Posted on: December 16, 2011 1:56 pm
By Matt Snyder
Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque had surgery on his right elbow Thursday, the Tigers announced. The procedure was performed by famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews, and the Tigers' press release said this is what was done: "Alburquerque underwent a surgical procedure to have a screw inserted into his olecranon to stabilize a non-displaced stress fracture in his right elbow."
Alburquerque won't be able to throw at all for three months and will begin working toward a return late in the spring. The Tigers have placed his target return "by the All-Star break of 2012."
Alburquerque, 25, had a breakout season for Detroit in 2011. It was his rookie season, and he had a 1.87 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings.
The loss of Alburquerque is alleviated a bit by the addition of recently-signed free agent Octavio Dotel. Plus, the Tigers still have the deadly back-end combo of Joaquin Benoit and Jose Valverde. They also acquired Collin Balester from the Nationals earlier this month.
Still, losing an arm like Alburquerque's for half the season will be felt.
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Posted on: November 27, 2011 11:28 am
Edited on: November 27, 2011 12:28 pm
By Matt Snyder
What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule of this feature, click here.
When we discuss the Chicago Cubs, no baseball fan is lacking an opinion -- specifically, everyone seems to have some pet theory as to why the Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. I've long argued with the people who believe the streak has something to do with a stupid "curse" or somehow now has something to do with playing so many more day games than everyone else. No, the real problem is they've never put a top-to-bottom management system in place that has done the job consistently for more than a small handful of seasons. It's possible current Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has done so with Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, et al (in fact, I'd argue it's likely), but that's a different discussion for a different forum.
For now, we're left looking at one of the worst Homegrown Teams in our series.
1. Kosuke Fukudome, RF
2. Darwin Barney, 2B
3. Starlin Castro, SS
4. Tyler Colvin, LF
5. Casey McGehee, 3B
6. Eric Hinske, 1B
7. Geovany Soto, C
8. Sam Fuld, CF
1. Ricky Nolasco
2. Kyle Lohse
3. Andrew Cashner*
4. Carlos Zambrano
5. Randy Wells
* - if Cashner fell injured like he did in the real 2011 season, the options would be: Jon Garland, Dontrelle Willis and Casey Coleman.
Closer - Kyle Farnsworth
Set up - Kerry Wood, Sean Marshall, Carlos Marmol, Al Alburquerque, Juan Cruz, Michael Wuertz
Long - Jeff Samardzija, Rich Hill, Sergio Mitre
Notable Bench Players
Robinson Chirinos, Ryan Theriot, Ronny Cedeno, Brandon Guyer, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Tony Campana, Lou Montanez. In fact, feel free to grab any of these guys, plug them in the lineup and play around with it. There's really no wrong answer, because it's one marquee player (and he's only 21) amidst a heap of mediocrity at this point. Maybe Guyer proves a good player, McGehee bounces back and/or Colvin becomes a good everyday player, but we have to go on what we've seen up to this point.
The bullpen is really strong. It's well-rounded with righties and lefties, depth, power pitchers and specialists. Of course, there could be an issue with the lack of a reliable closer when it comes to either Farnsworth or Marmol, but a new-age manager might just abandon that idea and use whoever makes the most sense in the ninth.
The starting rotation doesn't have a true ace (or No. 2, for that matter). The infield defense sorely lacks range and the outfield isn't great either. The team speed is minimal, there isn't a good option at leadoff (or in the two-hole, or cleanup, or fifth ... you get the point) and who is the best power hitter? Colvin? Soto? Basically, everything other than the bullpen and Starlin Castro is lackluster.
Comparison to real 2011
You have to give former general manager Jim Hendry credit for scraping together a team good enough to win three division titles in six years, considering this bunch. Then again, he was in charge as the organization was assembling nothing more than a mediocre foundation (Baseball Prospectus now says the minor-league system is "not bad" but is more "depth than starpower."). Let's leave out the excuses, because there are far more bad picks (Montanez at third overall as a shortstop, for example) than there are instances of bad luck (Mark Prior, for example).
