Archive for ‘Detroit Tigers’

Tuesday: 03.5.2013

They Could Also Trade Miguel Cabrera for Nick Punto…

A tidbit out this morning from MLB Trade Rumors talks about how the Tigers are now looking for a closer via the trade market because SURPRISE SURPRISE their entirely unproven rookie who spent 32 seconds at Triple-A and has all of his pitches guided by Apple Maps (I’ve used this joke ~718 times now) isn’t panning out. Who could’ve possibly guessed that this wouldn’t work?! I personally feel they have several worthy options in-house already including Octavio DotelJoaquin Benoit, and the best of the bunch in my opinion Al Alburquerque, but manager Jim Leyland seems to favor Phil Coke over all of them and now going outside is an option. I’m not one of those guys who thinks I could be an elite GM off of the street tomorrow and I love Dave Dombrowski, but I don’t understand the thinking there. How was there no contingency for Bruce Rondon and why are none of these hard-throwing studs the team already has an option? You were OK going with someone whose never been in the majors, but Al-Al can’t get a look? His stuff is straight up NSFW!

This part of the news item from MLBTR especially killed me:

closertrade

Don’t you dare trade a high upside 24 year old potential stud for a freaking closer. Yeah I’m sure teams would line up around the corner to get Porcello for a closer. The Dodgers would also move Nick Punto for Miguel CabreraAndrew Bailey. GTFOHWTS. To be fair, he didn’t say Bailey for Porcello, but just GTFOH with Bailey no matter what. He pitches 30 innings a year.

You better get a helluva lot more than that back if Porcello is the centerpiece of a trade. Honestly, this situation sets up perfectly to go by committee, but Leyland is a bit more old school about the closer’s role so he’d probably just want one guy. Coke could be nasty against teams like the Royals and Indians, both of whom have several lefties. Like I said, I trust DD to make the right move. I would definitely be interested in any of the Nationals guys or I guess I should either because they aren’t trading Rafael Soriano five minutes after signing him. So Tyler Clippard or Drew Storen would look great in the 9th inning for the Tigers, but if the price is too high just stay in-house. And for the love of beagles, do not sign Jose Valverde.

 

Tuesday: 02.12.2013

LABR and Radio and Pods, Oh My!

Plenty of non-PaulSporer.com goings on lately including:

  • Tonight is the LABR mixed league draft. It’s my first “industry expert league”. I have done mocks for magazines before, but never a full league. Jason and I will be co-owning, but I’ll have the reins tonight at the draft with J out for family duty. If there was ever a reason to miss, it’s family stuff! If you’ve listened to the podcast at all, though, we have the same brain so it doesn’t really matter if one of us couldn’t make it. We got saddled with the 14th pick which might not be so bad when you really think about it. There’s the top three, another handful going in that four to seven range, and then a giant cluster of like-valued guys so picking near the end of that clump and then again quickly in the second round won’t be so bad. If you want to follow the draft live this evening, you can do so here. I’m fairly certain Jennifer Lawrence will be following along in the chatroom cheering me on. I mean, it’s whatever. 

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  • In addition to our regular podcast, the Towers of Power Fantasy Hour, I’ve appeared on another BP podcast twice in the last couple of weeks. Effectively Wild is doing their team-by-team previews and I did the Tigers one (obv) plus I contributed to the Cleveland Indians one. I’ll be on for the Nationals and Phillies in the future as well. BTW, I’d bump my Indians win projection by about 3-4 games with the Michael Bourn signing. I could reasonably go high since it’s the adding of him and subtraction of Drew Stubbs, but I’ll stick w/3-4. Speaking of these two podcasts, this probably shouldn’t surprise you because I’m a titan:

Meanwhile, here are some random things interesting me at the moment:

-Between Two Ferns Oscar Buzz Part 1, and Part 2: SO GOOD!!!! Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Bradley Cooper, Christoph Waltz, Amy Adams, and of course Zack himself. Just so much greatness here.

-Harlem Shake everything!

