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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The keys to Tigers’ rebuild are ‘right around the corner’ from majors

PORTLAND, Maine — Even with nearly two decades in professional baseball, Mike Rabelo still couldn’t hide his giddy enthusiasm for his current team’s stacked pitching rotation.

The manager at Double-A Erie and former big league catcher gushed over the talents of Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Tarik Skubal and Joey Wentz, who, along with Triple-A Toledo starter Beau Burrows, are at the forefront of the Detroit Tigers’ rebuild.

“I’m not moving the chess pieces, but if I had to say, this is the group. And rightfully so,” Rabelo told Yahoo Sports. “They’re right around the corner from pitching in Comerica [Park].”

The Erie pitchers themselves know it’s a long process and are focused on the here and now. But Rabelo said they know that all eyes are on them, and they’re thrilled about it.

Isn’t claiming that your future is in AA-level pitchers the equivalent of saying that you don’t have any?

QLE Posted: August 14, 2019 at 05:07 AM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: casey mize, double a, tigers

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2019 at 09:42 AM (#5871226)
   2. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:42 AM (#5871239)
If you really have 5 AA starters and one AAA starter who are legitimately good MLB prospects then I think you're in reasonable shape. I get that with pitching prospects you should buy in bulk, but 6 good starter prospects at AA and AAA counts as "bulk".

That said, I have no idea if all 6 are legitimately good prospects, and Skubal and Wentz have all of 8 AA games between them. And of course most MLB teams find that it's useful to have players who are good at hitting the ball to complement the players who are good at throwing the ball.
   3. . Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5871244)
Rebuilds can never fail, they can only be failed.
   4. DCA Posted: August 14, 2019 at 11:13 AM (#5871246)
They are all legitimately good prospects, though it's not clear that any are great. Boyd and Turnbull are solid young guys already in the MLB rotation as well.

It's the rest of the team that's troubling. The bullpen is terrible. Jimenez is the only RP of note, and he's barely replacement level (0.2 WAR, -0.6 WAA the last two years). Of course, some of those SP prospects will end up fortifying the pen instead of the rotation.

Even more concerning, they don't have a single hitter that profiles as better than "average starter" - and they only have a few of those: Rogers, Candelario, Stewart, and Jacoby Jones on the MLB squad; Cameron in AAA; Parades in AA; I think that's all in the entire system!
   5. bfan Posted: August 14, 2019 at 12:33 PM (#5871277)
and Skubal and Wentz have all of 8 AA games between them


Wentz has 22 starts in AA; 2 are with the Tigers, but 20 were with the Braves, this year, before he was traded to the Tigers.
   6. bfan Posted: August 14, 2019 at 12:36 PM (#5871278)
though it's not clear that any are great


Of course, the definition of great is variable, but I would not shy away from saying Casey Mize's MiLB career has been great.
   7. Bote Man Posted: August 14, 2019 at 02:53 PM (#5871349)
Is this "right around the corner" the kind found in an M. C. Escher drawing??
   8. Fernigal McGunnigle Posted: August 14, 2019 at 02:56 PM (#5871353)
Thanks for the correction on Wentz.
   9. sweet lou Posted: August 14, 2019 at 03:25 PM (#5871387)
They do have at least one hitter that projects better than average. Riley Greene. 5th pick in the draft. Did very well in rookie leagues and is now in low A, still doing well.
   10. DCA Posted: August 14, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5871391)
but I would not shy away from saying Casey Mize's MiLB career has been great.

I would. He is striking out less than one batter an inning, and a 3.22 ERA is nothing special for AA. Yes, and he's getting them out in other ways, but we've been conditioned to expect more from a top SP prospect. Walker Buehler, for example, had 12.5 K/9. Mackenzie Gore, BA's top pitching prospect, has a 11.8. Mize is BA's #2 pitching prospect. The next four: Whitley 13.0, McKay 11.6, Luzardo 10.9, Pearson 11.3.

