Tuesday, September 30, 2008

IC Rankings - Week 6

Sorry these are a bit late. Minnesota's loss to Ohio State moves the Buckeyes into the rankings and moves Northwestern into the #1 spot. Wake Forest and Wisconsin were the other top 10 teams to lose. New to the rankings are undefeated Oklahoma State and Penn State as well as the aforementioned Buckeyes.

  1. Northewstern (3 last week)
  2. Tulsa (2)
  3. Vanderbilt (4)
  4. Duke (5)
  5. Connecticut (7)
  6. Alabama (10)
  7. Utah (9)
  8. South Florida (13)
  9. Minnesota (1)
  10. Arizona (11)
  11. Texas (17)
  12. Michigan State (14)
  13. Wake Forest (6)
  14. Kansas State (15)
  15. Notre Dame (18)
  16. Wisconsin (8)
  17. Ball State (22)
  18. Kansas (19)
  19. LSU (23)
  20. Mississippi (24)
  21. Nebraska (12)
  22. Oklahoma State (NR)
  23. Ohio State (NR)
  24. Baylor (25)
  25. Penn State (NR)
Also Receiving Votes: Penn State, Pittsburgh, Colorado, Missouri, Auburn, UNLV, BYU, Iowa, Arkansas State, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Rice, Iowa State

Monday, September 29, 2008

Service Time Estimates and Options

40 Man Roster:
Brandon Lyon 6.142 (2*&)
Jeremy Bonderman 6.000 (3*&)
Fernando Rodney 5.137 (0)
Dontrelle Willis 5.073 (2*&)
Nate Robertson 5.065 (2*&)
Bobby Seay 4.118 (0)
Edwin Jackson 3.070 (0)
Justin Verlander 3.002 (2&)
Joel Zumaya 3.000 (3)
Zach Miner 2.078 (2)
Armando Galarraga 1.019 (1)
Freddy Dolsi 0.132 (3%)
Clay Rapada 0.120 (1%)
Chris Lambert 0.034 (3%)
Rick Porcello 0.013 (3)
Eddie Bonine 0.027 (2%)
Alfredo Figaro 0.000 (3%)
Luke French 0.000 (3%)
Fu-Te Ni 0.000 (3)
Ryan Perry 0.000 (3%)
Zach Simons 0.000 (3%)

Gerald Laird 4.077 (1&)
Dusty Ryan 0.028 (3%)
Dane Sardinha 0.113 (0)
Matt Treanor 4.093 (2&)

Placido Polanco 10.064 (1*&)
Carlos Guillen 10.000 (0)
Adam Everett 6.091 (0)
Miguel Cabrera 5.101 (3*&%)
Ramon Santiago 4.095 (0)
Mike Hessman 1.002 (0)
Jeff Larish 0.072 (2%)
Michael Hollimon 0.033 (2%)

Magglio Ordonez 11.032 (3*&)
Marcus Thames 4.108 (0)
Curtis Granderson 3.077 (2&)
Ryan Raburn 1.109 (1&)
Josh Anderson 0.076 (0)
Clete Thomas 0.072 (2%)
Wilkin Ramirez 0.000 (3%)
Casper Wells 0.000 (3%)

*Players with over five years of service can refuse optional assignments.
&Players who made their debut over three years ago must clear revocable waivers before being sent to the minors. Players almost always clear waivers this way.
%Option used in 2009. Number represents options left before season.

Not on the 40-man Roster (Anybody not listed has three options and no service time):
Nate Bump 2.091 (2)
Macay McBride 1.165 (0)
Ruddy Lugo 1.106 (2)
Mike Hessman 1.002 (0)
Brent Clevlen 0.094 (0)
Don Kelly 0.091 (1)

Service Time information courtesy of a combination of Cot's Contracts, the Tigers Media Guide, and my calculations from transaction information.

All service time is through the end of the 2008 season. It will be too cumbersome to update this every day.
All option data is through the end of the 2008 season. Once the season starts, I will not change the amount of options left once a player has used an option, but I will instead indicate that an option has been used without changing the number of options left.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

And... one more post

I just saw this from Jon Heyman's latest rant about people who are smarter than him. From Heyman via Fire Joe Morgan:

But like all other stats, it doesn't replace watching the games or following the season.

