Is Bonderman Back?

Jeremy Bonderman returned to the mound, health for the first time since before the All Star Break in 2007 and the results can only be described as encouraging. He retired the first 11 hitters he faced before struggling in the 4th inning. But the best news is that the slider was darting straight down like Bonderman slider of doom that we all know and love.

The pitch f/x data is a little inconclusive at this time. It misclassified the splitter and I don’t know that I trust the 4 seam versus 2 seam fastball splits either. While he got up to 93mph on the fastball a few times, he was usually a few ticks below that. But for those that watched the game, the slider was just nasty.

My only concern is that Bonderman’s velocity seemed to peter out a little as the game wore on. The hope is that this is just a matter of him rebuilding stamina. The graph below is of all the pitches the Gameday classified as a fastball (two-seam and four-seam are included).

Bonderman's Fastball Velocity
That is just nitpicking an outing though where he only allowed 3 baserunners. Bonderman and Leyland were certainly pleased with the outing as well.

For one full turn through the rotation, Tigers starters have all pitched effectively. Granted, they haven’t face offensive juggernauts in the Royals and Indians, but there is reason for some optimism.

Other items from the game

  • I like this version of Magglio Ordonez. He’s driving balls to all fields and getting the results that go with it.
  • I like this version of Brandon Inge too. The one that is selective at the plate and is driving the ball to right center field with regularity.
  • Very nice defense today all around. Adam Everett made a couple nice plays at shortstop and Miguel Cabrera continues to dig everything in the dirt.
  • Ryan Perry got 4 outs and the save on 11 pitches. He looks like a different guy this year. The potential of last year is turning into results this year.
  • The Tigers drew over 35K for game number 2 and I’d expect a similar sized crowd today. It’s great to see a full park, not just on Opening Day

4 thoughts on “Is Bonderman Back?”

  1. I enjoyed listening to this game on the radio yesterday. I look at this start for Bondo and Willis’ start as baby steps, but they’re steps in the right direction.

    I’m happy for Magglio!

    I’m also impressed that Inge hasn’t struck out since his first AB of the season. I hope he can keep this up!

    Perry was very impressive yesterday. First pitch strikes to all four batters he faced? Awesome!

  2. Extremely encouraging start to the regular season overall but particularly for the starters. While Bonderman and Willis are the big question marks I had some concern about Scherzer adjusting to the AL and Porcello dropping. Those may still be questions, but the initial results look.

    Excuse my ignorance on the fastball data, but don’t most starters have their velocity tail off in the later innings? Is Bonderman’s drop off abnormally steep here? Either way, I’m not too concerned about it, given how early in the season it is.

  3. It’s still early for sure, but I don’t think anybody realizes the Tigers’ staff potential. Certainly none of the analysts I saw on ESPN or anywhere else do. From what I saw in spring training [I live + work down here now], the Tigers’ pitching looked damn good. Admittedly, I did not attend every game….but from what I saw, I only saw 1 bad outing….by Bondo. The Tigers’ staff may be ‘snakes in the grass’ this year. If the pitching we traded for comes thru this year, then that Grandy deal was a great trade! Only time will tell if I’m right; I sure hope I am…

  4. I think all the worries about Bonderman are overdone. He’s obviously a major-league caliber pitcher, and has been for many years. He’s really not a worry. He has a long, strong track record. The question was health, not ability, which is why Dombrowski was so eager to hand the starter’s job back to Jeremy this Spring. It was a long time away from the game, and that means there was plenty of rust to knock off. I think Bondo proved last year that he was healthy enough, even though he wasn’t sharp. Having Spring Training and some additional rehab behind him now, he looks strong and sharp. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see another 1-2 mph come back on that fastball a little later in the season, as the arm continues to strengthen. Still, with his arsenal, I think he’ll be above .500 this year, and could see an ERA near 4. Most every team in the majors would be happy with a #4 starter like that.

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