Monday, June 30, 2014

A Tip Of The Cap To Rick Porcello

I'm going to start this entry out stating that I am a Rick Porcello doubter and have been for the last couple of years, but as I've said in my conversations on social media with Facebook friend JM, I'm a Tiger fan, so at the end of the day I want Ricky P to do good.  I'm just not going to say he's a greatly improved pitcher until at least a full season of work is complete and then I'll want to see that same stat line or better next year as I'm always reminded that Porcello is just 25.

Now that's out of the way...Porcello is a greatly improved pitcher...for a half season at least.  I started looking in to his stat lines a bit more to see what's truly changed and what's a perception as we're made aware at award time at the end of the season that win-loss record is more of an arbitrary number and not a complete definition of how well a pitcher threw for the season.

Lets start with the well known stats, a 10-4 record already matches his win total in two of his seasons ('10/'12), and is just four short of his career best from 2009 and 2011.  ERA is where we start to see a huge leap year over year as Ricky has been able to make that big pitch to get out of those troublesome innings that have plagued him in the past.  As a matter of fact, Porcello's ERA has declined every year since a career high ERA in 2010 of 4.92 (4.75, 4.59, 4.32, 3.41 in 2014).  The other key stat so far for Rick is his hits per 9 which has gotten better from a career high 11.5 in 2012 to 9.4 in 2013, to 8.5 in 2014.  This along with allowing 2.2 walks per 9 (basically his career average) has allowed for a career best WHIP at 1.188, which is down from 1.282 in 2013, and further down from his career high in 2012 of 1.531.

What's surprising to me is his home run rate is steady at .8 per nine and his strike out rate is down from last year by almost 2 per nine innings, so he must be throwing more ground balls outs right?  Actually he's not and for the first time in his career, he actually has more fly balls to ground balls at a .91 ratio which is probably for the best given that his defense is the worst it's been in his career based on a stat "runs per 9 IP of support defense" which is at a -.38 (-.30 in '13, -.24 in '12).  This stat essentially takes a teams total zone rating and averages it against the league (hint: negative is bad).

Ok, I'll throw a couple more stats at you that you won't see normally that are truly impressive and will be something to keep an eye on...

  1. Even though his fly ball ratio has increased, his home run to fly ball percentage is down considerably to 6.5%.  His 2009, Ricky's rookie season, he had a 1.21 GB/FB ratio but 10% of his fly balls were home runs.  To me, this means he's learning how to pitch to the bigger parts or the park and/or keeping hitters off balance more
  2. His extra base hit ratio is the second highest of his career at 7.9% of balls in play, however since his hits per 9 are down as well as his ERA, he's making pitches to strand runners.  This leads me to...
  3. ...the most impressive stat that I've come across is double play percentage when there is opportunity.  Of the 48 opportunities Porcello has had for a hitter to be doubled up, 16 times he's gotten that double play ball for a whopping 33% of the time.  His next best was 20% his rookie season.  Again, he's getting the ground ball when he needs it based on his ability to pitch.
All impressive stats and I hope he keeps it up, however he's never thrown more than 182 innings in a season so I'd like to see closer to 200 with these numbers and I may just admit that Ricky is turning the corner which JM is just waiting for.  Either way JM, I will concede, not a bad job so far from our fourth starter...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Remember Me? Kinsler Waves to Ranger Bench After First Inning Dinger

Just a little "hey remember me" towards the Rangers bench after Kinsler's first inning home run which happened to be his first at bat back at his old ballpark.  You can see Kinsler wave at about 1:16

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

J.D. Martinez Fitting In Nicely!!

To Al Avila it comes as no surprise that J.D. Martinez is hitting at the Major League level as told by George Sipple of the Freep, however to most others it does come as a shock that the 27-year old Nova Southeastern University alum is hitting and hitting this well, especially the Houston Astros...

After hurting his hand this past season, Martinez started viewing tape of the some more successful hitters including fellow Tiger Miguel Cabrera.  Martinez changed up his approach and had great success in the Venezuelan winter league before coming to spring training and hitting just .167 with Houston.  The odd thing is, Detroit tried to work out a trade for Martinez with Houston in the off season, however nothing could get done to only have the Astros outright release him and Tigers sign J.D. to a minor league contract.