-House of Cards

-Texas being awesome & Beyonce making a semi-duck face look cute as hell

-Jennifer Lawrence is the best. No one is more real during her interviews

-Pitchers & Catchers reporting all over the MLB:

ps&cs

Saturday: 02.9.2013

Countdown to Spring Training: 13 Days – Victor Martinez

Only 13 days until live game action…

VICTOR MARTINEZ

The biggest issue with Victor Martinez in 2013 is one being settled before camps even start. His eligibility after a season lost to injury has been a topic of debate especially after CBS decided to make DH-only. I personally don’t agree with the decision at all, but they addressed it head on and there is at least reasoning behind it regardless of whether or not I agree. Both Yahoo! and ESPN will keep Martinez at catcher. He played 26 games at catcher in 2011. I get what Nando DiFino is saying with the “regular catcher” issue in that he hasn’t been a full-time backstop since 2010, but I don’t agree that he “used” his last year of catcher eligibility in 2012 and since he didn’t play he’s no longer eligible.

For those of your in CBS leagues, you should reach out to your commissioners to see how it’s going to be played so you don’t get surprised come draft day when you think you’re stealing a catcher late only to realize he lasted a couple of extra rounds because he is a power-light DH-only player. Speaking of DH, some AL-Only leagues require that you put an actual DH (20+ games there) in that spot as opposed to it being a utility spot for anyone. The usage of the spot in baseball has made that a much easier fill with 32 players registering 20+ games there and 27 of them putting up a 101 OPS+ or better. Add in Martinez and you should have trouble filling spot even after you remove guys like Carlos Santana, Evan Longoria, and Joe Mauer who have way too value at their original position to consider slotting them at DH.

As for Martinez himself, he is poised for another big season. His 12 homers in 2011 were the fewest he’s hit in a full season, but he made up for it with a .330 average and 103 RBIs. His flyball rate dropped from 42 percent in 2010 to just 33 percent, but most of the shift went to line drives explaining his career-best .330 mark. His 24 percent line drive was a career-best for a full season and seven percent higher than his 2010. He could bring his average back down to his .303 career level and still push 100 RBIs, but he would likely need the power to return a bit closer to the 20s we were used to from him prior to 2011.

In 2011, he had the bad Austin Jackson leading off with just a .317 on-base percentage. It was also Magglio Ordonez’s final season and he was hardly himself with just a .303 OBP. Miguel Cabrera was still excellent and Brennan Boesch had his best season. In 2013, V-Mart likely gets a much better Jackson setting the table while Torii Hunter will probably be close to what Boesch was that year (.341 OBP). Of course the treat is the Cabrera-Prince Fielder combo just ahead of him.

Last year Delmon Young was the primary fifth hitter for the Tigers. He managed a whopping .261 with men on base resulting in 63 RBIs. In 2011, Martinez hit an amazing .404 with men on. I wouldn’t expect a repeat there, but even his career .324 is markedly better than what Young offered a year ago. Young’s 63 RBIs came on 70 hits, a 90 percent ratio. Martinez’s ratio for his career with men on is 99 percent (664 RBIs on 670 hits). The league as a whole with men on a year ago was at 95 percent (17077-for-18073). Young had 268 ABs with men on last year and Martinez had 270 two years ago, so giving Martinez 269 this year with a .324 average is 87 hits. Using the league average (to be conservative) 95 percent RBI/Men on Hits ratio yields 83 RBIs.

He had just two solo home runs in 2011 after full seasons of 14, 10, 10, 15, 15, and 10 spanning 2004-2010 taking out his 67-game 2008. That’s an average of 12. Even that leaves us just short of 100 RBIs. Of course these are just estimates. He could get more at-bats with men on, he could simply hit better than .324, or drive in more guys than the league average 95 percent of RBI/MOH.

How his RBI total breaks down, I think he is going to be extremely valuable again in 2013 even if his power doesn’t return and even if you’re locked into using him as a DH-only. Obviously he will have much more value as a catcher, but he will also cost more. The price tag will likely fall significantly in leagues where he is DH-only unless you run into someone wanting to gamble that he accumulates enough games behind the dish. I would strongly advise against that bet. Everything I’ve heard out of the organization has said that he won’t catch at all.

If he is to keep his homer output from 2011, he will be looking to have just the 11th instance of 15 or fewer homers and 100+ RBIs since 1990.

