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Friday, December 09, 2022

Friday’s Links: Michael Pineda is on the way and we’re a week away from Opening Day

Well it was a long, cold winter, especially for fans of Major League Baseball. We are really happy to be back. On top of everything going on in the world, baseball fans watched their game buried under a mountain of bad public relations and agreed to the end of the new CBA at the eleventh—actually twelfth hour—for three months.

After an intense spring camp, which has made assessing players particularly difficult – always extremely difficult under spring training conditions in the first place – teams are finally going to start laying their cards on the table a week from today. In an interesting switch, the delayed start means minor league action will begin on Tuesday, 5 April, so the final rosters for farm clubs should be out shortly. In the meantime, Tyler Alexander will take to the mound on Friday as just the fourth Grapefruit League rotation turns through the wraps, and we’ll take another look at the start before Opening Day against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park on Friday.

The big news on Thursday was that Michael Pineda, apart from free agent, would make his first appearance in a Tigers uniform on Saturday. The last big right-hander with the Minnesota Twins was delayed by work visa issues, but finally cleared the red tape a few days ago. Tyler Alexander is still in line to become the Tigers’ fifth starter for a first turn through the rotation, but Pineda should be able to ramp it up in time to handle his 10th game of the regular season. With the bullpen missing Kyle Funkhauser, and new addition Andrew Chaffin dealing with a groin strain, the pitching staff required reinforcements, although overall injuries so far have been moderately minor. We’ll see if it holds up as short camp and the quick run-up to the regular season are about to test a lot of weapons this spring.

New catcher Tucker Barnhart and the Tigers may already be contemplating an extension. Barnhart’s getting and blocking this waterfall has been an eye-opener. We knew he was good, but he’s great there. We will see if there is any real dialogue on this issue. For his part, Barnhart is open to the idea, though what else is he going to say, honestly?

Jason Beck projects the Tigers opening day roster for MLB.com. You’ll be pleased to know that Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson make the cut. Outfield competition is suddenly simplified by an injury to Derek Hill, possibly locking in Victor Reyes for a spot on the starting team.

There are a lot of interesting stories in the Detroit Tigers’ camp. Probably none better than a backup catcher Ryan LaVarneway, The Yale educated veteran of 15 pro seasons, whom the Tigers added this season to provide depth in Triple-A Toledo. In an op-ed for the Detroit News on Wednesday, Laverneve discussed his reasons for clinging to the edge of the major leagues long after his early teammates retired.

Understandable, potential rookie Riley Greene And Spencer Torkelson has gotten a lot of attention this spring. The pair have been one of the most influential players on the team, game in and game out, making it clear that they have earned their ticket to Detroit on the opening day roster. They’re also in the top five favorites for AL Rookie of the Year, along with Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr., the Precision leader in some unofficial Twitter polling. Casey drops out of the vote, so we are unconvinced. Adley Rutschman, the consensus top prospect in baseball from the Orioles system, and outfielder Julio Rodriguez from the Seattle Mariners, round out the top five.

The pairing of Green and Torkelson were at it again on Thursday against the Blue Jays. We’ll note that while the spring training numbers don’t matter—yes we’re doing it anyway—Green leads the potential regular with 1.430 ops in 23 plate appearances and six extra base hits, including two homers. Torkelson’s .837 with four doubles is also fine. They are gearing up for their debut, and we are sure the Tigers know it too.

Oh yeah, so did Riley.

Baseball America is on the cover this month in its season preview edition. Casey is also involved in a piece of 20 players turning heads at Spring Camp in Baseball America with Miz.

Note to Spencer. If you have to run across the mound as a first baseman? It’s not your ball, babe. Torkelson and Baez later laughed about it, and luckily no one was harmed.

Who are these people?

