Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Look at the 40 Man Roster

As we hit the All-Star break, it’s inevitable that the 40 man roster will be changing in upcoming weeks as Dave Dombrowski makes some moves in an attempt to put the Tigers in a better position to win the AL Central. I thought now would be a good time to run through the roster and offer thoughts on each man.

The list is in the order of my personal preferences of each player. I’ll also include where the player ranked the last time I did one of these (2/19/12). And actually, with injuries, there are 43 players on the 40 man roster as of this writing. Since my opinions on some players change by the hour because I’m a moody psychopath, there are a couple big jumps in where guys appear.

I’d have had this up sooner, but the storms in the past week had knocked my internet out for days. I’m not complaining as many are still without power around here. Enough of that and onto the list…

1. (1) Miguel Cabrera, Third Base
AKA: Big Mig, Miggy, Notorious MIG, Young MC

My favorite player and the most amazing hitter I’ve ever seen in Detroit. His defense at 3B, while not superb, has been a nice surprise this season. His first AL MVP is there for the taking this year with Josh Hamilton slowing down in Texas.

2. (5) Austin Jackson, Center Field
AKA: AJ, AJax, Oh Jackson!, Curtis Who?

I couldn’t be happier with Austin’s dramatic jump in offensive productivity this year. Always a star on defense, he’s been arguably the best Tiger hitter in the first half. He’s also cut down his strikeout rate, which was everyone’s biggest criticism of him before this year. Austin’s quickly developing into a human highlight reel.

3. (2) Justin Verlander, Starting Pitcher
AKA: JV, Must-See-JV, Cyborg, Kate Upton’s Stalker

The best pitcher in baseball just keeps being awesome. No other pitcher in the game goes out in each start with many wondering if today’s the day for another no-hitter. I continue to hope that Tiger fans appreciate having JV and Mig, the best pitcher and hitter in the game, on the same baseball team.

4. (3) Victor Martinez, Designated Hitter
AKA: V-Mart, Boomstick

Martinez has spent the season on the DL with a knee owie. If all goes well, he could rejoin the team in mid-September for a much needed jump in offense and team leadership. Who knows where they’d be right now if Victor had been healthy? Up 5 games in the Central? Probably not, but the man has been missed greatly.

5. (10) Prince Fielder, First Base
AKA: The Prince, Cecil Jr, Fatty Fatty Fat Fat

He’s getting more comfortable in Detroit and that is bad news for opposing pitchers. Whether you think he’s overpaid or not, it’s been sweet watching the big guy pummel baseballs all over the field this year. If only he could play some defense or actually stretch for the occasional throw…

6. (6) Phil Coke, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Cokehead, Nutjob, Boss

The sprint from the bullpen. The entertaining interviews. The finger point. The shrug. Phil Coke is just fun to watch and, more often than not, gets the job done out of the pen. Love the guy.

7. (4) Doug Fister, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Mr. Fister, The Dougie

Doug was amazing last year in Detroit. And this year, he’s been hurt most of the year. He is finally getting going again and if he’s anything like 2011’s Fister, the Tigers are going to be really fun to watch again down the stretch this year. And as hard of a worker as Doug is, I wouldn’t bet against him.

8. (12) Max Scherzer, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Mad Max, Blue Eye, Brown Eye, Beyond Thunderdome

As always, Max’s game is a Jeckyll and Hyde routine. But the guy is striking guys out at an unbelievable rate this year and looking good out there currently. Add in the inspirational story of how he has handled the sad passing of his brother and Max is a guy you can’t help but root for.

9. (9) Alex Avila, Catcher
AKA: Titanium Catcher, Creaky Knees, AA, Captain Nepotism

Avila, despite actually being given a backup catcher in 2012, has been beat up from the start this year. His offense has suffered, but he’s still capable of delivering the big blow. When he’s on, I think Avila has the prettiest swing on the team. When he’s off, not so much.