From me: Don't you pretty much have to be in your mother's basement to be able to see all of the games? Seriously, 45 hours of baseball are played most days during the season. By that token, it is impossible to get as much information from watching the games as you can from the stats. Granted, there are things that don't show up in the stats, but without watching 45 hours of baseball every day, you're not going to be able to fairly account for those things... That is unless you got some friends together to keep track of that thing that doesn't show up in the stats and then compared how often it happened after the game. Then you have... a statistic!

I wish people wouldn't take their inability to understand statistics out on the statistics themselves.

Really quick Hall of Fame pondering

In 2008, starting pitchers got the win in 69.3% of games.
In 1968, starting pitchers got the win in 78.5% of games.

By this token, a starting pitcher who pitched 40 years ago and won 300 games would only win 265 in today's era. Voters should not be penalizing players who don't make it to 300. Yes, I'm talking about Mike Mussina.

Renteria says he wants to return.

This headline is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Sure, Renteria says he wants to return, but in this world what somebody says is not necessarily what they mean. Call me a cynic if you will, but statements like this may only be used to raise his price. This may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain.

The Tigers have three options on what to do with Renteria's contract. They can buy it out for $3-million or accept the option for $12-million more. If they refuse the option, they can offer arbitration or decline it.

What do these mean for Renteria?
Accepted Option : $12,000,000
Declined Option + Offered Arbitration : $3,000,000 + Arbitration/Negotiated Salary from Tigers or $3,000,000 + Salary from other team
Declined Option + Declined Arbitration : $3,000,000 + Salary from Other Team or Tigers

By declaring his "desire" to stay in Detroit, Renteria is reducing the Tigers' chance of declining the option and offering arbitration. If they offer arbitration, because Renteria is a Type A free agent, the Tigers will recieve a draft pick from the signing team for him. The other team, not wanting to part with that draft pick, will likely be less willing to dish out top money for him. In doing this, Renteria is increasing the risk for the Tigers if they decline the option and offer arbitration. Reducing the likelihood of this outcome reduces the chance that the Tigers will do it, thereby reducing the chance of Renteria's least desirable outcome to occur.

While this article may sound like Renteria loves Detroit, it could simply be a case of clever negotiation tactics.

Offseason: What to Expect in October

The Tigers will know if the offseason will start today or tomorrow after the Twins and White Sox play their games today. Regardless of when it does, I wanted to provide some context to some of the procedural moves that will happen while the league's best (and the Dodgers) duke it out in the postseason.

Assuming Todd Jones is not taking up a roster spot, the Tigers currently have 39 players on the 40 man roster with three more on the 60-day DL. I believe they can wait until some of the eligible free agents file to activate them from the disabled list, so there may not be a rush to make moves.

Numerous players will be crossing the waiver wire in October. It is possible the Tigers could snag a player off waivers that somebody else is trying to pass through. Remember, though, that they need to have room on the roster to do so. Also, bear in mind that it may not be a wise move to claim every player out there off waivers because roster spots are at a premium. To make room for possible claims, some players may be removed early. Dane Sardinha and Gary Glover come to mind as candidates.

This is where outright free agents come into play. These are guys who could declare free agency before the rest of the minor league and major league free agents. Any player with more than three year's experience who is removed from the 40 man roster or a player who is removed for at least the second time can declare free agency through this route. Most of these players are eligible for minor league free agency, but they may get their names in the transactions log this route. So far, Francis Beltran and Francisco Cruceta are eligible to declare free agency. Most of the players who would get outrighted in October may also end up on this list.

Finally, we will likely see staff changes in October, probably immediately after the season. Aside from any rumored coaches, keep an eye on the trainer situation. Certainly if the bloggers have turned on Kevin Rand and his staff, there has to be some discussion of a change there. Rand, himself, was hired in October of 2002. If you want to see a change, don't get your hopes up. Rand is one of Dave Dombrowski's guys, working for the Marlins from 1993-2001 and the Tigers since 2003. As for the coaches, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez would certainly be near the top of any list of coaches in jeopardy.

