Showing posts with label Detroit Tigers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Detroit Tigers. Show all posts

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Examining the Reasoning Behind the Jake Peavy Deal

As fantasy owners we are almost always interested in the trades that happen between major league rosters. We get especially excited in the days leading up to MLB's Non-Waiver Trade Deadline. We want and expect to see big names and major loves that will radically change the face of Major League Baseball teams and the fate of our fantasy squads. Unfortunately the deadline deals rarely match-up with our great expectations. This year's deals were not an exception.

By far the most interesting deadline deal was the three-team deal between the Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox gave up young defensive shortstop Jose Iglesias (to Detroit) and a trio of prospects ( infielder Cleulius Rondon and pitchers Francelis Montas and Jeffery Wendelken) and received starter Jake Peavy from the White Sox and reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers. Chicago received the Boston prospects and young outfielder Avisail Garcia from the Tigers.

Jose Iglesias is a good fit with the Detroit Tigers for a few reasons. If the Detroit Tigers have a weakness it is in their infield defense. Iglesias can provide the Tigers with Gold Glove quality defense at shortstop and even second and third base if necessary. Over the last few seasons, Iglesias has become a much better contact hitter with improved patience at the plate. It does not show in his walk rate but it does appear in his swing rates and his declining strikeout rate. Iglesias has close to zero power (2.2 HR/FB% and .079 ISO) but is becoming the type of player that can find ways to contribute (or at least not be a huge negative) in a lineup full of sluggers while contributing vastly increased defensive range. He still swings at too many pitches, especially outside of the strikezone. He is also unlikely to keep batting .330 or maintain his .379 BABIP but he should be able to hit for a decent average, at least for a power lacking defensive dynamo.

Iglesias' most significant contribution to the Tigers in 2013 is likely to be as the player who replaces Jhonny Peralta during his coming PED suspension. Peralta has yet to test positive for anything illegal or against the rules at this point. However, Bud Selig is determined to punish anyone linked to rumors of wrong doing via the BioGenesis scandal. So in effect, Peralta is being punished for not testing positive while being linked to BioGenesis. No, it is not meant to make sense. Peralta is likely to miss most of the remaining season. It is possible he could be around for the playoffs but it is difficult to see that happening if Iglesias is successful over the next two months. Peralta is a free agent after the 2013 season and could very well finish his career with the Tigers watching from home.This could mean Iglesias is the shortstop of the future for the Detroit Tigers.

The Red Sox were already in good shape heading into the season's last two months.They were playing well with a solid lineup, starting rotation and bullpen all contributing. The Red Sox also have a loaded farm system which is loaded with enough quality talent to allow them to deal their former shortstop of the future. But if you look closely you can see why the Red Sox felt they wanted another veteran starter.

Jon Lester is their ace in theory but recently went through a rough period similar to last season's disaster. Lester seems to have recovered relatively quickly but he does not inspire great confidence in Boston fans nor the team's management. Clay Buchholz finally seems to be the ace-level starter he was once projected to become but his track record of success is not long and his recent shoulder discomfort is worrying.

Peavy has a history of durability problems but was great in 2012 when he contributed 219 innings in 32 starts. Peavy is recently returned from a few weeks on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture in his ribs. It is expected that this injury has contributed to a slight decline in his velocity relative to 2012 and some rust in his command since his return. But his elbow and shoulder are both strong and not an issue at this point. He has solid velocity in the low 90's and excellent control. He has a very solid strikeout rate and induces a fair number of ground balls when necessary but also allowed quite a few homers pitching in Chicago's homer friendly stadium. Fenway should be a little better for Peavy's stats and his fantasy owners. Most of all he has pitching experience that the talented youngsters on the team can use in this group's first run into the playoffs.

The White Sox had and still have an aging roster and a high payroll that does not provide much bang for the bucks. Avisail Garcia is the best prospect the White Sox acquired but is still very much a work in progress. More than anything else the White Sox are looking to load up their farm system and clear payroll so that the new management team can rebuild the roster with younger and more cost effective talent. Garcia could see a small power boost playing in Chicago but his lack of patience and over aggressiveness will limit his impact on fantasy rosters and in the White Sox lineup. Garcia is only 22 years old so he has plenty of time to develop the skills necessary to become a solid major league outfielder.