10. (7) Ryan Raburn, Second Base/Outfield
AKA: Rayburn, Ryno, DFA Raburn

As one of the only Raburn fans on the planet, I understand you not liking seeing him this high on the list. But I remain a fan of the guy due to his second half heroics the past few years. I still think Ryno can be a big part of this team in a part time role. But the longer he stays in his funk, the harder it is for me to defend him repeatedly.

11. (24) Duane Below, Relief Pitcher
AKA: (Look Out) Below

The dude has been amazing out of the bullpen this year. I wanted him to be the fifth starter most of the year, but his recent spot start showed that his lack of a decent third pitch makes him a much better fit in relief. Duane’s been a huge part of the overall effectiveness of the team’s bullpen in the last couple months.

12. (17) Joaquin Benoit, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Nelly, The Crippler

Benoit’s quietly put up an amazing first half after being dominant in the second half of 2011. The 8th inning has become automatic and Joaquin’s looking more and more like the team’s closer heading into next year. I feel silly now over being upset at the team signing him last year instead of Grant Belfour.

13. (13) Jhonny Peralta, Shortstop
AKA: Silent H, Double or Nothing

Jhonny’s been quiet this year, but like many, is showing signs of life in the past week. He’s unlikely to be as productive as he was in 2011, but if Jhonny keeps making the routine plays at short and knocking around the occasional double, he’ll remain a plus to the team in the second half.

14. (8) Jose Valverde, Closer
AKA: Big Potato, Papa Grande, Jonesy Version 2.0

Valverde’s a walking roller coaster in the 9th this year after being perfect in save chances in 2011. But the guy’s just fun to root for and hell, we’re used to shaky closers on this team. Jose’s a good guy and it’s probably his last year in Detroit. And other than in Saturday’s game, the guy has looked really good since recovering from an arm injury.

15. (11) Rick Porcello, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Kid Rick, FredFred

It’s hard to remember that he’s still only 23 years old. It seems like he should be 27 at this point. There’s still time to grow for the guy, but one has to wonder if he’s ever going to live up to the massive potential that many set for him after being drafted. Like Scherzer, he needs to become more consistent at the big league level. But the signs are still there that Kid Rick can be a big part of this team in the years to come.

16. (40) Brayan Villarreal, Relief Pitcher
AKA: New Zoom

I WAS WRONG. I may have never been more wrong about a pitcher. I thought Brayan was awful coming into this season. But that was based on seeing him as a starter the previous year. Out of the pen, he’s been this year’s Zumaya/Alburquerque breakthrough and is a strikeout machine. If he keeps this up, he may be the real “closer of the future” that has been a label put on so many the past few years. But Villarreal is no Ryan Perry, thank goodness.

17. (18) Ramon Santiago, Infield
AKA: Wee Ramon, Little Ramon, Razor Ramon, Sneaky, Santi

The longest tenured Tiger continues to be what he is. He’s a decent fielder at three positions and a below average hitter. Second base has been less of a problem with Ramon getting the majority of the reps there. He’s a good teammate and a solid role player, but I still fully expect the team to acquire a second baseman at the deadline.

18. (28) Gerald Laird, Catcher
AKA: G-Money, Lard

Laird has been one of the few pleasant surprises for the Tigers this year. He has embraced his backup role and provides comic relief to the team, whether it be intentional or not. Laird has actually outplayed Avila in the first half, something no one thought would happen. G$ has been money so far, props to him.

19. (16) Al Alburquerque, Relief Pitcher
AKA: AlAl, Wrong Turn

Another guy that’s been out all year on the disabled list, Al’s looking to hopefully make it back to Detroit in a month or so. If he’s the strikeout machine he was the first half of 2011, he’ll be an amazing addition to the team. If he’s shaky out of the pen like he was in the playoffs, we might be better off letting him get back to form in Triple A down the stretch.

20. (NR) Drew Smyly, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Smyly D, Drew Frowny, Nostrils

I don’t know about you, but I like him better than Brad Penny as the fifth starter. The rookie has been serviceable in the rotation this year and hasn’t looked the slightest bit nervous out there. And he seems to be getting better as he gains more experience as his 10 strikeout game on Friday showed us.

