Tigers Minor League Wrap 5-31-08

Toledo 3 Indianapolis 4
Matt Joyce homered and drove in 2. Brent Clevlen doubled, singled, and walked twice and is now sporting a 320/405/572 line. Chris Lambert allowed 3 runs on 5 hits, a walk, and 5 K’s in 6 innings.

Altoona 3 Erie 8
Max St. Pierre homered twice. Justin Justice, Ryan Roberson, Wil Rhymes, and Max Leon had 2 hit games. Josh Rainwater allowed 3 runs over 5 innings.

Altoona 6 Erie 5 (8 innings)
Danny Worth went 3 for 4. Justin Justice was 1 for 2 with a walk. Matt Righter allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 2 K’s in 4.2 innings. Anthony Tomey took the loss allowing 1 run in 3 innings.

Lakeland 10 Dunedin 7
Jeramy Laster, Cale Iorg, Lou Ott, and Pedro Cotto all went deep for Lakeland. James Skelton was 1 for 3 with 2 walks. Jordan Tata struggled allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings with 3 K’s. Ramon Garcia allowed 3 runs, 1 earned, in 5 innings of relief work.

South Bend 5 West Michigan 1
Cory Middleton and Chris Carlson had the only 2 hits for the Caps. Carlson’s was a homer accounting for the only run. Brandon Hamilton allowed 2 runs on 3 hits, 3 walks, and 4 K’s in 4 innings. Matt Hoffman made an appearance in relief and allowed an unearned run while fanning 4 in 1.2 innings.

Tigers Minor Leauge Wrap 4-19-08

Louisville 5 Toledo 0
Curtis Granderson doubled and singled, and like the night before in Grand Rapids that was it for the highlights. Virgil Vasquez allowed 5 runs on 9 hits and 3 walks with only 1 K in 5.1 innings. Cassey Fossum went 2.2 innings allowing one hit while fanning 3.
Tata rehab
Jason Beck was in Toledo and said that there is still some concern about Granderson having to make a throw which he hasn’t yet on his assignment. Also, Francisco Cruceta is likely to join the Hens this week and Mike Hollimon isn’t too far away. Plus our friend Roger DeWitt found Jordan Tata throwing off a mound in Lakeland meaning his return should be close as well.

Erie 2 Alttona 3
Freddy Guzman tripled and singled. Deik Scram doubled and walked. Dan Christensen allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 k’s with one strike out over 6.2 innings. Casey Fien took the loss allowing a homer and 2 other hits in 1.1 innings of work.

Lakeland 0 Tampa 3
Porcello from 4-19-08 credit Roger DeWittRick Porcello went 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, a walk, and 4 strike outs. Lakeland only managed 3 hits. LFT Blog notes an interesting subplot and wonders whether Porcello was asked to throw at a hitter as retaliation for the hitter breaking up a no hitter with a bunt the night before.

Burlington 7 West Michigan 8
Ronnie Bourquin homered and singled. Roger Tomas and Adrian Cassanova each had 3 hits and a walk. Lauren Gagnier allowed 6 runs in 5.1 innings with 3 walks and 5 K’s. Rudy Darrow went 2 innings of relief fanning 3 and allowing 1 hit.

Play Ball

Realish, live, Tigers baseball today. It’s the annual spring training kickoff against Florida Southern. The game is 1:05pm. Todd Jones gets the start, and most of the regulars will be playing for only an inning or two. There’s no broadcast, but there is a live box score at the Florida Southern site.

Miguel Cabrera homers against Florida Southern

POSTGAME: Well, the offense seems to work. The above photo was taken by Deran of Lakeland Flying Tigers Blog (click the picture for more from today’s game) and it is Miguel Cabrera smacking a missile to center field. The ball hit off the top of the batter’s eye which is located beyond a fence that is 420 feet from home plate.

It was the second homer of the inning following a two run Placido Polanco shot. The Tigers offense rolled up 17 runs including a solo homer from the beleaguered Brandon Inge. Mike Hollimon, my choice for utility infielder I’ll have you know, hit a 3 run jack of his own, to go with a double. In all the Tigers had 5 dingers with Scott Sizemore adding one to his two walks.

