserve at the catcher position). I then filled out the hitter portion of the roster (the last two spots) by selecting the two highest WAR players that ranked third at their position. For pitchers, I copied last year’s mix of eight starters and five relievers, and selected accordingly (players with both starting and relief appearances were classified as starters).

I’ll start with the hitters:

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Written by Matt Snyder | 19 May 2012

OrlandoHudsonOrlando Hudson was designated for assignment and then released from the San Diego Padres late this week, making him available for any team to sign. The Tigers have struggled to get any sort of prodction out of the second base position so far this season, so I wouldn't be surprised if they decided to kick the tires on the veteran second sacker.

Hudson has won four gold gloves in his career -- he's played nothing but second base -- but advanced fielding metrics indicate that he's no longer the plus fielder that he once was. Not that he's close to being a butcher at second base, but his defense is probably only average (plus or minus a couple of runs) at this point. Almost certainly better Ryan Raburn with the glove (although he hasn't been the nightmare I expected), but not an upgrade over Ramon Santiago or Danny Worth.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 18 May 2012

justin-verlanderWith one out in the ninth inning, and two-strikes against him, Pittsburgh DH Josh Harrison threw his bat at a breaking ball that was off the plate and looped a slow liner up the middle for a base hit. It was the first hit of the night for the Pirates, and the only hit they would record against Justin Verlander in the entire game.

It was just one of those nights. It seems like we say this every time Verlander goes out, but he had his good stuff tonight and had everyone thinking no-hitter by the end of the fourth inning. The perfect game was off the table early – Neil Walker drew a walk in the very first inning – but Verlander mowed through the Pittsburgh lineup all night long, recording 12 strikeouts and forcing nine groundouts.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 18 May 2012

Megatron stopped by Comerica Park this afternoon to hang out with the team before throwing out the ballgame's ceremonial first pitch. He enjoyed a few on-field laughs with the Tigers' players and even stepped into the batting cage himself.

Apparently football isn't the only sport that Calvin Johnson is good at, because he pounded a few balls, and even sent one deep over the left field fence. Here's the video:



Matt Snyder is the editor of The Tigers Den. He can be reached on Twitter @snyder_matthew.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 18 May 2012

JoaquinBenoitJoaquin Benoit has been named the nominal closer as struggling closer Jose Valverde recovers from his lower back strain (listed as day-to-day), but the bad-news of the injury may mean good-news when it comes to ninth inning consistency.

Benoit had a shaky start to the season – he allowed 10 walks in his first 10 appearances (the month of April) – but he’s been rock solid since the calendar turned to May – just two walks and one run allowed to go with nine strikeouts in six appearances. But even while he was ‘struggling’ in April, he was striking out loads of batters (15.4 K/9), ended the month with a very good 2.43 FIP, and only blew one opportunity while recording six holds.

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Written by Matt Snyder | 16 May 2012

MinnesotaTwinsFailThe Detroit Tigers avoided falling to two-games below the .500 mark with their 10-8 win over the Chicago White Sox, but although the Tigers have avoided falling flat on their faces (they’re 8-8 in the last 16 games), they haven’t won two games in a row since finishing a sweep of the Kansas City Royals back on April 18.

But the Tigers have a pretty good chance of doing just that as baseball’s worst team, the 10-26 Minnesota Twins, come to Comerica Park for a two-game set beginning tonight. Just how bad are the Twins? They’re last in the American League in runs scored (3.33 per game), and last in the league in runs allowed (5.33 per game).

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Written by Matt Snyder | 16 May 2012

StatisticsMany of you probably saw Jerry Green’s Detroit News piece this week where he blames statistical analysis for ‘obscuring the true magic of the game’. I, on the other hand, believe that such analysis can lead to a greater appreciation of the game, and I use these stats and numbers in most of my posts.

The stereotype goes that bloggers love sabermetrics and more traditional writers loathe them. But where do you, the fans and readers, stand on the idea of advanced statistical analysis? Take the short poll below.

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