The calendar has now turned over into October and that marks the end of a disappointing season for the Detroit Tigers.
The beginning of the 2008 season brought hope and glimmer to the city of Detroit as the Tigers were early favorites to play in the Fall Classic. As the season played out, those hopes and dreams slowly slipped into nothingness. By September all was lost for the Tigers as they fell under .500, and then fell into fifth place in the American League Central.
While the upcoming season will bring the same dreams as the 2008 campaign did, we must close the doors to Comerica Park and never look back. The end of the season brings awards that must be given to the standout players of this roller-coaster season.
What would we have done without the Galarragas, the Cabreras, or the Grandersons? Nobody knows, but their accomplishments must be celebrated nonetheless and this how we're going to do it.
This is the 2008 Detroit Tigers Awards Round Table. I, Austin Drake, got to talk with two other die-hard Tigers fans: J. Conrad Guest and Brian Packey. So, without further ado, I give you the 2008 Tiger Awards.
Starter of the Year
•Brian Packey: Armando Galarraga—Far and away the most consistent starting pitcher on our squad throughout the entire year. The most impressive stat for Galarraga was how he dominated right-handed hitters time and time again. He posted a 2.46 ERA against righties and held them to a .174 AVG.
•J. Conrad Guest: Armando Galarraga—This is a no-brainer. He is sure to fit into the rotation next season. Let's hope he doesn't suffer from the sophomore jinx.
•Austin Drake: Armando Galarraga—This guy was straight up filthy all season. The best was when he threw that breaking ball to David Ortiz and Ortiz just stood there like a house on the side of the road, then said to himself, "What the heck was that?"
Reliever of the Year
•Brian Packey: Jason Grilli— His 3.29 ERA he posted before he was ill advisedly shipped to Colorado would have wound up being the best on our team. Granted, that was only in 13 IP with us. Well, he did even better in Colorado as he had a 2.93 ERA. I make this selection because no reliever for us deserves recognition.
•J. Conrad Guest: Bobby Seay—Nobody really stands out here, but he was the most consistent, especially in pressure situations.
•Austin Drake: Bobby Seay—Just like Guest said. He was a consistent left-handed specialist and he had one of the best ERAs in a bullpen that struggled all year.
•Brian Packey: Miguel Cabrera—Do I really need to explain myself? He hit 27 HR from July through September. Need I really say more?
•J. Conrad Guest: Miguel Cabrera—Hands down, he was the team's best slugger. After a slow start in April and May he really turned it around. His 37 homers and 127 RBI rank among the best in the league.
•Austin Drake: Miguel Cabrera—I love him, other fans love him, and Rod Allen loves him...do I need to say more? This guy has such power that it almost hurts to watch. He had the best season of his career in 2008, as well.
•Brian Packey: Miguel Cabrera—Easy. He led the team in slugging, hits, doubles, home runs, RBI, total bases, and OBP. He is the epitome of a complete hitter.
•J. Conrad Guest: Curtis Granderson—Even though he missed most of April, his slugging percentage leads all Detroit hitters 200 or more at bats. His 111 runs scored is head and shoulders above everybody else.
•Austin Drake: Placido Polanco—Although the two guys on top of me make a great point, Polanco is a beast with the lumber. He can place the ball anywhere on the field at anytime and he even has a little pop.
•Brian Packey: Brandon Inge—Brandon Inge was about as steady as they came defensively. Inge did not make an error until the very last weekend of the season, which was made at his position of the future, third base. I fully believe him to be a future gold glove winner.
•J. Conrad Guest: Brandon Inge—The human highlight reel. Only one error committed behind the plate and at third base combined all season. Leyland has fully committed to Inge at third base for next season. Let's hope he can hit in the high .200 though.
•Austin Drake: Curtis Granderson—Although Brandon Inge is the human highlight reel, Grandy is also a highlight reel. He is going to get to anything hit in the vicinity of center field. Granderson also hustles 110 percent of the time, unlike any other Tiger.
Rookie of the Year
•Brian Packey: Armando Galarraga—For all the same reasons he was the Tigers' best pitcher. He was the steadiest player on the Tigers and he was just a rookie.
•J. Conrad Guest: Matt Joyce—An outstanding outfielder who has made the most of his playing time with an on-base percentage in the mid .300s. He could be the full-time left fielder with a good spring next season.
•Austin Drake: Armando Galarraga—Who did we trade this guy for? Oh yeah, that's right, nobody cares. Without Galarraga the Tigers could have lost 10 more games than they did this season and they would have had a ton more questions this offseason.
Biggest Surprise Player
•Brian Packey: Justin Verlander—He sucked and no one was expecting him to. He failed to make proper adjustments all season and as a result he ended up finishing an atrocious 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA.
•J. Conrad Guest: Miguel Cabrera—Cabrera had the best season of his career with the Tigers in 2008. Most people were expecting him to take some time to adjust to AL pitching. Well, it took a month.
•Austin Drake: Marcus Thames—His defensive skills aren't all their, but his power is way more than average. 25 homers and a .516 slugging percentage in just 316 at bats. Oh yeah, he also hit six homers in five games at one point.
Minor Leaguer of the Year
•Brian Packey: Mike Hessman—It's tough to choose when our entire farm system plays for other teams now. Hessman had 34 HR and 72 RBI this year in just under 400 AB for Toledo.
•J. Conrad Guest: Dusty Ryan—The pitchers rave about his ability to call a game and he has an absolute Howitzer for an arm. If he can prove that he is able to hit Major League pitching, Ryan could be the catcher of the future for the Tigers.
•Austin Drake: Mike Hessman—His stats were well worth being called up before September. I would've loved to see him instead of Larish more. Hessman was also selected to play for Team USA en route to their Bronze Medal. I believe he has a spot on next years roster locked up.
That wraps up the 2008 Detroit Tigers Awards. Thanks to Brian and Conrad for taking time to get me their picks.
What do you think? Disagree with some picks? Agree with some? Leave a comment.