Those major growth spurts can be a thing of wonder. I’m still waiting for mine.
By his own admission, the right-hander didn’t take pitching seriously until the summer before his junior year in high school. Then he hit a major growth spurt, and while he didn’t reach the heights of his 6-foot-11 father, the added inches did wonders for his velocity as he started to hit the upper-80’s with his fastball. That winter, he verbally committed to Loyola Marymount, but by the spring of his senior season, it became clear he was destined for the diamond. As he continued to fill out, the Sacramento native started to throw in the mid-90’s and showed signs of a promising curve as an 18-year-old. He finished his final season at Sheldon High School with a 1.91 ERA, 77 strikeouts and a .120 batting average-against in 40 1/3 innings.
Scouting Report: As a basketball standout, Manning comes equipped with long levers and an athletic frame. Those traits help him on the mound, too, where he shows more coordination in his delivery than other pitchers with long arms and legs. His delivery can get a touch across his body at times, but he also creates deception and gets enough extension to the point that one evaluator said it looked like the 6-foot-6 righthander was shaking hands with his catcher. And although the Tigers believe Manning has plenty of projection left in his frame, there are evaluators outside the organization who think his body is nearly maxed out in its present state. Manning’s fastball sat at 96-97 mph during the summer but was clocked at 93-94 with hints of the upper 90s and life through the zone during instructional league. He’s backs up his fastball with a spike curveball and a changeup that both have potential but also need refinement. Tigers coaches have seen rotation and sharpness from Manning’s breaking ball as well as the ability to land it in the zone or bury it for a chase pitch. He will cast his curveball at times and needs to develop overall consistency with it. He had his changeup in high school but, as is the case with a lot of big-time high school arms, didn’t need to use it very often because his fastball and curveball were enough to overpower prep hitters. He throws his changeup with the same arm speed and slot as his fastball, but it can get too firm at times and lose effectiveness. The Tigers believe that once Manning learns to harness his changeup and impart consistent separation from his fastball, it has the potential to be an average to above-average pitch, and Tigers coaches were pleased with its progress toward the end of the instructional league. Team officials also have spoken highly about how teachable Manning is and how well he takes to coaching.
For their first move today, they traded centerfielder Cameron Maybin to the Los Angeles Angels for minor-league right-handed pitcher Victor Alcantara.
The Angels will exercise Maybin’s $9 million option for 2017.
Alcantara, 23, posted a 4.30 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 29 games – 20 starts – for Double-A Arkansas this season. He is not considered a top prospect.
In essence, the Tigers simply decided not to pick up Maybin’s option. This was not an unsurprising move, given the team’s plan to trim payroll this off-season in an attempt to become more flexible on and off the field.
In 2016, Maybin posted a career-best offensive season, hitting .315 with an on-base percentage of .383. He hit four home runs and drove in 43 runs. After returning from a broken wrist and bum shoulder in mid-May, Maybin sparked the team at the top of the batting order with an energizing brand of play mixed with clubhouse leadership.
Sartori and Avila revealed last week that they’re nearing completion of a new internal software system called “Caesar” that should be operational in January.
“We will be hiring several more people in that area that will basically just be doing the calculations, mathematics, formulas that they create to help us make better decisions, which is not in place right now, and hasn’t been,” Avila said.
Upon being named columnist, Sharp wrote: “A columnist’s role isn’t to blindly lead cheers. Nor is it a blank check to slam individuals solely because you have been given a club. But there is a responsibility to raise questions and express doubts. There should be a commitment to deflate the smug and arrogant because, after all, this is only sports—a useful diversion and an increasingly influential business, but hardly irreplaceable in our everyday lives.
He would have Verlander pitching the regular-season finale on Sunday, particularly if a postseason bid is at stake. But as for Friday and Saturday in Atlanta, it’s two from the threesome of Matt Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann and Buck Farmer.
In 1935, the integration of Major League Baseball was still over a decade away. But among the most popular Detroit Tigers were Hank Greenberg, who was Jewish, and Charlie Gehringer, a devout Catholic. The Black Legion gave them a pass.
