Bryan Smith of Baseball Analysts recently ranked the Top 75 prospects in baseball. Detroit put two on the top 12 list, but none otherwise. It’s not hard to guess who was at the top: Andrew Miller at 12 and Cameron Maybin at 8. Smith explained his reasoning for the ranking on Sports Illustrated’s Web site.
Extremely projectable at a lanky 6-foot-6, Miller’s four-seam fastball is already 94-97 mph. As a starter, his bread and butter is a sinking two-seam fastball and a slider that few left-handed hitters can touch. A September call-up showed the Tigers how dominant Miller profiles to be, but also how raw his delivery and command still are … Miller will likely begin in Double-A Erie next season and could be pushing for a major-league roster spot again late in the season.
Miller is more likely to start at Lakeland and move to Erie in a month or two like Justin Verlander, I believe. But he still could be called up in September. I think some of Miller’s problems in September stemmed from the fact he’s been a starter his whole life and was asked to switch to a relief role and didn’t have the experience warming up and getting right into the frying pan.
He might not be the second coming of Ken Griffey Jr., but Maybin has a generational five-tool set. … Maybin has the same kind combination of speed and line-drive ability that allows Ichiro to post high BABIPs every season, albeit not quite as high as .408. … I think Maybin could improve on his 2006 numbers in the Florida State League; the speedy center fielder has greater power than he showed in the tough Midwest League.
As Smith didn’t exact note obviously, but noted nonetheless, the Midwest League is a pitching league. Still, Maybin has to cut down on the K’s.
The other big topic right now is the MLB agreeing to take Extra Innings exclusive on DirectTV for about $30M more per season than if it remained in place for all dish or cable users. Much has been written about this. The last one is Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus and requires a subscription. Sheehan sees this as not a bad thing for the MLB, while others see it as alienating baseball fans.
Sheehan’s point is fans will either subscribe to MLB.com, or they will be forced to watch more of the local team. He reasons that fans who would have subscribed to Extra Innings will not just stop being fans of the MLB. To some extent, he’s right. But I wonder just how many subscribers were fans of a certain team who will now not be able to see it, such as Tigers fans who have moved out-of-state. I’m not sure I fully buy it. If I couldn’t watch the Tigers, I might watch a local team once-in-awhile, but I wouldn’t necessarily be happy about it unless I was in a select few cities around the country. Even then, I try to watch every Tigers game on FSN and wish I got the TV20 games. There’s no way I do that for a team I have no attachment for. I know I’d be quite pissed off at the MLB right now if I could no longer watch the Tigers. I’d still support the team, but I would not exactly beat a path to giving the MLB my money.
David Pinto at Baseball Musings alludes that assessment of why people subscribe, but the commentors hammer it home. Seems like quite a waste to grab an extra $1M per year per team.
Of course, this is the league so desperate for money it sued unsuccessfully to get a cut from fantasy leagues.
Tigers sign several â€“
Rodney, Infante, Monroe,
and Nate Robertson
ADD: The Tigers signed a minor league contract with Joey Eischen and invited him to Spring Training. He had decent numbers for the Nationals before having surgery, but he’s have to be considered a longshot to be anything but an insurance policy stored at Toledo. Jason Beck does a story at MLB.com.