The amazing thing is that the 2011 Cubs were 71-91 and I actually think that team was better than this Homegrown unit. When we do the Homegrown rankings in mid-December, expect to see the Cubs toward the bottom. That probably changes in five years, but we're doing this exercise in the present. And this team would probably win somewhere in the ballpark of 65 games. Maybe fewer.
Up Next: Seattle Mariners
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Tags: Al Alburquerque, Andrew Cashner, Brandon Guyer, Carlos Marmol, Carlos Zambrano, Casey Coleman, Casey McGehee, Corey Patterson, Cubs, Darwin Barney, Dontrelle Willis, Eric Hinske, Felix Pie, Geovany Soto, Homegrown, Jeff Samardzija, Jon Garland, Juan Cruz, Kerry Wood, Kosuke Fukudome, Kyle Farnsworth, Kyle Lohse, Lou Montanez, Matt Snyder, Michael Wuertz, NL Central, Randy Wells, Rich Hill, Ricky Nolasco, Robinson Chirinos, Ronny Cedeno, Ryan Theriot, Sam Fuld, Sean Marshall, Sergio Mitre, Starlin Castro, Tony Campana, Tyler Colvin
Posted on: October 7, 2011 7:12 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 4:45 pm
By Evan Brunell
The Tigers and Rangers share one thing in common -- both teams have AL pennants to their name in recent seasons, but fell short in the World Series. Jim Leyland took Detroit to the World Series in 2006, his first season with the club, winning 95 after the Tigers registered five straight seasons of at least 90 losses, including 119 in 2003. It's taken them some time to return to the postseason, but they're here after downing the Yankees in five games. Detroit will be leaning on the electric arm of Justin Verlander, who won Rookie of the Year in '05 but gave up 17 runs in 21 2/3 innings across the 2005 postseason. He'll get a chance at redemption against Texas, who appeared in the Fall Classic a mere season ago.
The revamped Rangers may have lost Cliff Lee, but their offense is as potent as its ever been in franchise history, adding Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli to its monstrous lineup. Seeking to become the first consecutive AL pennant champion since the 1998-2001 Yankees, Texas will be relying on C.J. Wilson and its formidable bullpen to keep the Tiger offense in check. However, Texas' own offense needs to play up to its billing, as the team scored just 16 runs in the LDS, least among any team. (Granted, Texas was the only advancing club to play a series in less than five games, bouncing Tampa Bay in four.)
*if necessaryWHO HAS THE EDGE? (Click player name for statistics)
Let's break each position down and see which team has the edge...
Catcher: Alex Avila vs. Mike Napoli, Yorvit Torrealba
Being a quality catcher is difficult to do. You have to be able to call a game, develop a rapport with pitchers, block balls effectively, have a gun for an arm... and oh yeah, hit too. The latter category is what Avila and Napoli excel at, as both rank 1-2 in baseball in catcher offense. Napoli of course, blows away Avila in offense, but the Ranger also has 28 less games at the position, in large part due to another capable catcher also on the roster in Torrealba -- but the Tigers have Victor Martinez, too. Defensively, Avila holds the edge, and this is just too close to call.
First base: Miguel Cabrera vs. Mitch Moreland, Michael Young
Moreland could feasibly be at first base the entire series, as he's a favorite of the club and all of Detroit's starters are right-handed, but Young could steal a couple games if the team wants to get Torrealba or Craig Gentry into the lineup. Either way, both these players pale in comparison to Miguel Cabrera who, if it wasn't for Justin Verlander lucking into 24 wins (to be clear, he's a very good pitcher, but win-loss records have nothing to do with player quality), he could very well be the favorite for the MVP award. Cabrera led all of baseball in doubles, batting average, OBP and decided to swat 30 homers too. Moreland is still scrapping to be a full-time player and Young just can't field.