Wednesday: 09.26.2012

Something You Don’t Hear Very Often as a Tigers Fan…

If you have followed the Tigers season at all this year, you know just how rarely this is heard from the mouth of play-by-play guy Mario Impemba.

Tigers Defense

Thursday: 08.9.2012

“Miggy Got Some Hops!”

That quote is from Rod Allen in this afternoon’s game after he saw this from the Tigers superstar slugger:

Tuesday: 07.24.2012

Rod Allen on Delmon’s Patience

When Mario Impemba and Rod Allen began talking about Delmon Young‘s … ahem free-swinging ways… on Tuesday night’s telecast, Rod could barely contain himself at the sight of Young’s walk count for the season.  Witness aurally below:

Click here if audio player doesn’t work.

Friday: 07.6.2012

Kate Upton in Detroit at Comerica Park

Coming back from break to start the bottom of the eighth, Fox Sports Detroit clued viewers in on a special guest in the ballpark as supermodel and native Michigander (born in St. Joseph) Kate Upton was shown with friends enjoying a Tigers win.  I spontaneously combusted immediately, but now I’m back.  She (unsurprisingly) looked great in her Tigers hat as she and her friends sang “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey… a Comerica Park (and any Detroit arena/stadium for that matter) staple.  Now, for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday: 07.3.2012

Lids.com Now Predicting MLB Trades

And I certainly hope they are on to something here:

I can’t imagine Carlos Quentin costing the Tigers a lot to acquire him from the Padres which only makes the prospects of a deal more appealing.  He loves Comerica Park, too, with a .292/.370/.611 line including 10 HR, and 26 RBI in 127 plate appearances.  I’ve been the Delmon Young fan for a few years now, but I want my favorite team to get better and Quentin is significantly better than Young or Brennan Boesch and he understands the value of a walk.  Here’s hoping the Lids.com webmaster has an inside track on MLB trades.  Dodgers fans, keep refreshing in hopes of seeing a Cole Hamels jersey.

Tuesday: 04.24.2012

Justin Verlander After 125+ Pitches

On Monday April 16th, Justin Verlander threw his first complete game of the season in a 3-2 win against the Kansas City Royals.  Five days earlier, he entered the 9th inning with just 81 pitches thrown, but came a bit unraveled and couldn’t close out the Tampa Bay Rays.  To do so against Kansas City, he needed 131 pitches, a figure that drew the ire of some fans and analysts largely because of the time of season we are in right now (in addition, of course, to the general overreaction and misunderstanding of pitch counts).  When will people stop treating Verlander like just another pitcher?  He has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is on a different level especially when it comes to workload concerns.

This has been clear for the last couple of years and of course last year, he showed that his talent is on a different plane as well.  We live in a hypersensitive era when it comes to the handling of pitchers, but that doesn’t mean that every pitcher should be subjected to the same standards when it comes to pitch counts and workloads.  The most important thing to remember is that it isn’t the number of pitches thrown, it is the number of pitches thrown when tired that causes issues.  Racking up laborious pitches are the ones that will destroy a pitcher over time.  Nothing about Verlander’s 9th inning last Monday appeared fatigued and anyone that knows anything about the ace understands that he gets stronger as the game progresses, not weaker.

Your eyes don’t deceive you: Verlander threw 19 fastballs of 95+ MPH to close out the game including four of his final five pitches at 100 MPH (not seen in the chart: an 88 MPH changeup).  And while the numbers might be a tick inflated because there is some dispute around the readings at Kaufmann Stadium, he was still pumping crazy heat in 110+ pitches into the game.  As FanGraphs’ Bill Petti showed last week in a great breakdown, hot gun or not this is the norm with Verlander and he is in a class by himself.

It is generally believed that any ill effects from a heavy workload start will be felt in the subsequent two or three starts.  So how does Verlander perform after outings of 125 or more pitches?  I decided to look at the three starts immediately following a 125+ outing for Verlander over his entire career.  He has 17 such outings in his career (including six a season ago), but only 15 fit the study as two of his final three starts in 2009 saw him meet the threshold, but he didn’t have a subsequent trio of starts to measure and carrying over to the next season wouldn’t have made sense.  Unsurprisingly, his work in those outings is nothing short of excellent.

