Blogs > Out of Left Field

A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Reaction to Verlander winning coveted MVP award

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alburquerque named Tigers Rookie of the Year

Fifty-one weeks after he was a footnote transaction, reliever Alberto ("Al-Al") Alburquerque has become a household name in Detroit — although notsomuch amongst New York talk radio hosts like Mike Francessa.

Wednesday, it was announced that he'd been named the 2011 Detroit Tigers Rookie of the Year by the Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Association, an award the organization has handed out since 1969.

Alburquerque was well worth the big-league contract the Tigers handed him, signing him the same day they inked set-up man Joaquin Benoit, finishing as the leader among American League relievers in batting average allowed (.142), as well as hits (4.36) and strikeouts (13.92) per nine innings. His strikeout rate and average allowed were the best numbers recorded by a Tigers reliever in the post-World War II era.

As a rookie, Alburquerque finished 6-1 with a 1.87 ERA in 41 outings, not allowing a single earned run after his September return from injury, but had a postseason ERA of 13.50 in four playoff outings. The rust on his arm from missing time with a forearm injury and the much-publicized batting practice concussion limited his ability to contribute in the postseason, hamstringing the Tigers at the end of games, forcing them to go almost exclusively with Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.

General manager Dave Dombrowski didn't seem to indicate any need to improve the back end of the Tigers' bullpen before next season, trusting that Alburquerque can snap back to form with an offseason of rest.

"You've got Valverde, you've got Benoit, Alburquerque was a little bit of an unusual situation at the end of the year, but he'll be healthy, so that's three guys that have established themselves from the right side," Dombrowski said.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Avila wins Silver Slugger award

Second-year catcher Alex Avila was rewarded for his breakout season with the bat Wednesday, earning a Louisville Slugger Silver Slugger Award as the American League's best offensive catcher, after missing out a day earlier on a Gold Glove award, as the AL's best defensive catcher.

Avila hit .295 in 2011 — nearly 70 points higher than a year earlier — finishing with 19 home runs, four triples, 33 doubles and 82 RBI.

One of five first-time honorees in the American League — along with Boston's Adrian Gonzalez and Jacoby Ellsbury, Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera and former Tiger Curtis Granderson — Avila is the youngest among the American League honorees at 24.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Avila, Jackson could find themselves among AL Gold Glove winners for first time

When the Gold Glove Awards are announced Tuesday night, a pair of second-year Tigers could be among the honorees in the American League: Both center fielder Austin Jackson and catcher Alex Avila were among the finalists at their positions.

For Avila, who was voted in as the AL starting catcher for the All-Star Game, and earned mention as a postseason All-Star by The Sporting News, the competition for the Gold Glove at catcher are Baltimore's Matt Wieters and the Chicago White Sox's A.J. Pierzynski.

Jackson's competitors in center field are Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury and Los Angeles Angels speedster Peter Bourjos.

The 18 Gold Gloves will be handed out in a televised awards show on ESPN2 at 10 p.m. Eastern.

UPDATE: Neither Jackson nor Avila won a Gold Glove. Ellsbury took home the Gold Glove in center, while Wieters won the catcher's Gold Glove.

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