Friday, March 30, 2012

April in the D = Rivalry Month for the Tigers??


Opening Day is less than a week away and the Tigers and as geeked as I am for that, I can’t help but peek ahead at the month of April where the Tigers are going to be put to the test very early. 

Detroit opens up a three game series with very dangerous Red Sox (90-72 in 2011) teams who had a historic collapse late last season, but were one of the better teams for most of 2011.  The Sox are out to prove doubters wrong, but turmoil between new manager Bobby Valentine and ownership has already created headlines for the wrong reason (along with the ban of beer in the locker room).

Next is three day games at home against the Tampa Bay Rays (91-71), who is many experts dark horse in the AL with a strong young pitching staff and coming off a playoff appearance, winning the AL wild card last year and sneaking in past Boston.  Oh, and it looks like we are lined up to see super prospect Matt Moore (#2 of the Pepper Top 100 Prospects for 2012) pitch the first game of the series.

The Tigers then take to the road to renew AL Central rivalries with the Chicago White Sox (79-83) and Kansas City Royals (71-91), both of which hope to rebound from down years in 2011. The White Sox organization is a bit of a mess, but I’m concerned with players rallying around new manager Robin Ventura just to spite Ozzie.  The Royals have a very good young nucleus of hitters, but lack the pitching depth again this season.

The Tigers come back home to open up an April 19th series against the defending AL Champs, the Texas Rangers (96-66).  Texas is looking to return for a third straight year to the World Series and has replaced starter C.J. Wilson with global prospect Yu Darvish (#4 on Pepper Top 100 Prospects).

Following the Rangers are the Seattle Mariners (67-95) who come to town with a very young team who will have offensive struggles throughout the year and a pretty young unproven pitching staff behind King Felix.
Wrapping up the month of April, is a trip to the Bronx to take on the Yankees (97-65) who were 52-29 at home last season.

In all the Tigers opponents for April had a .521% winning percentage in 2011 and if the Tigers make the playoffs will have a good chance at seeing almost all of them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who's the Tigers 5th Starter Right Now?

Matt Garza is 52-54 with a 3.83 ERA & a
1.30 WHIP over his 6-year career
Question...who is your choice for the fifth starter spot right now or is he even on the team right now?  Before answering the question, eliminate Smyly as he is not stretched out enough to go late in games and will tax the bullpen mightily.

Drew Smyly, 2.84 ERA, 4 games, 2 starts, 12.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 HR, 5 BB, 10 K, .167 avg against, 0.95 WHIP
Duane Below, 4.38 ERA, 6 games, 2 starts, 12.1 IP, 16 H, 6 ER, 2 HR, 6 BB, 8 K, .302 avg against!!, 1.78 WHIP!!
Andy Oliver, 5.17 ERA, 5 games, 2 starts, 15.2 IP, 11 H, 9 ER, 1 HR, 10 BB!!, 10 K, .193 avg against, 1.34 WHIP
Adam Wilk, 7.50 ERA, 5 games, 1 start, 12 IP, 19 H, 10 ER, 3 HR!, 2 BB, 5 K, .365 avg against!!, 1.75 WHIP!!
Jacob Turner, 11.25 ERA, 3 games, 1 start, 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 1 HR, 6 BB, 2 K, .333 avg against, 3.00 WHIP

So eliminate Smyly unless the Tigers plan on carrying an extra guy in the pen and Turner was sent down already and was never really right in the first place with shoulder issues, so that leaves Below, Oliver, and Wilk.  All of them have had their issues this spring and although I'd say my choice right now is Oliver, the 10 walks scare the hell out of me and resemble what we've seen out of him in the past.

Now there is thought that the Tigers could skip a couple starts early in April where the schedule permits and maybe one of these guys will shine in the minors to help with the decision making process, but what if that doesn't happen?  Time for a trade???

I have to believe that double D is working the phones just a little to gauge if Garza's price has come down or if there are other options out there.  Then again, has Turner's trade value diminished with shoulder issues or spring numbers?  I'm not willing to give up Nick C in any trade right now as I think he's our starting third baseman a few years down the road when Miggy shifts to DH, but I'm a little shaky on Turner right now and then again he's young and has a lot of time to develop.

