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— Where BTF's Members Investigate the Grand Old Game

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Bi-Weekly Review: A.L. Central

The A.L. Central through May 5th.

(***All stats and standings through May 5th***)

AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL

TEAM

W

L

WIN%

GB

HM

RD

RS

RA

PYTH

1-R

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

19

9

.679

10-0

9-9

140

109

17-11

6-5

MINNESOTA TWINS

15

15

.500

5.0

6-7

9-8

128

139

14-16

1-4

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

15

16

.484

5.5

10-9

5-7

131

137

15-16

2-4

CLEVELAND INDIANS

9

21

.300

11.0

5-10

4-11

105

144

10-20

1-5

DETROIT TIGERS

4

25

.138

15.5

2-12

2-13

74

151

6-23

1-5

 

KANSAS CITY ROYALS (19-9 ? 1st Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":

First and foremost, the Royals came back down to earth.  At the time of the first "Bi-Weekly Review" they were sitting pretty at 14-3.  Since then they have gone 5-6, although they are still in first place with a five game lead in the division.

 

After scoring 5.3 runs per game during their 13-3 start, the Royals have scored "only" 4.5 runs per game since.  The Royals gave up only 3.4 runs per game during their first 16, but have given up 4.7/G since.

 

Carlos Beltran was back and playing centerfield every day.  Beltran came back from the DL on April 18th and played in 12 straight games, before missing the last two with a shoulder injury.

 

Brent Mayne went back to being Brent Mayne.  Last time we chatted, Mayne was hitting .405/.458/.690.  Since then, he is 5-28 (.179) and is down to a still-amazing (for him) .314/.372/.529 in 70 at bats.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Mike MacDougal is still serving as the Royals? closer, despite struggling mightily of late.  Through his first 12 games MacDougal was 10/10 on save opportunities and had a 1.50 ERA.  He blew his first save of the year in his 13th appearance and then blew his second save in his next game.  Those two bad performances resulted in his ERA jumping from 1.50 to 3.55 in the span of two-thirds of an inning. 

 

KC manager Tony Pena had this to say about MacDougal?s struggles:  “He is my closer. I’m not going to give up on that kid. He had 10 straight saves. I may—may - give him some time off because he’s trying too hard right now. But he’s only had two bad games. Remember, we have a young pitching staff. Things like this are going to happen.”

While MacDougal has had some trouble as the closer of late, setup man Jason Grimsley keeps chugging along, pitching in any tough spot and pretty much every single day for the Royals.  Grimsley, like much of the Kansas City team, has had some rough patches recently, but for the season he has appeared in 18 of the Royals? 28 games, and has a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.

 

Starter Jeremy Affeldt has not appeared in a game since he left his April 19th start early with a blister on his pitching hand.  Affeldt has been on the DL since then, but is expected back soon.  In his absence, rookie Kyle Snyder was called up from the minors and made his major league debut on May 1st, against the Red Sox.  That?s a tough lineup to debut against, but Snyder did okay.  He pitched five innings and gave up three runs (only one earned) off five hits and two walks.  He was actually in line for the win, but the Royals? bullpen gave up a run in each of the final three innings on the way to losing the game 6-5.

 

With Beltran out of the lineup, Michael Tucker switched back to CF from RF and Dee Brown and Desi Relaford got some playing time out in right.  Relaford continues to play all over the place and quite often.  He has eight starts at 2B, four at 3B, three in RF and two at SS.

Stats, stats and more stats:

Mike Sweeney has been a great hitter for quite a while now, but it appears as though he has added "taking tons of walks" to his impressive skill-set.  Sweeney has 20 walks through his first 26 games, after walking only 61 times in 126 games last season.  From 1999-2002 Sweeney has drawn an average of 64 walks per 150 games played.  Sweeney is also hitting for a bit more power than usual too.  His batting average is down to .276, but he already has seven homers and his slugging percentage is .552, despite the "low" average.

