Tigers Minor League Wrap 5.10.2010

Toledo 6 Durham 2
Phil Dumatrait fanned 3, walked 1, and allowed just 2 runs on 4 hits in 5.2 innings. robbie Weinhardt, Daniel Schlereth and Jay Sborz took care of the rest. Clete Thomas has seen how much fun Brennan Boesch is having and he ripped his 4th homer in the last 7 days. Of course he only has 2 other hits over that time span so his average is still below .200. Ben Guez went 4 for 4 with 2 doubles.

Akron 1 Erie 4
Wilkin Ramirez doubled and tripled. Audy Ciriaco picked up 2 hits. Jon Kibler went 7.2 innings and allowed a run on 4 hits and 3 walks with 2 K’s.

Charlotte 2 Lakeland 1
Charlie Furbush fanned 13 of the 26 hitters he faced in an incredible 6.1 inning performance. The bats couldn’t get him a win though as they managed just 1 run. Alden Carrithers walked twice, singled, and doubled.

West Michigan 5 Lansing 6
Jacob Turner went again for the Whitecaps and allowed 4 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings to go along with 3 K’s. Kevin Faulk fanned 4 in 2 innings of relief work. Jamie Johnson tripled, singled, and walked. Wade Gaynor had 2 hits including his second homer. Alexis Espinoza had been hitting well of late, but took and 0’fer and fanned 3 times.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 04.24.2010

Before moving into the run down of the box scores, the Tigers minor league system has been racking up their share of co-pays this week. Add in the Carlos Guillen injury and there is quite a bit of roster shuffling to cover.

Brennan Boesch of course was promoted to the Tigers to take Guillen’s spot. Clete Thomas is on the DL but is expected to be activated soon. Ryan Strieby’s wrist is acting up and so he went on the DL. Deik Scram was moved up from Erie to take Strieby’s place. Also, Ruddy Lugo was placed on the DL following last night’s scare. Fortunately it sounds like he will be okay.

Moving down to Erie they now had a spot that needed filling Christopher White is now a Seawolve.

Lakeland of course loses White, and they already have Daniel Fields in for Ben Guez (who went to Toledo when Thomas hit the DL). They also lost Lester Oliveros and Tyler Stohr to the DL this week. Chao Ting-Tang was added to the roster to be the team’s 3rd outfielder. Austin Wood and Robert Waite were added to fill the bullpen holes.

Now with Adam Everett leaving tonight’s game with a hamstring strain we’ll see if this all gets shuffled after tonight’s game.

Columbus 7 Toledo 1
Deik Scram made his Mud Hens debut and he doubled twice, pacing the offense. Phil Dumatrait was knocked out after 5 innings, 8 hits, 5 runs, 2 walks, and 1 strike out. Daniel Schlereth walked 2 and fanned 2 in 2 innings.

Erie 4 Altoona 3
Max St. Pierre hit his 3rd homer of the season and added 2 walks and a stolen base. Jon Kibler went 6.2 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks.

Tampa 7 Lakeland 13
Luke Putkonen allowed 3 hits and 2 runs with 2 strike outs and was lifted in the second inning. While he was hit around, it seems like an early exit. Ralwey Bishop doubled, homered, and walked. Billy Nowlin and Alden Carrithers each had 3 hits. Andy Bouchie homered. Daniel Fields singled and doubled.

South Bend 3 West Michigan 0
Jade Todd struck out 7 and walked just 1 allowing 2 runs in 6 innings. The offense consisted of singles for Jamie Johnson, Wade Gaynor, and Avisail Garcia.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 04.17.2010

Toledo 3 Indianapolis 2
Jeff Larish homered and added 2 walks. Wil Rhymes went 2 for 3 with a walk. Alfredo Figaro pitched 5.1 shut out innings with 3 hits, 1 walk, and 4 strike outs. Daniel Schlereth allowed an unearned run on 2 hits and a walk, but he fanned 3 in 1.2 innings. Jay Sborz picked up his 4th save.

Ben Guez was called up from Lakeland as Clete Thomas hit the 7 day DL with a hamstring injury.

Altoona 5 Erie 6
Thad Weber allowed just 1 hit in 6 innings, but he walked 3 and a run crossed the plate.  Max St. Pierre homered twice, including the walk-off winner, and added a single.