Here are the deals leading up to the deadline that you may interest you: (from ESPN)

• The Baltimore Orioles acquired SP Bud Norris from the Houston Astros for DH L.J. Hoes and SP Josh Hader. (July 31)

• The Kansas City Royals acquired OF Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros for SP Kyle Smith. (July 31)

• The San Diego Padres acquired SP Ian Kennedy from the Arizona Diamondbacks for RP Joe Thatcher, RP Matt Stites and a 2014 competitive balance round B draft pick. (July 31)

• The Boston Red Sox acquired SP Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox and RP Brayan Villarreal and OF Avisail Garcia from the Detroit Tigers and sent SS/3B Jose Iglesias to Detroit and Garcia, RP J.B. Wendelken, SP Francellis Montas and SS Cleuluis Rondon to Chicago. (July 30)

• The Oakland Athletics acquired 3B Alberto Callaspo from the Los Angeles Angels for SS Grant Green. (July 30)

• The Atlanta Braves acquired RP Scott Downs from the Los Angeles Angels for SP Cory Rasmus. (July 29)

• The Tampa Bay Rays acquired RP Jesse Crain from the Chicago White Sox for players to be named or cash. (July 29)

• The Detroit Tigers acquired RP Jose Veras from the Houston Astros for OF Danry Vasquez and a player to be named. (July 29)

• The New York Yankees acquired OF Alfonso Soriano and cash from the Chicago Cubs for SP Corey Black. (July 26)

• The Baltimore Orioles acquired RP Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers for 3B Nick Delmonico. (July 23)

• The Texas Rangers acquired SP Matt Garza from the Chicago Cubs for SPs C.J. Edwards and Justin Grimm, 1B Mike Olt, and a player to be named. (July 22)

We can still expect to see some fairly big names moving during the waivers period. Alex Rios, Mike Morse, and Michael Young are some of the bigger names on the market and they could change the shape of some close races in both fantasy and MLB.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Can Brennan Boesch Keep Hitting Like Pujols?

Who the hell is Brennan Boesch? Because of his incredible production the Detroit Tigers and a few fantasy owners have much better lineups. But for most fans he came out of nowhere and analysts have been saying his lucky streak just can't last.

Fantasy owners tend to be a numbers oriented lot. As the art of sabermetrics has become more popular a large segment of this crowd has developed an almost snobbish dismissal of players that do not fit their criteria for players of interest. Brennan 'Hollywood' Boesch was such a player for most of his minor league career. In 2009 he caught the attention of some Tigers fans with a 28-homer season for Double-A Erie. Baseball America rated him as the best power prospect in the EL though they left him off their top-20 prospect list for the circuit; they did rate him Detroit's #25 prospect. The power had been projected but not realized until then. But no one doubts the power potential of the 6'5" slugger...

The name of the game is simple for Boesch, as he is a power hitter through and through. Most scouts tossed around plus-plus or 70 power for Boesch, though one scout felt his power may warrant an 80 grade. Boesch can hit balls out to any part of any park on the planet, and his power is absolutely prodigious to the pull side. He gets the bat to the zone quickly and he rips the barrel through the hitting zone with incredibly muscular upper and lower arms.

For all his power, Boesch has some very significant kryptonite. Most scouts see significant holes in his swing, and a susceptibility to breaking balls in nearly any part of the zone. He lacks the pitch recognition skills to consistently work counts, and he has a below average hit tool as a result. There will always be a lot of swing and miss in his game, and it is a matter of whether his power will be enough to make up for what will likely be a lot of strikeouts and a very low on-base percentage.

Boesch is an average runner. His jumps in the outfield are fringy at best, and most scouts I spoke with see at best, an average defender. He can make most of the plays in right field, and he has an above-average arm with decent carry.