Inge back to third

Brandon Inge will be the Tigers' regular third baseman next year. This is a move that is sure to improve the team's infield defense and provide some more stability at a third base position that was bound to have question marks.

Wait, wait, wait, some of you are probably asking? Don't the Tigers have an all star at third base? How will this provide more stability? The answer to that has to do with Carlos Guillen's health. Although he has missed countless games in his career for knee or hamstring injuries, the soreness in his back will prove to be a big deal. Those reading this with sore backs, bend over to field a ground ball and you will see why the Tigers chose this route. (Yes, outfielders have to field grounders as well, but they have to field less and they tend to be weakly hit).

But what about Matt Joyce? I wouldn't cry for him quite yet. This year's left fielder should get plenty of playing time despite this move. First, you have to count on Carlos Guillen to miss some time. He has played 109, 148, 149, 75, and 135 games in the field in his years as a Tiger. Even in his healthy seasons, he seems likely to miss at least 15 games for some nagging injury. Throw in the fact that he will be completing a rehab of some severe back spasms, and he's not likely to be counted on for more than 130 games next year. You have to think that this could spell the end for Gary Sheffield. Would they release him in Spring Training with 499 career homers? Root for him to reach his milestone today so he's not forced into the lineup when he doesn't deserve to be. Regardless, Sheffield is not likely to play 153 games at designated hitter next year. It will be Magglio Ordonez and Guillen who will be taking his place, meaning plenty of playing time for Matt Joyce.

The real intriguing story here is the catcher situation. This decision means one of two things: Dusty Ryan has done enough to earn the starting catching job next year or the Tigers have a trade in place for next year's catcher. Remember last season when it was announced Carlos Guillen's move to first was permanent? It seems likely to me that the Edgar Renteria deal had already been agreed upon at that point, only to be announced right after the World Series. Who could it be? Taylor Teagarden's strong September has probably left the Rangers willing to trade Gerald Laird and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Matt Wieters' emergence may have the Orioles shopping Ramon Hernandez. Those aren't great names, but they are all better than Sardinha.

As for Dusty Ryan, he has shown himself to be ready for at least a part time catching role next year. The thought of he and Inge "platooning" didn't make much sense to me, because both are much better against left-handed pitching. It seems likely that he will be teamed up with one of the many veteran catchers available this offseason. More on them later when I put up final projections for the Elias Rankings.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I need better ads.

"Shoulder Surgery-Mexico
Save 75% on shoulder surgery in Mexico with certified doctors."

I wonder how that one got on there. The cynic in me would make a crack about the Tigers' handling of injuries this year...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Todd Jones Retires

No big shock, but Todd Jones has retired. This is a bit sad. I've always been a fan of his, even when he pitched poorly. It would have been nice if he was able to finish on top instead of limping out with a shoulder injury. I wish him the best and half expect him to be announcing somewhere next year.

Goodbye Millen

Maybe I can spend energy on the Lions now.

Top 30 Revisited

I'm not sure if I ever posted my preseason Top 30 prospects list here. Frankly, when my hard drive crashed, I thought I had lost it forever. When my Number 2 prospect started having one of the worst years of anybody in AAA or the Majors, I can honestly say I was glad that it was lost forever. Well, I found it. I wanted to go over this and laugh at how big of an idiot I was before the season. In the meantime, I'll color code all of the players to show how they moved this year.

