Andrew Miller struck out four batters in his two innings of work as he impressed people early. Chad Durbin was also effective and he pitched two perfect innings to get the Tigers off to a good start. Preston Larrison wasn’t as sharp and he was tagged for three runs in the eighth inning.
Ryan Rayburn hit the only homerun of the game and Omar Infante and Marcus Thames each had two hits and a run. Four of the five Tiger runs came off of Mets starter Oliver Perez.
Tomorrow’s game is against the Phillies and assuming I can get the feed, I’ll blog the game. Mike Maroth will get the start.
Mike is halfway through his list of the top ten Tigers prospects over at Tigers Minors. His latest summaries have been on Jordan Tata and Brent Clevlen, both of whom saw some time on the big league club last year. Oddly, yesterday’s exhibition starter, Virgil Vazquez, doesn’t show up on any of the three prospect lists and all the way down at 20th on Sickels top 20 list. I heard some good things about Vazquez, including the fact that he had a solid second half last year in Erie. You can never have enough pitching so if he ends up panning out, it’s definitely a good thing.
At 29 years of age, Chad Durbin is no longer a prospect but he’s one of those guys you like having in your back pocket. He came up through the Royals system and after a very rough rookie season in 2000, Chad Durbuin put together a decent but loss filled season in 2001. He pitched late into games and between a stint in Triple A in which he threw 27 innings and then 179 more for the Royals, he logged well over 200 innings as a 23 year old. According to Baseball Prospectus 2003, Durbin went more then 115 pitches in a start six times in 2001 and he went over the 130 pitch mark twice. When 2002 rolled around, he got hammered in all of 13 2/3 innings before going down and having surgery in what looks to be yet another instance of a young pitcher getting overworked.
The Royals didn’t offer him arbitration so he became a free agent at the end of 2002 and then he signed with the Indians where he had two ineffective seasons before being placed on waivers, where he was then picked up by the Diamondbacks. The Nationals signed him prior to the 2005 season but he never made the big league club and then the Tigers signed him prior to the 2006 season. He ended up leading the International League in strikeouts in 2006 for Toledo with 149 in 185 innings and he was a key player in the Mud Hen’s run to another International League Championship. He got a cup of coffee with the Tigers where he was solid in three relief appearances.
Which brings us to today. Durbin will get the start and the Tigers will see if they have yet another major league ready starter in their system. Odds are Durbin heads back to Triple A to start the season (if only he were lefty) but this is a guy who could get called up to spot start in the event of a double header or if someone goes down.
Andrew Miller is also expected to get some time on the mound today, as is Preston Larrison, Bobby Seay and Felix Heredia.
Alright, spring baseball is here. There’s four games today with three of the four teams that made the championship series going. The Tigers start things off against the Mets while the World Series champion Cardinals start the spring season with a start time five minutes before the Tigers. The White Sox and Rockies play in the first Cactus League game at 3 pm and then the Twins and Red Sox play the lone night game.
And I’m going to miss most of it. I have to take off around three and won’t be back until the evening. The good news is, the Tigers game isn’t on the radio anyway (and the Mets aren’t picking it up so it isn’t even on MLBaudio). I might catch a bit of the night game but that’s it. Fortunately, I’ll be around all of Thursday and I know the Tigers/Phillies game that day is on the radio as are a ton of other games because most of the other teams play that day.
So baseball is here folks. Even if it doesn’t count, it’s nice to be able to listen to live games.
Here’s a nice story on Jeremy Bonderman and his change up. I can’t remember expectations being any higher for a Tigers pitcher in a long time as everyone expects Bonderman to have “THE YEAR.”
I know this isn’t Tigers related, but for the third straight time, the Veteran’s Committee has failed to elect anyone to the Hall of Fame. While that by itself isn’t a huge problem, it becomes one when you have a guy like Ron Santo waiting in the wings. At least he got closer and hopefully in two years the third baseman will find his way in.
Aaron hasn’t gotten to the commentary on this over at Wrigley Field Curse but he told me that he plans on doing a quick highlight of Santo’s career for those of you who aren’t familiar with him.
Will Carroll seems to think so. In his latest health positional reports, Magglio Ordonez not only gets a green light but he doesn’t even get a blurb. He’s been healthy for a season and a half now and even his 2005 sports hernia was kind of fluky. He does lumber in the field, but at least he’s out there most every day. Then again, Bobby Abreu picked up a green light too and he’s already on the shelf.