Jeff Larish had two hits and two walks while Freddy Guzman had a 3 for 4 day with a triple.

Jordan Tata was charged with all 4 runs in 1 2/3 innings and he didn’t help his cause with 3 walks.

Yes, the Tigers are projected to have one of the best teams in the majors while Florida Southern is a college. The Tigers were supposed to win big. I’m just happy to have a post game report to do, and I’m happy that the good guys did what they were supposed to.

Detroit 17 Florida Southern 4

The Full Pen

We’ve taken a look at how the Tigers may, or at least how we think (and by we I mean I and the people who agree with me) they may fill out their bench. The bench is one of the few areas of ambiguity in terms of the roster. The other area is the bullpen.

Unlike with the bench, there aren’t too many assumptions to clarify. The only tenet is that the pen will most likely have 7 pitchers and I don’t think that is really up for too much debate. The only way I see that deviating, and even then it’s not very likely, is if Vance Wilson is injured and Brandon Inge serves as the super-sub and back-up catcher and Leyland carries 8 bullpen arms.

Here’s a quick stratification of the options:

Sure Things: Todd Jones and Fernando Rodney.
Not quite sure things but pretty likely: Bobby Seay and Tim Byrdak
Everyone else: Danny Bautista, Yorman Bazardo, Francisco Cruceta, Jason Grilli, Matt Mantei, Macay McBride, Zach Miner, Clay Rapada, Jordan Tata
Maybe in August: Joel Zumaya

The sure things aren’t really worth discussing, at least not now. And while the nomenclature of “sure thing” and Todd Jones may be tough to swallow, he is a lock in terms of his roster status. Byrdak and Seay would probably have to pitch very poorly or very injured this spring to not make the team. Both lefties had solid campaigns last year and Leyland likes carrying 2 southpaw options.

As for everyone else, we’ll go in alphabetical order. Looking at the circumstances, option status will likely to be the driving factor in how the last 3 members are chosen. Eddie has done an excellent job writing up an Options tutorial as well as looking at what those implications could be for the Tigers.
Continue reading The Full Pen

Talking Tigers prospects with Jonathan Mayo

Jonathan Mayo covers the minor leagues and the draft as a senior writer for MLB.com. Mayo also has a book coming out that has some remarkable timing. It is a look at what it is like to face Roger Clemens and is appropriately titled Facing Clemens. The book was written and put to bed prior to the release of the Mitchell Report and will be available on March 1st, though you can pre-order it now.

Regardless of your feelings about Clemens, steroid users, and their place in history, the book looks to be a fascinating read. Mayo interviewed many of the great hitters about what it was like to dig in with Clemens on the mound. Whether or not Clemens did it naturally doesn’t change what the batters experienced when squaring off against the Rocket.

Mayo was kind enough to answer some questions about the now-depleted Tigers farm system as well as a look forward to the 2008 draft.

Detroit Tigers Weblog: After the trades this off-season, the Tigers seem to be deepest in the middle infield. Of Scott Sizemore, Mike Hollimon, Danny Worth, Cale Iorg, Tony Giarratano, and Audy Ciriaco who do you see having the highest ceiling, and who is most likely to make it to the majors?
Jonathan Mayo: From a pure upside standpoint, I think Ciriaco is still the guy. I know he only hit .224 in his full-season debut, but he’ll still be just 20 when the season starts. I think he has to start taking the raw tools and turn it into performance this year. As for “most likely to succeed,” I’d probably go with Worth or Hollimon at this point. I’ve seen Hollimon play several times and he just looks like a big leaguer to me. He also has the best bat of this group as of right now. Those kinds of offensive skills will play at 2B in the bigs. Worth, even though he hit when he got pushed up to Erie, will be a big leaguer more because of his glove. How much he can hit will determine whether he’s an every-day shortstop or a utility guy.

Continue reading Talking Tigers prospects with Jonathan Mayo