Second base: Ramon Santiago vs. Ian Kinsler
This isn't even close. The Tigers have cycled through six second basemen this season, with five of them receiving at least 17 starts. Santiago won the job basically by default, as Carlos Guillen can't stay healthy, Ryan Raburn split his time between left and second then lost his job for a complete inability to hit and Scott Sizemore was traded. Santiago is like Raburn in that he can't hit, but can flash a solid glove. Kinsler, meanwhile, was one of the most valuable second basemen in the game.
Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta vs. Elvis Andrus
Andrus can pick the ball, get on base and steal bases. Peralta can't steal any bases and can only play a passable short. But boy, can Peralta hit. Here's the thing, though -- people tend to overvalue offense because it's easily quantified, and you can see with your eyes the impact a bat can have. Stolen bases and defense, not so much. But they are important facets of the game as well, and when you factor everything in, this is a dead-even.
Third base: Wilson Betemit, Brandon Inge vs. Adrian Beltre
Adrian Beltre is an awesome player, there is no doubt about that. He posted the second-best season of his career and slugged three home runs to pace the narrative of Texas winning the ALDS. However, the gap between Beltre and the Tigers' crew isn't as large as one might think. Betemit rakes against righties, while Inge is capable against left-handers. But don't ask them to face the opposite-handed pitcher. Inge also has excellent defense at the hot corner and is a great late-inning replacement for Betemit. All told, the duo combines into a pretty good player. Good enough that the difference between Detroit and Texas at the spot is not significant.
Left field: Delmon Young vs. David Murphy, Craig Gentry
Young injured himself in Game 5 of the ALDS, but reports are that he should be fine for the ALCS. If not, Raburn will start in his place. Young has played his way into a 2012 role with the Tigers, but he's doing so on the backing of a hot streak that might not be sustainable long-term. He's a statue in left field and his value is tied up completely in swatting home runs. Murphy, meanwhile, parlayed a hot September into more playing time and has been sharing time with Gentry, with Murphy getting PT against right-handers and Gentry mostly playing against lefties. If Young wasn't performing well as of late, this would probably be a slight edge to the Rangers, but as long as Young's hot streak is carrying him, we'll call this even.
Center field: Austin Jackson vs. Josh Hamilton
This isn't a difficult decision at all. Hamilton is one of the best hitters in the game and is the reigning AL MVP. Austin Jackson, meanwhile, rode a lot of luck to a .293 batting average last season that sank to .249 this year. He has strong defense, but is miscast as the leadoff hitter.
Right field: Magglio Ordonez vs. Nelson Cruz
At one point this season, Ordonez contemplated hanging his spikes up. Good thing he didn't, for he hit .365 from Aug. 21 to the end of the year and finished the ALDS with five hits in 11 at-bats, including a 3-for-3 effort in Game 2. When Ordonez is hot, he can still beat any pitcher, regardless of his advanced age. But his defense is questionable, and Nelson Cruz is a better hitter at this point. Although Cruz is slumping significantly, gathering just one hit in 15 trips to the plate during the ALDS against the Rays, he remains the better player.
Designated hitter: Victor Martinez vs. Young
A certain three-year-old, I'm sure, would pick Young here with an edge. But both Martinez and Young are remarkably similar in production at the DH spot, and the numbers are uncannily similar even though Young has played in 14 more games. Take a look:
Martinez: .330/.380/.470, 12 HR, 103 RBI
Young: .338/.380/.474, 11 HR, 106 RBI
How can you not call this even?
Starting pitching: Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, Rick Porcello vs. C.J. Wilson, Derek Holland, Colby Lewis, Matt Harrison
The order listed here is the order that both teams have announced will go in the ALCS, so let's judge it on these parameters. For one, the Tigers clearly lose by not being able to set up their rotation they way they wanted. Rick Porcello, obviously the lesser member of the quartet, will start twice while Max Scherzer only draws Game 4 after appearing in relief during Game 5 of the ALDS. Regardless, the Tigers still hold an overall edge here. You don't need me to throw more platitudes Verlander's way, and Fister has been a revelation since coming over from Seattle (although he's veering fast into overrated territory) and Scherzer is a quality pitcher whose potential breakout has been tantalizing pitchers for quite some time.