 

Rookie DH Ken Harvey was hitting .277/.346/.468 on April 18th, but has gone into a fairly long slump since.  He is eight for his last 40 and is currently hitting .241/.305/.425.  Of course, one of those eight hits was the game-winning grand slam in the top of the ninth inning against the Blue Jays on April 26th.

 

The Royals? pitching staff has a 2.25 ERA at home ? which would help explain their 10-0 record at Kauffman Stadium.

Fun with paces:

Michael Tucker ? 45 walks, 150 strikeouts, 17 homers

Raul Ibanez ? 29 homers, 46 doubles, 93 runs, 81 RBI

Angel Berroa ? 17 walks, 104 strikeouts, 11 homers, 34 doubles, 23 HBP, 46 errors

Mike Sweeney ? 116 walks, 87 strikeouts, 40 homers, 133 RBI, 23 errors

Runelvys Hernandez ? 220 innings, 1.74 ERA, 19 wins, 5 losses, 113 strikeouts, 80 walks

Jason Grimsley ? 104 appearances, 123 innings, 116 strikeouts, 35 walks, 0 homers

Mike MacDougal ? 81 appearances, 73 innings, 58 saves, 52 strikeouts, 52 walks, 0 homers, 12 errors

Down on the Farm:

At Triple-A Omaha…

 

As Carlos Febles continues to struggle at the major league level, Brent Abernathy continues to do a good job as the second baseman for Omaha.  Abernathy, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay earlier in the season, is hitting .306/.379/.444 with two homers and nine doubles through 27 games.

 

Outfield Alexis Gomez, one of KC?s best prospects, continues to struggle and is hitting only .225/.290/.337 in 89 at bats.  Fellow outfielder Aaron Guiel, who was off to a very hot start, has cooled of late, but is still hitting .300/.422/.455.

 

Prior to being called up, Kyle Snyder had a 2.79 ERA in his first five starts, with a 15/6 K/BB ratio.

 

In the low-minors…

 

Second base prospect Ruben Gotay, who smacked 42 doubles last year, is hitting .350/.420/.515 with 11 doubles in 26 games at Single-A Wilmington.  Last year?s first round pick, Zack Greinke, is 4-0 with an 0.67 ERA in his first five starts.  He has 27 strikeouts and only three walks in 27 innings.

 

The Royals? first-rounder in 2001, Colt Griffin, continues to have problems throwing strikes at Single-A Burlington.  Griffin has walked 11 batters in his last 14 innings and has 23 walks in 31 total innings this year.

Coming up:

5/5-5/7 ? Boston

5/8-5/11 ? Baltimore

5/12-5/15 ? @Minnesota

5/16-5/18 ? Toronto

 

Having just finished playing Minnesota, @Toronto, @Boston and @Baltimore, the Royals flip everything around and play the exact same four teams, but in different locations.  They went 5-6 against them the first time around.

 

MINNESOTA TWINS (15-15 ? 2nd Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":

The Twins continued their up and down season.  After either sweeping or being swept in their first six series of the season, the Twins got swept in a rain-shortened two-game set with the Royals.  Their streak of sweep-series ended at seven when they won the first game in Chicago and then lost the last two.  The Twins bounced back and swept the Devil Rays and then took two out of three from the Red Sox, in Boston.

 

The offense appears to have finally woken up just a little bit.  After averaging only 4.0 runs at the time of the last "BiWR," the Twins have scored 4.7 runs per game since then, which includes getting dominated by Pedro on May 3rd.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Bobby Kielty is now an everyday player, much to the delight of Yours Truly.  Kielty started 16 straight games from April 16th to May 3rd, before getting a day off against the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon (although he did pinch-hit).

 

Kielty?s new found playing time has come mostly at the expense of Michael Cuddyer, who has only 15 at bats in Minnesota?s last 11 games.

 

Denny Hocking went on the DL with an injured elbow and the Twins called up first baseman Todd Sears from Triple-A.  Sears was expected to mostly be a left-handed bat off the bench, but starting first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz went down with a wrist injury almost immediately upon Sears? arrival and Sears has started five out of six games since joining the team.

