Saturday, January 31, 2015

Prospect Spotlight: Derek Hill

With Spring Training about two weeks away we are starting to see lists come out of the top prospects for baseball and for each team. I don't think it shocks many people that Detroit has ranked pretty much last for their overall farm system. Dombrowski has no problem trading prospects for major league talent. The one debate that is going on between Tigers fans is who is the number one prospect for the Tigers. Before the Devon Travis for Anthony Gose trade it could really come down to a three way battle for this spot. Now with Travis gone the battle is between Steven Moya and Derek Hill.

Derek Hill was drafted in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2014 draft by the Detroit Tigers. He was drafted out of Elk Groove High School in California as a centerfielder. He is the son of Orsino Hill who was a career minor leaguer and also is a scout for the L.A. Dodgers. Derek is still young having just turned 19 years old on 12/30.

On the field Hill is best known for his defense and his speed. Both could eventually be plus-plus for him. His speed allows him to be a threat on the base paths and also helps him take extra bases. With his speed it helps him on the defensive side. It allows him to get to a lot more balls on either side of him. He also gets a pretty good read off of the bat to track down fly balls. His arm isn't bad but does need some work  on his mechanics. Being only 19 he has the time to improve his mechanics. He has the the ability to be a potential gold glove winner.

With the bat he has shown he can drive the ball to all fields with gap power. As he ages he will add more power to the bat. He still doesn't project as a power guy, but someone who can give you 12-15 home runs a year.  His downside is from him expanding the strike zone and not being able to recognize pitches..

In his first year in professional baseball Hill struggled in the rookie league and low A ball. He hit .208/.296./.295 in 47 games. He did have two home runs and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts. His walks weren't bad with having 18, but he did strikeout 45 times. He was shutdown due to a back injury also last year.

Derek Hill has a long ways to go before he makes the majors. I believe his ETA is not until 2019 at the earliest. He could eventually be a gold glove winning centerfielder who is also a lead off guy for the Tigers. Only time will time will tell with someone as young as Hill.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

TBT: The moves of 2011

For the first ever Throw Back Thursday I want to talk about the moves that Dave Dombrowski and the Tigers made in 2011. In baseball one of the greatest feats is becoming a Triple Crown winner. For a batter that is leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs (lastly done in 2012 Miguel Cabrera) and for pitchers they need to lead in wins, strikeouts, and ERA (Justin Verlander/Clayton Kershaw 2011). Now for general managers I think they should have a triple crown based on the moves they make for their team. I would say they would need to have the best off-season free agent signing, make the best trade before the July 31st deadline, and they also need to make the best waiver claim in August. Now with just making the moves is one thing, but these players also need to produce for their new teams.

The 2011 off-season had many top talented free agents. The list was lead by Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, Adrian Beltre, Jason, Werth, Adam Dunn, and Victor Martinez to name a few. The Detroit Tigers were looking to add another bat to the lineup to hit behind Miguel Cabrera. Well Dave Dombrowski decided that guy should be Victor Martinez. He signed V-Mart to a four year $50 million contract. Well V-Mart lived up to that contract his first year. He hit .330/.380/.470 with only striking out 51 times in 595 plate appearances. He was primarily the Tigers DH, but could also spell Miggy at first and Avila at catcher. He would also bring a leadership role to the clubhouse for the Tigers. By far I would say he was the best off-season signing.

The day before the deadline DD would pull off a trade for a pitcher most people probably didn't know. His name would become a household name, that guy Doug Fister. The Tigers traded a couple prospects (Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, and Francisco Martinez) for Doug Fister and David Pauley of the Seattle Mariners. Now Fister was headed to a team that could score some runs for him. His ERA with the Mariners was 3.33, but he had 3 wins and 12 losses. Once he got to Detroit he was even better. He would go on to have a 1.79 ERA with a 8-1 record. He had a sub 1 WHIP and really pushed the Tigers into the playoffs and strength their starting rotation.

Now the waiver claim I unfortunately do not have a card to post. I could have found a base card I guess. The Tigers lineup was pretty good, but with an injury to outfielder Brennan Boesch and a struggling Magglio Ordonez, the Tigers claimed Delmon Young from the Minnesota Twins. They would in return send minor leaguer Cole Nelson to the Twins. Young played 84 games for the Twins and only 40 games for the Tigers, but out of his 12 home runs 8 of them came as a Tiger and he drove in just as many runs for the Tigers (32 RBIs) as he did for the Twins. Once the Tigers made the playoffs he went off in the ALDS against the New Yankees with a .316/.381/.789 slash line and 3 homers.

The Tigers would advance to the ALCS and eventually lose to the Texas Rangers. With V-Mart and Fister they would both go on to have successful careers in the next few seasons with Detroit and leading to the Tigers resigning V-Mart this off-season. Even Delmon Young who was painful to watch during the 2012 season was a huge contributor in the 2012 playoffs that lead the Tigers to the World Series run for Tigers. All in all I would say just looking at the 2011 season Dave Dombrowski looked like a hero. Great free agent signing and great trades. He didn't give up much and none of the players he did trade has really amount to anything. So I will congratulate Dave Dombrowski on winning my Triple Crown for general managers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Defense First

Well I am back to writing after feeling under the weather for the past few days. I would like to take the time today to talk about the trade the Tigers and Blue Jays made this off-season. The Tigers sent Devon Travis, second basemen to the Blue Jays in exchange for Anthony Gose, a center fielder.

