A great way to loosen up a clubhouse before a day game on the road in the heat? How about rock, paper, scissors, with the loser getting smoked with a big water jug? That’s what happened before the finale in Boston on Wednesday between Jose Iglesias and Ian Kinsler. Thanks to Miguel Cabrera and his instagram account, we can check it out…
Last night Justin Verlander shut down the Boston Red Sox for his 10th win of the season and lowering his season ERA to 3.64. It wasn’t to long ago that Verlander’s success at the end of the 2015 season looked like a hiccup in a career that was heading down the wrong path as in his 6th start, Verlander was shelled by Cleveland for seven earned in 5 innings. After he took the loss vs. the Indians, Verlander was 2-3 with a 6.49 ERA.
After the game, Verlander tweeted that he was close and would dominate soon…
I’m going to dominate soon! I’m close. Doubt me if you want… We’ll see. #gotigers
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) May 4, 2016
Everyone kind of said, sure you will and moved on. JV backed up those words and instead of last years late performance looking like an anomaly, it now looks like that early season struggle against Cleveland (and Pittsburgh) was the anomaly.
Since that tweet, JV has had 15 starts in which he is 8-3, with a 2.69 ERA, a .198 average against, and very interestingly seen his strike out rate bounce back to just under 10 per 9. That strike out rate is huge as some will remember that when Justin was really struggling, his K per 9 rate was 6.9 (2014) and also 6.9 in his first 11 starts last season.
Looking back to last season and starting with Justin’s first start after allowing 5 earned against KC on August 4th, Verlander has had 32 starts, in which he is 14-10. Nothing special in win/loss, unless you consider the Tigers were sinking fast after the trade deadline last season and are just a .500 team this year.
Moving on from win-loss, Verlander has thrown 213.2 innings in those 32 starts, averaging 6 2/3 innings per start with a 3.12 ERA, 1.044 WHIP, and striking out 9.15 per 9 innings. More amazing to me, is that JV has walked just 59 unintentionally in those 213.2 innings of work. It seems as if we’ve seen JV take that next step to evolve as a starting pitcher who can’t light it up a 99mph anymore, but has figured out how to toss at 93-94.
Lets hope he can keep it up and more interesting, has JV’s resurgence created a trade market for him if the Tigers decide to become sellers and dump his large contract.
We all know that Miguel Cabrera, but how great can he truly be? To start, Miguel is one of the best hitters if not the best of our generation. Baseball-Reference already has Cabrera as a sure thing Hall of Famer right now and when comparing him statistically place him closest to Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Albert Pujols when they were 32.
So when it came up in a broadcast the other night about Miguel Cabrera and his chances at surpassing Pete Rose’s all-time hit record of 4,256, I thought I’d look in to it.
Looking at Rose’s career, it is truly amazing the amount of 700+ plate appearances (15) and 200+ hit (10) seasons that he had. Furthermore, what impressed me is the 3 200+ hit seasons at the age of 35 and over.
With this season in full swing we’ll focus on what Cabrera has done up to the 2016 season, which is a total of 13 full seasons. Injuries have definitely played in to the numbers this past season, but what Cabrera has done to this point is still impressive as he’s collected a total of 2,331 hits by the end of last season, which is an average of 179 per season (187 when taking out rookie season). The average would be higher but a rookie shortened season and last year’s 511 pate appearance season ate in to it.
When comparing Rose to Miggy after 13 season, Rose does have more hits with 2,547 (196 avg per), but just one incredibly good season or 2 so-so seasons ahead of Cabrera. The big difference here though, is at after 13 seasons; Miguel is 32 compared to Rose being 34. When looking at Rose after his age 32 seasons, Cabrera actually has 179 more career hits. The issues of course and similar to Hank Aaron, Rose played until he was 45 and didn’t truly slow down until he was 42. As a matter of fact, Rose from age 33-45 collected 2,104 hits for an average of 162 hits a season.