“These Black Legion members were sports fans, many of them, anyways,” Stanton says. “And Detroit was a city going crazy for the sports teams, because they had suffered through the Great Depression — were still suffering through it — and Tigers, Lions, Red Wings, Joe Louis were giving them something to cheer for, uplifting the spirits of the city. These guys in the Black Legion planned some of their crimes so that it didn’t conflict with the Tigers schedule, so they wouldn’t miss a game. ‘If we’re gonna hang this guy, let’s do it after the game.’ It’s difficult to grasp how they reconciled these issues, but they found a way to do it.”
“Mickey Cochrane was potentially a member,” Stanton says. “One of his closest friends at that point was Harry Bennett, Henry Ford’s right hand man.”
Harry Bennett was said to know everything there was to know about who leaned which way in the Ford works, including who was pro-union, and who was in the Legion. Ford himself … well, you’ll recall that he wouldn’t allow the authorities to drain the pond they thought might be full of the bodies of the Legion’s victims
Anyway, in 1936, during the summer after they’d won the World Series, the Tigers foundered. Perhaps for that reason, and perhaps because of the tension that gripped the city as revelations concerning investigation of the Legion began to surface, Cochrane had what may have been a nervous breakdown. He couldn’t sleep. He suffered from vertigo. At midseason, he removed himself from the Tigers lineup.
“Being a celebrity in general, you lose privacy,” Verlander said. “There’s a societal problem right now with celebrities not having privacy, and the way the laws are written, it protects other people, not celebrities. The laws were written before the world turned into what it is now with social media and everyone being a paparazzi. It’ll be changed, I think.
“There just need to be more rights for celebrities. And I know that could come across as ‘Wah, wah, wah, here’s another celebrity crying.’ But if anyone can imagine their whole personal life being exposed or never having the ability to just be comfortable in public, that’s tough.”
He understands the tradeoff. Verlander is a pragmatist, a quality that helped him through the lows of 2013 and ’14. Those are just memories now, residue of injuries past, and he works hard as ever to prevent others from cropping up. Verlander can do only so much. He gets that. Until then, he’ll keep tweaking and iterating and ensuring his body does what he needs it to. He’s seen what happens when it doesn’t. The only quick innings he wants to root for are his own.
The baseball schedule can be tough, especially come August, but some in Boston believe this is more than just some bad scheduling luck. At least one columnist, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald, suggests that the day game in Detroit on Thursday may have something to do with the Tigers former relationship with Sox’ president Dave Dombrowski:
The Red Sox tried to get the Tigers to push the start time back to late afternoon or evening when the times were set in the offseason. Major League Baseball said the Tigers could start the game whenever they wanted to, and Detroit refused to accommodate the Sox.
The Tigers have some prior history of Thursday afternoon starts. Another part of their history is that Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as Detroit general manager last summer.
Is this some kind of a less-than-fond farewell card from the Tigers? Al Avila, bumped up to GM after serving as Dombrowski’s assistant, said yesterday that he doesn’t set game times. A request to speak with another Tigers executive yesterday went unanswered.
Silverman acknowledges that “maybe this has nothing to do with Dombrowski,” but still calls it a “bush league move.”
The Tigers’ hopes to avoid returning Jordan Zimmermann to the disabled list proved short-lived. Detroit placed the veteran right-hander back on the 15-day DL after Saturday night’s 6-5 win over the Mets and will recall left-hander Daniel Norris from Triple-A Toledo on Monday to take his place in the rotation.
Zimmermann returned from the DL on Thursday after missing a month with a right neck strain. However, he lasted just 1 2/3 innings, hampered by tightness in his right lat area. An MRI showed no major damage, and Zimmermann was planning to throw a bullpen session Sunday in hopes of making his next turn in the rotation Tuesday at Seattle.
Castellanos has enjoyed a breakout this year in his third season as a Tiger, batting .286 with 18 home runs and 58 RBIs while settling into the middle of the lineup. His midseason production especially helped the Tigers weather cold stretches in other parts of their batting order.
