Joel Zumaya suffers traumatic injury – Olecranon Fracture

On Joel Zumaya’s 14th pitch of the night, he threw a 99mph fastball that Delmon Young fouled off. Zumaya however ended up in a crumpled heap behind the mound. His arm was twitching and his face was a mix of excruciating pain and terror. We’ve seen Zumaya improbably bounce back from a variety of injuries, but with each successive one you can’t help but fear that he’s thrown his last pitch.

A preliminary diagnosis will likely be available shortly, as will a roster move. I’ll update things here as we know more. Ryan Perry has only made one rehab appearance for Toledo. Robbie Weinhardt made his 3rd rehab appearance in Connecticut tonight. Daniel Schlereth has been erratic with 14 K’s and 8 BB’s in his last 10 innings. Casey Fien and Jay Sborz may also be in the mix.

UPDATE: Well, not really an update. Zumaya will get an MRI in the morning and Jim Leyland isn’t speculating on the injury.

UPDATE 2: Zumaya has officially been placed on the DL with a vaguely defined elbow injury (MRI results still pending I suppose). Casey Fien gets the call and will be added to the 40 man roster.

UPDATE Ourch: It is a fractured olecranon. Bend your arm and feel the bony part of your elbow, aka the funny bone. That’s the olecranon. The fracture is nondisplaced and the internet says that a nondisplaced fracture isn’t necessarily treated with surgery. Usually it is fractured due to a blow though and not soft tissue ripping it off.

Beyond Batting Average

My friend and fellow Tigers blogger Lee Panas published a book this past offseason called Beyond Batting Average. It is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about the advanced statistics used in in baseball today.

I’ve known Lee virtually for a number of years through blogs and forums and in addition to being an excellent analyst, he is very adept at explaining complex concepts in an easy to digest manner. Beyond Batting Average is an extension of the great work that Lee has been doing online for years.

Panas doesn’t just explain the stats, but he also tells you why you should care about them.

In case you think I’m just touting something for a friend, I’m not alone in this assessment. Saber-atti like Tom Tango and Dave Gassko endorse the book. Tigers play-by-play man Dan Dickerson takes it with him as a reference tome on road trips.

Beyond Batting Average is available in paperback form and it is also available for download from Lulu.

The Tigers are a good defensive team

I hear it all the time, people citing fielding percentage and errors as an example of Detroit’s ineptitude with the glove. They have the 9th most errors in MLB and only two AL teams have more (the Indians and the Angels) and their fielding percentage ranks 23rd overall. Those numbers aren’t great, but what is more troubling is the fact that so many are still using those stats when there are so many betters ones easily available.

Play by play data that tracks hit direction and type of hit has been available for a number of years. This is data that has been collected by video scouts and stringers that aren’t making a nebulous judgment about whether or not the play should have been made. They are just looking at direction and how hard it was hit and whether or not the play was made. The data then tells the story of whether or not the play should have been made by comparing the play to all the other plays and how often they get made.

So let’s look at some of this objective data and see what the objective data says about the Tigers fielding. Baseball Prospectus lists the Tigers team defensive efficiency ratio (DER simply looks at all the balls in play and figures out the rate at which they were converted to outs) as 16th in MLB. On this measure they come up middle of the pack.

Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) has the Tigers at 10th in MLB at 13 runs better than a typical team. A similar system called +/- has the Tigers at 11th in MLB at 25 defensive runs saved.

Revised Zone Rating is similar to fielding percentage in that it expresses things as a rate or percentage, but it uses a much more logical denominator. Instead of using the denominator as the number of balls that a fielder touches, it uses the number of balls hit to a player’s zone. Therefore it isn’t rewarding the slow of foot for not even getting to balls. In RZR the Tigers are 6th in MLB.

While there is variation in the systems, I just presented 4 defensive stats that aren’t subjective. They weren’t manipulated by me to make the team look one way or the other. The worst of those 4 said the Tigers were middle of the pack. The other 3 said the Tigers were above average to good.

The only metric that says the team isn’t good with the leather is the one that is frought with the most problems in methodology. It is the one that is most subjective. The one that doesn’t measure an ability to get to balls. Concluding that the Tigers  are a bad team because of fielding percentage would be an error in judgment.