His makeup rates as a positive in his favor, and he does a solid job of keeping his mind focused on the present and not letting poor plays in the field or poor at-bats, impact the task at hand on the field. He is unlikely to be a star, but his power is difficult to ignore, and he will get chances to nail down a corner outfield spot if he continues to blast balls out of the park.
What most analysts did not like about Boesch was his extremely aggressive style that resulted in very few walks and low on-base percentages. A scout explained to Nick Underhill, a writer for how he felt watching Boesch play during the 2009 season:
“How do I fill this out? Every time I start to fill it out I don’t feel good about it. He hits the ball hard, plays decent defense, but he’s too wild at the plate. Way too wild, this is the hardest report I’ve had to file in a while.”
At the University of California, where Boesch played three seasons, Boesch had these batting lines -- .284/.365/.541 (7BB, 3 HBP) in 74 at-bats, .355/.436/.567 (26BB, 6 HBP) in 217 at-bats, and .313/.372/.505 (20BB, 2HBP) in 214 at-bats. This is shown to demonstrate that hitting for average (with high BABIPs) and showing at least some discipline at the plate is not entirely unprecedented. Boesch was considered a potential first round pick before the 2006 season. He fell because of a swing that some scouts considered stiff and not ideal for play with a wooden bat, and some bad reports on his defense in the outfield. However, it is worth posting his college stats as evidence that hitting for high averages and walking ( a 9.2 percent walk rate at the University of California) is not entirely unprecedented.

According to the few reports to be found, including a report from John Sickels, Boesch's problems in the minors were the result of that same stiff swing. But it is obvious that part of his problem has also been a lack of patience. Curious that he seems to have found his solution by becoming ultra aggressive and swinging at almost every pitch. In an article for, Joe Pawlikowski pointed out that as of May 11th, 2010, Boesch was swinging at 66.2 percent [of pitches], more than 20 percentage points above league average. Obviously he was doing good things with a lot of those pitches.

Boesch's swing percentage is down to (a still very high) 58.2 percent. His O-swing percentage (over 50 percent at the time of Joe Pawlikowski's article) is now down to (again, still very high) 42.6 percent. He has also made slightly better than average contact in all those swings. If nothing else, Boesch seems headed in the right direction as he continues to pound the ball as June ends.

Make no mistake, Boesch had a very luck influenced BABIP (over .500 at one point in May) his first month in the major leagues. But in June his walk rate doubled along with his power. Put another way, after just two walks in his first 50 PA, he has 14 in his next 166 PA, while this will not put him in the class of patient sluggers like Jason Giambi or Adam Dunn, it does make his projections for the rest of the season look considerably better. The increase in walks in conjunction with his increased power makes sense. Various reports, easily found on the internet, will demonstrate how an increase in power almost always leads to more walks as pitchers adjust.

As of this writing Brennan Boesch has 198 at-bats and a batting line of .338/.389/.621 with 12 homeruns, 26 runs, 43 RBI, and two stolen bases. He has a BABIP of .374, a .283 ISO, and a .432wOBA. His numbers look a lot like Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers. Of batters with at least 190 at-bats he ranks fifth in wOBA just behind Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera, Hamilton, and Kevin Youkilis and slightly ahead of Robinson Cano, Paul Konerko and Joey Votto. He's been very good.

Starting with the bad news, it seems obvious that his batting average will creep down. He has numbers that will be very difficult to maintain (seemingly impossible some might say) with his peripherals. Even noting the recent improvements, Boesch still swings at too many pitches, especially outside of the strike zone. Though his aggression is at least somewhat responsible for his success, he must improve his pitch recognition and selection if he hopes to have long term success. He needs to take more walks, hitting for power will get him part of the way. If he learns to lay off most pitches out of the strike zone, he will increase his OBA dramatically.