You have to love that our biggest concerns right now is the 5th starter, the last bullpen spot, and the 25th guy on the roster (NOT INGE!!!).  It could be a lot worse...

UPDATE: Andy Oliver was optioned to Triple-A this afternoon

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tiger Talk 3.28.12

The Major League Baseball season quietly kicked off today with the Mariners beating the Athletics in Japan 3-1 in 11 innings for the first game of the season.  Some say this will the be the longest stretch the Mariners will be in first place for all season, then again opening day for everyone else isn't until next Thursday.

Now on to your Detroit Tiger news...

  • Great news for Tigers fans on Opening Day as Miguel Cabrera has been cleared to resume baseball activities
  • Buster Olney on why the first at bat Opening Day could be a neat piece of trivia history
  • The Freep tells us why it could come down to the the final at bat of spring for Brandon Inge to determine his future with the team
  • Just when you thought you knew who the Tigers 5th starter is...and Drew Smyly will get his second start of the spring
  • Lynn Henning on Ricky P's sound approach
  • Tigers top prospect (and Pepper's #16 prospect on our Top 100) Jacob Turner and Quintin Berry were among earlier this week
  • The Bleacher Report beats Pepper Blogger John to the punch with it's predictions on the Opening Day 25-man roster

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Breaking Down 2012 Topps, Series 1

The longest produced brand has done it again with it's 61st annual release of Topps baseball cards.  This year Topps made early noise with the Skip Schumaker Rally Squirrel short printed card that's currently booking for $120 and then continued the noise with other short printed variations throughout the set, along with cards with gold foil on them (compared to diamonds last year).  I have to say my box wasn't that impressive, however it was loaded with inserts (about 2 per pack) and I scored a Matt Moore Golden Sparkle that books for $12 on the high side.  Along with the Moore card, came a John Axford Golden Moment "relic card" which books at $12 and a David Freese "Black" card which books for $15, so all-and-all decent value.  Here's a breakdown of what that looked like...

Box Cost: $60
Packs Per Box: 36
Cards Per Pack: 10
Cards Per Box: 360


Standard Cards
Rookie Cards (18): Hagadone, Montero, Taylor, Mesoraco, Pomeranz, Romine, Pamrelee, Moore, Lombordozi, Reed, Rosario, Dominguez, Herrera, Hudson, Benson, Betances, Delabar, Liddi
Short Prints (0): n/a

Inserts
1987 Topps Mini's (10): Kendrick, Ackley, Halladay, Jiminez, Kimbrell, Gardner, Howard, Posey, Greinke, Latos
Topps Black: David Freese
Topps Classic Walk-Offs (5): Mazeroski, Fisk, Bruce, Thome, Ordonez
Topps Golden Giveaway Code Cards (5): Braun, tulowitzki, Halladay, Clemente, Suzuki
Topps Golden Greats (10):  Gerhig, Ryan, Cobb, DiMaggio, Mantle, Ripken Jr., Koufax, Aaron, Seaver, Ruth
Topps Golden Moments (9): Kershaw, McCutchen, Mattingly, Rice, Belle, Ju. Upton, Berkman, Pujols, Maris
Topps Gold Futures (7): Britton, Arencibia, Gordon, Tabata, Nova, Goldschmidt, Kipnis
Gold Sparkle (13): Simon, M. Young, Bard, Guerrea, A. Jones, M. Moore, Venable, Lannan, Herrera, Gwynn, Freese, Werth, Hamilton
Topps Gold Standard (5): Schmidt, F. Robinson, McCovey, Smoltz, Seaver
Topps Timeless Talents (5): Mattingly/Hosmer,  F. Robinson/Bautista, Pettite/Lee, B. Gibson/Halladay, Maris/Granderson

Total Beckett Value: $364.60

Monday, March 26, 2012

Spring Happenings

Opening Day is just over a week away (WOW!) and we've already gotten numerous story lines from Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes making their Major League debuts, to Joba's ankle dislocating, to Michael Pineda coming to camp looking like Michael Pinada, to local story's of Brandon Inge getting a shot at second, Miggy's season being saved by a piece of plastic, and Jacob Turner being sent down.  That doesn't even include the Prince Fielder story, Chase Utley's knee's, Bryce Harper, or Ryan Madson.