Lakeland 4 Clearwater 5
Bryan Pounds went 3 for 4 with a homer. Billy Nowlin and Kody Kaiser each had 2 hits. Charlie Furbush allowed 5 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks but he struck out 7.

Great Lakes 2 West Michigan 3
Ramon Lebron fanned 5 in 5 innings and allowed 2 runs on 6 hits and a walk. Victor Larez got the 4 inning save. Alexis Espinoza homered and singled. Billy Alvino and Avisail Garcia each had 2 hits.

What I Think About the 2010 Season

I’m not going to do a big prediction post this season. I did make some predictions for Baseball Daily Digest. I have the Tigers finishing second behind the Twins, and pretty much have the AL Central finishing the same as last season. I think the Tigers are about an 82-83 win team with enough upside and risk that the basement and first place are both within reach in a narrow division.

Having said that, here are some thoughts (almost like predictions) about what we’ll see this season from Detroit.

  • Scott Sizemore will succeed. I’m not predicting ROY awards (though I wouldn’t be shocked) but he’ll hit well enough that his average fielding won’t be an issue. Plus he’ll say the right things and do all those little things that are so popular that fans will love him.
  • Magglio Ordonez’s contract will be an issue once again this season as he approaches his vesting milestones. He’ll hit over .300 and be productive enough that cutting him won’t be a viable option.
  • The Tigers will use at least 9 starters this year.
  • Andy Oliver might not be one of those starters, but I bet he sees big league innings this year.
  • Clete Thomas is the first Mud Hen to be called up.
  • Adam Everett will struggle with the stick (even for his standards) and there will be calls for Brent Dlugach by mid May.
  • Jeremy Bonderman gets more starts than Dontrelle Willis
  • Verlander wins the Cy Young award

It’s Kelly right?

Yesterday Jim Leyland dropped some hints as to what his preferred 25 man roster would be when the team breaks camp this week. Actually he’s been dropping hints all along but he certainly helped to remove some doubt yesterday. It appears that Don Kelly will be the last position player on the roster.

Leyland offered reporters up this nugget:

I’ll give you one hint: ‘If Larish could play center field, his chances would be better.’

Which certainly hurts Jeff Larish’s chances of making the team. And I read it like Lee does that the preferred candidate be able to play both infield and outfield. This likely becomes more important as Leyland states his intention of resting Brandon Inge early in the season and the team’s questioned (and answered) level of comfort in Scott Sizemore.

Continue reading It’s Kelly right?

Scott Podsednik rumors

Dave Dombrowski spoke yesterday of how the team in planning on Austin Jackson manning centerfield next season. But that’s a lot to put on someone who hasn’t seen a pitch at the big league level. Especially when the guy playing second base is in the same boat. So it’s probably natural that the Tigers would get linked to free agent Scott Podsednik.

Lynn Henning (who saw the Granderson trade coming before anyone and was also a member of the Brennan Boesch fan club a couple months prior to his inclusion on the 40 man roster) planted this seed earlier in the week. The seed appears to have a shot at growing as the Tigers were listed as one of five teams interested in the left handed hitting outfielder.

Podsednik hadn’t cracked the .700 OPS barrier since 2006 before having a bit of a late career renaissance when he mustered a 764 OPS for the White Sox in 2009. This would be kind of a buy-high move. For all Podsednik’s speed, he’s not a spectacular fielder and has been pretty average to below average the last couple years according to UZR.

It makes sense to have a left handed option that could play centerfield. Of course for a cash-strapped team it probably makes more sense to just let Clete Thomas get some at-bats in that role. Then again lots of things aren’t making sense with the Tigers lately so I’d say there is a good chance that the deal gets done. As an aside, Podsednik is married to Lisa Dergan (google away).

Image credit: Matt Stratton on flickr

Maggs and Clete to platoon

The latest technique to milk productivity from Magglio Ordonez is to platoon him and only give him starts against left handers. Clete Thomas will form the other side of the platoon which means he’ll get the bulk of the starts, especially with the team facing more right handers.

For his career, Ordonez has hit lefties about 12% better than righties (in terms of OPS). That differential is more pronounced this year with an 825 OPS against southpaws versus 611 against right handers. So if there is any advantage Leyland can give to Ordonez, it is probably a lefty only diet.