With his swing nice and loosened, Boesch has become a very good contact hitter and I believe we can call that one of his skills. He has fantastic power that scouts have often rated a 70 on the 20-80 scale and in at least one case he received an 80. He is a hard worker who is constantly working to become a better player. He is extremely confident, bordering on overconfidence, which is an asset as long as he also remains coachable. This is a combination that leads me to believe that Boesch is capable of hitting for good batting averages (.270-plus) with excellent power on a regular basis.

Fantasy owners with Boesch on their rosters should hold on to him. Selling high is not a bad idea, but I believe that he will have continuing value in keeper leagues. Those owners should also prepare for the massive slumps to which hitters this aggressive frequently fall victim. When he does slow down, resist the urge to dump him if he can be placed in reserve. For the balance of the season I would expect the power numbers to continue and for his batting average to continue to gradually decline. He can not be considered the next Pujols at this point, he just doesn't have the skills. However, a solid power hitter with decent (not amazing) batting averages is already a virtual certainty.

For more on Brennan Boesch:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Selig Speaks on Instant Re-Play

Obviously Armando Galarraga pitched a perfect game on Wednesday night but he will never get credit for it. The man has shown tremendous class in accepting the outcome without anger or bitterness towards umpire Jim Joyce. Galarraga is a true sportsman.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig issued the following statement regarding last night's game in Detroit:
"First, on behalf of Major League Baseball, I congratulate Armando Galarraga on a remarkable pitching performance. All of us who love the game appreciate the historic nature of his effort last night.

"The dignity and class of the entire Detroit Tigers organization under such circumstances were truly admirable and embodied good sportsmanship of the highest order. Armando and Detroit manager Jim Leyland are to be commended for their handling of a very difficult situation. I also applaud the courage of umpire Jim Joyce to address this unfortunate situation honestly and directly. Jim's candor illustrates why he has earned the respect of on-field personnel throughout his accomplished career in the Major Leagues since 1989.

"As Jim Joyce said in his postgame comments, there is no dispute that last night's game should have ended differently. While the human element has always been an integral part of baseball, it is vital that mistakes on the field be addressed. Given last night's call and other recent events, I will examine our umpiring system, the expanded use of instant replay and all other related features. Before I announce any decisions, I will consult with all appropriate parties, including our two unions and the Special Committee for On-Field Matters, which consists of field managers, general managers, club owners and presidents."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Granderson to the Yankees and the Rest of the Big Trade

Photo from fOTOGLIF

It is not quite official yet but it appears that the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, and Arizona Diamondbacks have completed a three-way trade at the Winter Meetings (and on Peter Gammon's last day at ESPN).
From ESPN:

The Yanks would acquire center fielder Curtis Granderson (from the Tigers), the Diamondbacks would get right-handers Edwin Jackson (Tigers) and Ian Kennedy (Yankees), and the Tigers would pick up center fielder Austin Jackson (Yankees), left-handed relievers Phil Coke (Yankees) and left-handed reliever Daniel Schlereth and right-handed starter Max Scherzer (Diamondbacks).
The Yankees do a good job of replacing Johnny Damon in left by acquiring Granderson. I do believe he will wind up in left field. This is primarily because I believe that Brian Cashman wants to put his best possible defense on the field and that includes Brett Gardner in center field. Melky Cabrera should be the fourth outfielder in that scenario with Nick Swisher staying in right field.

Granderson is at his best when he pulls the ball which makes Yankee Stadium a great place for him to play. last season Granderson went through a dramatic transformation from a groundball hitter to a flyball hitter. It caused his BABIP and subsequently his batting average to fall dramatically. It also resulted in a career high homerun total. I believe that there should be a happy medium in there somewhere and I'm absolutely certain the Yankees and hitting coach Kevin Long will work to find it.

The Tigers make out with two great arms from the D'Backs and a few odds and ends that should prove useful. Austin Jackson should be an adequate center fielder who steals bases well. But he will not provide much beyond that. He has always been expected to develop power but it would be a surprise if he found it in 2010. Max Scherzer has fantastic stuff (and violent injury-inducing mechanics) and could be either a frontline starter or a top-notch closer, Daniel Schlereth is similar (from the left side) to Scherzer but will definitely be in the bullpen. At this point he has to be considered at least a mild sleeper to become the closer. Phil Coke is better than the average lefty specialist and should be an asset in the Tigers bullpen.