Anyhow, with the start of the season right around the corner, I wanted to just dive in real quick to some spring training numbers that won't mean much more then a week from now but let's see who had strong spring to this point anyway...

Batting Average
1. Lorenzo Cain, OF/KC - .477
2. Howard Kendrick, 2B/LAA - .447
3. Joe Mather, OF/CHC - .432
4. Alex Liddi, 3B/SEA - .429
5. Alex Gordon, OF/KC - .426
Top Tiger - 6th - Delmon Young .422

Hits
1. Lorenzo Cain, KC/OF - 21
1. Martin Prado, ATL/OF - 21
3. Alex Gordon, KC/OF - 20
3. Eric Hosmer, KC/1B - 20
5. Brandon Belt, SF/1B - 19
Top Tiger - T5th - Delmon Young 19

Home Runs
1. Ryan Raburn, DET/OF - 6
1. Alfonso Soriano, CHC/OF - 6
1. Dan Uggla, ATL/2B - 6
4. Shelly Duncan, CLE/OF - 5
4. Delmon Young, DET/OF -5

Runs Batted In
1. Delmon Young, DET/OF - 19
2. Eric Hosmer, KC/1B - 18
2. Ryan Raburn, DET/OF - 18
4 Travis Snider, TOR/OF - 16
5. Shelly Duncan, CLE/OF - 15

Other notable springs for guys who needed it include Adam Dunn (.276 avg, 4 hr, 1.199 OPS), Chris Young (1.306 OPS), Brandon Belt (.380 avg, 3 hr, 1.089 OPS), Nate McLouth (.382 avg, 1.020 OPS), Don Kelly (.350 avg, .934 OPS)

Brandon Inge Watch: .171 avg, .502 OPS, 1 HR, 7 SO

ERA (4 Appearance Min)
1. Adam Wainwright, STL - 0.00
1. C.J. Wilson, LAA - 0.00
3. Mike Minor, ATL - 0.96
4. Josh Beckett, BOS - 1.29
4. Luke Hochevar, KC - .1.29
Top Tiger - Justin Verlander 2.18

Strike Outs
1. Roy Halladay, PHI - 24
2. Francisco Liriano, MIN - 23
3. Max Scherzer, DET - 21
4. Madison Bumgarner, SF - 20
4. Zack Greinke, MIL - 20
4. Justin Verlander, DET - 20

WHIP (4 App Min)
1. Wade LeBlanc, MIIA - 0.56
2. Dan Haren, LAA - 0.67
3. Adam Wainwright, STL - 0.71
3. C.J. Wilson, LAA - 0.71
5. Francisco Liriano, MIN - 0.72
Top Tiger - Justin Verlander 1.02


Other notable springs for guys who needed it include  Francisco Liriano (2.00 ERA, 23k, 0.72 WHIP), Wei-Yin Chen (3.00 ERA, .232 avg against, 1.00 WHIP), Juan Nicasio (recovering from a broken neck, 3.06 ERA, 15k, 1.42 WHIP), Brian Matusz (3.20 ERA, 18k, 1.07 WHIP), Johan Santana (3.38 ERA, 1.28 WHIP)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tiger Talk 3.22.12 (March Madness Edition)

Apologies to our readers out there, between the madness of March and work, we've struggled to get going in the past week.  Never fear though we'll play catch up real quick...