means they took a big step forward this year.
Lime green suggests they took a small step in the right direction.
Black will be used in the place of yellow for readability and means the guy stood still this year.
Orange represents a slight step backward.
Red shows a player falling off the map.
  1. Rick Porcello- Will remain number 1 this offseason barring massive shoulder surgery. Given that there has been no report of anything close to that, he should be safe. He really wasn't that good in Lakeland, but there was still a lot to like.
  2. Yorman Bazardo- Yeah, I had him #2. Call it a hunch. Call it stupidity. Call it a hidden shoulder injury affecting his play all year, but a 6.72 ERA and a loss in velocity will move you down from here. A free agent in a matter of weeks, it wouldn't surprise me if Bazardo didn't return. Even if he did, he'd be lucky to crack the top 30.
  3. Michael Hollimon- Had a bit of an off year, but we now know why. Still, he'll be a 27 year old infielder who may not be cut out for shortstop upon his return. It will be imperative for him to show this year was an injury-caused blip lest he be cast in the utility role forever. For now, I'd put Hollimon in the 10-15 prospect range right now.
  4. Jeff Larish- At four because the farm wasn't too strong, Larish is blocked from first base through 2015 for now. Still, he'd need to do better than he did this year to garner consideration for any type of job. I'd tentatively put him in the 5-10 range before next year.
  5. James Skelton- The .098 isolated power number is what has me worried more than the perception that he's too light. I'd tentatively move him down slightly, but there's not many guys that can zoom past him.
  6. Charlie Furbush- Got a bit too wrapped up in the strong opening year campaign. After missing this year with Tommy John surgery, it's entirely possible that he's a sleeper for the next two seasons. Still, he won't be anywhere near the top ten next year. The success rate of Tommy John recoveries keeps him from being red.
  7. Matt Joyce- Even though I doubted his candidacy, this is about as high as you will see Joyce in any ranking. He's been a pleasant surprise this year and seems to have a hold on the left field job for the time being.
  8. Danny Worth- He was about what I expected this year. The shoulder injury sounds serious and could keep him from being a dark horse next spring. I'll probably keep him in right about the same area.
  9. Scott Sizemore- A bit of a disappointment before the hand injury, and a tremendous disappointment once you realize he was shut down after June 2. He'll take a slight drop in the rankings this year.
  10. Virgil Vasquez- Struggled in AAA and didn't get a call in September. Could be at risk of losing his 40 man roster spot over the winter. Currently orange, but was close to red this year.
  11. Brandon Hamilton- Still young, so the control problems in West Michigan are excusable. Evidently, he was around the plate, so it wasn't Eric Beattie bad. He'll get another shot this year and could be a breakout candidate.
  12. Deik Scram- I had him too high. Somewhat overrated because he was drafted as a senior, Scram struggled in Erie this year despite being old for the league. I doubt he cracks my top 30 this offseason.
  13. Casey Crosby- On the road back from Tommy John surgery, Crosby made a few appearances in the GCL. He'll probably move up in the rankings, but only because some guys ahead of him moved down. A nice breakout candidate for 2009.
  14. Jordan Tata- While I don't have enough inside information to come to this conclusion, I would suspect the fall of Jordan Tata could be one of the biggest strikes against the Tigers' training/medical staff. He's gone from possible fill-in to the brink of retirement this year. Nobody is redder than Tata.
  15. Cale Iorg- I wanted to see some results before ranking him aggressively. Considering he was coming off a two year break, the .251/.329/.405 line in Lakeland doesn't look to shabby. Combined with the high strikeouts, it's not the type of line you want from a top prospect. He get's a lime green for not embarrassing himself, but needs a big year in Erie next year.
  16. Alexis Espinoza- Struggled in the GCL. I would chalk it up to a big jump from the Venezuelan Leagues to the US leagues, but Luis Palacios, Lester Oliveros, Victor Larez, and Mauricio Robles seemed to handle it pretty well.
  17. Francisco Cruceta- Cruceta's season reminds me of an old Simpsons episode, where the comet is headed for town and everybody heads for the Flanders' disaster shelter. At the end, the comet turns out to be a pebble that shatters the shelter after everybody had left. Starting the season on the restricted list because of visa issues, there were some lofty expectations for Cruceta, who ended up back in Toledo because he couldn't throw his fastball for a strike. He's red because I don't think he'll be back with the organization next year.
  18. Duane Below- There are legitimate doubts about whether he has the arsenal to get hitters out at a higher level. As soon as the strikeouts dipped below 9 an inning, I started listening to those doubts. He'll probably be around 30 after the season.
  19. Brent Clevlen- I'm not sure what to make of Clevlen. The strikeouts remained an issue, and his BABIP was very high this year. It seems to suggest that he was pretty lucky, even after his luck ran out in August. Out of options next year, the Tigers would be wise to try and swap him for a relief project.
  20. Luke French- Frankly, I'm not sure why I had French so high. His strikeouts plummeted this year. There's still something there, but he'll not only need a big year next year, he'll need a shot at one.
  21. Clete Thomas- A strong year from Clete. Even with the late-season elbow injury, he should be in the team's plans, even if he's not ready for spring training. Because he spent more than 45 days on the active roster, Thomas will not be rookie eligible next season.
  22. Wilkin Ramirez- The scary thing is that this is right around the consensus spot for Wilkin coming into the season. The strikeouts were still there in Erie, and his BABIP was above .400. Even though he is a fast dude, there is reason to be concerned. Still, he should take a big step forward.
  23. Michael Hernandez- I did my rankings before he was shipped out for Armando Galarraga. The ironic part is that Hernandez has already paid off in more ways than anybody on this list, including Matt Joyce. Despite that, he's since been released by Texas and finished the year in low A ball for the Mets. It was a big step back for a guy dealt for the Tigers' best starting pitcher this year.
  24. Clay Rapada- I don't see why the organization felt it necessary to have Casey Fossum on the roster while Rapada was pitching in Toledo. He's in place to be a member of next year's bullpen, but watch out for that shoulder. There were problems in spring and he even spent some time on the disabled list early in the year. That's cause for concern. Rapada, due to having 45 days on the active roster prior to September 1, will not be eligible for next year's rankings.
  25. Noah Krol- Typically, I'm not very bullish when it comes to low level relief prospects. I should have stuck to those guns here, as Krol did not put up the type of age 24 season that justifies keeping a reliever on this list.
  26. Brett Jensen- The Tigers' minor league relievers tend to have problems recovering from Tommy John surgery for whatever reason. P.J. Finigan still isn't back from his problems last year, and Orlando Perdomo went back under the knife during his rehab process. Watch Jensen closely and see if he can get back to full strength. Until he does, he's off the list.
  27. Andrew Kown- Whoops. Released this summer, Kown has since latched on with the Nationals, and put together 17 quality innings for AAA Columbus.
  28. Luke Putkonen- "Minor" offseason shoulder surgery and bouts with shoulder problems all year give me legitimate doubts that Putkonen will stay healthy enough to move up the ladder. That he returned to pitching after having his shoulder checked out by the Tigers' medical staff is hardly reassuring.
  29. Ryan Strieby- A nice power breakout, but I still have doubts that he can hit enough to crack the majors.
  30. Brennan Boesch- Another iffy year for Boesch, who needs to have a Wilkin-like performance in Erie next year to revive his prospect status.

