Tigers have nice fall debut

The Arizona Fall League kicked off and the Tigers representatives represented the Tigers well (how’s that for a sentence?). Wil Rhymes, Casper Wells,and Jeff Larish hit 2-3-4 and each picked up a hit. Wells was the only homer of the game and he knocked in 2. On the pitching side, Rudy Darrow pitched a perfect inning with 2 K’s and Casey Fien allowed 2 hits with 4 K’s in 2 innings of work.

Things are off to a decent start for the Tigers Hawaiian contingent. Andrew Hess has made 3 outings in relief has fanned 8 with only 1 walk in 8 innings with only one walk allowed. James Skelton is posting his customary high OBP at .500 in his first 6 games. Kyle Peter has struggled somewhat posting just a .579 OPS while still looking for his first extra base hit.

Alex Avila - cr Roger DeWitt
Alex Avila - cr Roger DeWitt

Things are also busy in Tigertown. Mark Anderson of Tigstown.com was on hand to take in some of the Instructional League action and filed daily reports. It’s premium content, but today he looked at the catchers and first baseman and the report on Alex Avila was glowing.

The good news is the daily reports don’t appear to be premium content, so you can read some of it for yourself. And if you want to see for yourself, our friend Roger DeWitt has captured quite a few images of the action.

14 thoughts on “Tigers have nice fall debut”

  1. Fien’s an interesting guy who is probably going to be frustrating to a lot of the super-sabers (I consider myself a soft-saber) because he is a fly ball pitcher. Some people, and they tend to be sabers, become obsessed with groundball rates and balk at anyone who is a flyball pitcher. It is possible, especially as a power pitcher, to be a flyball guy and still be good.

  2. I’m pretty SABR-y, but I’m not anti-flyball pitcher. I’d probably change my tune a little if we were talking about pitching in Philly or Cincinnati or The Cell. Flyballs actually get converted to outs at a higher rate than grounders, it’s just that one flyball can do a lot more damage than one grounder.

  3. I don’t know if sabers hate flyball pitchers. Like Bill said, you need to consider the home park. You also have to consider the fielders on your team. A fly ball pitcher can be successful if he strikes batters out, pitches in a big big park and has good out fielders behind him.

  4. Given two pitchers:

    A. 1.50 GO/AO, 2.5 SO/BB, 8 SO/9 IP
    B. 0.75 GO/AO, 2.5 SO/BB, 8 SO/9 IP

    It seems to me that most of the stat-heavy sites I read (THT, saber scouting, etc) strongly prefer the former. I think (and I’m planning on doing extensive research on it this offseason) that there are some cases where B would be preferable. The one thing that I don’t think anyone has yet taken into consideration – infield fly rate. An infield fly is preferable to any type of out except a strikeout, and my guess is that flyball pitchers get more infield flies and at a much higher rate than groundball pitchers. Of course, this has to be weighted against the decreased likelihood of a double play ball, but DP rate depends a lot more on the fielders than IFF rate. My guess is that IFF rate is something that pitchers can control, perhaps enough that it should be included in some modified form of FIP ERA.

  5. All things equal, I’ll take the guy who gets more GB’s than FB’s. Obviously if a guy has a crazy good infield fly rate, I’d take him — however, there’s not a ton of pitchers that get an overwhelming amount of their FB’s to be infield fly varieties. I’m not 100% sold that IFF rate is something that a pitcher can control or a repeatable skill like a GB pitcher — but I’m not 100% against the idea either. I’m not ready to make the leap that FB pitchers automatically get more IFF’s than other pitchers, though it’s definitely possible since the quantity of FB’s that a FB pitcher would probably lend itself to it.

  6. In most cases, I would take pitcher A over pitcher B. There may be circumstances where that is not the case but not knowing anything about the park or team they play for, I would have to take pitcher A. There are more interesting comparisons though. Good fly ball pitchers tend to strike out more batters than good ground ball pitchers so do you take:

    pitcher A: high GB rate, moderate strikeouts
    pitcher B: high FB rate, high strikeouts.

    Can pitchers control their infield fly rate? There is no evidence that they do in general but I suspect there are some pitchers who consistently have high IFF rates. If you do some research on this Eric, I’d be interested in seeing it.

  7. I did quite a bit of work one time to figure out how much a good ground ball rate made up for, but I’m not necessarily opposed to fly ball pitchers.

    As long as their positive results in the minors aren’t the result of abnormally low HR/FB rates (like Chris Lambert this season), I don’t have a problem with them.

    However, in the example shown I would tend to take the guy with the higher ground ball rate because he’s likely to give up less home runs.

  8. Lee, your question is pretty much asking, would you take a Derek Lowe type or a Javier Vazquez type. Given the choice, I lean towards Vazquez, assuming their BB rates are equal. And I’m not taking Comerica into consideration, either, this is just in general. Give me the guy who allows lesser balls to be put in play, even if the ones he does allow to be put in play, are probably going to be a bit more damaging.

    Fascinating question though. Definitely had me going back and forth and I could make cases for both.

  9. I have followed Skelton quite a bit, as i had season tickets for the Lakeland FlyingTigers. Believe me Skelton is for real! He hits for average, has speed, and a gun behind the dish. He led catchers in denying stolen bases at both Low A and High A ball. Besides all of that he is a great kid who loves the game. I am glad to have got to watch him develope his game and to get to know him last season. Best of luck to our future Tiger behind the dish.
    He is doing some work (as usual) in the Hawiian League. Forget about Ryan who cant block a pitch. My vote for 2010 is James Skelton…
    Right around the time his teamates Ryan Perry Cale Iorg and RICK PORCELLO crack the roster as well.
    Go LFT

  10. In terms of the ground ball/fly ball discussion, it seems the ground ball pitcher often can get around the BB better, which may be because of the DP ball (which convinces me even more there needs to be a DP-efficiency aspect to fielding ratings).

    I’ve always liked hitters who were line-drive hitters, who tend to hit fewer HR, more doubles, and hit into fewer DP. Are there such things as line-drive pitchers?

  11. The Tigers just purchased the contract of a Charlie List, catcher, from the (I think their called the Gateway Grizzlies). He was drafted in ’01 by the White Sox. Must have catching on their mind.

  12. Kathy, that’s Charlie Lisk as in Fisk. He had a good year for the Grizzlies and is apparently a good defender but only has 6 at bats above A ball. At least he is relatively young – just 25.

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