  • Your Detroit Tigers lead spring training with a 13-3 (and 3 ties) record.  You can never read in to record in the spring but it's a positive start
  • The Tigers 5th starter spot still undecided
  • Forbes released it annual Baseball franchise valuations and announced that on average a teams value was up 16%.  The Tigers ranked 17th at a value of $478 million and a 8.2% increase
  • By now you all know that Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera took a bad hop to the eye and created a small fracture to his orbital bone, making him questionable for opening day.  Sunglasses most likely saved Cabrera's season though...
  • The Tigers released reliever David Pauley after a slow start to the spring last week
  • If  you're an ESPN Insider, you'll appreciate Buster Olney's article on what a hot spring it's been for Detroit hitters.
  • Another Insider Olney article debates the best pitcher in baseball right now and you may be able to guess who is listed #1
  • Sports Illustrated predicts the Tigers to win the Central and lose to the Yanks in the playoffs
  • Brandon Inge is getting his chance to make his case...at the plate
  • Jacob Turner shows progress in playing catch.  Turner was shut down with tendinitis in his shoulder.
  • The Tigers rank 23rd on Baseball America's Organizational Talent Rankings

Unrelated Tigers News
  • Chipper Jones announced that he plans to retire after the 2012 season.  Chipper will go down as one of the best third baseman and switch hitters that the game has seen.
  • The Washington Nationals announced that Stephen Strasburg will get the opening day start against the Chicago Cubs for them
  • Ex-Tiger Dontrelle Willis was recently released by the Cincinnati Reds and signed yesterday with the Baltimore Orioles to a minor league contract.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cardboard Memories: 1996 (Baseball Cards)

1996 Topps Series 1 Box
1996 was an interesting year as the card industry continued to grow to 33 regular season releases which was almost triple that of the 12 released in '92, however we see the traditional update and traded sets all but disappear.  This has to be the start of the end for a few of these manufactures and Major League Baseball as many of these companies will have their licenses revoked more than a decade later.

One notable release for 1996 was Topps Chrome as it was a duplicate to the standard Topps set but offers a "chromed" look and making the product more valuable.  It also spawned a following called "Chromies" (made more popular when Bowman started producing a Chrome product).  Chromies are collectors who of course only collect Chrome products

So on to the cards, again here are some of my favorites, some that impacted the industry, and others just to give you an idea of the design.   Enjoy...

Name: Roger Clemens
Team: Boston Red Sox
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Bazooka
Number: #62
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.00
Comments: General release focused at kids as collectors offered at the low end of products cost-wise
Name: George Lombard
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Bowman
Number: #204
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: 2nd rd draft pick of the Braves was one of the best prospects in baseball from '96-'98 as Lombard showed 5-tool potential.  This card once booked for $6...BUST

Name: Carlos Guillen
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Bowman's Best
Number: #162
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: Traded from the Houston Astros to the Mariners in part for Randy Johnnson.

Name: Bob Hamelin
Team: Kansas City Royals
Position: Designated Hitter
Card: 1996 Collector's Choice
Number: #571
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.20
Comments: The 1994 Rookie of the Year never matched his 24 home run total from that year and was out of the league by 1999

Name: Carlos Perez
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Donruss
Number: #317
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: Sweet turtle neck dude

Name: Derek Jeter
Team: New York Yankees
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Emotion XL
Number: #90
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $5.00
Comments: A very nice premium release from the Fleer Company

Name: Livan Hernandez
Team: Florida Marlins
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Finest
Number: #G294
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $10.00
Comments: Only logged a few innings in '96, but Hernandez was a prized prospect from the Marlins after defecting from Cuba.  Livan finished 2nd in the ROY voting in '97 and took off in the post season thanks to a wide strike zone and a complete game 5, 15 strike out win against the Braves

Name: Tom Glavine
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Flair
Number: #198
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.50
Comments: Flair seems to have gone after the more of an artistic design with the '96 release

Name: Rail Ibanez
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Catcher
Card: 1996 Fleer Update
Number: #U81
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: Yep, I was pretty shocked that Ibanez was once a catcher too

Name: Darin Erstad
Team: California Angels
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Leaf Limited Rookies
Number: #2
Status: Rookies Set
Beckett Hi Value: $4.00
Comments: 5-tool guy for a 4 year span but injuries got the best of Erstad over his career

Name: Marty Cordova
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Lead Preferred
Number: #54
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: Rookie of the Year in '95 had a great '96 but never able to stay healthy for a full season after