21. (23) Octavio Dotel, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Gramps, Don’t Ask Dotel

The only guy on the roster older than me has been decent out of the pen this year. Only a blowup in Seattle earlier in the season has kept him from being really good this year. Dotel is a solid 7th inning guy and will continue to set the table for Joaquin Benoit in the second half. Just don’t let him face lefties, Jim.

22. (14) Jacob Turner, Starting Pitcher
AKA: The Future

I still haven’t seen enough of the team’s top pitching prospect to have a great opinion of him yet. But he’s heating up in Triple A and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in the next couple months in Detroit once again.

23. (27) Andy Dirks, Outfield
AKA: Tumor Neck, Forrest Dirks

Dirks was hitting the snot out of the ball before his leg fell off early this year. He doesn’t have the track record to say he’ll come back hitting like he was at the start of the season, but Andy’s probably the team’s second best defensive outfielder and is the ideal fourth outfielder for any team.

24. (NR) Quintin Berry, Outfield
AKA: Q, Boo Berry, Franken Berry, The Savior

Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Berry has given the team a lift since his promotion from nowhere this year. The career minor leaguer leads the team in stolen bases and excited hand claps. I’ve never been a fan of the slap-hitting bunting guys, but even I can’t help getting excited at the energy the guy’s brought to the ballclub.

25. (32) Luis Marte, Relief Pitcher
AKA: None

Marte’s found a nice spot as a long reliever this year. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done more often than not. Harmless guy that may have a decent upside in coming years.

26. (NR) Thad Weber, Pitcher
AKA: None

I’m not a big fan of his ability, but the fact that he called out Lynn Henning on Twitter for getting his age wrong and suggesting he be DFA’d made me laugh. Well done, Thad. Now change you name. Thad is a terrible name.

27. Darin Downs (NR) Darin Downs, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Brain Damage

Downs’ story of having a line drive to the noggin almost killing him and then making it to the majors is a great one. An even better one is that he’s looked pretty good in his first couple MLB outings. I’m a sucker for LOOGY’s, so I’m liking Downs so far, despite his Will Rhymes haircut.

28. (20) Danny Worth, Infield
AKA: Worthless, Lynn Henning’s Favorite Player

Worth seems like he’s fallen into the Scott Sizemore trap of not being one of Jim Leyland’s favorite players. In his time with the Tigers this year, he has done little but warm the bench. Worth is a slick fielder, but his terrible bat is going to keep him from sticking with the club for the foreseeable future.

29. (37) Avisail Garcia, Outfield
AKA: None

Garcia’s tearing up the minors and has recently been promoted to Double A. His success leads me to think he might be a trade chip as we approach the deadline at the end of July.

30. (25) Casey Crosby, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Mighty Casey, Bing

Crosby has done a good job in coming back from Tommy John surgery to make his big league debut this year. But his control issues and hittable stuff has him as a question mark looking toward the future.

31. (19) Delmon Young, Left Field/DH
AKA: Elmon, DY, Delmonster, Doom Stick

I would like to shake the hand of whoever reminded Delmon he’s in a contract year this past week. Between his off the field problems, embarrassing defense, and his abysmal plate discipline, it’s easy to hate on Delmon. But when he hits homers like he has the past four days and in the playoffs last year, that hate can easily turn into cheers. Keep it up, big man.

32. (NR) Bryan Holaday, Catcher
AKA: None

Did an okay job filling in for the injured Tiger catchers earlier in the year. Nothing special, but nothing awful, either.

33. (29) Adam Wilk, Pitcher
AKA: Got Wilk?

The definition of a Quad-A pitcher. Wilk’s been great for Toledo, but he gets rocked every time the Tigers give him a shot. He’s a control pitcher that needs to hit his spots to succeed.

34. (38) Hernan Perez, Infield
AKA: None

Was fun to see him collect his first MLB hit this year. He’s still a couple years away from contributing, though, I’d say.

35. (35) Matt Hoffman, Relief Pitcher
AKA: None

Doing okay in the minors. To be continued.

36. (30) Don Kelly, Utility Man
AKA: Donnie (Sucks At) Baseball, Bane of my Existence

My favorite whipping boy has had a rough year at the plate. Probably because he’s an abortion of an offensive player. But Kelly remains valuable due to his ability to play every position decently on D.