There are some meltdowns sprinkled in there, but the bottom line is incredible with a 2.50 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 112 innings averaging 127 pitches per outing and peaking at 132 during a May 29th start last year.  So what happens in the subsequent starts?  Surely he should see some degradation after posting such strong numbers in the big pitch count starts, right?

Or not.  Incredibly he actually gets better.  Yes, the ERA does jump 0.40 to 2.90, but the WHIP dips below 1.00, the strikeout and walk rates improve by 1.0 resulting in an eye-popping 5.0 K/BB.  He also manages 20+ innings in 13 of the 15 trios meaning he is going 6.7 innings or more on average and 11 of the 15 saw him averaging 7+ innings per outing (21+ IP in the trio).  In fact in the six instances from 2011, he threw no fewer than 22 innings in any of the trios and averaged nearly 24 innings (23.8 IP).

In the eight instances since 2010, he has yet to post an ERA of 2.75 or worse, only once topped 0.91 WHIP (1.10) and dipped below 9.4 K/9 just once (7.2), too.  The bottom line is that on the whole he shows no discernible ill effects from an outing of 125+ pitches.  Furthermore, he has no problem going deep into the games following the big pitch count game averaging 112 pitches per over the six year span and 115 pitches per in the last two years.

Following the well-established trend, Verlander showed no discernible degradation in his stuff in his first follow up start over the weekend against the Texas Rangers.  His six innings were his fewest of the season, but he allowed just four hits and struck out eight while walking three.  It was the 5th time since 2009 that he went six or fewer in one of the three starts after a 125+ pitch outing and part of that may have been Jim Leyland pandering to the unnecessary outrage against the high pitch count for Verlander last Monday.  He ended up with 115 pitches as the Rangers, arguably baseball’s best offense, ran up his count a bit by racking up 29 foul balls (25%) after he had yielded 56 (17% of his 340 pitches) in his first three starts.

His next start is Friday night in Yankees Stadium and then he draws the Royals again, this time at home.  Verlander isn’t some run-of-the-mill third starter who needs to be coddled and immediately pulled once he hits the century mark.  Of course, that doesn’t mean he should be used recklessly either, but I didn’t see anything reckless with letting him finish out the game in Kansas City last Monday.  If you were one of those who saw it as egregious and now fear it will impact Verlander going forward, I would encourage you to relax.  The data is on your side.  Oh and the fact that Verlander is a gordita loving-robot (and proof) doesn’t hurt, either.

Wednesday: 06.15.2011

And You Want to be My Latex Salesman?

The Detroit Tigers have officially overtaken the Cleveland Indians for first place in the AL Central after a masterful start by ace Justin Verlander who nearly put together his second no-hitter of the season.  I haven’t believed in the Indians from day 1 worrying that they simply do not have the pitching to compete with the Tigers and Chicago White Sox.  I could see them finishing as low as third when it is all said and done.  If Minnesota were to somehow go on a run and play up to their talent level, even they could leapfrog the Indians, but Justin Morneau just hit the disabled list, there is no telling how Joe Mauer will perform upon his return and their bullpen and defense are major question marks.  But the other two, the Tigers and White Sox, are the class of the division in my opinion.

The Indians could stick around with a move or two and they have the pieces to make a move for some pitching, but I’m not sure they will and as such they will struggle to stick around. I mentioned in my June 5th Twidbits that on the heels of a 12-15 month, the Indians then had a hellacious set of a games that would essentially make or break their season: “Cleveland is 12-15 in last month & just 4-9 since big sweep of Cincy. Sets at NYY-DET-SF-ARI-CIN & home v. NYY in next month will show a lot”.  They lost three of four in New York and the first one in Detroit.  It doesn’t let up for a while now.  They desperately need Travis Hafner back and Shin-Soo Choo to start playing like we are used to seeing if they want to have a prayer.

And for those who don’t quite understand the picture, it’s a spin on a great, great scene from the best show ever, Seinfeld.  You can see for yourself by clicking here (the embedding was disabled).

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