Name: Derek Jeter 
Team:  New York Yankees
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Leaf Signatures
Number: #118
Status: Autograph/Short Printed/Serial Numbered to 700
Beckett Hi Value: $300.00
Comments: A very tough pull being short printed but signifies things to come with  autographs inserted in to packs

Name: Tony Clark
Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: First Base
Card: 1996 Leaf
Number: #30
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $.030
Comments: Clark had some solid years for Detroit hitting 124 home runs between '96 & '99 but fell of and had only one more 30+ homer season ('05 with Arizona) after

Name: Craig Biggio
Team: Houston Astros
Position: Second Base
Card: 1996 Metal Universe
Number: #175
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: Metal had this space age design approach to its cards...that didn't last long

Name: Alex Rodriguez
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Pacfic
Number: #416
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.00
Comments: Thankfully Pacific got away from the shiny terrible design and put more emphasis on the photography

Name: Mike Piazza
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Catcher
Card: 1996 Pinnacle Aficionado
Number: #124
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.50
Comments: Really like the Aficionado design, it's to bad this isn't a product that stuck around longer

Name: Deion Sanders
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Pinnacle
Number: #25
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: Not quite sure how Deion and Barry's heads fit in one clubhouse.  On the other hand, another very clean design from Pinnacle

Name: Mike Sweeney
Team: Kansas City Royals
Position: First Base
Card: 1996 Score
Number: #492
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: There was a time when Sweeney just destroyed the Tigers not to mentioned was part of one of the biggest Tiger/Royal brawls ever.

Name: Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Select
Number: #19
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.50
Comments: I like the wood grain and double photo Select offered in '96

Name: Manny Ramirez
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Select Certified
Number: #51
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.60
Comments: Yep, just Manny being Manny

Name: John Smoltz
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 SP
Number: #24
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.60
Comments: Another solid release from SP (Upper Deck) but lacked a major rookie card unlike years past with Jeter & ARod

Name: Mark Grace
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: First Base
Card: 1996 SPx
Number: #15
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.25
Comments: Never a big fan of the hologram cards

Name: Barry Bonds
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Stadium Club TSC
Number: #202
Status: Topps Stadium Club/Short Printed
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: Another trend about to take off in card collection...short printing of in set cards making it tougher for set builders to complete sets

Name: Bernie Williams
Team: New York Yankees
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Studio
Number: #44
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.40
Comments: Did you know that Bernie plays guitar? :)

Name: Ken Griffey Jr.
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Summit
Number: #86
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.25
Comments: Can you believe anyone would have Griffey bunting, especially in his pre-Reds days??

Name: Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Topps Chrome 2131
Number: #28
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $6.00
Comments: The Chromies start here...

Name: Ray Durham
Team: Chicago White Sox
Position: Second Base
Card: 1996 Topps Gallery
Number: #96
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: Love the mid air capture

Name: Mike Mussina
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Topps Laser
Number: #125
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.25
Comments: Kind of cool cards with the cut design, but very tough to protect from catching snags

Name: Sean Casey
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: First Base
Card: 1996 Topps
Number: #25
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $4.00
Comments: Can you believe this guy was once thrown out from left field?  Oh, this was Casey's only rookie card in '96

Name: Pedro Martinez
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Ultra
Number: #233
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: '96 was the year before Pedro really took off as a pitcher, he was still a bit of an unknown at this point in Montreal

Name: Alan Trammell
Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1996 Upper Deck YH
Number: #106
Status: Young at Heart Subset
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: Just liked that Trammell was labeled "young at heart"

Name: Roger Clemens
Team: Boston Red Sox
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1996 Upper Deck VJ
Number: #VJ13
Status: V.J. Lovero Showcase Insert
Beckett Hi Value: $4.00
Comments: Early signs of roid rage?

Name: Raul Mondesi
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Outfield
Card: 1996 Zenith
Number: #47
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: Pinnacle had to have one bad design in '96 right?





