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.

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:

Tigers set to send talented outfielder to Tampa for guy who throws hard

I‘m having a hard time even writing about the rumored deal that will send Matt Joyce to Tampa for Edwin Jackson. Joyce might flame out, but Jackson has yet to even burn.

Jackson has a fastball that averages in excess of 93 MPH. That’s fast, but he doesn’t seem to fool a lot of people with a K rate last year that was lower than Nate Robertson’s. At least he made up for it by walking 77 hitters in 183 innings. Marcel projects him to have a FIP ERA of 4.64 which is a considerable improvement over the 4.89 he’s posted over the last 2 years. Jackson is also a flyball pitcher meaning he won’t benefit from the new left side infield defense. Jackson will only be 25, but he is out of options.

In exchange the Tigers surrender a their most promising left handed hitting prospect. A solid defender who posted an .831 OPS as a 23 year old making his big league debut. He’s blocked, sort of, this year but has 2 options left. And his being blocked is contingent on the health of Carlos Guillen and Gary Sheffield. In essence he was only going to be blocked in 2009 and even then it’s questionable.

I don’t know how Jackson fits in, whether he will be a starter or reliever. Oh yeah, and he’s eligible for arbitration. Good luck Rick Knapp. I don’t get this one at all.

DRays Bay loves this deal, as they should.

UPDATE: This is official as Friedman and Dombrowski have met with the media. Joe Hamrahi of Baseball Digest Daily was in there and posted these notes in his twitter feed.

So his role as starter or reliever is undetermined.

Winter Meeting Eve Rumor Roundup

Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?
Are Larish and Thames on the trading block?
UPDATED 12.08.08 5:08 a.m.

Tomorrow is the start of the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas and things are going to get crazy-stupid when it comes to rumors and people who saw people talking to people. It was at the winter meetings last year (a year ago last Thursday to be exact) when the Tigers traded for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. It was a move that came out of nowhere, so you never know what will happen. With that in mind, here is a cautious look at Tigers related rumors before the meetings begin.
Continue reading Winter Meeting Eve Rumor Roundup

Grandy’s a stud, is Matt Joyce?

Baseball Prospectus just released what they call “The Ultimate Fantasy Draft.” Essentially they throw contract status out the window and rank the 50 players that teams should build around. Curtis Granderson earned a ranking of 16, right between Ryan Braun and Tim Lincecum (and two spots behind Miguel Cabrera).

Nate Silver had this to say in the Curtis blurb:

Somewhere around Webb or Braun, we really turned a corner into the next tier of talent. Granderson is just a superlative ballplayer, excelling in every phase of the game, and his work ethic is so strong that he could wind up getting even better.

Now what does this have to do with Matt Joyce? The Spot Starters recently looked at Granderson’s first extended opportunity at playing time, and Matt Joyce’s first extended opportunity. Both seasons occurred when the players were the same age (23). Here’s the kicker, Joyce’s debut has been more impressive than Granderson’s, and its not that close. Joyce hit for a slightly better average, substantially more power, gets on base better, is striking out less…
Continue reading Grandy’s a stud, is Matt Joyce?

Tigers housing rally kitten

Maybe Matt Joyce found a good luck charm in the Tigers batting cage in the form of a kitten.

Tigers outfielder Matt Joyce, hearing the tiny black cat whimper, climbed up on a stool and, with batting gloves on to protect his hands, pulled the animal down, before carrying it up the stairs into the clubhouse.

The kitten was last seen being fed milk in a bowl by Joyce in the Tigers clubhouse kitchen.

The report doesn’t mention a lot:

  1. What did they name the cat?
  2. Was it a black cat and is it in fact bad luck? How long had it been in the batting cage and is it in anyway responsible for for Edgar Renteria’s slump?
  3. Who gets to clean out the litter box?
  4. Will Joyce take the cat on road trips?
  5. Where will it live? Perhaps someone can make a bed out of a pillow in Brandon Inge’s locker?
  6. How the hell did a cat get in the batting cage?

Contagious oblique spasms land Ordonez on DL

Magglio Ordonez hits the disabled list with oblique issues. He joins Gary Sheffield and Brandon Inge to become the 3rd Tiger forced out of action by oblique issues. Whether this is a random clustering of bad luck, or an issue with the training regimen remains to be seen. Given that the Javair Gillete has been in charge of strength and conditioning the last several years without this being a recurring problem points me towards bad luck. But it is something worth monitoring and I’m sure it will be addressed.

As for the replacement, it will be Matt Joyce. The Tigers should still have enough pop in their lineup without Magglio, especially if Gary Sheffield can get going and Miguel Cabrera can get his numbers closer to his career line. But this unquestionably weakens the team as they play 7 of the next 13 games against the Twins.

The timing of the injury, aside from the Twins thing, is actually fortuitous. With an off day coming up next week and the All Star Break the following week, Ordonez could get 18 days of rest and only miss 13 games.

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 League Wrap 5-30-08

Toledo 2 Indianapolis 3
Brent Clevlen homered, singled, and walked and has pushed his average to .313. Mike Hollimon was 1 for 4. Matt Joyce went 0 for 4 with 3 K’s. Yorman Bazardo allowed 2 runs on 6 hits in 5 innings, walking none and fanning 3. Denny Bautista allowed an unearned run on 1 hit and 1 walk in 2 innings of work. He threw 27 pitches, 17 for strikes.