Martinez went on to hit 10 homers in 17 games at Triple-A Toledo before being called up, making it in to 36 games at this point and catching fire where he's hitting .310 with 7 home runs, with 27 RBI and winning the American League Player Of The Week award last week.

This is a pretty amazing stretch, but the names like Chris Shelton and Quintin Berry come to mind for guys who had solid stretched but disappeared eventually in the grind of a 162 game schedule.

Maybe Martinez won't be like that, history isn't on his side as his approach may have changed at the plate, however he does still strike out 25.4% of the time which is on par with last season and up from his first two seasons, however on a positive note, his home run rate is way up to 5.7% from a career 2.8%.  I guess the one stat I'll focus in on as we watch Martinez, is his ground ball to fly ball ratio, which has taken a turn back to a favorable .65 (GB/FB), meaning a guy with power is going to want more leverage on his swing for a better chance at a home run/extra base hit which is what we are seeing with his HR and XBH percentrages skyrocketing (5.7%/14.8%).  The only issue is, can a guy who strikes out 25% of the time keep this up?  Lets hope so...

Other Martinez Notes/Highlights

  • Drafted in the 20th round (611th overall) in 2009 by the Houston Astros
  • Made Major League debut on July 30, 2011 when the Astros traded away Hunter Pence
  • Hit his first Major League home run at the new Marlins Park on April 13, 2012
  • Before being signed by Detroit, Martinez played in 252 games for the Astros between '11-'13, collecting a .251 batting average, .687 OPS, hitting 24 homers, and driving in 126 runs
You can follow J.D. on Twitter @JDMartinez14

Top 125 Players of All-Time & Their Cards: #111 Harry Heilmann & 1923 W515-1

It's been a little time since writing about the Top 125 Players of All-Time according to ESPN and recently an updated list came out from ESPN. This doesn't mean I've stopped collecting cards that I targeted from each player on this list and actually have added quite a few more. Today we go old school with Harry Heilmann who slipped 111th due to the addition of Miguel Cabrera this year.

As far as card selection goes, I was pretty open to see what was out there in regards older cards of players I was looking for and I happened to come across a reasonably priced, nicely graded 1923 W515 Harry Heilmann, which was graded by SGC as a 5!!  I submitted my offer to the eBay seller, he countered, as did I and $68 later I walked away with a great card.

Here's a little more about Heilmann and 1923 W515-1...

Harry Heilmann
Harry Heilmann, born August 3rd, 1894 in San Francisco, CA, played 17-years of professional baseball for the Detroit Tigers and Cincinnati Reds, mostly as an outfielder but also as a first baseman.  Heilmann, earned the nickname "Slug" for his notoriously slow running and difficulties in the field during the 1917 season.

Heilmann, played just one year of semi-pro/minor league ball for the Portland Beavers before the Tigers purchased his contract with Harry making his debut on May 16, 1914.  Heilman hit poorly (.225) and committed 6 errors in 25 games that the Tigers sent him to the San Francisco Seals the following year where he hit .365 and prompted a return to Detroit for the 1916 season.

Harry, played 30 games at first and backed up Sam Crawford playing in another 66 in the outfield that season while hitting .282, raking 30 doubles, and collecting 73 RBI, which all ranked in the top-10 in the AL.  Heilmann, further became a fan favorite when he saw a woman in danger of drowning one July day, jumped in and saved her life.

Harry also served his country when the US joined World War I, as a submariner which cause him to miss half of the 1918 season.

As the "live ball era" started in 1920, Harry started to take off as a hitter collecting four batting titles with his first in 1921 with a .394 average.  Many attribute this to his player-manager who you may know as Ty Cobb and his close work with the slugger.  Harry actually led the America League during the 20's with a decade batting average of .364 and only three players had a better slugging percentage than his .558 (Ruth, Gehrig, and Simmons).

During the 1929 season, the Tigers sold Heilmann to the Cincinnati Reds where he continued to hit, however arthritis in his wrist started catching up to him and caused Harry to miss the entire 1931 season.

Harry, after a short comeback, retired in the 1932 season with a .342 average (2nd to Hornsby for a right handed hitter), 2,660 hits, 542 doubles, 151 triples, 183 home runs, 1,539 RBI, and 876 extra base hits.

He was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1952 with 87% of the vote.

