Tigers I have known

A quick look at some former Tigers and their performances in their new homes:

Gary Sheffield

Sheffield is in the midst of that bounce back season that many were hoping for, and few were expecting. He has a 292/433/521 line and is walking in one out of every 5 plate appearances. And Mets fans are loving it

I wasn’t in the camp that “Sheffield was done” in the sense he couldn’t hit anymore. But I was (and still am) in the camp that said Sheffield couldn’t stay healthy anymore. Fortunately the Tigers are winning and offensive struggles haven’t been prolonged or else we’d be hearing about what a mistake it was to let Sheffield walk.

Matt Joyce

I like Matt Joyce. I like him a lot. I don’t like him like him, but I do think he’s a very good player. He has toiled primarily at AAA where he has a 315/408/530 line. He was just recalled to the Rays and he homered yesterday. He only has 15 PA’s at the big league level but has homered twice already.

Guillermo Moscoso

The centerpiece of the deal that brought Gerald Laird to Detroit was just called up to the Texas Rangers. In his first appearance he went an inning allowing 2 hits with 1 strikeout.

He had been pitching fairly well for the Rangers Double A affiliate. He had a 7.7 K/9 rate and fanning 2.5 for every batter he walked. He only allowed 1 homer in 42.1 innings.

James Skelton

The little left handed hitting catching prospect was selected by the Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 draft. Arizona didn’t want to keep him on the big league roster and the Tigers didn’t want him back too much (they got Brooks Brown as compensation). He’s playing for the Arizona Double A team and has a .376 OBP. But he’s only hitting .221 and with only 7 extra base hits his slugging is south of .300.

Tigers trade James Skelton for Brooks Brown

The Tigers have sent James Skelton (or actually they just let the Diamondbacks keep him after the Rule 5 pick cleared waivers) to Arizona for Brooks Brown. I’ve written about Skelton in the past, so we’ll focus on Brown for a moment.

Brown started at AA for the Diamondbacks last year and had a 4.18 ERA with 112 K’s in 144 innings pitched. He’ll be assigned to Erie to start the year. The right hander is 24 years old. Brown didn’t make the BA top 10 for Arizona, but his name did come up in the chat and Will Lingo had this to say:

Will Lingo: That is a pretty good analysis. Brown took a 3.63 ERA into the final month last season, but he was pretty bad from there on out and in the AFL. His stuff also hasn’t been quite as good as it was in college, so some people think he should just take his sinker-slider combo to the bullpen. But his big frame and durability still suggest he could provide more value as a starter. He’ll get another shot in the Triple-A rotation, but I think if he gets to the big leagues it will be as a reliever.

Sickels had him as the 15th best prospect in the organization but noted a loss of velocity and command.
Continue reading Tigers trade James Skelton for Brooks Brown

Detroit Tigers Weblog Live 12.12.08

Wrapping up the winter meetings…

In this episode I talk of disappointment with the Matt Joyce trade and why I don’t think Edwin Jackson is the guy to get. I also talk about how James Skelton shouldn’t have been left exposed in the Rule 5 draft. I speculate about whether or not the failed auto loan will impact the team.

Links from the show:

Winter meetings end with a bang (my head against the wall)

Things started out so promising with the acquisitions of Gerald Laird and Adam Everett. And they end so disappointingly with the loss of James Skelton and Matt Joyce. To be fair the Skelton thing was set in motion weeks ago when the Tigers chose not to protect a young athletic lefty catcher with a 416 career minor league OBP.
Continue reading Winter meetings end with a bang (my head against the wall)

Winter Meetings – Heading to Day 4

Could James Skelton be looking at a new team - cr Roger Dewitt
Could James Skelton be looking at a new team - cr Roger Dewitt

On the last day of the Winter Meetings things shift a little bit to the Rule 5 draft. Okay, not everything shifts to that, but it will be the focus in this here blog post.