 

With Hocking out, Chris Gomez is the official backup-infielder and has slowly started to take playing time away from Luis Rivas.  After only 11 at bats in the team?s first 14 games, Gomez has 22 ABs in the last 13 games and has started a total of five games at 2B.  It was initially thought that Hocking may have needed surgery on the injured elbow, but now the word is that he?ll be back pretty soon, which will put the Twins in an bit of a roster crunch.

 

Mike Fetters came off the disabled list and made three scoreless appearances, but re-injured his hamstring and was placed back on the DL.  Juan Rincon was once again recalled from Triple-A and now has a total of 12 1/3 innings pitched (compared to Fetters? six) and a 1.46 ERA in six games.

Stats, stats and more stats:

In the last "BiWR" I said the following:  "[Jacque] Jones, who is a .211/.255/.298 hitter against lefties over the past three seasons, has continued to play everyday against southpaws and has hit extremely well.  He is hitting .364/.400/.500 in his first 22 at bats against lefties.  If his performance against lefties stays anywhere near that level for the majority of this season, I will eat my Twins hat.  Seriously."

Jacque is 2-10 against lefties since then and his overall numbers against southpaws have dropped to a still-very-good .313/.343/.438.  We?ll see in a couple of weeks if those numbers keep falling.  I think my hat is pretty safe.

 

Torii Hunter has picked up the pace of late.  Hunter was hitting .172/.236/.297 at the last "BiWR" and has gone 14-42 (.333) with two homers and 7 RBI since.  He is currently at .229/.306/.404 for the season.  Hunter has suddenly turned into a bit of a walk-machine.  After drawing only 32 non-intentional walks in 604 PAs (1/18.9) last year and 29 in 603 PAs (1/20.8) in 2001, Torii already has 11 non-IBB in 124 PAs (1/11.3) this year.

 

Matthew LeCroy has starting hitting much better of late too.  LeCroy was sitting at .263/.300/.421 two weeks ago and was in serious danger of losing his playing time.  He has since gone 10-31 (.323) with two homers and eight RBI.  LeCroy even got some time behind the plate last week with Pierzynski banged up and didn?t completely embarrass himself.

 

Luis Rivas is struggling big-time.  Rivas is hitting .198/.244/.296 and has committed four errors in only 23 games, which is good for the worst fielding % in the AL among 2B.  Ron Gardenhire is openly complaining about Rivas? play of late (finally!), which, along with Kielty playing everyday, makes me a very happy Twins fan.

 

Twins? starting pitchers have given up 31 homers in only 174 innings, which is a Lima-esque (or Blyleven-esque for you Twins fans) pace.  Meanwhile, the bullpen has only served up six homers in 94 innings, and only three in 76 IP if you ignore Tony Fiore (which most Twins fans would like to do at this point).

Fun with paces:

Jacque Jones ? 16 walks, 135 strikeouts, 5 homers, 49 doubles, 22 steals

Torii Hunter ? 70 walks, 124 strikeouts, 16 homers, 32 doubles, 11 triples, 97 RBI

Cristian Guzman ? 22 walks, 103 strikeouts, 0 homers, 27 doubles, 22 triples

Corey Koskie ? 92 walks, 108 strikeouts, 23 homers, 32 doubles, 103 RBI

Bobby Kielty ? 432 at bats, 70 walks, 92 strikeouts, 22 homers, 32 doubles, 76 runs, 70 RBI

Johan Santana ? 54 appearances, 0 starts, 112 innings, 140 strikeouts, 59 walks, 1.31 ERA

Eddie Guardado ? 65 appearances, 68 innings, 59 strikeouts, 0 walks, 38 saves

J.C. Romero ? 70 appearances, 77 innings, 49 strikeouts, 65 walks

Mike Fetters ? 32 innings, 0.00 ERA, 11 trips to the DL

Down on the Farm:

At Triple-A Rochester…

 

With Sears being called up, the Twins promoted uber-prospect Justin Morneau from Double-A to replace Sears as Rochester?s first baseman.  At the time of the call-up, Morneau was hitting .329/.384/.620 in 20 Double-A games.  In his first three games at Triple-A, Morneau went 8-13 (.615), with two homers and two doubles.  Sears was hitting .317/.360/.463 before being called up.