Other Harry Heilmann facts:

  • Before Ted Williams, Harry Heilmann was the last player to hit over .400 (.403 in 1923)
  • He almost did it again in 1927 hitting .398
  • Finished in the top-15 MVP voting 7-times in a row from 1922-1928
  • Ranks 58th all-time in WAR at 72.1
  • Baseball-Reference compares him best to Joe Medwick, Goose Goslin, Heinie Manush, Ed Delehanty, and Jim Bottmley.  All Hall of Famers
  • Harry Heilmann made $138,500 in salary over his career

1923 W515-1
Closely resembling its sister set W515-2, W515-1 subset has a 60 card checklist features cards with colorful drawings surrounded by a white border with the players name, team, and position.  The difference between -1 and -2 sets are the W515-1 were released as smaller cards.  The cards were issued as a strip of cards that were intended to be cut but kids or shop keepers, which makes these cards so interesting to me when I find them graded at a decent level since so many had been miss-cut or altered years later.


Oddly enough, if you look close, you'll see the word "Tigers" is actually spelled "Tygers" which is the same on the Ty Cobb card that I'll write about some day.

Other cards of note in the set include: Babe Ruth ($800), Ty Cobb ($400), George Sissler ($120), Frankie Frisch ($120), Casey Stengel ($200), Tris Speaker ($120), Grover Alexander ($120), Rogers Hornsby ($200), and Walter Johnson ($200)

You can read about more of the cards and players on this list that I've collected here

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tigers Not Out Of The Woods Yet...

A four game win streak including a sweep of division foes the Cleveland Indians has Tigers fans cautiously optimistic again.  However, I think fans have learned that we can't get too complacent with this team, especially with the current bullpen, the Avila tipping pitches theory, not to mention a continuation of this road trip to play Texas for three and Houston for 3 before returning home and playing two against the Major's best team the Oakland A's.  Luckily we're catching the Rangers as they're still battling injuries and losers of five in a row and although Houston showed some winning ability recently, they've gone back to dropping seven of their last ten.  Hopefully these will be confidence boosters for a team that may need it to get back in to the swing of things once they return home to a 19-19 record.

By the way, after the A's, the Tigers take on Tampa Bay who is starting to show signs of life and the Dodgers, before taking off to play KC before the All-Star break.

Let's go Tigs, seems like there is a great opportunity in front of you!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet Your Newest Tiger...Eugenio Suarez

Eugenio Suarez signed in 2008 as a 17-year old amateur free agent from Venezuela made his MLB debut June 4th against the Toronto Blue Jays where he got in the game as a pinch hitter and reached base on a fielders choice.  After reaching second on a throwing error nothing else came out of his first at bat but his next three games sure has Tigers fans forgetting about Jose Iglesias being out for the season.  Suarez picked up three starts in a row, where he hit his first career home run against Boston in his first start and added his second to tie the game against the White Sox on Monday.  Toss in a couple singles on Sunday night against Boston and we have a shortstop hitting .364 in his young career.

Tigers fans, it is a bit premature to think that Suarez will hit like this and we surely can't anoint him the next Miguel Tejada, however his minor league track record does show that he's hit just about everywhere that he's played with a career .278 batting average in 513 minor league games, not to mention hitting .302 in Toledo before getting the call-up.   A couple other things I've noticed from Eugenio's minor league stats is that he's not afraid to take a walk (about 1 every 11 plate appearances), he doesn't strike out a ton (about 1 every 5.4 PA's) and the power is a bit of a surprise but not totally as he's seen a power surge this season with 10 between Detroit/Toledo/Erie vs. his previous high of 10 split between Lakeland and Erie last season.
We won't see the defensive prowess that Igleias brings to the table 113 errors over Eugenio's career, however he did cut down on his errors last season and saw his fielding percentage increase.

No matter where Eugenio Suarez's career takes him, it's been a nice breath of fresh air, giving Tigers fans hope in what has been a string of bad baseball over the past few weeks.

Good luck Eugenio!!

Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 Detroit Tigers First Year Player Draft Wrap-Up

The Tigers went against what has been standard for them which is picking a college arm and instead went after a prep player (Derek Hill; pictured) who is known as the best defensive outfielder in the draft and draws comparison to Torii Hunter.  There is belief that Hill could be ready by 2017 and could push Austin Jackson to a corner spot or out the door possibly.