Lee Panas projects Victor Martinez’ 2012 production, and that of some possible replacements.
Would Martinez have had a WAR of 5.0 again in 2012? Probably not. He’d likely hit about as well overall (lower batting average, more homers). However, he might lose a fraction of a win by not catching. More importantly, we would not expect him to come anywhere close to his 2011 performance in situational hitting. Even if he we think he would have hit a little better in clutch situations than other at bats in 2012, we would estimate that he would have had a WAR of about 3.0.
So, we have two questions: (1) How much will the Tigers lose going from Martinez in 2011 (5.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012? (2) How much would they have lost going from Martinez’s expected performance in 2012 (3.0 WAR) to Player X in 2012?
Shouldn’t have gone motorbike racing with Jeff Kent.
The Detroit Tigers today made the following announcement regarding catcher/designated hitter Victor Martinez:
Martinez injured his left knee last week during his off-season conditioning. An MRI at the Watson Clinic in Lakeland yesterday revealed Martinez suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
Martinez will be re-evaluated by Dr. Richard Stedman next week and surgery to repair the torn ACL in his left knee is anticipated. If surgery is required as anticipated, Martinez will most likely be lost for the 2012 season.
Martinez hit .330 (178x540) with 40 doubles, 12 home runs and 103 RBI in 145 games with the Tigers during the 2011 season.
Former Tigers pitcher Jack Morris was named on the second-most ballots - nearly 67 percent.
In the aftermath, Peter Gammons, one of the preeminent baseball writers of all time, talked on MLB Network about how he put Morris on the ballot the first three years he was eligible, but stopped because another baseball writer had displayed extensive statistical proof to him that Morris’ 3.90 ERA was “not because he pitched to the score” but rather because he lost a lot of leads.
Right then I decided this coming year, the first time they are eligible for election to the Hall of Fame, I am not voting for Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens or Sammy Sosa.
...Gammons said Bagwell is like a hockey player (whatever that means) and was one of those 10-to-12 hour per day in the weight room guys, who lost weight later in his career (ala Pudge Rodriguez) because he had a shoulder injury that prevented him from lifting. It’s the type of thinking that was prevalent from many baseball writers during the steroids era. Always buying the story. Unfortunately, I was one of them. I’d like to think I’ve learned my lesson.
...But if Hall voters are going to be so picky about the career ERA of Jack Morris, why not about possible PED use?
I strongly feel this: If Morris gets in, it will still be the Hall of Fame.
If Bonds, Clemens and Sosa are inducted, it would become
(Yanks out Rogers’ Dictionary of Cliches ~ Looks for entry form)
The Tigers could end up seeing a lot of Joel Zumaya this year after all. It’ll just be in a different uniform, albeit an awfully familiar one.
After throwing for teams in December and holding out for a roster spot and the right situation, Zumaya has agreed to terms with the Minnesota Twins, the reliever told MLB.com. The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay him anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches incentives.
A Twins official would neither confirm nor deny the deal to MLB.com, but said they’ve been in negotiations since December.
Zumaya weighed what he called “good offers” from three other clubs, but the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite. If he’s healthy, they’ll bring him to the same mound at Target Field where he last threw a Major League pitch. He fractured his elbow throwing for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010.
Morris, who was the face of the Detroit Tigers’ pitching staff for the entirety of the eighties before spending the early nineties hopping between the Twins, Blue Jays, and Indians, has every right to be thrilled at the news. And the rest of us, especially those who were too young to see him pitch, have every right to ask…why Jack Morris? Why now?
To answer that question, I decide to watch the most famous performance of his career, the game that proved once and for all that he was a true ace and a true winner.
The Twins will win 1-0 in the bottom of the 10th, winning the second World Series title in franchise history and solidifying Jack Morris’s place in baseball history.
And when it’s over, I will be more convinced than ever that Jack Morris is not a Hall of Fame pitcher.