- sK

Monday, March 19, 2012

Roster Update

Here are updated on where the Detroit Roster might shake out for opening day:
  • David Pauley won't make the team, because he was released.
  • Casey Crosby was optioned to Toledo, though long term he projects to be a fine major leaguer.
  • We are going to humor Delmon Young and move him to leftfield, from DH, although we would expect him to play more DH as the season moves on.  This leaves the DH spot open in the line-up.
  • Ramon Santiago gets a spot on the bench. Congrats Ramon.  (Not officially, but Pepper is calling this one).
  • After some iffy spring outings, Duane Below loses his pepper.  Andy Oliver and Drew Smyly appear to the front runners for the 5th spot in the rotation.
  • If there was such a thing as a "negative pepper" (and there is not, because that would be crazy), one would go to Jacob Turner for this whole "dead-arm" thing he has going on.
  • Danny Worth loses his pepper, through no fault of his own.  He does have a minor league option, and unless Brandon Inge strikes out every at bat for the remainder of the spring, the Tigers will send Worth down and keep Inge to avoid wasting $6 million dollars that would result if they cut Inge.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tiger Talk 3.12.12

Not much has changed since Friday with the Tigers record this spring as they tied both their games over the weekend as spring training games are only allowed to go 10 innings, however the Tigers are down to the Mets currently 7-3 in the 5th and looks like Jacob Turner is falling out of the race for 5th starter as he gave up 5 earned today and has an 11.25 ERA this spring.  Turner is the #16th ranked prospect on Pepper's Top 100 Prospects for 2012

Here's your latest Tiger news

  • The Tigers are batting Brandon Inge second to get him additional at bats this spring and will continue to battle Ryan Raburn who is impressing with a hot bat
  • Lynn Henning is getting to know Prince Fielder
  • JV has four "horrible" shutout innings over the weekend
  • Announcer Jim Price bounces back after second bout with Cancer.  I can attest to this as Carl and I saw Mr. Price down at fantasy camp.  He was moving slow but in very good spirits.
  • The Tigers are looking to give Miggy more work at third base
  • The Bleacher Report has a Tigers Spring Training Report breaking down the biggest roster battles

Friday, March 9, 2012

Tiger Talk 3.9.12

Less than a month away from REAL baseball.
  • Doug Fister (3 scoreless innings) and Delmon Young (homer) take their turn looking good in spring training. (Yahoo!)
  • The Tiges are still unbeaten.  (MLive) Until they lose the Phillies today after a bad David Pauley inning.
  • For some reason Dave Dombrowski is talking up Brandon Inge. Trade? He might actually make the team?  Yikes.  (DetNews)
  • Lynn Henning talks Brennan Boesch batting bonanza
  • Tom Gage tells of Delmon Young feeding off Tigers potential
  • MLB Trade Rumors has some notes on JV, Miggy, & Inge
On a side note, Jayson Stark talks about the 10 greatest spring injuries of all time.  This is worth the read...

Brandon Inge, Tigers Openging Day Second baseman???


As you may have heard, the Tigers are off to a great start this spring winning their first six games of the season with most being convincing wins.  I also wouldn’t recommend getting to caught up in the Tigers record or as we’ve said in the past that stats really don’t matter in the spring either…unless you competing for a job that is.  Here’s a check in on players stats that are in competition for starting jobs through six.

Second Base
  • Brandon Inge, 4 games, 9 AB’s, 3 hits, 2 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, .333 Avg, .966 OPS and one and a raving review from DD
  • Ryan Raburn, 4 games, 7 AB’s, 3 runs, 3 hits, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 1 BB, 2K, .429 Avg, 2.016 OPS
  • Ramon Santiago, 4 games, 11 AB’s, 3 runs, 4 hits, 2 2B, 1 BB, .364 avg, .940 OPS

Synopsis: A great start by all three guys competing for a platoon role on the job, however what needs to be taken in to consideration (and unfortunately we don’t know) is who and when each players hits and outs came.   To explain further, with only 6 games player, and each guy playing 4, they are obviously being substituted in game, and at this point in spring a starter only goes 2 innings and then you may run in to another less qualified starter, a bullpen guy, or a minor leaguer who doesn’t really have a shot at the big club.  So basically saying we don’t know the talent level that each of these guys got their hits or outs off of  but I have to give the advantage right now to Brandon Inge based on DD’s comments.