From there, the Tigers went with more of their trended picks which were power arms and college players with the next 29 picks coming from a collegiate program.

It's not until the 31st round do the Tigers select another high school and I'm wondering if he doesn't have a tie in to General Motors possibly.  From there the Tigers take another local kid from Brother Rice in the 34th round, and how about Magglio Ordonez's son in the 38th round!?

Below are the lines read round(pick): Position player chosen, height, weight, school, and some notes.

1(23): OF Derek Hill, 6'2" 195 lbs, Elk Grove HS (CA)
     -What MLB.com says: Orsino Hill reached Triple-A as an outfielder and now scouts Northern California for the Dodgers. One of the best 2014 prospects in his area also happens to be his son. Derek Hill is one of the fastest players and best defensive players in this year's high school class. He ran sub-6.4 60-yard-dashes on the showcase circuit this summer, and he glides around center field. He also has a solid arm, stronger than most at his position. An Oregon recruit, Hill has offensive potential as well. With his wheels, bat speed, line-drive swing and mature approach, he should have no trouble hitting for average. He also displays some gap power, with the potential for perhaps more once he adds strength.

     -What ESPN.com says: There were rumors that the Tigers were going to take a reliever to help their bullpen, but they ended up taking a much more valuable player in Hill. His defensive ability in the outfield is unparalleled, and comparisons to Torii Hunter -- besides the power -- are realistic. This is another prep hitter who could move quickly through the Detroit system, and he could cause the Tigers to move Austin Jackson to a corner in 2017.

2(63): RHP Spencer Turnbull, 6-3, 230, Alabama
     -What MLB.com says: Turnbull cut his ERA from 5.60 as an Alabama freshman to 3.70 as a sophomore, and he took a similar huge step forward this spring. Cleaning up his delivery has given him better velocity and control, and he could push himself into the second round of the Draft. After topping out at 94 mph with his fastball in the past, Turnbull now reaches 98 and regularly works at 92-94. He also has improved the life on his heater, and he uses his size and high-three-quarters delivery to throw it on a steep downward plane. He also has made strides with his slider, which shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch. Turnbull has a strong build and the makings of an average changeup, allowing him to project as a mid-rotation starter. His command isn't nearly as strong as his control, however, so it's possible he could wind up as a late-inning reliever.

     -What ESPN.com says: I don’t think Turnbull is a poor pick in terms of value, ranking 53rd overall on Keith Law’s Top 100, but the issue is that most scouts I’ve talked to believe that he’s not going to be a starter at the next level. This means Detroit selected likely relievers with the majority of their early selections the past two years. If he can start, then this will look foolish, but I have my share of doubts about whether or not he’ll ever be a member of the Detroit Tigers' rotation.

3(99): C Grayson Greiner, 6-6, 220, South Carolina
     -What MLB.com says: Greiner stands 6-foot-5, which would match the tallest height ever for a regular catcher in the Major Leagues. Scouts often are wary of big backstops because they have longer releases and tend not to move well behind the plate, but those aren't concerns with Greiner. His defense actually rates better than his offense. Greiner has solid arm strength and a penchant for making accurate throws. He has good agility for his size and receives the ball well. Add in quality leadership skills, and it's easy to understand why USA Baseball selected him for its collegiate national team each of the past two summers (though he missed out in 2012 because of a knee injury). Though his size and strength give him plenty of raw power, it's unclear how much Greiner will hit at the upper levels of pro ball. His right-handed swing can get long, and he has yet to fully tap into his pop in game situations. His bat ultimately will determine if he's an everyday player or a backup in the big leagues.

4(130): RHP Adam Ravenelle, 6-3, 195, Vanderbilt
     -What MLB.com says: What do you do with a pitcher with a good, projectable body and excellent raw stuff, but who has been very tough to see? That's the quandary Ravenelle has presented to scouts. The Vanderbilt reliever was tough to evaluate because he didn't have a set job coming out of the bullpen. Elbow issues led to ulnar nerve transposition surgery in 2012, so the right-hander had thrown just 22 innings in his first two years at Vandy. This spring, he settled into a more predictable role, giving scouts a better look at his fastball-slider combination. Ravenelle has shown the ability to run his heater up into the mid-90s with good sink, and his breaking ball has the makings of being an out pitch, as well. He has a changeup, but doesn't need it in shorter relief stints. Since his history is a little light, a team taking Ravenelle will be taking a bit of a chance, but it might get a quick-to-MLB setup man, with the upside to potentially close in the future.