[Barry] Larkin getting in after a couple of decades or a Veteran’s Committee ballot wouldn’t add to Trammell’s cause. But Larkin got in on his third year of eligibility with 86 percent of the vote. Larkin wasn’t a borderline case—he didn’t satisfy the extra-super-special-first-ballot-bonus-points ninnies, but he was clearly a Hall of Famer in the voters’ eyes right from the beginning.
It’s that last statistic up there that’s the reason for the gap between the HOF perception gap between Larkin and Trammell. CRiL is a proprietary statistic I developed specifically to measure shortstops against each other. It’s a park- and era-adjusted stat that can sum up a shortstop’s Hall-of-Fame chances in a single number. It stands for “Cal Ripkens in League.” Larkin outpaces Trammell easily on this one.
Again, it’s not that Larkin wasn’t better than Trammell. By most metrics (and obviously in the court of public opinion), he certainly was. But if Larkin is a Hall of Famer, Trammell certainly deserves a closer look. The gap between them wasn’t that big…
Another difference between Larkin and Trammell is that the latter had a sidekick who was also worthy of the Hall of Fame. For just under two decades, Lou Whitaker played along Trammell, making All-Star teams and hitting at a position where most teams shouldn’t have a hitter. The two rode around on tandem bikes and finished each other’s sentences, and there might have been a tendency to pretend that the whole was greater than the sum of its parts. If Trammell played a couple decades with Doug Flynn, maybe he would have stood out more.
When I left The New York Times in 2008 after having written for the newspaper for 39 years, the first offer I received to continue writing came from a high-ranking Major League Baseball official who was in position to offer me a job as a columnist with MLB.com. My initial reaction was to say no, but some people urged me to reconsider and at least talk about and consider that possibility.
Accepting that offer would have turned out to be more economically lucrative than what I have done with this Web site the past three and a half years. But money isn’t everything. Writing for MLB.com just didn’t seem like the right thing to do.
How could I have gone to work for the organization I had spent my professional life covering? Wouldn’t I be compromising my professional ethics by accepting a salary from people I would be in position to criticize and question if necessary? ...
To be sure, MLB.com serves a purpose, even for baseball writers, for whom it can serve as a 30-team research site in one location and a source of comprehensive statistics that are not mingled with WAR and VORP and all of those other metrics, as their advocates like to call them.
But then there are the self-congratulatory articles that can induce nausea. I guess we don’t have to read them, but they are there as propaganda for fans to see and be taken in by. Yes, baseball propaganda. I had never thought about it before this moment, but that’s what it is. ...
And maybe someday, perhaps when he retires, whenever that is, Selig will be big enough to allow an MLB.com columnist to write the truth about collusion and his role in the labor wars.
By the way, this column was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Based on e-mail I have received from critics of Morris and me, the Hall of Fame should take the vote away from baseball writers and simply establish statistical guidelines for players’ election. The players over the line make it, those under don’t.
Such a system would eliminate what is perhaps the greatest debate in sports, but that wouldn’t bother the stats zealots. Their numbers tell them who should be in the Hall of Fame, and the writers would be wrong if they disagreed.
That system would also eliminate the aspect of the voting that they hate most. Their opinion doesn’t mean beans. The writers’ opinion means everything.
Who could have known? Who could have known that a player some considered a potential Hall of Fame catcher [...] would have his future stolen from him by an incurable disease that rarely afflicts people as young as 22?
How good was Petrick? Go back and look at his stats. In those 240 games for the Rockies and Tigers, he hit .257 with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs while trying to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s, which include tremors, rigidity and slow movements. He was not only tough enough to be a catcher, the most demanding position on the field, but also athletic enough to play centerfield when he wasn’t behind the plate.
“Looking back, I am amazed at what he accomplished,” says Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who was Colorado’s first pick in the 1995 draft, the year Petrick was taken in the second round. “It’s hard enough performing at the highest level of this game, which he did. On top of that, he had to fight off a disease that robbed him of his physical ability. And on top of that, he had to play under the tremendous pressure of hiding the effects of that disease.”
Helton pauses. “You know what, though?” he says. “I’m more impressed by what he’s done with his life since.”