Sunday, March 10, 2013
Currently the Tigers leading candidate for a closer is Bruce Rondon. Rondon possesses Joel Zumaya like velocity on his fastball but unlike Zuyama his arm doesn’t break every time he pitches, which is a plus in my book. My only concern with Rondon is with his streaky command. A closer without command seems to have become a perennial problem for the Tigers. It wasn’t too long ago that we had Fernando Rodney as our closer and though he featured one of the nastiest changeups in the game, his command was always suspect. Every time he toed the rubber you were biting your nails hoping he could throw strike one. If he did it would be an easy and drama free day, if he didn’t you would probably see him walk the bases loaded and my wife would see me have a temper tantrum worse than a two year old on a sugar high. Then came Jose Valverde. Papa Grande also struggled with fluctuating command. It blew my mind that hitters ever took the bat off their shoulder when facing the Big Potato. If it were me in the box, I wouldn’t swing until he threw two strikes (a nearly insurmountable feat for Jose). I can’t tell you how many times I bashed my head into a wall watching Valverde try to find the strike zone (seriously though, I can’t tell you how many times. I think I have some pretty severe memory loss as a result of the repeated bashing). Fast forward to today and we might be in for the same white knuckle experience of watching our closer make every pitch scary. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rondon, (who doesn’t like a guy who throws 100mph cheese), but I find his lack of control disturbing. On a positive note, after a small mechanical correction from Jeff Jones, in Rondon’s latest outing he showed improved command of the fastball. If he can build on that performance then he will be a force to be reckoned with, but if his command woes continue and he is named closer I might have a brain aneurism this year!
Posted by Tyler Wheeler at 1:43 AM
Saturday, March 9, 2013
The only way this probably happens is if a superstar or two goes down for an extended period of time or Jim Leyland over manages the team into a big hole kind of like last year. But the question here is what will happen if they actually miss the playoffs not how it will happen. Here are my five bold predictions of the repercussions that will ultimately be levied in this scenario:
- Jim Leyland will NOT be back as the Tigers manager...could a manager be more ridiculed despite a great deal of success? Yes.
- Justin Verlander will NOT be offered a contract extension and will then hit free agency and become baseball's first $200 million pitcher.
- Miguel Cabrera's name will surface in trade rumors and I will contemplate committing suicide or boycotting baseball for all of eternity.
- Mike Illitch (or his successor) will surely but slowly begin slashing payroll.
- Bill Simonson will not stop complaining for four straight months which will include Jim Leyland bashing, decision based second guessing, and over the top impersonations of people in the Tigers' organization acting like idiots (most of which will be hilarious).
It's fun to play the "what if" game but I can't really see the Tigers missing the playoffs. They are too good in the rotation and their lineup is just too deep. Then again...that's what we all said in 2007.
Posted by Justin Wheeler at 11:46 AM
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
In the last two days while playing for Venezuela in a few World Baseball Classic tune-up games here are Miguel Cabrera's numbers:
- 8 at bats
- 1 single
- 2 doubles
- 3 home runs
That's a .750 average and three bombs in two games. He is LITERALLY (Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation) the best hitter in baseball. He's lean, mean, and sober (unlike myself at the moment) so you better watch out! I will sum up this brief article with a side-by-side comparison of Miguel Cabrera's 2013 numbers against God's (if he came down to play / existed):
- God- .426 avg
- Cabrera- .489 avg
- God- 82 homers
- Cabby- 91 homers
- God- 215 ribbys
- Cabrera- Every base runner that exists when he comes to the plate (approx. 426)
It's a runaway. Cabrera wins all three in a landslide. I don't know what else to say, so..."That's my momma!". Good night everybody.