5(160): C Shane Zeile, 6-1, 195, UCLA
     -What MLB.com says: Zeile erased a subpar sophomore season by performing very well during his junior year at UCLA, helping his Draft stock considerably. The nephew of long-time big leaguer and UCLA alum Todd Zeile, Shane is now a catcher just like his uncle was as an amateur and during the early stages of his pro career. He played all over the infield initially but may have found a home behind the plate, where his good hands and above-average arm fit well. Strong and fairly athletic, Zeile is a physical specimen, one with good bat speed and some power from the right side of the plate. He has a solid approach and carries himself with confidence on the field. His uncle was drafted in the second round in 1986 out of UCLA, and while it's unlikely Shane Zeile will be taken that early, his bloodlines plus his performance this season should help him move up boards as the Draft approaches.

6(190): CF Ross Kivett, 6-1, 195, Kansas State

7(220): 3B Joey Pankake, 6-1, 200, South Carolina
     -What MLB.com says: A Rangers 42nd-round pick out of a South Carolina high school in 2011 as a pitcher, Pankake touched 94 mph in short stints on the mound. He became a full-time position player once he arrived in college, however, and has moved to third base after spending his first two years at shortstop. Pankake is having his best season at the plate, making more contact than he has in the past. Though he's not driving the ball as consistently as he did as a sophomore, he has solid raw power. He has enough bat speed and strength to hit for decent average and pop at the big league level. Pankake's arm strength fits well at third base, though some scouts aren't sold that his hands are good enough to keep him in the infield. He'll begin his pro career at the hot corner but would profile better offensively at second base if he could handle that position. It's also possible that he could wind up on an outfield corner.

8(250): RHP Artie Lewicki, 6-3, 212 Virginia
9(280): RHP Josh Laxer, 6-1, 210 Ole Miss
10(310): RHP Paul Voelker, 5-10, 185 Dallas Baptist
11(340): RHP A.J. Ladwig, 6-5, 210 Wichita State
12(370): SS Garrett Mattlage, 5-10, 190 Texas State
13(400): C Will Allen, 6-3, 220 Ole Miss
14(430): RHP Josh Heddinger, 6-5, 220, Georgia Tech
15(460): CF Michael Gerber, 6-0, 190, Creighton
16(490): 3B Chase Rader, 6-0, 210, Coffeyville CC (KS)
17(520): 1B Corey Baptist, 6-4, 215, St. Petersburg College (FL)
18(550): 3B Will Maddox, 5-10, 180, Tennessee
19(580): RHP French Parker, 6-2, 220, Texas
     -What MLB.com says: Despite not having overwhelming stuff, French has been a key member of the Longhorns’ rotation for three years. He underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his right elbow last year, but he returned strong this spring. French’s fastball sits around 90 mph and he no longer touches 95 mph, as he did in high school. His fastball has good action to it and he throws it from a downhill angle, helping make up for its average velocity. French also throws a curveball and a changeup, though neither produces many swings and misses. He throws all of his pitches for strikes and shows a good feel for pitching. French’s delivery has some effort to it, and he may be a better fit in the bullpen, where his stuff might play up.

20(610): LHP Trent Szkutnik, 6-0, 195, Michigan
21(640): RHP Whit Mayberry, 6-0, 190, Virginia
22(670): C Michael Thomas, 5-11, 210, Kentucky
23(700): 2B Brett Pirtle, 5-9, 175, Mississippi State
24(730): RHP Gabe Hemmer, 6-3, 220 San Diego Christian College
25(760): RHP Gage Smith, 6-2, 185, Florida State
26(790): RHP Jack Fischer, 6-1, 175, Wake Forest
27(820): LHP Tyler Ford, 5-8, 175, Houston
28(850): SS Will Kengor, 6-3, 180, Slippery Rock University (PA)
29(880): RHP Jacob Butler, 6-2, 200, University of St. Francis (IL)
30(910): RHP Spenser Watkins, 6-1, 190, Western Oregon University
31(940): LHP Grant Reuss, 6-5, 215, Cranbrook Kingswood (MI)
32(970): LHP Kenton St. John, 6-3, 180, University of Southern Alabama
33(1000): RHP Jonathan Perrin, 6-5, 220, Oklahoma State
34(1030): C Sammy Stevens, 6-2, 200, Brother Rice HS (MI)
35(1060): 3B Dave Hollins, 5-11, 180, Orchard Park HS (NY)
36(1090): RHP Nate Fury, 5-11, 200, LSU
37(1120): RHP Patrick Mahomes, 6-2, 220, Whitehouse HS (TX)
38(1150): 1B Magglio Ordonez, 6-1, 200, American Heritage School (FL)
39(1180): C Taylor Sangorski, 5-11, 191, Bishop Carroll Catholic HS (KS)
40(1210): RHP Alex Faedo, 6-5, 225, Alonso Sr HS (FL)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Breaking Down 2014 Bowman Baseball