37. (34) Tyler Stohr, Pitcher
AKA: None

Can throw 96 mph. Know little else about him. On Twitter. Ask him if you want to know more.

38. (36) Jose Ortega, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Taco Seasoning

Throws hard. But needs to master at least one more pitch and learn some control if he wants to stay in Detroit.

39. (31) Andy Oliver, Starting Pitcher
AKA: Wild Thing

Has no idea where the strike zone is. And his stock falls more every day that he doesn’t figure that out.

40. (NR) Luke Putkonen, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Pokemon

I’m not a fan.

41. (NR) Kelvin De La Cruz, Pitcher
AKA: None

I have no idea who this is.

42. (15) Brennan Boesch, Outfielder
AKA: Boeschit, Mr. Swing at Everything

This one, I was right about. I said Boesch sucked. I was told I was wrong. Then he played well. I said I was wrong. But this year, he is showing me that I should have kept my original opinion. He has no plate discipline. Not only is he lazy in the outfield, he is terrible out there. I can’t stand Boesch and I’m not changing my mind this time unless he hits at least .500 the rest of the way. Sorry, ladies.

43. (39) Daniel Schlereth, Relief Pitcher
AKA: Stink Jr

Ugh. Hope his arm falls off.


Zgasior said...

I'm not sure what the fascination with Boesch is.  Every time I see him, I'm reminded of Q-bert from Futurama (who was left in his test tube too long, so his nose got squished against the glass). said...

Nice work!!!

H2OPoloPunk said...

Nice work.

Another nickname for Fister: Uncle Fister.

jim bunn said...

My only change would be moving Ryan Raburn to 43 and everyone below up one spot. I just do not understand Raburn love that seems to effect everyone from normally sane bloggers to old managers that are just plain stubborn. Sure there have been some "Almost Home Runs" lately and a nice defensive play last week but batting .187 at the All Star Break is AWFUL.

Brandon Inge lost his job for batting 200. Trade Raburn to some National League Team for anyone in the league and move on from Mr. August.

Ricklehman said...

Fatty Fatty Fat Fat........good one!!

JD Crimson said...

Agree.  The obsession with Raburn despite is production THIS YEAR is approaching Jimmy Leyland territory.  Not saying get rid of him, but #7?  Seriously?  

Jay Hathaway said...

"I don’t know about you, but I like him better than Brad Penny as the fifth starter."  --  Yeah, that's a bit of an understatement.

"Don't ask Dotel"  --  Fucking hilarious.

I don't hate on Boesch as much as you, but I can't argue with your assessment of him.  I just see the potential for upside, but he better show it soon.  Remember when Granderson used to predictably swing at those inside breaking balls?  It would be nice if Brennan could figure out whatever Curtis did.

I'm with you about the 2B situation.  I would be absolutely shocked if DD didn't make a move to fill it before the deadline.  I'm thinking Scutaro or (if we're lucky) Altuve, because Houston can afford to lose him due to their depth of 2B prospects..  For my crazy surprise trade deadline move, I predict that we get Victorino to boost the bats and the OF.  I would then likely shit pants.

Laird IS a funny ass dude.  I like him much more now as a backup than when he was our starter.  He always surprises me with his baserunnning speed, too.  He gots sneaky speed (sorry Ramon).

For the second half, I predict that Rod will say at least one "oops" derogatory comment about some minority group, perhaps, I don't know...let's predict...Italians.  ("At the end of the day, we know this much is true: them eye-talians love them some meatballs.  You know pahtnah?  They be driving them Camaros, too.  Aww, damn, I did it again, didn't I?")

Let's go forth and kick ass.

P.S. - Congrats, Prince, for the HR Derby win.

EightMileCats said...

That is my biggest hope.  Altuve to the Tigers.  Not sure what we'd have to give up for him, probably quite a bit...  but I doubt it'd have to include Castellanos/Turner.

Tim said...

Boesch is a sucker for that down and in curve ball.  It bounces and he pounces.