Now Cabrera is under contract until after his age 40 season and then has two vesting options which could push him to 42 (however unlikely they’ll vest), so with 10 more seasons and if Cabrera’s body holds up, he’d need to collect 1,925 more hits (has 83 at this point this season) and would actually need to increase his season average to 192.5 hits over the next 10 years.
If Cabrera somehow made it to age 45 like Rose (and I highly doubt it), we could see a more reasonable result at 148 hits needed on average to pass Rose.
My conclusion of Cabrera topping Rose is that it’s plausible but highly unlikely that Miguel, as special as he is, can stay healthy enough and will not play long enough to take out Charlie Hustle
The 2016 First Year Player Draft wrapped up over the weekend with GM Al Avila following the Dave Dombrowski draft playbook pretty closely, by selecting power arms early and often. The one noticeable difference was with Avila willing to shy away from taking a power arm out of college with the 1st round pick and went with Matt Manning, out of Sheldon High school in Sacramento, CA.
Detroit went on to select 4 more pitchers with their next 4 picks and selected 19 overall, including a few local kids. It does seem as if they have an interest in any player name Dalton however.
Here’s how the draft went (Rd/Pick/Player/School/POS)
1/9. Matt Manning – Sheldon HS, RHP
4/115. Kyle Funkhouser – Louisville, RHP
5/145. Mark Ecker – Texas A&M, RHP
6/175. Bryan Garcia – Miami, RHP
7/205. Austin Sodders – University of Cal – Riverside, LHP
8/235. Jacob Robson – Mississippi St, OF
9/265. Daniel Pinero – Virginia, SS
10/295. Sam Machonis – Florida Southern, OF
11/325. Zachary Houston – Mississippi St, RHP
12/355. Daniel Woodrow – Creighton, OF
13/385. Braden Policelli – Towson, C
14/415. Austin Athmann – Minnesota, C
15/445. John Schreiber – Northwestern Ohio, RHP
16/475. Will Savage – Columbia, 2B
17/505. Brandyn Sittinger – Ashland, RHP
18/535. Niko Buentello – Auburn, 1B
19/565. Dustin Frailey – Cal St Bakersfield, OF
20/595. Clate Schmidt – Clemson, RHP
21/625. Joe Navihon – USC, RHP
22/655. Burris Warner – Marshall, RHP
23/685. Bryan Torres – Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy, C
24/715. Evan Hill – Michigan, LHP
25/745. John Hayes – Wichita St, RHP
26/775. Colyn O’Connell – Florida Atlantic, RHP
27/805. Chad Sedio – Miami, SS
28/835. Alex Cunningham – Coastal Carolina, RHP
29/865. Hunter Swilling – Samford, 3B
30/895. Dalton Lundeen – Valparaiso, LHP
31/925. Dalton Brit – Liberty, SS
32/955. Connor O’Neil – Cal St. Northridge, RHP
33/985. Keegan Thompson – Auburn, RHP
34/1015. Geraldo Gonzalez – Puerto Rico BB Academy, SS
35/1045. Jacob White – Wakeland HS, C
36/1075. Drew Mendoza – Lake Minneola HS, 3B
37/1105. David Fleita – Maine South HS, 2B
38/1135. Josh Smith – Catholic HS, SS
39/1165. Garrett Milchin – The First Academy, RHP
40/1195. Dalton Feeney – Century HS, RHP
It’s not that Anibal Sanchez was truly ever performing well this season in the rotation, but that he was actually in the rotation, before being removed yesterday by manager Brad Ausmus and sent to the bullpen with a 3-6 record and 6.67 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. On the other hand though, both Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer were off to rocky starts with both really pulling it together in recent outings.