It's that time of year again for my favorite product to be released in Bowman Baseball.  "The Home of the Rookie Card" hits a milestone this year with its 25th year of release after being brought back from the dead in 1989.

Quite simply put, this is the best way to get a rookie card or "first year player" card of future stars today. The standard set has a 220 card base checklist which includes current players and rookies who debuted late in the 2013 season.  In addition, there is a 110 card checklist of Bowman Prospect cards which won't count as a players rookie card based on the rookie card rules of 2007.  Lastly, the final piece to the standard sets is a chrome version of the Bowman Prospect cards, called Bowman Chrome Prospects which will again not be a rookie card, however it will be a highly coveted card of that player since it will be the first time they appear on a major release.  Between the rookie cards, chrome prospect cards, autographs, and refractors (see below), Bowman 2014 is going to be another hot release.

Other things to look out for are the autographs that come one to a box and three to a jumbo box. The Chrome autographs are hobby exclusives and only can be found in hobby boxes.  Additionally, there are so many parallels of the standard set, prospect set, and chrome prospect set that it's tough to keep track of, however keep any eye out for something colorful and shiny.

For the standard 220 card set, there will be State & Home Town, Blue (#/500), Orange (#/250), Green (#/150), Yellow (#/99), Silver (#/75), Gold (#/50), Black (#/25), Purple (#/10), Red (1 of 1), and printing plate parallels (1 of 1).

The 110 Bowman Prospect Set parallels include Blue (#/500), Orange (#/250), Red (1 of 1), and printing plates (1 of 1)

The Bowman Chrome parallels are very daunting to keep track of with the standard refractors (#/500), blue refractors (#/250), Black refractors (#/99), Green refractors (#/75), Gold refractors (#/50), Orange refractors (#/25), Red refractors (#/5), and printing plates and superfractors all 1 of 1.

But wait, there are more.  Each set has Silver Ice cards that  fall one per box and two per jumbo with parallels of Red Ice (#/25), Autographed Red Ice (#/25), Purple Ice (#/10), and White Ice (1 of 1).  That still isn't all though as there are Blue Wave Refractors, Black Wave Refractors (#/50), Red Wave Refractors (#/25), and Silver Wave Refractors (#/25).

Other inserts that can be found include 1989 designed refractors with current players and of course have parallels and autographs, "Lucky Remption Program" which is a mystery redemption program of players who will make their debut this year, AFLAC Perfect Game and Under Armour All-American Game Autographs, Bowman Black autos, Social Media Autos, Dual Franchise autos, Bowman Top 100 Prospect inserts along with all their autographed parallels, Chrome Refractor Mini's and their parallels, All-Star Futures Games Relics and so much more I'm getting upset that I received none of them so I'm going to stop writing about it and on to the box break...

Box Cost: $75
Packs Per Box: 24
Cards Per Pack: 10 (8 standard or prospect, 2 chrome prospect)
Cards Per Box: 240
Extras: 1 auto and 1 silver ice per box

Base Set Cards
Standard RC's - Marcus Semien, Wilmer Flores, Abrham Almonte, Yordano Ventura, Taijuan Walker, Masahiro Tanaka, Nick Castellanos, Jonathan Schoop, Matt Davidson, Andre Rienzo, J.R. Murphy, Josmil Pinto, Erik Johnson, Tim Beckham, Travis d'Arnaud, David Holmberg