Monday, September 22, 2008

IC Rankings - Week 5

For the first time, the IC Rankings are somewhat stable. #5 Kansas State and #8 Notre Dame were the only teams in the Top 10 to lose. Minnesota becomes the first team to repeat at #1 after a 37-3 win over Florida Atlantic. Tulsa's convincing victory over #22 New Mexico was enough to move them from #3 to #2 after Northestern struggled to hold off 0-4 Ohio. Texas moves into the rankings for the first time after bludgening #11 Rice, who fell out of the rankings. Also new to the rankings: Colorado, Ball State, and LSU.

Once again, these Rankings are not designed to look like other rankings systems. They are designed to test the effect of preseason rankings on the polls by starting in reverse order of last year's finish and using the same patterns displayed in traditional human polls.

  1. Minnesota (1 Last week)
  2. Tulsa (3)
  3. Northwestern (2)
  4. Vanderbilt (7)
  5. Duke (4)
  6. Wake Forest (6)
  7. Connecticut (10
  8. Wisconsin (9)
  9. Utah (12)
  10. Alabama (17)
  11. Arizona (14)
  12. Nebraksa (13)
  13. South Florida (15)
  14. Michigan State (23)
  15. Kansas State (5)
  16. UNLV (16)
  17. Texas (NR)
  18. Notre Dame (8)
  19. Kansas (19)
  20. Arkansas State (25)
  21. Colorado (NR)
  22. Ball State (NR)
  23. LSU (NR)
  24. Mississippi (18)
  25. Baylor (20)
Also Recieving Votes: Marshall, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Iowa, Missouri, Rice, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Fresno State, Louisville, Air Force, Georgia, Penn State

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Thanks, Hollimon, Elias Update

A big thanks to Jon Paul Morosi for his article today and for approaching me for the information.