Devon Travis was a 13th round draft choice out of Florida State University in 2012 for the Detroit Tigers. He had fallen to the 13th round most do to him being injury prone  and the fact he is a rather small player only listed out as 5'9" and 195 lbs. In his first full year of professional baseball he had a slash line of .351/.418/.518 with 16 homers and 22 steals in 26 attempts. He would follow that season up with a .298/.358/.460 slash line in Double A in 2014. As a hitter Travis shows he can carry his weight with the bat. He has a nice compact swing and can work the count. His speed has been something many scouts debate about. Some will say above average speed while other say average at best. Defensively according to they have rated his arm a 50 and fielding a 55.

Anthony Gose was a 2nd round pick out of high school for the Phillies. He has been involved in a few different trades in his short career. His first trade was when the Phillies sent him and others to the Astros for Roy Oswalt. Then they flipped him to the Blue Jays for Brett Wallace. Gose skills are dominated with his defense and his speed. He is a plus defender with a rocket of an arm that can sometimes get a little wild. His speed will make him a threat on the base paths and he has the ability to be out infield hits. He has spent parts of three seasons in the majors, but only carries a slash line of .234/.301/.332. Does need some work with his bat, but the glove and the speed should be a plus to have on any team.

Overall this looks like a good trade for both players and both teams. I was really a fan of Travis and enjoyed following him the past two years. I have heard comparisons to players like Jose Altuve and I kinda thought of Dustin Pedroia with his size and grit Only time will tell how good he will be, especially if he can stay healthy. He was blocked at second when the Tigers traded Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler last off-season. Now with him on the Blue Jays he should have a chance to be mid to late call this year for them. On Anthony Gose the Tigers need some outfield help. He will be platooning with our other speed threat Rajai Davis in center. I would expect him to bat towards the bottom of the lineup for the Tigers this year. I am really excited to see his speed and even more excited to see him and also newly acquired Yoenis Cespedes throwing out runners from the outfield this year. If Gose and bring up that average and and OBP about 20 points and continue to do what he does with his speed and defense he will do alright for the Tigers.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Add another starter??

This off-season the Tigers let Max Scherzer walk, which worked out on both sides. The Tigers will be receiving a compensation pick from the Nationals and they won't have to overpay for Scherzer like the Nationals did. As it stands right now the Tigers starting rotation will look like this: David Price, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, Shane Greene, and Alfredo Simon. I like the first four in the rotation, but I am still not sold 100% on Simon. He would be a good swing man for them, if they can add another arm.

With the rumors going around the Tigers have been linked to James Shields. Shields has put together some good seasons with both the Rays and as of late the Royals. He is a guy who can eat up a lot of innings and goes late into games. Over his nine year career he has averaged 227 innings a seasons with a 3.72 ERA. He has 22 complete games to his name. This is huge for the Tigers, because of our unknown bullpen. The downside of Shields is the fact he does not live up to his nickname "Big Game James" in the post season, when it really matters. With an ERA of 5.46 and a WHIP of 1.534 he doesn't cut it during the playoffs. On the Tigers he doesn't need to be the ace. He could pitched third or fourth in the rotation and take pressure off of himself during the playoffs.

Now if the Tigers are not able to sign Shields, Kyle Lobstein is in our farm system who pitched well for the Tigers in a 6 games started and made on appearance out of the pen. He would add another left handed arm to the rotation. This would allow Simon to pitch out of the bullpen and make the occasional start when need. Lobstein is a young guy who looked the best out of the young arms that came up and pitched last year for the Tigers. I don't expect him to be a star pitcher, but a solid back of the rotation guy.

All in all I doubt the Tigers will sign Shields and Simon will stay in the rotation. I'm not giving up completely on Simon without really seeing him pitch. I hope for the best out of him this season. If the Tigers can swing a Shields signing I would go no more then 4 years in $70-$80 million range.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Goodbye Donnie Baseball

Early this week we had learn that our former manager Jim Leyland favorite ball player, Don Kelly had signed a minor league deal with the Miami Marlins. Kelly was known as a super utility player that could play almost anywhere on the diamond. He was drafted in 2005 by the Tigers, but was granted free agency in 2006 when he went and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made his debut in 2007 with the Pirates, but after the season he was a free agent again. He would sign with the Diamondbacks before returning back to Detroit.
In his time with Detroit he spent six seasons playing many different positions for the Tigers. I will always remember Donnie Baseball as a guy who you knew wouldn't hit for much with his career slash line being .232/.296/.336, but you knew whatever position he was playing he would play average at worse. He could play all three outfield spots and both corner infield spots with easy. He will be a good fit for the Marlins with being able to play so many positions (plus he did pitch against the Mets this past year). Many fans had mixed emotions about Kelly. I always tried to look past his bat and look at him as just a super utility player that could get the job done. Here are some highlights of his career:

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


As an avid Detroit Tigers fan and also a new avid baseball card collector, I thought I would share my thoughts on the Detroit Tigers as well as sharing some of my favorite baseball cards that I collect. My posts towards the Tigers will be my opinion and I would love to see people debate with me on our favorite major league baseball team.