Edwin Jackson has amazing stuff but often pitches like a fringy finesse guy. He wore down as the 2009 season continued thanks largely to a heavy workload. I believe he'll be a fine starter for the D'Backs who should benefit from the AL to NL switch. Ian Kennedy is not a hard thrower but has potential as a mid rotation starter or bullpenner.

Better Fantasy Value: Curtis Granderson, Austin Jackson, Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy

Same Fantasy Value: Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke

Worse Fantasy Value: None

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Moving Up: Marcus Thames

With Gary Sheffield's release last week Marcus Thames received a huge boost in fantasy value. He should receive close to regular at-bats by taking most of the designated hitter at-bats as well as playing some left field when Carlos Guillen is unable to play or just needs a break. But how good is Marcus Thames?

Thames has shown the ability to hit 40 plus homers if given a full season of at-bats (550-600). Unfortunately, even if he receives those at-bats he isn't likely to hit better than .250-.260 and potentially worse than that. He does not walk much so his on-base percentage will be fairly low, though he may receive more walks due to the intimidation factor of an increasing homer total. This is not the player that will turn your team from a loser to dominate (if such a player even exists), but he can turn a good team to an even better one assuming that you are not also rostering Adam Dunn, Ryan Howard, Russell Branyan, and Mark Reynolds.

His stats courtesy of

2002Yankees0.0 %30.8 %
2003Rangers9.9 %24.7 %
2004Tigers8.8 %25.5 %0.38.326.509.835.255.28326.23.4.352
2005Tigers7.8 %35.5 %
2006Tigers9.6 %26.4 %0.40.333.549.882.293.27461.812.9.370
2006Tigers4.5 %28.6 %
2007Tigers (AAA)0.0 %12.5 %0.00.375.7501.125.375.3331.91.0.491
2007Tigers4.6 %26.8 %
2008Tigers7.1 %30.1 %
2009Bill James8.3 %25.1 %0.36.314.512.826.261.26850.92.8.352
2009CHONE8.2 %27.7 %0.32.314.506.820.257.27453.37.7.352
2009Marcel7.6 %26.8 %0.31.306.490.796.244.27549.81.7.337
2009Oliver7.7 %25.4 %0.33.312.514.826.261.27545.84.9.348
2009ZiPS7.8 %27.7 %0.30.309.512.821.263.27443.15.7.349

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Detroit Tigers Go Young

Not so much on this blog but in conversations with league mates and on message boards I've been saying that Gary Sheffield was toast and not worth drafting. That said, I was shocked when I heard that the Tigers had released him. Fourteen million is a lot to pay a player to perform for another team. I should have seen it coming when they acquired Josh Anderson (who I like a lot). I see Marcus Thames and Carlos Guillen getting the bulk of the designated hitter at-bats with Anderson frequently starting in the outfield for a boost to both the defense and the team speed.

I expect to see Anderson leading off for the Tigers more often than not. He does not walk much, but his very good contact skills and speed allow him to post acceptable on-base percentages. His speed should be very disruptive to the opposition. I see 30-40 steals for Anderson this season.

Anderson's stats courtesy of

2006Astros (AA)4.6 %13.0 %0.37.349.385.734.077.35176.5-1.2.339
2007Astros (AAA)5.9 %14.6 %0.43.325.341.666.068.31758.4-16.5.311
2007Astros6.9 %9.0 %0.83.413.403.816.045.39311.32.0.363
2008Braves (AAA)5.7 %11.5 %0.53.358.405.763.091.34975.511.0.354
2008Braves5.6 %24.3 %0.24.338.426.764.132.37019.51.9.344
2009Bill James5.1 %13.8 %0.39.322.362.684.079.32340.2-11.3.312
2009CHONE5.6 %15.7 %0.38.332.374.706.088.33467.9-4.0.319
2009Marcel7.7 %19.4 %0.43.351.423.774.130.34335.41.7.339
2009Oliver4.7 %15.8 %0.31.318.363.681.085.32265.8-16.6.304
2009ZiPS5.0 %13.6 %0.38.310.337.647.070.30358.6-14.8.298