 

After a slow start, two of Rochester?s three starting outfielders have turned it around.  Michael Restovich is hitting .266/.375/.606 with seven homers and nine doubles through 27 games and Lew Ford is hitting .327/.377/.500 with two homers, eight doubles and two triples in 104 at bats.

 

Former #2 overall pick Adam Johnson has a 7.27 ERA after two starts, after finishing last season with a 5.47 ERA.  Meanwhile, former un-drafted free agent Michael Nakamura is 4-2 with a 2.49 ERA and a 31/4 K/BB ratio in 21 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.

 

Juan Rincon, who has a 1.46 ERA in the majors this year, has a 7.56 ERA in Triple-A.

 

At Double-A New Britain…

 

Jason Bartlett, a relatively unknown shortstop that the Twins got from San Diego for Brian Buchanan last year, is hitting .340/.400/.443 through 24 games, which is a nice surprise for a team lacking organizational middle-infield depth.

 

Beau Kemp, who is being groomed as a possible future closer, is off to a very bad start and has a 5.87 ERA in 15 1/3 innings, with a 13/11 K/BB ratio.

 

In the low-minors…

 

The Mauer brothers are starting to get hot down in Fort Myers.  Joe, the former #1 overall pick who was hitting .258 with 0 extra-base hits two weeks ago, is now hitting .310, although he still only has two XBHs - both doubles.  Jake, the brother of Joe and former 23rd round pick, is serving as the team?s utility infielder and is hitting .276, but is showing even less power than his brother with only one XBH in 58 at bats.

Coming up:

5/6-5/8 ? @Tampa Bay

5/9-5/11 ? Boston

5/12-5/15 ? Kansas City

5/16-5/18 ? Chicago

 

The Twins head to Tampa, where they look to sweep the season series with the D-Rays, and then begin a 10-game home stand against Pedro and the Red Sox and two division rivals.

 

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (15-16 ? 3rd Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":

The White Sox have gone 4-10 since starting the year 11-6.  They lost 2/3 to the Orioles, but then took 2/3 from the Twins.  After that, they dropped 5/6 to the A?s and Mariners, in Chicago.  The Mariners outscored the ChiSox 26-5 in the three games.

 

D?Angelo Jimenez has come back down to earth.  Jimenez was hitting .379/.461/.712 this time two weeks ago, but has since gone 7-37 (.189) and is down to .311/.408/.544.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Billy Koch has struggled and lost his job as closer ? sort of.  He will still close games, but Damaso Marte has been brought in a couple times already to finish ballgames, including once to relieve Koch with two outs in the 9th inning.

 

The White Sox got sick of watching centerfielder Aaron Rowand stink it up at the plate and sent him down to Triple-A.  They called up super-utility man Willie Harris, who was one of the last guys cut in spring training.  Harris will play CF everyday for the time being.

 

Danny Wright has returned from his stint on the DL and replaced rookie Josh Stewart in the rotation.  After a decent start to the season, Stewart had been knocked around pretty well of late and had a 5.96 ERA on the season.

Stats, stats and more stats:

The White Sox hitters have continued to destroy lefties (.293/.369/.508) and get eaten up by righties (.229/.305/.396).  Paul Konerko is hitting .480/.536/.880 versus lefties and only .160/.229/.187 against righties.  Frank Thomas is hitting .429 against lefties and .174 against righties.  Before he was sent down, Aaron Rowand was 4-40 (.100) against right-handed pitching.

 

Esteban Loaiza finished April with a 5-0 record and a 1.25 ERA.  He then gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings during his first start of May.  He is currently 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA and 37 Ks in 39 2/3 innings.

