Aircraft carriers, outfielders, and other news items

A whole pile of links, plus another great shot from spring training…


Al Kaline chats with Justin Verlander
credit: Roger DeWitt

What are they saying

That would have to be an interesting conversation. What do you think they’re talking about? Maybe Kaline saying, “Listen kid, I know you were rookie of the year, but by the time I was your age I had 4 All Star games and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 3 times…”

Best Young Outfield

You probably wouldn’t expect a Tigers outfield consisting of exactly one player under the age of 30 to rank among the league’s best outfields, but the Tigers do according to Baseball Prospectus. At least according to their PECOTA upside score the Tigers rank 3rd behind only the Mets and Devil Rays. The centerfield triumvirate of Curtis Granderson, Cameron Maybin, and Gorkys Hernandez has the forecast for the Tigers long term outfield as sunny.

USS Gum Time

Jason Beck reports on a pretty cool story of Nate Robertson spending sometime visiting the troops on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. Robertson called it the highlight of his offseason. And for a little more Nate, Eric took a look at the run support, or lack thereof, that Robertson had last year.

What are the odds?

Fishstripes has the Bodog odds for winning the World Series. The Tigers are at 5:1 behind only the Yankees who are 7:2. In December the Tigers were 10:1 so I’m not really sure why they moved up from a baseball perspective. The White Sox and Twins held steady while the Indians dropped. I don’t know if the smart money has been on the Tigers, but it seems that there has been some money on the Tigers.

Trackers needed

Hit Tracker tracks every home run in MLB. The site’s operator wants to expand their coverage to all batted ball types. He needs volunteers to cover each team. If you’re up for a big time commitment, and want to be part of some ground breaking sabermetric research this could be a great opportunity.

Minor matters

You may know frequent commentor Matt in Toledo. He’s recently launched a new Tiger blog called Talking Tigers. It has a big emphasis on the minor leagues. The coolest elements are profiles of Tiger farm hands by position as well as a spreadsheet with stats for ALL Tiger minor leaguers.

Tubed Tigers

Maury Brown penned (or typed) a piece looking at regional sports networks. The Tiger related news is that FSN Detroit had the 3rd highest ratings for MLB games last year behind NESN (Boston) and FSN Northwest (Mariners). Last season saw a 92% increase in average households. I guess it’s no wonder that the Tigers had no trouble finding an over-the-air partner this year.

5 Comments

  1. Andy in WB

    February 9, 2007 at 11:08 pm

    Preseason odds are like the point spread, once an opening number is picked it will fluctuate according to the number of bets made, in order to keep the bets even amongst all teams. Obviously the Tigers recieved a tremendous amount of bettors @10-1 so, in order to make it less appealing it was lowered to 5-1. My guess is that by opening day it will be around 7-1.

  2. Jordan

    February 11, 2007 at 11:35 am

    I was in Vegas last July and the odds on the Tigers winning it all then were 9-2. I put down 10 bucks on them, then 5 bucks on Michigan to win the national championship at 25-1. Both bets came reasonably close I guess.

  3. Brian

    February 12, 2007 at 2:34 am

    Wow. I didn’t expect the Tigers to rank 3rd on the best young OF. I guess that shows how weak the young OF’s are in the MLB.

    It is interesting that BP is so high on Gorkys. I would expect them to hedge their bets with him.

    They are right on that having 3 CF’s would be a big plus for a team that plays in a park like Comerica. Even if they don’t get corner OF offensive production out of their corner OFs.

    I would love to hear more about how they measured this.

  4. billfer

    February 12, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Brian -

    This article explains the new upside calculations which are the main drivers of the ranking. Basically they look at what they think the player’s performance will be over the 5 or so years the player is under club control. The player gets credit for any projection above league average, but no penalty for falling short of that. Since these are the young and cheap years, it is somewhat reflective of real life in that it doesn’t really cost the club anything if the player flames out.

    All About Upside

  5. Brian

    February 12, 2007 at 11:40 pm

    I just finished reading over the article and it makes complete sense to me. I love that they are getting a better mix of scouting and stats. I think that is very important with prospects.

    Gorkys is still very hard to project. I agree with them that he is a very good prospect at this point. He has a ton of tools and had a nice debut playing the states.

    Its hard to really judge him at this point though because he is so far away. He could go either way. He could continue to fit into their very good ranking, if he really progresses he could fall into the excellent category (he has the tools), or if he struggles for a year or two he could drop to average or below.

    I don’t mean to come across as not excited about him because I am excited about his potential. But I just like to hedge my bets with a player like that because he could easily disappoint.

    Either way its very interesting to read about and I think that it is a much better measure for players that have reached at least full season ball.

    They are right on with this statement:

    “All three players are listed as center fielders, but considering that Comerica Park features one of the larger outfields in the majors, that could be a real asset for this club.”

    I have long been of the opinion that a team with a park like Comerica could get away with less power out of the corner OF if they make up for it with defensive ability. It would be a huge advantage if they had three guys out there that had a ton of range. It would give them a home park advantage.

    I also agree that at this point Gorkys is a Tabata lite but he is a real lite version because Tabata has at least hit at full season ball.

    To finish off this really long comment (sorry about that I get fired up about prospects), I will say that it is actually pretty important for the system that Gorkys shows something this year to validate his status. I am personally a bit worried about the young position core. If they can have both Maybin and Gorkys continue to progress, they could have the makings of a great OF to build a team around. At this point I am skeptical but intrigued by Gorkys.