The Tigers also awarded Ryan Perry a spot in the major league bullpen. He will not be closing, at least not right away. Jim Leyland plans to give Fernando Rodney the first opportunity. Rodney has been a solid reliever but has failed when given closer responsibilities. Perry was drafted with the expectation that he could quickly reach the majors and contribute to the bullpen. The closer of the future label has been tossed around a lot. He's definitely going to be a target of mine this weekend if the price is right.

Perry is very young and has not spent much time in the minors. But he has fantastic stuff. You can see his college numbers here. For what is worth here are his MiLB stats thus far:

2008Tigers (R) %-0.80
2008Tigers (A+)9.265.401.710.00.3131.89.41873.9 %3.20
2009CHONE4.855.880.821.73.2901.81.29668.3 %6.63

Tigers Release Gary Sheffield

Porcello and Perry Earn Roster Spots

Porcello in Starting Rotation

Monday, March 30, 2009

Braves Deal Center Fielder to Tigers

The Atlanta Braves sent outfielder Josh Anderson to the Detroit Tigers for reliever Rudy Darrow. This is pretty clear evidence that top prospect Jordan Schafer has won Atlanta's center field job.
Anderson was in competition for the center-field job with the Braves, but immediately hit the trading block when he apparently lost out to Jordan Schafer. He'll be an extra outfielder in Detroit, where the starting trio of Curtis Granderson, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez is set. The 26-year-old Anderson played 40 games with the Braves last year, batting .294 with seven doubles, three home runs, 12 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. His Minor League numbers give a better glimpse of his speed, he swiped 42 bases in 49 attempts over 121 games at Triple-A Richmond last year and boasts 280 stolen bases in his six-year Minor League career.
Jordan Schafer should add speed and power to the Braves lineup. I see him becoming an eventual 20/20 type on an annual basis. I hardily recommend him in all NL-only leagues and he should contribute in deeper mixed leagues as well.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hot Prospect: Rick Porcello

With Nate Robertson injured and Dontrelle Willis now on the disabled list with "performance anxiety" (sounds pretty bad) it appears that top prospect Rick Porcello has a very good chance to begin the season in the major leagues. Few who have seen him pitch doubt that Porcello would eventually be at the top of the Detroit Tiger's rotation. However, who knew it would come after just one full season in the minors?

While we all hate it when teams rush young players, Porcello appears to be ready. He has always had an advanced approach to pitching and is very good at conserving his energy and keeping his pitch count low. He has a fastball that can hit 97-98 but prefers to pitch in the 90-94 range where he has greater movement. He could probably pile up huge strikeout numbers were that his preference but he would rather conserve pitches and induce groundballs.

If you can live with middling strikeout numbers (I expect he'll be in the 5.5 to 6.5 K9 range) from a great groundballer, Porcello makes an excellent late-rounds selection.

Scouting Report: Rick Porcello

Willis to focus on health

Bonderman likely to miss first start

Perry continues to impress Leyland

Monday, December 08, 2008

Catcher Gerald Laird Traded to Detroit Tigers

Last night catcher Gerald Laird was sent to the Detroit Tigers for two prospects believed to be RHP Guillermo Moscoso and RHP Carlos Melo. This is definitely not the trade I was expecting to see.

Gerald Laird has yet to establish his real level in the majors. He has shown fantastic offensive potential as well as being very inconsistent at times. Moving from the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to Commerica Park is going to have a negative impact. Commerica hasn't played as a pitcher's park the last couple of seasons but it definitely is more limiting on hitters than the Rangers ballpark. But frankly Laird is a hard player to figure out considering his consistent inconsistency. As long as we're paying for him based on last year's numbers I think he is a good pickup at catcher. If members of your league get excited about him based on the trade then it would be better to pass than to overpay.
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