 

Mark Buehrle?s K rate is moving towards non-existent.  He has 20 strikeouts in 46 innings this season (3.9 per 9 IP) and has also walked 13 batters (2.5 per 9 IP).  As always, his ERA is still remarkably low (3.72), although he has been knocked around quite a bit over his last three starts (14 runs in 19 1/3 IP).

 

While Buehrle and the White Sox starters struggle to strike people out, the relievers are blowing people away.  Sox starters are averaging 5.6 Ks per game, while the bullpen is K?ing 9.1/9 IP.

Fun with paces:

Magglio Ordonez ? 31 homers, 31 doubles, 99 RBI, 42 walks, 16 steals

D?Angelo Jimenez ? 16 homers, 37 doubles, 21 triples, 89 walks, 73 strikeouts

Frank Thomas ? 26 homers, 21 doubles, 136 walks, 94 strikeouts, 52 RBI

Billy Koch ? 78 appearances, 71 innings, 73 strikeouts, 31 walks, 31 homers, 94 hits, 16 saves, 10 blown saves

Mark Buehrle ? 217 innings, 94 strikeouts, 61 walks, 24 homers

Bartolo Colon ? 223 innings, 141 strikeouts, 75 walks, 24 homers

Esteban Loaiza ? 218 innings, 203 strikeouts, 44 walks, 11 homers, 28 wins, 5 losses

Down on the Farm:

At Triple-A Charlotte…

 

Before being called up, Willie Harris was hitting .420/.500/.691.  He slugged .397 at Triple-A last season and .423 at Double-A the year before.  Draw your own conclusions.

 

Top prospect Joe Borchard continues to hit for a decent average, but not much power.  Borchard, who has as much power-potential as anyone in the minor leagues, is hitting .270 with a .405 slugging % through 17 games.  He also has 14 strikeouts and only two walks.

 

Jon Rauch continues to try to regain his top prospect status of a couple seasons ago and is pitching fairly well.  He has a 3.10 ERA in five starts and a 23/10 K/BB ratio in 29 innings.  However, he has given up six homers already.

 

While rehabbing, Danny Wright made four starts at Triple-A, with a 3.38 ERA.

 

At Double-A Birmingham…

 

Pitcher Neil Cotts, whom the Sox got in the Koch/Foulke deal, continues to dominate, with a 1.38 ERA in six starts.  He has an incredible 46 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings, after striking out 178 in 138 innings in the Oakland system last year.

Coming up:

5/6-5/8 ? @Oakland

5/9-5/11 ? @Seattle

5/12 ? Off Day

5/13-5/15 ? Baltimore

5/16-5/18 ? @Minnesota

 

A very tough schedule coming up for Chicago, with three road series against playoff quality teams and a home series against a surprisingly decent Baltimore squad.

 

CLEVELAND INDIANS (9-21 ? 4th Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":


Gonna free fall out into nothin’

Gonna leave this world for a while



And I’m free, free fallin’

Yeah I’m free, free fallin’

 

Free fallin’, now I’m a, free fallin’, now I’m a

Free fallin’, now I’m a, free fallin’

—Tom Petty, "Free Fallin"

 

After winning two out of three from the Orioles in their first series of the season, the Cleveland Indians have gone 7-20.  They have played 30 games overall and already have a three-game losing streak, a four-game losing streak and an eight-game losing streak. 

 

They did, however, take 2/3 from the Rangers in their last series, so they?ve got that going for them, which is nice…

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Milton Bradley was one of the lone bright spots in the early going this year for Cleveland and was hitting .375/.433/.616 through 19 games.  Bradley went 2-3 with two walks on April 22nd against the Mariners, but injured his hamstring and was placed on the disabled list shortly thereafter.  He has been out ever since and the Tribe called up Jody Gerut from the minors to replace him in centerfield.

 

Despite none of them hitting much, the rookie foursome of Travis Hafner, Brandon Phillips, Josh Bard and Casey Blake continue to play everyday at 1B, 2B, C and 3B.  With a .227 average, Bard is the highest of the bunch, but Hafner and Blake each have slugging percentages approaching .400, while Bard?s is at .273.