5th Starter Spot
  • Casey Crosby, 1 game, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 hits, 1 BB, 2k’s, .250 average against, 1.50 WHIP
  • Andy Oliver, 1 game, 0.00 ERA, 3 IP, 3 BB, 3k’s, .000 average against, 1.00 WHIP
  • Drew Smyly, 1 game, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 hits, 1k, .286 average against, 1.00 WHIP
  • Jacob Turner, 2 games, 1 started, 0.00 ERA, 2.1 IP, 2 hits, 4 BB, 1k, .222 average against, 2.57 WHIP
  • Adam Wilk, 1 game, 0.00 ERA, 2 IP, 2 hits, 1k, .250 average against, 1.00 WHIP
  • Duane Below, 2 games, 3.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 1k, .286 average against, 1.33 WHIP

Synopsis: It’s way too early in Grapefruit League to name a starter and all but Jacob Turner got off to a good start, but Turner did start and faced the most Major League talent out of the group.  Turner did pitcher better in his last outing as his 4 walks came in his 1.1 innings started against the Braves.  Advantage to no one at this point, but Turner did not help his case early on with the walks.

There are other spots up for grabs including in the bullpen and for backup spots but these will be the two most intriguing throughout the spring.

We’ll keep you up to date as the spring season rolls on

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Cardboard Memories: 1995 (Baseball Cards)


Looking back at my personal collection this was one smallest amount of cards I had from any year and really only had bought boxes of Upper Deck and Donruss and had yet to catch on to the rookie card monopoly held by Bowman (that was '96).  Disposable funds were low due to college and my fondness for beer so I'll complain further about the market expanding to 28 standard product releases in 1996 and that doesn't include many of these core brands being released in two series meaning buying multiple boxes.  A few trends that I did noticed first was how quickly it was becoming more about the inserts then standard sets themselves since that's value was at the time.  Number two was that with products having multiple series releases that actually allowed for updating players teams when traded or signed as free agents as well as catching hot rookies, but it also eliminated the need for sets like Donruss Rookies and other update and traded sets. Finally that a lot of sets core and premium were actually decreasing the number of player cards in a set which is a shift from the very early 90's when sets ballooned to 800+ cards in their sets.

So on to the cards, again here are some of my favorites, some that impacted the industry, and others just to give you an idea of the design.   Enjoy...

Name: Albert Belle
Team: Cleveland Indians
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Bazooka
Number: #116
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.20
Comments: Decent design and was priced on the very low end for everyone

Name: Vladimir Guerrero
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Bowman
Number: #90
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $15.00
Comments: Bowman beats everyone to the punch again as this and Bowman's Best were Guerrero's only rookie cards in '95

Name: Scott Rolen
Team: Philadelphia Phillies
Position: Third Base
Card: 1995 Bowman's Best
Number: #B87
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $20.00
Comments: Similar to Guerrero, Best and Bowman are Rolen's only rookie cards

Name: Michael Jordan
Team: Chicago White Sox
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Collector's Choice Select Edition
Number: #238
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: The last year Jordan's cards were produced in standard baseball card sets

Name: Karim Garcia
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Collector's Choice
Number: #39
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $0.10
Comments: The "Latino Bambino" signed with the Dodgers at the age of 16 and was known more for off the field issues then on, including stealing Derek Jeter's glove in hopes of selling it

Name: Cal Ripken Jr.
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1995 Donruss
Number: #83
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: A very crisp design from Donruss with very little in the way of rookie cards, but a decent amount of inserts

Name: Barry Bonds
Team: San Francisco Giants
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Emotion
Number: #192
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $2.50
Comments: Confident, that's one way to put it...