Not a red flag, but a caution.
   11. DCA Posted: August 14, 2019 at 03:40 PM (#5871392)
They do have at least one hitter that projects better than average. Riley Greene. 5th pick in the draft. Did very well in rookie leagues and is now in low A, still doing well.

Fair point. But he's a long way off, and we won't know for years whether he's even likely to make the big leagues.
   12. bfan Posted: August 14, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5871414)
I would. He is striking out less than one batter an inning


That is pretty funny. That is literally true*, but Casey Mize has 116 K's in 117 innings, so his K's are 8.92 per 9. Mize's K/BB is 4.83; Buehler's in MiLB was 3.9 (and I think Buelher is great). Whitley's is 3.32. Mckay's and Luzardo's are better; I do not know who Pearson is. In any event, I could say Mize is able to be a high strike-out pitcher while maintaining excellent control, which is something at least some of the others cannot say.

*Neither Fred McGriff nor Mark Lemke hit 500 HRs in their MLB career is a literally true statement. It just doesn't quite tell the true story.
   13. chrismhamilton@gmail.com Posted: August 14, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5871421)
"Right around the corner" is probably too generous. Mize and Manning are legit prospects, but they seem unlikely to get much more than a September call up in 2020 (or maybe June 2021 for service time manipulation).

It doesn't look like Detroit's system is particularly top heavy or particularly deep so it is hard to see imminent help for the Tigers. Likely, the best they can hope for is that everybody develops and that things look more promising in 10 months.
   14. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2019 at 04:48 PM (#5871426)
TINSTAAPP...UTOPYHAPP
   15. donlock Posted: August 14, 2019 at 04:55 PM (#5871427)
Orioles and KC also in rebuilding mode. Os have a lot of top tier pitching in A and AA ball but not much ready to help soon. Even getting the number one pick is no guarantee and at best will bring help in 2-3 years. AL Central seems an easier division to move up in than AL East.
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2019 at 05:07 PM (#5871430)
Even more concerning, they don't have a single hitter that profiles as better than "average starter"


Detroit's position players are worth a combined -1.5 WAR which is.....amazing.
   17. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2019 at 05:40 PM (#5871438)
Tigers hitters with positive BB-Ref WAR

1.5 Niko Goodrum (-4 Rbat, -4 Rfield, 0 Rpos, 5 Rbaser)
1.1 Nick Castellanos (currently a member of the Cubs)
0.8 Jeimer Candelario (-14 Rbat, 0 Rbaser, 1 Rpos, 8 Rfield)
0.2 Brandon Dixon
0.2 Christin Stewart
0.1 Jake Rogers (44 career PA)
0.1 Gregory Soto (pitcher with 2 hits in 2 PA)
0.1 Matthew Boyd (pitcher with 1 hit in 2 PA)

Tigers hitters with positive Rbat
7 Nick Castellanos
1 Gregory Soto
1 Matthew Boyd

Tigers hitters with positive RAA
1 Gregory Soto
1 Matthew Boyd

Tigers pitchers with positive RAA
17 Matthew Boyd
13 Spencer Turnbull
10 Shane Greene (currently a member of the Braves)
6 Matt Moore
5 Daniel Norris
4 Buck Farmer
3 Edwin Jackson (in 1 start - he went out on top)
1 Matt Hall
1 Blaine Hardy
[-8 Gregory Soto]

   18. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 14, 2019 at 05:52 PM (#5871447)
The Tigers were 22-32 at the end of May. Since then they are 13-49. Holy crap!

Last night's loss featured 2019 Tigers WAR champ Niko Goodrum knocking the ball over the wall for a 2-run homer. Unfortunately he was playing CF at the time and knocked a catchable ball over the wall with his glove.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5871450)
Detroit's position players are worth a combined -1.5 WAR which is.....amazing.

