I’ll start with a link to Bilfer, who has information on the TigerFest at Comerica Park, which will somehow feel like summertime in January.
Doubtlessly you have read of a 21-year-old flame throwing relief pitcher who couldn’t pitch because… he played too many video games? Zoomer, man, you have time for video games later, your paychecks are too small to hurt your arm right now!
Baseball Prospectus has a player profile on former Mud Hen Josh Phelps. It’s free. They were amazed the Tigers couldn’t / wouldn’t find a way to get him on their bench last year or this, given the light-hitting of Detroit first basemen. Phelps wasn’t re-signed and soon after signing a new minor -league contract ended up a Yankees Rule 5 pick.
At the top were obviously Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, 2005 and 2006’s first-round draft picks. Both rated A-. That sounds about right. Five players ranked in the B- range, ranging from pitcher Eulogio de la Cruz at Toledo to 2006 draftee Scott Sizemore. I’m not really going to bicker with any of his ratings. It’s pretty hard to a) rank a bunch of guys you haven’t seen based on stats, and b) grade them. Maybe I think Virgil Vasquez should have been graded a bit higher based on his Arizona League success, but otherwise, make what you will of it. I think it’s an informative read.
The Tigers in One Sentence: This system has two outstanding prospects at the top, but it falls apart quickly after that, depleted by the graduations of Verlander, Zumaya, and Granderson over the last two years.
Sounds about right. I’m glad to see Sizemore turning out well so quick. He may be ready to slide in at shortstop, or at least get a job on the bench, by the end of Carlos Guillen’s contract. (Sidebar: I think Guillen will be re-signed eventually but ends up changing positions to first.)
Despite that jump, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projection for him is extremely positive: 52 K’s in 57 innings along with a 4.11 ERA. He’s 24, so if Jim Leyland can figure out a way to continue his development on the Tigers staff, he could end up as a useful cog in future bullpens.
Related, Baseball Think Factory put forth its minor league breakout candidates. They chose SS Michael Hollimon from single-A West Michigan.
Of possible interest if you like reading about what it’s like to be in the media, Sports Media Guide interviewed the Oakland A’s beat writer for the SF Chronicle, Susan Slusser. (hat-tip BBTF front page)
New: I don’t know if you read all the local papers every day, but in the News Lynn Henning provides an interesting perspective on how trades get done.