At the start of spring camp, even before the major leaguers arrived, a common theme from beat writers’ onsite reporting was commentary on all the new faces. The Tigers spent the last seven months cleaning the house in their player development system from top to bottom. From leadership to individual coaches, a whole new breed, fluent in both modern and traditional coaching, and the use of data and technology to help players improve, has been established. We here at Bless You Boys have only been begging for it for eight years or so. It’s great to see this finally happen.

for cody stevenhagen Athletic Detroit, has a great piece on the overhaul with lots of narration quotes from Ryan Garko, the new Vice President of Player Development. It’s really unfortunate that the organization was so slow to get on the ball with it when they had no intention of winning at the major league level anyway. Instead of getting ahead of the curve, they may just stay put, but we’re happy to see that finally happening.

Garco discusses the importance of getting more out of the Tigers’ international academy in the Dominican Republic under the new management of Latin America’s Director of Player Development, Euclides Rojas. He also discusses the need for a more horizontal structure of the information plane, rather than top-to-bottom hierarchies, which he always emphasizes, ensuring that best practices and up-to-date information flow both ways throughout the system. . He has a lot to say about being honest with the players and devising a coaching approach for each individual, top prospect or not. It is worth reading.

This quote in particular stood out because it has been a constant topic in our comments regarding international children over the years.

“It’s not just teaching them English,” Garko said. “It’s teaching them how to act in the United States, whether it’s how to eat, how to do their taxes, everything, everything they need to know. … We will put real resources into the Academy and Lakeland to surround those people as much as we can.”

Follow it up with Evan Petzold’s piece on Dr. Georgia Giblin, Tigers director of his new performance science department. free Press,

farm clippings

This is going to be a huge season for some of the prospects of the Tigers, who have put the last few seasons on hold. The top second-round pick of 2018, Parker Meadows has all the physical equipment in the world, but has struggled vehemently with his swing mechanics and has yet to gain traction in the lower minors. It’s finally showing some real improvement this spring. Whether this will translate into success remains to be seen, but he has at least one good spring.

Thanks to our friend and former writer, Kenan Carter, who has been on the scene in Lakeland with him Detroit Tigers Minor League Tracker Accounts.

Meanwhile, a crucial 2021 season for left field and first base prospect Bryant Packard was derailed by some back issues. Still only 24, there’s still time for the left-arm instinctive swinging hitter to make some noise, but with a profile relying entirely on batting, he needs to step up to the plate and work his way into the upper minors this year . There have been some positive early signs in the minor league camp.

As is usually the case at this time of year, some tough cuts have also been made. Longtime farm workers, catcher Gresuan Silverio and infielder Daniel Pinero were released. Hugh Smith, a 6-foot-8 right-hander who was drafted in the sixth round in 2018, also retired from pro ball this week.

Alex Fedo has begun his rehab work in Lakeland, where Tommy John can be closely monitored for his arm after he returns from surgery.

season preview material

Paul Sporer of FanGraphs has his general brilliant and comprehensive guide to the top 100 starting pitchers for fantasy baseball ups. It’s worth a read even if you don’t play fantasy baseball. No, Tigers hasn’t featured prominently yet. Also in the fangraph, Ben Clemens sees Chris Archer’s prospects helping our hated foe, the Minnesota Twins, after he picked them up in free agency a few days ago.

USA Today Posted their season predictions, their six-person panel of writers has pegged the Tigers on 80 wins, and placed third in Central behind Minnesota. Fair enough, but we think Tiger can do better. Also, those Twins pitching staff…idk people. Ben Lindbergh wonders if Shohei Ohtani has reached the pinnacle yet The Ringer. Other than this the ringerIn this book, Zack Cram examines which team won the offseason and which lost. Meanwhile, Anthony Castrovins’ 2022 MLB All-Underrated Team on MLB.com had two Tigers. You can guess who they are.

Finally, our friends at the Motor City Bengals voiced the Tigers, Dan Dickerson, on his podcast Friday. As always had a very interesting conversation.

Justin Verlander Is Still Amazing

If you’re skeptical of a joint venture, I don’t know what to tell you. There are no comps.

Random Non-Baseball Tweet of the Day

Consider that sequel to this recent National Geographic image. Perspective is everything, as they say…

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