Raburn Filling in Nicely for Tigers

September 24, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Ryan Raburn
(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

The Detroit Tigers are sitting atop the AL Central with a handful of games left to play, a 20-year old starter, no real 5th starter all season, a patchwork bullpen, and a few injury woes.

Among corner position players losing time to injury or alleged disputes about a vesting option are Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Marcus Thames, and Jeff Larish. The Tigers have lost a lot of man hours, especially in left field this year. That’s where Ryan Raburn steps in.

Raburn, never having 200 plate appearances in any season in the majors, filled in nicely for the injured players listed above.  Jim Leyland played Raburn at five different positions this season and could eclipse 300 plate appearances for the first time in his big leage career.

Raburn is currently hitting .281/.345/.517 with an OPS+ of 121 and a wOBA of .366.  Raburn has 14 homers, 11 doubles, 2 triples and 5 steals in 242 fill-in at-bats.  His HR/FB rate is 15.9% and will be very hard to sustain but it is not impossible.

Raburn has helped offset the underwhelming offensive performances of basically the entire starting lineup:  Gerald Laird (.226/.309/.327), Adam Everett (.236/.287/.325), Brandon Inge (.232/.323/.418), Curtis Granderson (.247/.328/.447), Magglio Ordonez (7 homers in 427 at-bats), and Carlos Guillen (.246/.331/.439).

Raburn has also done well in the outfield.  Overall, he has a 3.7 UZR/150 as an outfielder in 475 innings of work.  His infield work, well, not so much.  Raburn belongs in the outfield.  Fangraphs has Raburn valued at $5.1M with his 1.1 WAR (wins above replacement).  Not bad for a guy with under 300 PAs and making close to the league minimum.

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