Stats, stats and more stats:

The Indians are hitting .237 as a team, which ranks second-to-last in the AL, behind you-know-who.  The Indians also rank next-to-last in slugging %, on-base % and runs scored, plus they have committed the second-most errors in the league.

 

Ellis Burks (.368/.471) and Bradley (.433/.613) are the only Cleveland regulars with an on-base % over .335 or a slugging % over .400.

 

The pitching has actually been pretty good thus far.  Cleveland?s 4.23 team ERA ranks 6th in the AL and they are led by C.C. Sabathia (46 IP, 3.33 ERA) and Ricardo Rodriguez (38 IP, 3.32 ERA).

 

I checked up on Sabathia?s K rate in this space two weeks ago:  "C.C. Sabathia?s dropping K rate continues.  C.C. struck out 8.53/9 as a rookie in 2001, but only 6.39/9 last season.  This year he has only 13 Ks in 26 innings (4.50/9).  I don?t if he is injured or not, but it wouldn?t surprise me if all the innings and pitches he threw for the Indians as a 20 and 21 year old are catching up with him.  He topped 100 pitches in 22 of his 33 starts last year, including pitch-counts of 104, 117, 119, 119 and 108 in his final five starts of the season ? all as a 21 year old.  As a 20 year old rookie in 2001 he topped 100 pitches in 17 of his 33 starts."

Since then, C.C. has 14 Ks in 20 innings and has bumped his overall K rate up to 5.3/9 IP, which is a lot better than what it was, but still poor.

Fun with paces:

Travis Hafner ? 22 homers, 27 runs scored

Ellis Burks ? 22 homers, 27 doubles, 103 RBI, 59 runs

C.C. Sabathia ? 216 innings, 3.33 ERA, 5 wins, 9 losses, 127 strikeouts, 66 walks

Down on the Farm:

At Triple-A Buffalo…

 

Prior to his call-up, Jody Gerut was hitting .277/.377/.585 in 65 at bats.

 

Cleveland?s top prospect, catcher Victor Martinez, is hitting .262/.379/.357.  He has a 13/9 BB/K ratio, but has only hit two homers and two doubles in 24 games.

 

Outfielder Coco Crisp was off to a .395/.527/.558 start after 11 games, but has since cooled off.  He is currently hitting .333/.444/.467 in 90 at bats, with seven steals.

 

Former top prospect Alex Escobar continues to struggle mightily.  Escobar is hitting .195 and has struck out 32 times in 87 at bats (37%).  He does have four homers and a .391 SLG%, but only three walks.

 

At Double-A Akron…

 

Last year?s first round pick, Jeremy Guthrie, has a 1.30 ERA and a 4-0 record through his first six starts.  He has struck out 21 and walked nine in 34 2/3 innings.

 

In the low-minors…

 

The man with one of my favorite names in the minor leagues, Rodney Choy Foo, is off to a great start at Single-A Kingston, hitting .342/.435/.506 with 10 doubles in 22 games.  A 26th round pick in the 2000 draft out of a Hawaii high school, Choy Foo hit .264/.326/.404 last season.

Coming up:

5/6-5/8 ? @Anaheim

5/9-5/11 ? @Texas

5/12 ? Off Day

5/13-5/15 ? Seattle

5/16-5/18 ? Oakland

 

At the end of the Oakland series on May 18th, the Indians will have played 23 consecutive games against the AL West.  They are 2-9 against the West so far.

 

DETROIT TIGERS (4-25 ? 5th Place)

What happened since the last "Bi-Weekly Review":

The Tigers went on a huge hot streak!  Well, maybe not quite that huge, but they have gone 3-9 since the last "Bi-Weekly Review."  That might not sound like much, but they were 1-16 before that!