Verlander’s season starts may not show his recent success at 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.092 WHIP, however since his tweet (below) about being close after getting shelled in Cleveland on May 3rd, JV has made 5 starts, is 2-2 with a complete game, averaging over 7 innings a start, shutting down teams allowing 8 earned runs (1.91 ERA), has a .155 average against and has struck out 44 in 37.2 innings (10.65 k per 9). Is he back to 2011/2012? No, but we’ll happily take this Verlander over the one that was 2-3 with a 6.49 ERA after his Cleveland blasting
I’m going to dominate soon! I’m close. Doubt me if you want… We’ll see. #gotigers
— Justin Verlander (@JustinVerlander) May 4, 2016
As for Fulmer, I thought he’d see 2-3 starts and head right back to the Minors, however he is showing the ability to improve at this level and has done so in his last 3 starts. In Michael’s first 4 starts, we saw mixed results with Fulmer starting out 2-1, with a 6.52 ERA, never making it more than 5 innings. However, in Fulmer’s last 3 starts, he has thrown 7 innings or more 3 times, is 3-0, with a 0.40 ERA(!!), .120 average against, and average a strikeout per innings. Granted, this is against weaker teams, this is still a positive sign.
Lets hope Anibal can work it out and that we hear from Daniel Norris again this season as at least the starting rotation is showing results
One of my favorite baseball card releases of the season had come out recently with the Topps Company producing the long running (since 1989) Bowman. Bowman is known to most as “The Home Of The Rookie Card” as the main focus is rookies, however that’s changed a bit with qualifications being put in place for what rookie card really is. Bowman should really be known as “The Home Of The Players First Card” since most don’t qualify. Regardless, I consider myself a prospector and this along with the November/December released of Bowman Draft is right up my alley. Boxes are both retail and hobby, meaning that you can buy hobby at card shows, your local, dealer, etc and retail meaning you can buy at places like Target, Walmart, etc. Hobby boxes have 240 cards and 1 auto, there are jumbo boxes which have 382 cards and 3 autos, and then you get get “blasters” retail blasters and packs as well.
This years release, like years past consists of 150 base cards including 29 rookie cards, a 150 card Prospect set (minor leaguers who have not made their MLB debut), 150 card Chrome Prospect set (same set as above but in Chrome), a 35 card Chrome Prospect Autograph set, a ton of color variations, and then insert sets such as Bowman Scouts Top 100, Family Tree, International Ink, Rookie Recollections, Sophomore Standouts, and Turn Two, all of which have autograph variations.
Here’s a breakdown of how the box I bought worked out…
Packs Per Box: 24
Cards Per Pack: 10
Cards Per Box: 240
Extras: 1 Autograph
Base Set Cards
Standard RC’s: (19) Kyle Schwarber, Stephen Piscotty, Aaron Nola, Hector Olivera, Rob Refsnyder, Trea Turner, Greg Bird, Richie Shaffer, Jon Gray, Luis Severino, Brandon Drury, Kyle Waldrop, Miguel Sano, Peter O’Brien, Gary Sanchez, Ketel Marte, Jorge Lopez, Max Kepler, Tom Murphy
Bowman Chrome Autograph: Samuel Coonrod (Purple #’d to 250)
Bowman Chrome Purple Refractor (#’d to 250): Jhailyn Ortiz
Bowman Prospect Gold (#’d to ):
Bowman Silver: Paul Goldschmidt
Bowman Scout Top 100: Miguel Almonte, Jake Bauers, Brandon Nimmo
Family Tree: Vladimir Guerrero/Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
International Ink: Juan Soto, Raffy Ozuna
Rookie Recollections: Chipper Jones
Sophomore Standouts: Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Addison Russell
Turn Two: Tyler Stephenson/Robert Stephenson
Beckett Value of the box: $209.95
Christin Stewart, the Tigers 4th best prospect as rated by Baseball America is off to a great start in High-A Lakeland, where he just landed at #1 on Baseball America’s Prospect Hot Sheet last week, which is a weekly installment of the hottest Minor Leaguers in baseball. Stewart landed at #1 with a triple slash of .400/.538/.950, scoring 4 runs, doubling twice, hitting 3 homers, collecting 5 RBI, walking 6 times, and even stealing a base.