Name: Hideo Nomo
Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1995 Finest
Number: #228
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $10.00
Comments: DON'T PEEL THE STICKER!  No really each card had this sticker over it that was used to protect the cards surface.  I'm not sure if the card carries the same value if the sticker is peeled, my gut says no

Name: Pedro Martinez
Team: Montreal Expos
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1995 Flair
Number: #164
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: Flair was an underrated brand I think as the quality and photography blew competitors away but the scarcity wasn't there

Name: Greg Maddux
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1995 Fleer
Number: #311
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.25
Comments: Yep, it's ok to ask wtf is wrong with that card.  In '95 Fleer decided to have a different design for each of the baseball divisions and this was the NL East's version

Name: Will Clark
Team: Texas Rangers
Position: First Base
Card: 1995 Leaf Limited
Number: #20
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: Decent design for a premium brand that had only minor impact in the industry

Name: Mark Grace
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: First Base
Card: 1995 Leaf
Number: #277
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: Wow, so Leaf went in a completely different design direction then their first iconic release

Name: Fred McGriff
Team: Atlanta Braves
Position: First Base
Card: 1995 Pacific
Number: #12
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.30
Comments: One word...Fugly

Name: Ken Griffey Jr.
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Pinnacle
Number: #128
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: Is that Ken Griffey Jr. or the Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lady in Total Recall on Mars?

Name: Randy Johnson
Team: Seattle Mariners
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1995 Score
Number: #222
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.50
Comments: Score, welcome to being irrelevant

Name: Ozzie Smith
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1995 Select Certified
Number: #55
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $2.00
Comments: I have nothing on this unfortunately other then do you think Ozzie was thinking, "man I need to do another back flip so I can be a Hall of Famer" after grounding out weakly again?

Name: Don Mattingly
Team: New York Yankees
Position: First Base
Card: 1995 Select
Number: #101
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.25
Comments: Donny Baseball's last professional season and still hadn't caught on that mustaches weren't cool in the 90's

Name: Vinny Castilla
Team: Colorado Rockies
Position: Shortstop
Card: 1995 SP Championship
Number: #43
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.40
Comments: Yet another gimmic set like Select Certified, Collector's Choice SE, and on and on.

Name: Paul Molitor
Team: Toronto Blue Jays
Position: Designated Hitter
Card: 1995 SP
Number: #203
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.40
Comments: I always liked SP but have to question the design with the writing on the left side cutting in to the picture


Name: Tony Gwynn
Team: San Diego Padres
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Stadium Club
Number: #475
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.00
Comments: Who shrunk Tony Gwynn?  Ok, I'm mailing it in at this point.


Name: Rickey Henderson
Team: Oakland Athletics
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Studio
Number: #123
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.00
Comments: Had given up on this product by now, but I have to say I really like this design

Name: Ben McDonald
Team: Baltimore Orioles
Position: Starting Pitcher
Card: 1995 Score
Number: #4
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.15
Comments: Man, I hope his teammates gave him sh*t over doing the whole put your hand behind your bicep "trick" to make it look bigger

Name: Carlos Beltran/Juan LeBron
Team: Kansas City Royals
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Topps Traded
Number: #12T (LeBron), #18T (Beltran)
Status: Rookie Card Errors
Beckett Hi Value: LeBron $6.00/Beltran $12.00
Comments: Yep, Topps Traded did the a big mix up putting Beltran on LeBron's card and LeBron on Beltran's card and was never corrected.

Name: Mark McGwire
Team: Oakland Athletics
Position: First Base
Card: 1995 UC3
Number: #51
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $2.00
Comments: Kind of like Sportsflics I guess...no thanks

Name: Sammy Sosa
Team: Chicago Cubs
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Ultra
Number: #139
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: Ultra won't find a place in the market until the David Ortiz rookie card in '97 and they start short printing cards in'98

Name: Bobby Higginson
Team: Detroit Tigers
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Upper Deck
Number: #233
Status: Rookie Card
Beckett Hi Value: $0.75
Comments: I can't recall which I did more, liked Bobby Higginson or hated him...

Name: Kirby Puckett
Team: Minnesota Twins
Position: Outfield
Card: 1995 Zenith
Number: #65
Status: n/a
Beckett Hi Value: $1.00
Comments: See SP Championship comment