PECOTA sees Ordonez having a bit of a power dip. His weighted mean average has him at .292/.347/.454, which isn’t bad, but not worth the $12 million we’ll be paying him in 2007. You have to go all the way up to the 90th percentile to see him exceed 20 homeruns.
The Tigers are getting ready to take the field and it looks like Virgil Vazquez is going to get the start for Detroit. The rest of the lineup consists of the Tigers regulars except behind the backstop where you have Vance Wilson. I’m sure this will all change by, say, the fourth inning.
Virgil Vazquez is all over the place. He walked the first two batters then he picked up a strikeout but he still has to pitch himself out of an early jam.
Well, I’m not sure what’s happening but the game feed is no longer working. I checked the weather in Lakeland and it looks fine.
Okay, the feed isn’t working but it looks like Curtis Granderson hit a lead off homerun in the first inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Unless the feed comes back up, this will be the last update and I’ll just do a quick recap once the games done.
Alright, we’re back in business. The Tigers scored six runs in the second inning and they’ve now shuffled just about everybody. Cameron Maybin is out in center and Marcus Thames is getting some time at first base. Neifi Perez of all people had a bases loaded clearing double and he has three RBIs. Virgil Vazquez was very good after he gave up those two walks. He gave up only one hit and those two walks in his two innings of work. Todd Jones also got an inning of work and he was perfect in the third.
The Tigers scored three more in the fourth. Two scored on a throwing error by the third baseman and then Ryan Rayburn doubled home Marcus Thames. Rayburn was stranded at second when Kody Kirkland flew out. The score is now 10-0 and I’m wondering if there’s a mercy rule. Oh yeah, Jose Mesa threw a shutout fourth. Don’t get to used to that.
Things have calmed down and now they’re winding down in Lakeland. The Tigers still lead 10-0 and it’s now the bottom of the eighth. Edward Campusano just struck out two in the eighth and Kyle Sleeth also threw an inning. The last hit by Florida Southern came in the sixth off of Jason Grilli.
Billfer at Detroittigersweblog recently talked baseball with TV broadcaster Rod Allen. Be sure of the check it out.
If anyone knows of how I can listen to today’s game between the Tigers and Florida Southern, please drop me a line or leave a comment.
Once again, it looks like the Tigers are throwing around the idea of going one lefty short in their pen instead of force feeding us just any old left hander. Wil Ledezma doesn’t really fit the bill because he’s a starter and it looks like one of the many non-roster/minor league deal lefties they brought in won’t be up to the task so Jose Mesa’s name is being thrown around as a “right handed” alternative.
Big mistake. If you look at the numbers that really matter, Mesa was a wreck in 2006. Yes he pitched in Denver but he didn’t strike out many batters and he walked a ton. Yes, lefties hit “only” .270 against Mesa but his OBP against was a sky high .378 and lefties slugged .444 against. That’s an OPS against well over .800, which isn’t good considering that you’re expecting the guy to “shut down” left handed hitters.
In addition, 2006 was sort of an exception so it might be a fluke year. In 2005, lefties hit .309 with an OPS against of almost .900 and in 2004, lefties hit .331 against him. 2003 was an odd year because he was very good against lefties but not so much against righties but the point is, I don’t think Mesa is a guy that we want coming into a critical situation to get even a decent left handed batter out.
In a recent prospect smackdown, John Sickels compares Tigers outfield prospect Cameron Maybin and Reds outfield prospect Jay Bruce. They were drafted two spots apart in 2005 and both look like potential stars for their respective teams and they were also born a day apart. This is some really good stuff and if you don’t know much about Cameron Maybin, Sickels provides some pretty solid details into his makeup.
The end result is that Bruce might turn out to be a better major leaguer, but they’re both expected to be stars in their own way.
It may be snowing outside today, but an actual, live baseball game is within reach. The Tigers play their annual exhibition spring opener against Florida Southern and then on Wednesday, the spring schedule actually begins against the Mets. WXYT isn’t picking it up but if the Mets radio station is, I’ll be picking it up and I’ll try to blog it live as I’m hoping to be here to listen to the game. Thursday’s game against the Phillies will be the first radio broadcast on WXYT.