Game 2010.073: Tigers at Braves

The Tigers are still looking for their second win of the road trip. They’ll send out Max Scherzer and the following group of warriors to find it:

  1. Jackson, CF
  2. Santiago, SS
  3. Ordonez, RF
  4. Cabrera, 1B
  5. Boesch, LF
  6. Guillen, 2B
  7. Inge, 3B
  8. Avila, C
  9. Scherzer, P

Game 2010.072: Tigers at Braves

I love seeing guys make their debuts. I despise seeing people overreact one way or the other to a single start. That said, I’m optimistic that Andy Oliver is up to the task. I’ve been high on Oliver for quite some time and it doesn’t surprise me that he has made it to the big leagues in just his first full professional season. The Tigers have been aggressive with him. I am surprised it is coming before the All Star Break.

Oliver will be opposed by Kris Medlen.

As an aside I did a Q & A with Tomahawk Talk previewing the series which can be read here.

Game 2010.071: Tigers at Mets

The Tigers haven’t had so much fun in the newish CitiField and now they have to try and stave off a sweep at the hands of those dastardly New York Mets. Armando Galarraga wants you to forget his near perfect game and move on. The Mets are pitching a guy whose name I’m likely to misspell.

No graphic today as I’m jetting back from a hot and humid North Carolina.

Game 2010.070: Tigers at Mets

It can’t be worse than last night right? Jeremy Bonderman and R.A. Dickey will be hurling the leather for their respective teams.

Game 2010.069: Tigers at Mets

The Tigers head to New York to take on the second place Mets. Justin Verlander is on the bump for the Tigers and he’ll be opposed by Jon Niese.

Niese is getting his first extended time in the rotation after making a handful of starts in both 2008 and 2009. His peripherals are solid (6.7 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9) and he’s been good at limiting the long ball with just 5 homers allowed in his 64.1 innings. Three of those five homers came in his last start, but he’s been money in his 3 June starts going at least 7 innings each time and allowing just 4 runs. Lefties have managed just a 209/333/326 line against him this year.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 6.20.2010

Norfolk 5 Toledo 1
Alfredo Figaro fanned 8 and walked none while scattering 8 hits and allowing 1 run in 7.1 innings. Jon Weber went 3 for 4. Casper Wells and Jeff Frazier homered.

Erie 13 New Hampshire 6
Duane Below allowed 4 runs on 6 hits and a walk in 5.1 innings with 5 K’s. Audy Ciriaco went 2 for 4 and homered for the second straight day. Andy Dirks, Ronnie Bourquin, and Michael Bertram also homered.

Lakeland – DNP

West Michigan 0 Bowling Green 2
Jamie Johnson had 2 hits. Trevor Feeney fanned 5 allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and no walks in 5 innings.

Connecticut 5 Tri-City 3
Matthew Mansilla homered and singled. Matt Perry  went 2 for 3 with a walk. Rayni Guichardo went 7 innings surrendering 1 run on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 K’s.

Game 2010.068: Diamondbacks at Tigers

Max Scherzer faces his former team and one of the other players involved in this past offseason’s blockbuster trade. Scherzer will try to move his record to 2-0 this season when pitching against starters named Ian.

Porcello Optioned to Toledo

Well, it worked for Max Scherzer. The Tigers have optioned struggling second year pitcher Rick Porcello to Toledo to try and find the sinker and pinpoint command that he featured in his first season.

The Tigers didn’t announce a corresponding roster move so they are a man down on the roster for the time being. Perusing the Mud Hens roster, last night’s starter LJ Gagnier has done okay this year between Erie and Toledo. Alfredo Figaro has experience but hasn’t really done much to differentiate himself last year (not to mention his disastrous relief appearance against the Yankees.

Looking further down the ladder the name that certainly has to be tempting the Tigers is Andy Oliver. Oliver was the Tigers second pick in the draft and the left hander debuted in the AFL before earning an aggressive promotion to AA to start the year. He has 70 K’s and 25 walks in 77.1 innings and happened to start last night putting him on the same schedule as Porcello.

It would certainly be an aggressive move, but the Tigers have never shied away from being aggressive with prospects in the past (with mixed results)

Game 2010.068: Diamondbacks at Tigers

The Tigers try to keep it going against familiar foe Edwin Jackson while Rick Porcello returns to the mound after a layoff caused by the need for some extra bullpen work.