A quick rule 5 primer is that teams can’t bury players in the minors forever. Eventually they have to add them to the 40 man roster or risk losing them to other teams. The time limit for this varies based on the player’s age when they signed. Teams with open space on their 40 man roster can select from this pool of players, but the catch is said player has to stay on the 25 man roster all season, or the player has to be offered back to the original team.
Continue reading Winter Meetings – Heading to Day 4

Tigers set 40 man roster

Today is the deadline for the Tigers to announce who would and wouldn’t be protected from the Rule 5 draft on the 40 man roster. Below is the roster, and highlighted are the 5 players who the Tigers just added: Alfredo Figaro, Casper Wells, Zach Simons, Guillermo Moscoso, and Wilkin Ramirez. That brings the total to 38.
Continue reading Tigers set 40 man roster

No on Varitek, No on Laird, Yes on Bard

The Tigers are in the hunt for a catcher. Brandon Inge has been moved to third base and Dusty Ryan may be ready to contribute at the big league level, but I don’t think anybody is comfortable with him being handed the full load at this point. With this need has come speculation about where the Tigers may turn. Two names that have been floated out repeatedly are Jason Varitek and Gerald Laird. I’m not particularly a fan of either. So I turn my attention West to the discarded Josh Bard.
Continue reading No on Varitek, No on Laird, Yes on Bard

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.

Daily Linking – 8/26

Links of note, or stuff I find interesting, or stuff I think you might find interesting

Junkballing: Booing, Injuries, Waivers and Minors

A hodgepodge of all the stuff that went down this week that just didn’t fit anywhere else:

Much ado about a boo

A lot of disgruntled fans did a lot of booing this week. Gary Sheffield received his share when culmination about frustration with his production collided with Sheff being Sheff. That was noisy, but not too surprising. Sheffield responded somewhat, and was still a little misguided.

“Compare me to me,” Sheffield said. “If you’re looking for .300, 30 [home runs] and 100 [RBIs], then I look pretty awful right now. I ain’t the only .220 hitter in this game. I ain’t the last one to hit .220, but it’s never a big deal when a lot of guys that play everyday, hit in the same spot everyday, and hit .220 and nobody says a thing.”

But Gary, you’re getting paid to be you and that’s the problem. You’re not being paid to be a .220 hitter.

But there was more booing. Joel Zumaya bore the brunt of it when he and Bobby Seay blew a 3 run lead. Zumaya, who said it felt like his shoulder exploded, wasn’t a fan saying

“I think it’s pretty lame,” Zumaya said. “I give it everything I’ve got.”

Bobby Seay didn’t appreciate it either.

I’m not a fan of booing. I understand it, but it’s not something I do. That said I don’t know that the booing was directed specifically at Zumaya and specifically at the outing. But it was general frustration with the bullpen crapping the bed again.

Oww, my aching…

The medical staff has been busy, but it seems like everything has been reactive. Todd Jones hits the DL after getting destroyed repeatedly. Joel Zumaya hits the DL after blowing up. It’s reminiscent of Jeremy Bonderman’s situation last year. I understand players wanting to play through things, but how many times once the team suffer for a player trying to gut it out.

But then you’ve got the other side where in that previously linked Sheffield article he said he was hurting, his trainer said he’s doing too much, but the organization said he was fine.

“I’m just going to give it to you straight,” he said. “When the organization tells you that you’re fine, I can’t say I’m not fine. I have to be on the same page as the organization. That’s just the way it goes.

“I talked to my trainer, and he said, basically, what I’m doing is unrealistic. That’s what he said. I said, ‘Why won’t anyone say that on my behalf? Why do I always have to come up here and defend me?’ And he just said, ‘Be realistic with yourself.’ That’s all I needed to hear. After that, I felt good about walking on the field. I have no extra incentives to play hurt.

I don’t understand it.

Jeremy Bonderman will be rejoining the team this weekend, but to rehab and likely not play.

And speaking of injuries, Marcus Thames is expected back in a day or two, as is Carlos Guillen who is dealing with a pinched nerve in his back. And Freddy Dolsi was optioned out to Toledo to make room for Todd Jones who is back. Though his role hasn’t been decided. Dolsi will likely be back when rosters expand.

Waivering

Gary Sheffield cleared waivers. Shocking. The bigger news is that the Tigers put in a claim on Raul Ibanez. Corner outfield/DH doesn’t appear to be a need for the Tigers so I can’t figure out the intent unless they hoped to get him for free, and then take the draft picks when he walks. Luckily they didn’t work out a trade that would have had the Tigers sending the Mariners anything of value.