 

One of the lone bright spots over the last couple weeks is that rookie pitcher Jeremy Bonderman has started to pitch pretty well.  Bonderman had a 15.63 ERA after his first two major league starts, but has since pitched 25 2/3 innings with a 3.37 ERA in four starts.  His ERA for the season is still 5.91, but it has dropped in each of his last four starts.  Over that four-game stretch he has a 20/4 K/BB ratio.  Of course, the bad news is that the Tigers let Bonderman throw 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings on April 29th against the Orioles.

Who?s playing (and where) and who?s not (and why):

Basically, the roster and lineup are changing constantly, which is probably to be expected from a 4-25 team.

 

Detroit called up minor league veteran Craig Monroe on April 18th and designated Hiram Bocachica for assignment.  Monroe has started frequently in the outfield, including a couple of starts in centerfield.  Then, on the 29th, Detroit released Craig Paquette (finally) and called up outfield prospect Andres Torres, who appears to be their starting centerfielder, at least for a little while.

 

Eugene Kingsale started the year as the CF and is no longer a starter there. Kingsale, who has a career slugging % of .326, actually made a start at DH in one game.  Dean Palmer is still holding onto his job as the everyday DH, but you?ve got to think he?s getting close to losing it.  Palmer is hitting .130/.227/.156 and fits into the same basic category as Craig Paquette, as an overpaid, poorly-performing veteran.

 

Matt Anderson has been relieved (bad pun intended) of his closer duties.  Anderson hasn?t pitched well this year (6.55 ERA), but not being confined to coming into games when the Tigers have a lead in the 9th inning is definitely a good thing for a pitcher that is interested in pitching more than once every few weeks.  Anderson is 3/4 in save opportunities this year.

Stats, stats and more stats:

Two weeks ago I wondered if it was too early to put Mike Maroth on the "Brian Kingman 20 Loss Watch."  Now I know my answer:  It isn?t.  Maroth is 0-7 after his first seven starts and looks to me to have a very good shot at losing 20.

 

Bobby Higginson leads the team in almost every offensive stat.  His team-leading numbers: three homers (tie), four doubles (tie), 10 RBI, 12 runs.  Higginson is hitting .233/.336/.379.

 

Craig Monroe has looked like Babe Ruth compared to the rest of these guys.  Despite not being called up until April 18th and only playing in 12 games so far, Monroe is just slightly behind Higginson in most of those same categories.  He has eight RBI, seven runs and two HR.  Monroe is hitting .325/.386/.500 and is the only guy on the team with a batting average above .270, an on-base % above .350 or a slugging % above .400.

Fun with paces:

Detroit Tigers ? 22 wins, 140 losses, 413 runs scored, 843 runs allowed, 39 stolen bases, 73 caught stealing, 84 homers, 162 homers allowed, 1,072 strikeouts, 470 walks

 

Bobby Higginson ? 16 homers, 22 doubles, 66 runs, 55 RBI

Brandon Inge ? 380 at bats, 0 extra-base hits

Carlos Pena ? 39 walks, 160 strikeouts, 17 homers

Mike Maroth ? 195 innings, 0 wins, 33 losses, 113 strikeouts, 24 walks

Down on the Farm:

While the Tigers? offense stinks and they don?t really have any great hitting prospects, they do have a few interesting minor league veterans that they could call up, a la Craig Monroe.

 

At Triple-A Toledo…

 

Kevin Witt is hitting .341/.414/.682 with eight homers and six doubles in 26 games, while splitting time between first and third base.  Witt was a first round pick of the Blue Jays back in 1994 and has over 4,000 career minor league at bats (and a grand total of 68 major league ABs).

 

Fellow minor league veteran Ernie Young, who has 781 career major league at bats and once hit 19 homers for the A?s in 1996, is hitting .250/.316/.489 with five homers and six doubles in 25 games for the Mud Hens.

 

Some other familiar names in Toledo are Tom Evans, A.J. Hinch, Warren Morris, Danny Klassen and, on the pitching side, Steve Avery.