The Tigers radio schedule is here. It looks like there’s anywhere from two to three games a week but with my Gameday Audio subscription, I’m hoping to listen to more of the games then just what WXYT is picking up. Baseball is here though.
In what could be one of the more interesting non-position battles, Mike Maroth will most likely be battling himself for the fifth spot in the rotation. It’s his job to lose, but it’ll be interesting to see how a rough spring by Maroth combined with a good spring by someone like Wil Ledezma will start bringing out the doubters. Regardless, Maroth says he feels great and he’s ready to pitch. It looks like he’s scheduled to pitch on Thursday, which is a game that’ll be on the radio so if you can get to one (or a feed), I’m sure it’ll be interesting to see how he’s doing.
I’ve heard rumors to the effect that Marcus Thames would attempt a conversion to first base and it looks like it’s becoming reality. Contrary to a lot of people I’ve heard talking about this, moving to first base isn’t an “easy” transition. It’s a unique position and in addition, you have a guy going from the outfield moving to the infield, which in itself has it’s difficulties. This came up in a conversation at my SABR meeting yesterday and most people agreed that Gary Sheffield, when he was thrust into playing first base last year for the Yankees, shouldn’t have been playing there.
That’s not to say it can’t be done though and it’s good they’re working with Thames now. While I still think Thames and Craig Monroe are basically interchangable and we could get more for Monroe on the trading block, dealing the current starter may be the way to go. It looks like the Tigers front office thinks otherwise though and would rather have the depth. That’s probably a prudent move with Monroe getting hurt last year and Magglio Ordonez’s injury history but that doesn’t make it any better for Thames.
The linked story is very good and it even goes into how Al Kaline, one of the best fielding outfielders ever, had problems playing first base. Good stuff from John Lowe.
Apparantly the Tigers front office had been keeping their eyes out on Yorman Bazardo well before the trade that brought him to Detroit. In this story, it talks about how Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila was the scouting director for the Marlins when Bazardo was signed out of Venezuela. So as soon as Bazardo was designated for assignment, the Tigers pounced.
One of the things I’ve heard about Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers front office is how sharp they are. Dombrowski himself is technically sound and knows all of the rules and he’s also been rumored to be one of the guys other general managers like to deal with. He usually comes to a decision on trade offers pretty quickly and doesn’t waffle or keep the other side hanging. So it’s no surprise that Dombrowski has been able to get some gem deals done since he’s been with Detroit. And the last time we made a trade with the Mariners (Carlos Guillen), things worked out pretty well.
While the Gary Sheffield trade should go down as a good one, the Neifi Perez trade probably won’t I know the Tigers didn’t give up much for him, but having him around and potentially taking away at bats from a guy like Omar Infante is a bad thing. Now Neifi Perez is looking to prove his worth in camp after Jim Leyland made some negative comments about him during the offseason.
I’m sure Perez is a nice guy and at one point in time, he showed enough with the mitt to earn a gold glove. Those days are pretty far behind us though. PECOTA has Perez at a .246/.273/.339 line with a -3.3 VORP and average defense. That’s not going to cut it for a team that’s a contender.
Former Tiger lefthander Jamie Walker took a comebacker to the head today at spring camp. Fortunately, it looks like he’s okay and while he suffered a minor concussion, I guess it could have been a lot worse. Walker will make his return to Comerica Park on April 30, 2007 when the Orioles play their only series in Detroit.
Yesterday I talked about how Justin Verlander got a red light in Will Carroll’s health report. Today he finished out the starting pitchers and the only other pitcher he noted was Mike Maroth who also got a red light. This can’t be a huge surprise after Maroth was on the shelf for most of 2006 and when he did come back, he wasn’t his usual self. For now, Maroth is slated as the team’s fifth starter (remember in 2003 when he was the team’s opening day starter) but he could face some serious competition if he still hasn’t fully recovered from his injury.
Jim Leyland called him a “work of art in the making” the other day and that’s what Tiger fans are hoping for when they talk about top prospect Cameron Maybin. It’s also nice to see Maybin has been putting in some extra time working out in centerfield. With the way Curtis Granderson played the field last year, it might be harder then we think to move him to one of the corners then initially thought.