Posted by Justin Wheeler at 11:07 PM
Monday, March 4, 2013
While we are always wondering who will have the big breakout year I got to thinking about who might be due to really let us down this season. With Brandon Inge and Ryan Raburn long gone this is a little harder than I thought it would be. However, there is one logical candidate whose under performance continues to fly under the radar (ugh, I hate using the same word in a sentence twice). Here is our disappointment's stats from last year courtesy of baseball reference:
- .243 BA (down .052 points from the previous year)
- .352 OBP (down .037 points from the previous year)
- .736 OPS (down .159 points from the previous year)
- 9 HR (down 10 from the previous year)
- 48 RBI (down 34 from the previous year)
Any idea who it could be? Well, the disappointment in question is Alex Avila. Don't get me wrong, I like Avila I'm just not sure why. He is an average defensive catcher but other than one hot offensive stretch two years ago he has been relatively ineffective. Perhaps the most frustrating thing of all is that he never seems to show any emotion or sense of urgency. Yet, he is continually penciled in as the starter and no one seems to talk about his job security...although we can't hand the left field job to a guy in Andy Dirks who hit almost .320 last year, plays above average defense, and has a little speed that the Tigers desperately crave (myself included). Is anyone else set to really let Tiger fans down? Here is my list of the Top 5 Most Likely to Disappoint:
- Alex Avila - For all the reasons mentioned above.
- Bruce Rondon - The rookie has looked shaky in Spring Training thus far and if he is handed the ball on opening day with a chance to close this could be a long season.
- Andy Dirks - He had a great year last year but all mediocre players come back to reality relatively quickly. Just ask the aforementioned Avila and Jhonny Peralta. One good season does not an everyday player make.
- Jhonny Peralta - His range is gone and his arm is weak. He'll make the routine play but that's about it. If he hits over .260 and 12 HRs I would be absolutely shocked. If the Tigers had ANYONE in the minors capable of playing shortstop Jhonny's option would not have been picked up.
- Torii Hunter - I was mildly excited about the Hunter signing but he is old...like older than Magglio at the end. I know he is more athletic and hit over .300 last year but he also had the highest BABIP in the majors. I'd rather have him than Boesch but that's not saying much.
I thought about including a superstar like Verlander, Fielder, or Cabrera...and then I thought better of it. A mediocre season from them is still better than most.
Posted by Justin Wheeler at 2:33 PM
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Detroit will win. I honestly thought about posting that as a single sentence but it could negatively affect my chance at becoming a big league blogger someday. Let me explain, major league blogging scouts surely read every post that my brother and I produce and it would be a disservice to my career, my brother, and my fans to not share my insightful, intelligent, and well constructed reasoning for coming to the aforementioned conclusion. So without further ado I present my AL Central predictions with a brief synopsis on why I like each team less than the Tigers.
- Detroit Tigers. Prediction - 96 Wins - Too much star power. Cabrera, Verlander, and Fielder led the Tigers to the AL Central crown last year with hardly any help at all from their supporting cast. The rotation was solid, and may even be better, but I have to think a good year from someone like Alex Avila or Jhonny Peralta would surely put Detroit in the driver's seat.
- Cleveland Indians. Prediction - 85 Wins - They'll be better and adding Terry Francona can't hurt. Quietly they added Nick Swisher, Michael Born, and Trevor Bauer among others. I see them as a big sleeper much like two years ago and these acquisitions help me justify placing them ahead of the White Sox.
- Kansas City Royals. Prediction - 79 Wins - Adding James Shields gives the Royals a true number one and I am predicting a breakout, all-star campaign for Eric Hosmer. KC will hang tough for a while before eventually falling to the middle of the pack where they belong.
- Chicago White Sox. Prediction - 78 Wins - They resigned Jake Peavy which will help...but I hate them so much I just can't put them any higher. Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko are old and past their primes and in a totally irrelevant side note they have the worst and most biased announcers in baseball. Listening to them makes me sick. I hope I'm wrong about this one...and they finish fifth.
- Minnesota Twins. Prediction - 69 Wins - Wow, what has happened to the Twins? Do you know anyone on their team other than Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau? Me neither.
There you have it. Looks like it's time to start talking about 2014.
Posted by Justin Wheeler at 2:37 PM