Over in Texas, C.J. Wilson is a great pitcher, but doesn't quite stack up to Verlander. Porcello matching up against Derek Holland pits a battle of proming young pitchers, especially Holland, who is showing signs of emerging into an ace but is lacks consistency and is prone to the wild inning if he lets the game get away from him. Lewis has an incredible postseason record, but his propensity to give up the long ball held him back in the regular season. Harrison impressed against the Rays by punching out nine but could only last five innings and the jury is still out on just how good a picher he is.
All told, yet another matchup where both teams look even -- but not quite, as Verlander is the man that tips the scales in the Tigers' favor.
Relief pitching: Jose Valverde and co. vs. Neftali Feliz and co.
Both Valverde and Feliz are good pitchers when on, but both can also be maddeningly inconsistent. The Tigers closer can point to his 49 of 49 record in saves, but he walks way too much to be reliable. Feliz, meanwhile, took a clear step back from last season when he closed 40 games as a rookie and lost his strong command. He's been much better since the All-Star break, though, and if I had to pick one closer, I'd take Feliz. Texas also has a vaunted setup corps, boasting Mike Adams (who is still one of the best relievers in the game despite a spike in home runs allowed), Koji Uehara, Alexi Ogando, Mike Gonzalez and Darrell Oliver most notably.
Texas' 3.79 bullpen ERA during the regular season was fifth-best in the AL and would have been even better with full years of all relievers mentioned sans Feliz and Oliver, who have been with the club all year. By comparison, the Tigers' two best relievers are Al Alburquerque and Joaquin Benoit, but Alburquerque only pitched 14 1/3 innings in the second half and did not look good in Games 1 and 4 of the ALDS. The Tigers pen has a chance to be a good one, but Texas is the better bet to come out on top in the war of bullpens.
Defensive statistics are getting a bum rap these days, and it's understandable. Quantifying defense is a very difficult thing to do and no defensive metric out there can be relied on. However, when you have a large sample to draw from, multiple numbers to look at and enough of a disparity in the numbers, it becomes obvious which defense holds up. And that's the Rangers, who score well in defensive metrics, largely on the strength of Andrus, Kinsler and Beltre, while the Tigers are affected by the tin gloves of Betemit, Cabrera, and Young the most.
Both teams shape up to be remarkably even all across the board -- even though both teams are the last two standing in the AL and it makes sense that they would be equals, it's not often you see such a balanced division. It will come down to the postseason mantra of good pitching always beating good hitting, and given the presence of Verlander, I'll give the nod to Detroit vanquishing Texas in six games, while Daniel Knobler likes Detroit too, but in seven.
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Tags: 2011 playoffs, Adrian Beltre, Al Alburquerque, AL Central, AL West, ALCS, ALCS preview, Alex Avila, Alexi Ogando, Austin Jackson, Brandon Inge, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis, Craig Gentry, David Murphy, Delmon Young, Derek Holland, Doug Fister, Elvis Andrus, Evan Brunell, Ian Kinsler, Jhonny Peralta, Jim Leyland, Joaquin Benoit, Jose Valverde, Josh Hamilton, Justin Verlander, Koji Uehara, Magglio Ordonez, Matt Harrison, Max Scherzer, Michael Young, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Adams Darrell Oliver, Mike Gonzalez, Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland, Neftali Feliz, Nelson Cruz, Ramon Santiago, Rangers, Rick Porcello, Ron Washington, Ryan Raburn, Tigers, Tigers-Rangers, Victor Martinez, WIlson Betemit, Yorvit Torrealba
Posted on: September 4, 2011 7:17 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
If the Tigers make the playoffs, they'll do it without outfielder Brennan Boesch. The 26-year-old will have surgery later this week to repair a torn tendon in his right thumb, he told reporters before Sunday's game against the White Sox.