Stewart was the 34th pick in last years Amateur Draft out of the University of Tennessee, who was scouted to have raw power, with contact concerns.
In 37 games this season, Stewart is hitting .258 as he strikes out a bunch (39 times in 158 PA), but has a pretty solid on base average still at .373 due to the walks that he takes (22). Christin has scored 22 times, has 7 doubles, 13 home runs(!!), 29 RBI, 2 steals, and a .979 OPS.
If Steven Moya continues to hit like he is, it’s going to be a tough decision for management on what to do with him as the outfield is locked with incumbents Justin Upton in left, Anthony Gose and eventually Cameron Maybin in center, and J.D. Martinez in right.
Moya, today was named to MLB’s Pipeline Prospect Team of the Week for the work he put in with a .458 average, 8 runs scored, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 4 homers, and 10 RBI in 6 games this past week.
Steven is ranked as the 10th best prospect by MLB in the Tiger organization where he has played for eight seasons now, as he was signed out of Puerto Rico. The 6’7″ rightfielder is hitting .305 on the season at Triple-A Toledo with 22 runs scored, 36 hits including 10 doubles, a triple, 9 home runs, 23 RBI, 5 BB, 29 K’sm and a .974 OPS. The home runs and RBI both lead the Independent League currently.
The strikeouts are something to keep an eye on, as the big fella doesn’t walk a ton and has struck out over 161 times or more in each of his last three seasons.
Here’s Moya hitting a monster shot against Columbus this past week
Well Tigers fans, after 31 games and the Tigers sitting at 14-17 and 8 games out of first, it’s time for a reality check…the Tigers just aren’t that good.
This isn’t to say that they are absolutely terrible either, but the inconsistencies will continue to haunt them all season long. During this 7 game losing streak, it seems when you get good hitting, then starting pitching is poor, or when you scrape enough runs to support good pitching then the pen blows it, and then there are just times when the team doesn’t hit.
There have been some positives with out a doubt so far an include:
- In his 3rd season, Nick Castellanos seems to be backing up the media’s thoughts on him being a breakout performer
- The Jordan Zimmermann signing is looking very good so far
- Victor looks like he’s at least mostly back
- Ian Kinsler has to be the teams best all around ball player from clutching hitting to very good defense
The rest of this team has just been mediocre at best with Miguel Cabrera showing signs of life finally, but Justin Upton has been abismal and J.D. Martinez hasn’t been much better. Forget Jose Iglesias and Anthony Gose, and although Jarrod Saltalamacchia had some big hits, his hitting has struggled and James McCann has just 3 hits in 30 at bats.
Then there’s the rotation, which just makes me want to puke. Jordan Zimmermann has been the saving grace so far with a 1.10 ERA through 6 starts. Take his numbers out however and in the other 25 starts, the rotations is 7-13 with an ERA of 5.93 and WHIP of 1.621. Justin Verlander is the teams next best starter with a 2-3 record, 5.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP.
Oddly enough, the bullpen has been the area of strength, however with the recent struggles of Mark Lowe, which are shocking to some (me), the ERA has crept up to a combined 3.86.
The base running has been unfathomably horrible and although I don’t think a ton of blame can be put on Brad Ausmus, he sure as hell isn’t helping himself. A great example of this was last night, in the 8th after Miguel Cabrera got a late break to 3rd and was thrown out on a wild pitch, Ausmus decides to pinch hit Victor Martinez with a base open. What does Dusty Baker do? Walks VMart to pitch to a pinch hitting Salty, but he brings in a lefty to turn Salty around who is hitting .118 as a right handed hitter this season. Of course this didn’t end well.
At this point, I think although a 7-game losing streak is a bit extreme, I think we are seeing these Tigers true colors for what they are…just not that good