But where this gets really interesting of course is the impact on the vesting option. As of tonight, Ordonez is 166 plate appearances shy of his vesting option. Through the first 84 games the Tigers have faced 27 lefty starters. At the same rate the Tigers would face 25 more lefty starters this season, and with about 4 PA’s per start Ordonez would come up 60-70 plate appearances short of the vesting option. That is significant enough to not be conspicuous or grievance-able, especially if Thomas or a bat to be named later hits well enough against righties.

As for Ordonez’s take on the situation, it certainly is professional:

“When I produce, I play,” he said.

Clete’s Out, the Cougars Cry

Following today’s game Clete Thomas was optioned to Toledo and Don Kelly was called up in his place. Beck quotes Leyland on Thomas and the decision:

“Thomas has to work on shortening his swing,” manager Jim Leyland said. “This is not a punishment. This is a player that we love.”

Kelly is versatile. He is a veteran of the Tigers system who has typically posted good batting averages and he’ll take some walks. He’s been raking for Toledo this year (341/409/478) while playing predominantly in centerfielder though he has a history as an infielder.

This move still surprises me greatly. Yes, Thomas has been struggling and swinging through a lot of pitches. But up until this afternoon Leyland thought enough of him to bat him 3rd and he is a very good defender. But his 237/315/412 line is dramatically better than Josh Anderson’s 252/289/330 line. Really, if anybody should be going out it should be Anderson who is absolutely anemic at the plate and despite his speed he managed to ground into a 6-4-3 double play. But he’s your leadoff hitter…sorry…back to the topic at hand.

I agree with Kurt that this move is mostly about versatility with 6 games coming up in NL parks and Leyland is itchin’ for some double switchin’ and Kelly will be his left handed Raburn. Or maybe they are just looking for some rookie spark. Still, I think the wrong guy got sent out.

Clete’s Cougars

Clete's Cougars

It appears that Clete Thomas has himself a cheering section.

Clete Thomas called up

UPDATE: Per Jason Beck on Twitter Guillen hits the DL with shoulder inflammation. Also Jeff Larish is called up and Clay Rapada heads down.

The Tigers have called up Clete Thomas. A corresponding roster move hasn’t been announced, but with Carlos Guillen’s struggles and general injury-ness (achilles and shoulder pain) it is likely he is heading to the DL.

Thomas is only hitting 236/349/371, but he should provide solid defense. An outfield of Thomas/Granderson/Anderson with Ordonez DH’ing would provide some solid defense.

Tigers call up Clete Thomas | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

The Clete Thomas injury

Hey, it’s Tommy John surgery time. Clete Thomas, who showed some promise with a nice eye from the left side of the plate and a cannon of an outfield arm will be missing the AFL, spring training, and some more. He underwent surgery today under the hand of Dr. James Andrews.

Thomas is likely on the shelf for the next 6 to 8 months, making his presence on the roster early in the season extremely unlikely. Once again though we have a player trying to play through injury with poor results.

According to the Free Press article Thomas felt it pop back in June. He manned-up and kept playing until the pain was overwhelming.

He then hit the DL at the end of August, mis-diagnosed with an elbow sprain. Rehab and a re-evaluation were recommended culminating in an unfavorable MRI.

It’s a story that’s been told all too often the last two years where injured players are hurting themselves and the team. I don’t know why they are staying on the field as long as they are. Whether it’s a communication issue, and eagerness issue, or a problem with the medical staff. But it needs to be one of the top priorities addressed this offseason.

Tigers heading to Arizona

The Tigers announced the bulk of their Arizona Fall League representatives. They are sending Luis Marte, Rudy Darrow, Casey Fien, Zach Simons, Jeff Larish, and Clete Thomas.

Luis Marte is a nice selection. He emerged earlier this year as a rising prospect, but lost a chunk of the year to injury. This gives him some additional innings to build a full season’s workload. Also, he and Zach Simons are eligible for the Rule 5 draft if they aren’t protected on the 40 man roster. This gives the team a little more time to evaluate.

The Tigers will be sending one more position player who has yet to be determined. Teams are only allowed to send one player below AA, and Simons fills that quota meaning the player will be someone from Erie or Toledo. And that player would need to have been to Erie or Toledo no later than August 1st meaning James Skelton wouldn’t be eligible.

Jeff Larish, Clete Thomas among prospects headed for Arizona Fall League | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press

UPDATE: The freep updated their story and catcher Dusty Ryan will be the 7th guy sent.