Boesch is expected to make a full recovery in time for spring training. Boesch hurt his thumb swinging at a Justin Masterson fastball on Aug. 9, but tried to play through it. On Aug. 24, he had enough, removing himself from the game. Hitting .283/.341/.458 with 16 home runs on the season, Boesch hit .240/.296/.280 after the injury. He was last used Wednesday as a pinch-runner.
Boesch said he tried to fight through the pain and even used a splint, but in the end, he wasn't performing like he knew he could.
"But the way I swing and follow through, I just wasn't able to perform," Boesch told reporters (Detroit News). "The ligament is torn. I don't have a soft, easy swing. It's a violent swing. I finish high, with one hand. My goal every time I step on the field is to do damage and be a threat."
With Boesch's injury, last month's waiver deal to get outfielder Delmon Young from the Twins looks that much better. Since joining the Tigers, Young has hit .280/.282/.451 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games.
The Tigers also activated reliever Al Alburquerque earlier in the day. The right-hander had been on the DL as a result of a concussion.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 7:50 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
Alburquerque was hit by a line drive during batting practice on Friday before the Tigers game in Baltimore and was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. The team recalled right-hander Ryan Perry after Friday's game to take Alburquerque's spot on the roster.
Alburquerque was diagnosed with a concussion after the ball hit him above the left ear and he also had some slight internal bleeding, according to Detroit's head trainer, Kevin Rand. He has been placed on anti-seizure medication and will be re-evaluated "at the end of the week," Rand told Tom Gage of the Detroit News.
Alburquerque can't fly with the team on Sunday because of air pressure on the flight.
"If we were on the West Coast we might have to fly, but being close to Detroit as we are, it is more prudent to drive," Rand told Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
Alburquerque, 25, is 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 34 appearances for the Tigers this season, striking out 57 and walking 27 in 37 innings pitched.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 6:17 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2011 8:40 pm
By Matt Snyder
Tigers relief pitcher Al Alburquerque was hit in the head and carted off the field during batting practice Friday evening in Baltimore. According to various reports, he was struck in the head by a fly ball off the bat of Robert Andino during Orioles batting practice as the Tigers' pitchers were playing catch down the left field line. He reportedly writhed in pain on the ground, kicking his legs, as medical personnel and teammates rushed to his aid. He did eventually stand up and get onto a cart before being taken off the field (Detroit Free-Press).
Alburquerque has suffered a concussion and will be forced to spend the night in the hospital for observation (Roch Kubatko via Twitter).
Andino was reportedly so shaken he didn't want to continue taking batting practice.
"I hit it and I saw where it was going and he wasn't looking," Andino said (Orioles Insider). "I tried to yell, but it was too late."
Alburquerque, 25, has been a godsend to the Tigers' bullpen this season. The rookie reliever has a 2.19 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 37 innings of work and has served as a quality setup man for closer Jose Valverde when called upon.
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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:38 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:05 pm
By Matt Snyder
The AL Central has been the most upside-down of all divisions in baseball this year, at least according to preseason expectations. Thus, the team doesn't much look like one we'd expect. Let's dive in.
C Alex Avila, Tigers: Very easy choice here, as the AL All-Star starter resides in this division. It's just that if you read that phrase at the start of the season it would have been very obvious we were talking about Joe Mauer. And if Mauer went down with an injury for a while -- as he did -- the next in line would have likely been Carlos Santana. Nope, it's instead Avila. With a .370 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 46 RBI, he's the man. It's been that kind of year in the Central.
1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers: This was a very tough call over Paul Konerko. The two are so comparable across the board that it's hard to make a distinction. We'll give the nod to Cabrera based upon the 40-point lead in on-base percentage, but this is really a dead-heat. The fans certainly got the AL "Final Vote" right when electing Konerko.
SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians: Unlike second base, we're loaded here, with Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Alexei Ramirez. Alcides Escobar is a defensive stud, too. Cabrera, though, is hitting .293/.387/.489 with 14 homers, 51 RBI, 55 runs and 12 steals. Ramirez is our runner-up here, because we're doing something else with Peralta ...
3B Jhonny Peralta, Tigers: There was no other choice. I had to cheat and move Peralta back to third. Otherwise we were looking at Danny Valencia, Brent Morel, Mark Teahan, Jack Hannahan or the stuggled yet promising Mike Moustakas. Or some other players who aren't even close to All-Stars at this point, yet have been seeing time at third in this division. So we're using Peralta and his .312 average, 14 homers and 50 RBI.
LF Alex Gordon, Royals: After years of waiting, here is the Alex Gordon many were thinking would show his face in 2007. He's put up good numbers -- 11 homers, 50 runs, 50 RBI, 24 doubles, six steals -- and been a steady force in the lineup for the Royals. Even atop the lineup, which we didn't think we'd see when he arrived on the scene. This was a tough call over Brennan Boesch, but we're giving Gordon the nod.
CF Melky Cabrera, Royals: Grady Sizemore missed a lot of games due to injury, Austin Jackson has taken a step backward, Denard Span has missed a lot of games and Alex Rios has been awful. Who's that leave? Yep, Cabrera. Apparently it's the best last name to sport in this division, as 33 percent of the starting lineup has it. Melky has hit for average, hit for power, run well and been a leader for the young Royals. It's shocking to say it, but he's the easy choice here (again, it's backwards).
RF Carlos Quentin, White Sox: Once again, Boesch gets passed over. Quentin has 17 home runs, 51 RBI, a solid OBP due to walks and hit-by-pitches and plays solid defense in right for the White Sox. Plus, Konerko and Quentin have had to pick up some serious slack in the power department with the disappearance of Rios and Adam Dunn. This is actually a pretty loaded position, too, with Jeff Francoeur having a good year, Shin-Soo Choo's talent (when healthy), Michael Cuddyer and Boesch.
DH Travis Hafner, Indians: Sure, he's missed a small chunk of games, but Pronk has shown much more power than Victor Martinez, and that's what we want in a DH. Hafner has eight home runs and a .528 slugging percentage in 51 games, while Martinez has only hit six homers in 77 games with a .457 slugging percentage. Billy Butler also gets squeezed out here with having a bit less power than Martinez.
SP Justin Verlander, Tigers: Guys like Justin Masterson and Scott Baker are having pretty good seasons, but there's really no reason to even expand on the discussion. Verlander is starting to come up with Roy Halladay in the best-pitcher-in-baseball discussions.
RP Al Alburquerque, Tigers: The rookie has been a Godsend for the Tigers' bullpen, as he's taken over the setup role Joel Zumaya can never stay healthy enough to hold down. Plus, big-money free agent signee Joaquin Benoit faltered early in the season. Alburquerque stepped up and struck out 47 hitters in just 29 innings. Rafael Perez is the runner-up here, but Alburquerque gets the nod.
CL Chris Perez, Indians: Too bad Joakim Soria wasn't quite himself early in the season, because this could have been easy. Instead, we've got a three-way race with no right answer. No matter how many ways you look at Chris Perez, Sergio Santos and Jose Valverde, there's no real way to argue and ironclad case as one man emerging as the absolute best of the three. We'll go with Perez, but it's a coin-flip.
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Tags: Al Alburquerque, AL Central, Alex Avila, Alex Gordon, All-Star Game, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carlos Quentin, Chris Perez, Gordon Beckham, Indians, Indians, Indians, Jhonny Peralta, Justin Verlander, Melky Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera, Royals, Royals, Tigers, Tigers, Tigers, Tigers, Tigers, Travis Hafner, White Sox, White Sox