Minor interest

The Tigers have had some good news in their farm system this year from some unexpected sources. And it’s getting some press. Wilkin Ramirez is a high ceiling guy that has had his progression and production limited by injuries. But he’s putting it all together this year earning this assessment from a scout:

“He has power, on-base skills, and don’t forget that he’s a 60 [on the 20-to-80 scouting scale] runner as well. His defense is adequate, but I think he’s the kind of guy who is an everyday corner outfielder on a first-division team—he could be pretty special.”

Also in the same article are some kind words for James Skelton, though scouts still can’t decide if his slight frame is an issue.

Another catcher making noise is Dusty Ryan. Tigs Town recently profiled him.

With the Tigers concerns at the catching position heading into 2009, Ryan will have a wonderful opportunity to enter Spring Training with a chance to impress and earn a big league job.

Finally, Ryan Strieby has been destroying the Florida State League.

The Tigers might have some minor league catchers

Take 75 North runs down all of the catching roster moves that took place in the wake of the Pudge Rodriguez trade. The Tigers organizational catching situation has been described as barren, and that’s not quite fair. There are a couple intriguing prospects who are worth following as they will now be tested at higher levels.

Dane Sardinha was called up to Detroit.
Dusty Ryan went from Erie to Toledo.
James Skelton bumped up from Lakeland to Erie.
Adrian Casanova moved from West Michigan to Lakeland.
Angel Flores will be taking a drive west from Oneonta to West Michigan.
Oneonta doesn’t have to replace Flores because they already have Joe Bowen and Tyler Weber on the team.

The two to keep an eye on are Dusty Ryan and James Skelton. Ryan has burst on to the scene a little bit with his bat this season. Baseball America rated him as the organization’s top defensive catcher. But up until this year the bat hadn’t played with his highest OPS season was the 693 he posted as a 21 year old in West Michigan. However this year he has a 255/345/472 line for AA Erie.

He only has a 15% line drive rate so his .326 BABIP is inflated. But there is something to be said for the 14 homers he has to date. The season hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency. His monthly OPS from April through July have been: 1.022 – .730 – .893 – .675. So his promotion to AAA either coincides well with the up and down nature of his season. Or it coincides horribly with a time where he is either a)regressing to the mean or b)tiring out.

James Skelton has swung a high average, low power bat for the last couple of seasons. That has continued into 2008 where he has a 308/465/409 line. He missed time in June due to injury, but has come back with a little more pop. He picked up 7 of his 12 extra base hits in the month of July. The biggest knock on Skelton is that many feel he’s just too small to be a catcher if he weighs 165 pounds. I have no idea if this is true or not, but the dude is tiny.

Between Ryan, Skelton, and even Alex Avila (290/362/331 at West Michigan) the position isn’t completely empty in the organization. While it does lack top flight prospects, the Tigers aren’t unique in that regard. And with the promotions of Ryan and Skelton the Tigers get another month to evaluate each as they are one step closer to the bigs.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 5-17-08

Toledo 8 Columbus 5
Dontrelle Willis made another rehab start and stuck around for 96 pitches this time. He only allowed 1 run but he walked 4 in 6 innings and fanned 4. Jeff Larish is trying to catch-up to Mike Hessman and he knocked 2 more homers. Mike Hollimon added his 9th dinger and Brent Clevlen his 6th.
Erie 0 Binghamton 2
Wilkin Ramirez had a rough night with 3 K’s in 3 at-bats. Andrew Kown went 4.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, a walk and 4 K’s.
Erie 5 Binghamton 7
Danny Worth tripled and homered and Ryan Roberson added a homer and a single. Wil Rhymes and Justin Justice each had multi-hit games. Jon Connolly allowed 7 runs on 10 hits in 4 innings and owns a 7.07 ERA.

Dunedin 4 Lakeland 2
Ryan Strieby doubled, homered, and walked. James Skelton and Jeramy Laster each added 2 hits and a walk. Cale Iorg tripled and singled. Duane Below allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, no walks, and 5 K’s in 6 innings of work.

Lansing 5 West Michigan 3

Chris Carlson had 2 hits including a double. Ronnie Bourquin also doubled. All the runs allowed in this game were unearned coming on the heels of 3 errors. Lauren Gagnier allowed 1 unearned run on 4 hits, 2 walks, and 2 strikeouts in 7 innings.