FWIW, for whatever reason, the MLB summary page puts that at -0.8 (might be pitching hitting or something). It's probably not that rare for the worst team in any season. Last year the Phils were at 1 WAR while the Padres were -1 WAR in pitching and the Marlins a staggering -7 WAR in pitching (-8 out of the pen). 2017 saw the Giants at just 2 WAR in position players while the Reds and Marlins were negative in pitching. Looks like the most recent team to be below-replacement in position players was 2013 Marlins. The 2003 Tigers were positive in position players but negative in pitching (one of 4 teams that year). So more common on the pitching side.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:12 PM (#5871456)
The Tigers were 22-32 at the end of May. Since then they are 13-49. Holy crap!

And that undersells it. They were 18-20 putting them at 17-61 since over nearly half a season. But end of May is a good demarcation -- they won 3 in a row to get to 22-32. They didn't win two straight games again until Aug 8-9 (at home vs KC). They've lost 3 straight since, being outsocred 28-8.

Since the end of April, they have a 549-335 run differential in 89 games, 2.4 r/g. Their 22-67 record is 4 games worse than the (standard) pythag.
   21. Zonk is UP-playing! Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:42 PM (#5871464)
Isaac Paredes seems awfully overlooked on that Eerie list -

He's a young 20, is still managing to play a credible SS (he's a big kid and likely more ticketed for 3B).... he's hitting 282/370/411 (with a 1:1 BB/K ratio).

Paredes was the toss-in the Justin Wilson/Alex Avila for Jeimar Candelario deal.... Candelario has been.... less impressive :-)
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:48 PM (#5871466)
Last night's loss featured 2019 Tigers WAR champ Niko Goodrum knocking the ball over the wall for a 2-run homer. Unfortunately he was playing CF at the time and knocked a catchable ball over the wall with his glove.

Isn't Goodrum a 2B? That could be the problem right there.
   23. Zonk is UP-playing! Posted: August 14, 2019 at 06:54 PM (#5871469)
Goodrum has started at every position except catcher in 2019 -- and did so in 2018 as well.
   24. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: August 14, 2019 at 09:06 PM (#5871497)
The Tigers have gaping holes at every position, and the kids could turn out to be mirages.

It's the 90s/early 00s all over again, folks.
   25. DanG Posted: August 14, 2019 at 09:51 PM (#5871514)
It's the 90s/early 00s all over again, folks.
Twelve consecutive years under .500 from 1994-2005, including years of 119, 109, 106, 97, and 96 losses.
   26. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:01 PM (#5871519)
Mize has the numbers of a "very good" prospect, not "#2 in all of baseball" prospect. (IIRC that's where he is on MLB's list.) Which makes me think that there must be scouting stuff going into that evaluation.

Heck, there really must be scouting stuff going into Whitley's ranking. He does K a very large percentage of the batters that he faces, but it's also true that he has a 4.60 ERA in his minor league career, has pitched 44 innings this season, and 26 last season.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:20 PM (#5871537)

It's the 90s/early 00s all over again, folks.


They just need their manager to tell the media that everyone scrub minor leaguer is the next Joe DiMaggio.
   28. RobDeer Posted: August 14, 2019 at 10:31 PM (#5871542)
Mize has the numbers of a "very good" prospect, not "#2 in all of baseball" prospect.


His numbers have declined since going on the IL for a shoulder injury suffered June 13.
To that point his season stats were 75.2 IP 0.95 ERA 0.6872 WHIP
   29. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 15, 2019 at 01:01 AM (#5871559)
3 Edwin Jackson (in 1 start - he went out on top)

E-Jax made his second start tonight. 5 IP, 2 runs, got the win. He's got a 2.38 ERA with the Tigers! :)
   30. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: August 15, 2019 at 01:44 AM (#5871562)
there must be scouting stuff going into that evaluation.

I would hope so. That's generally how it's done.
   31. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 15, 2019 at 07:38 AM (#5871568)
The Marlins have a better rebuild going on than the Tigers. The Marlins!

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