Altoona 8 Erie 6
Jeff Frazier went 3 for 5, as did Ryan Roberson. Wilkin Ramirez and Danny Worth each had 2 hits, including a homer for Worth. Lucas French allowed 8 runs on 12 hits and 3 walks in 6.2 innings.

Lakeland 11 Dunedin 5
Scott Sizemore and Lou Ott each had 3 hits. Brennan Boesch homered, tripled, and drove in 4. Cale Iorg and Jeremy Laster had 2 hits each.

South Bend 6 West Michigan 1
Roger Tomas went 2 for 3. Casper Wells hit a solo homer for the only Caps run. Jon Kibler allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in 7.1 innings while fanning 8 and walking none.

Joyce down, Clete up

The Tigers have optioned Matt Joyce back to Toledo and have called up Clete Thomas.

I suppose this is because they have the left handed option with Jeff Larish on the roster now to provide some power. And as Jason Beck noted, they want Joyce to play everyday and with Thames getting left field duties, that opportunity wouldn’t be there. But it makes you wonder why they wouldn’t want Thomas to play everyday?

Joyce’s swing appeared to get a little long the last few games. He fanned 4 times on Tuesday night. He swung through fastballs early in the count and then was finished off with breaking balls on the inner half he couldn’t deal with. So it appears that even if there wasn’t a book on him before this series, there certainly is now.

Still, he provided some nice pop on a team that was popless while playing some solid defense.

Tigers Minor League Wrap 4-8-2008

Charlotte 9 Toledo 7
Ryan Raburn homered and knocked in 3 while Mike Hessman doubled and tripled. Brent Clevlen went 3 for 4 and continues a promising start to his season. Matt Joyce hit his second homer of the year to go along with a walk. Virgil Vasquez was knocked around for 7 hits but limited the damage to 2 runs while fanning 6 in 5 innings. Clay Rapada and Preston Larrison combined to allow 6 runs in 3 innings.

Erie 3 Harrisburg 2
Wil Rhymes 3 run homer was the offense. Wilkin Ramirez doubled and walked. Josh Rainwater went 5 2/3 innings allowing just 1 run on 3 hits, no walks, and 6 K’s. Brett Jensen recorded his first save of the season with a scoreless 9th inning.

Lakeland 3 Sarasota 7
Rick Porcello made his 2nd start and was excellent again. He was tagged for 4 runs, but all were unearned and came in a 3 error 4th inning. He allowed 4 hits, one of which was an infield single, while fanning 4 and walking none. Cale Iorg, who made 2 errors, went 3 for 5. James Skelton and Scott Sizemore each added 2 hits.

Great Lakes 5 West Michigan 1
Kyle Peter doubled and walked and Jordan Newton added 2 singles. Ramon Garcia gave up all 5 runs on 7 hits, no walks,and 6 K’s over 6 innings. Wilton Garcia fanned 4 in 2 scoreless innings of relief.

Baseball America’s 2008 Tigers Prospect List

There isn’t an official top prospect list, but BA’s is kind of the standard. Today they announced the Tigers 2008 top 10

  1. Rick Porcello, rhp
  2. Cale Iorg, ss
  3. Scott Sizemore, 2b
  4. Michael Hollimon, 2b/ss
  5. Yorman Bazardo, rhp
  6. Jeff Larish, 1b
  7. Matt Joyce, of
  8. Danny Worth, ss
  9. Francisco Cruceta, rhp
  10. Brandon Hamilton, rhp

Rick Porcello is the clear cut stud, but after that things get cloudy. I’m surprised to see Cale Iorg rated so highly. While he may have all the tools, those tools haven’t really even been on display for several years. Plus a hamstring injury in the Hawaiian Winter League added to the lack of exposure to competitive baseball.I have a hard time rating him that highly, at least this year.

I’m also surprised to see Scott Sizemore rated number 3. While I like what Sizemore has done, the AFL is his only exposre to players in his age range.

The rest of the list is pretty much in line with who’d you would expect to see. As for the order, I don’t think there is a lot of separation so the composition is probably more important than the ranking.

There are write-ups on the top 10, but they are premium content. I will point out a couple of items though:

Bazardo

It would come as no surprise if he opened the season as Detroit’s fifth starter.

I’d be quite surprised given the rotation is set barring injury. I do like him as the 6th starter though and do expect him to make the team. (edit: in his chat, Morosi indicated that was written before the Willis trade)

Hollimon:

Second base would be his best position, but the Tigers have Placido Polanco under contract through 2009. Hollimon is athletic enough to play in the outfield, but Detroit has no plans to move him there this year in Triple-A.

Hadn’t heard him listed as a potential outfielder before.

Joyce:

Joyce has moved swiftly since signing in 2005, and he’ll move up to Triple-A this season. If all goes well, he’ll challenge for a big league job in 2009.

I’d like to see him at AAA, but with Timo Perez, Freddy Guzman, and Brent Clevlen the outfield appears full.
Worth:

Worth will return to Lakeland or Erie to begin 2008 and could move quickly in a system that lacks depth at shortstop in the upper minors.

Brent Dlugach, Tony Giarratano, and Hollimon figure to provide depth. Not that Dlugach should block anybody, but he’s still depth. Plus Tony G is still on the 40 man.