Coming up:

5/5-5/7 ? @Baltimore

5/8 ? Off Day

5/9-5/11 ? @Tampa Bay

5/12 ? Off Day

5/13-5/15 ? Oakland

5/16-5/18 ? Seattle

 

The Tigers should have a chance to pick up at least a couple wins against the Orioles and D-Rays, before the big boys from out West come to town.

 

Aaron Gleeman Posted: May 07, 2003 at 06:00 AM | 5 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Nick S Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#610743)
Oddly, Mike Maroth has pitched pretty well. His K/bb/HR is 26/7/5 in 48 innings so far, which jives with his 2002 58/36/7 in 129 innings. His strikeout rate is truly "Tiger-esque", but his DIPS numbers aren't too far off what Barry Zito put up last year. Last year Zito had a 4.01 dERA, Maroth a 4.12, and this year I'd eyeball Maroth at right about 4.00
   2. Buddha Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#610752)
There has been a lot of talk in the Detroit papers about Bonderman's pitch count and the Tigers argue vehemently that he is on a strict one (that one outing notwithstanding). So they recognize the "danger" and are not about to turn him into Detroit's own AJ Burnett.

One comment on the minor leagues....no Joel Zumaya? You include Neil Cotts and his K/BB ration but not Zumaya? He's putting up amazing numbers in Class A including stiking out 14 in 6 or 7 last week. Just thought I would give some props to the kid who is rapidle becoming Detroit's number one pitching prospect not named Bonderman.
   3. Scott Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#610757)
Some of the offensive struggles on the White Sox are puzzling. What's up with Konerko and Crede?

Konerko had been a model of consistency for years, but his 2nd half 2002 was terrible (7 HR) -- which I'd heard blamed on a bad foot, but now that the struggles continue into 2003, I dunno...

And as for Crede, he started out 2003 where he left off in 2002, but then drove off a cliff. I don't get to watch White Sox games -- any idea what's happened to him?
   4. Aaron Gleeman Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#610759)
Last year Zito had a 4.01 dERA, Maroth a 4.12, and this year I'd eyeball Maroth at right about 4.00.

Good eyeballing. Maroth currently has a 4.02 DIPS ERA. His AVG/OBP/SLG against are actually good too: .254/.286/.389.

So how does he have a 5.40 ERA? Well, he's limiting hitters to an amazing .177/.215/.274 with no one on base, but .410/.420/.623 with runners on and .444/.429/.611 with runners in scoring position.

When you pitch great with none on and horribly with people on base, your "totals" might look okay, but the end result is probably not going to look as pretty.

In defense of Febles: I wouldn't consider him struggling. .284/.321 as of May 5th .299/.341 as of today, and is now on pace for 25+ steals.

He's 4-7 in his last two games, which does a lot to help your stats when you only have 77 ABs all season. I would say his current .299/.341/.351 isn't "struggling," but it's certainly not good and he was OPSing at around .660 when I wrote this.

His SLG is down a hair, but he and Relaford have been putting up some very respectable numbers at 2B, and for the lower third of KC's order.

Relaford is off to a great start. So good (.314/.422/.486) that I wouldn't lump him in with Febles!

Also, any thoughts on Nate Cornejo?

I actually like Cornejo, but there is way he is going to keep an ERA anywhere close to 2.59 while striking out 1.8 batters per 9 IP. I think he can be a solid middle-of-the-rotation guy, but his K rate has never been great in the minors and, thus far in the majors, it has been very poor (127 career IP, 52 Ks, 57 BBs, 19 HRs, 5.16 ERA).

Even Maroth is K'ing close to 5 guys per 9, which is at least close to "reasonably acceptable."

I like the prediction that Mike MacDougal will commit 12 errors.

The "paces" aren't really predictions at all, just everyone's current numbers projected over a full-season. For example, I don't think anyone believes Inge is going to go without an extra-base hit for 380 ABs.
   5. Aaron Gleeman Posted: May 07, 2003 at 02:03 AM (#610761)
For example, I don't think anyone believes Inge is going to go without an extra-base hit for 380 ABs.

Well whaddya know, Brandon Inge is 2-3 today with TWO HOMERS!

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