Significant Bowman Prospects - Mark Appel, Julio Urias, Jose Abreu, Mookie Betts

Significant Bowman Chrome Prospects - Kris Bryant, Maikel Franco, Alexander Guerrero

Inserts/Parallels
Bowman Blue (#/500) - Will Myers
Bowman Prospects Blue (#/500) - Bill McKinney
Bowman is Back - Mark Appel
Bowman Hometown - Desmond Jennings, Alex Gordon, Jarred Cosart
Bowman Prospects Hometown - Ryon Healy, Nomar Mazara
Bowman Chrome Scout Top 5 Mini Refractors - J.R. Graham, Daniel Palka, Martin Agosta, Carlos Martinez
Bowman Top 100 Prospects - Jesse Biddle, Jorge Alfaro
Bowman Silver Ice - Yadier Molina
Bowman Prospects Red Ice (#/25) - Kenny Giles ($20)
Bowman Chrome Prospect Refractor (#/500) - Seth Mejias-Brean
Bowman Chrome Prospect Autograph Refractor (#/500) - Cesar Puello

Total Beckett Value: $195.00

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ausmus Has Detroit Tigers Rolling

I have to give credit where credit is due and Brad Ausmus deserves a lot of credit these days.  Tiger fans really enjoyed nitpicking Jim Leyland's coaching decisions routinely in his tenure (me being one of them) but as I watch the 2014 Tigers, I find it very difficult to find mistakes in coaching decisions made.

There were some calls made early on that I had to question, however that was during interleague and there aren't a whole lot of choices when you're an American League team with a dedicated DH.  Batting Rajai lead off and moving Miggy to 4th was one of those glaring poor decisions, however the Miggy moved just one game, and now that Rajai is cooling off I doubt we'll see that very often moving forward.

Other than that, you might question a pitching decision here or there or why would Kinsler attempt to steal third with Miggy up (green light??), but this is not a nightly occurrence like it seemed with Leyland so fans have to be somewhat enthused.

I know I'm pleasantly surprised at how well this team is going right now with the rash of injuries and with one of the four worst bullpens in baseball.  Not to mention Miguel Cabrera really hasn't gotten going yet, and the bottom of the lineup can be miserable.  The schedule has been light, but you still have to play well to have the best record in baseball and top ESPN's power rankings.

Here are some notable team stats that you can spout off to your friends while watching the game...

  • The Tigers are 9-4 on the road with only Oakland and Milwaukee winning double or more of their loses on the road
  • The Tigers +40 run differential ranks 2nd in the AL (Oakland +62) and 3rd in the Majors (Colorado +55)
  • Detroit is tied with Milwaukee having the largest lead (5.5 games) over the 2nd place team in their division
  • Twenty percent of the season is completed with Detroit having an 83% chance according to ESPN of making the playoffs
  • Only Oakland has more wins in the AL with 24, but has played 5 more games than Detroit
  • Not sure what is happening at night, but Detroit is 10-7 in night games and 12-5 during day games
  • The Tigers are 7-4 in one run games
  • Detroit's offense ranks 8th in the Majors in runs scored with (165) but on average has played 3 games less than other teams do to rain outs, etc
  • The offense also ranks 2nd in batting average (.279), 7th in on base average (.331), and 4th in slugging (.425)
  • By the way, Detroit ranks second in average with runners in scoring position with a .282 average, but just 12th when there are runners in scoring position with two outs (.235)
  • Overall, the pitching staffs ERA ranks 7th allowing 3.36 runs per game, 8th in quality starts (23), 5th in WHIP (1.19), and 6th in batting average against (.237)
  • When looking at just the starting rotation, Detroit ranks 2nd in ERA (2.69) and has a .225 batting average against, while averaging just over 8 k's per 9 innings
  • The bullpen ranks 27th in ERA (4.78) and has a .262 average against and has given up just 10 less earned runs in 109 less innings
Now if we want to get a real good gauge on how good this team is, check back in early June as Detroit finishes up in Baltimore, heads to Boston, and then Cleveland.  They then come home and play Texas before heading out west to play Oakland and surging Seattle.  This will be a true test on how good this team really is.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Unbelievably Funny Miguel Cabrera Interview

It's made its rounds but this interview appeared on Intentional Talk on the MLB Network yesterday, before yesterdays 4-5 performance.  A must watch...