In other news that fell under the radar from Morosi, Michael Hollimon has a torn left labrum and is out until the middle of next year. I'm a bit strapped for time right now, but will try to have more on this later.

Really quick, I've updated the NL Infielders in the Elias Rankings. This may be the last update this week. I'm not sure how much time I'll have to update the pitchers.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

AL Infielders Updated

Edgar Renteria continues to be safely within Type A Range. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Tigers are apparently on the hook for his buyout. This changes things slightly. In the article, Jon Paul Morosi asserts that the Tigers are likely to buy out Renteria. My hope is that they still offer arbitration, especially since two of the teams who could sign him, the Dodgers and Cardinals, stand to have draft picks between 16 and 25. That is to say the Tigers would get a first round pick for him.

If I have time in the future, I can try to do some economic analysis on the Renteria situation. My gut says it is worth the risk of him accepting to offer him arbitration, even with the $3,000,000 sunk cost.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Forget the Draft Pick

Kyle Farnsworth just sealed his deal. The loss (winning percentage) and the six runs the last two nights make it a veritable impossibility that he will either be a Type B free agent or be offered arbitration if he could get a draft pick. It looks like we'll be able to close the book on this deal after the year, as the Yankees will not want to risk Pudge accepting arbitration. It may truly be a nothing for nothing deal, at best.

On another note, I am relieved to see Gary Glover struggling. The false impression may be over. Talk about dodging a bullet.

Biggest Game of the Year?

  • When the team is on the brink of mathematical elimination, it's a bit weird to be calling a game the biggest of the year. What makes it so important is Dontrelle Willis' return to the Major League mound. After a year battling knee, mechanical, and forearm injuries, Willis has a shot to earn back the rotation spot that was supposed to be his. While I remain skeptical that he is healthy, the only way he will prove his readiness is through pitching effectively. I look forward to tonight because I have no idea what is going to happen.
  • When he was put into the bullpen, I initially thought Gary Glover was brought in to help the team lose and gain draft position. On top of that, I had assumed he would be non-tendered, and not locked into next year's bullpen. Then I saw Jason Beck's piece on him this weekend entitled "Glover making impression with Tigers" Yikes. I know he has pitched well (about as well as could be expected), but I would hate for the Tigers to guarantee this guy a spot in next year's bullpen. His hot streak should be treated as just that: a hot streak. After all, it was a hot streak that led to this team committing guaranteed money to Francisco Cruceta, and it is frequently a hot streak that is responsible for mistakes made by big league teams. The Tigers would be on the hook for at least $860,000 next year. While that can be reduced to severance pay if dropped in spring training, I don't see how it can be justified. Glover's track record just doesn't point to this being a legit turnaround. Non-tender him, and get him signed to a minor league deal if you so desire.
  • On the topic of crappy relievers, during one of the broadcasts last week I heard one of the announcers (I don't remember which one) saying Leyland said he was impressed with Casey Fossum this year. I hope that was just nice talk. There was no excuse for Fossum to be on this team over Rapada this year, and he shouldn't be next year. A large part of the Rays' improved bullpen this year has been the addition by subtraction of guys like Fossum and Glover. Take a cue.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

IC Rankings - Week 4

  1. Minnesota
  2. Northwestern
  3. Tulsa
  4. Duke
  5. Kansas State
  6. Wake Forest
  7. Vanderbilt
  8. Notre Dame
  9. Wisconsin
  10. Connecticut
  11. Rice
  12. Utah
  13. Nebraska
  14. Arizona
  15. South Florida
  16. UNLV
  17. Alabama
  18. Mississippi
  19. Kansas
  20. Baylor
  21. Iowa
  22. New Mexico
  23. Michigan State
  24. Iowa State
  25. Arkansas State
Also Recieving Votes: Buffalo, Colorado, Toledo, San Jose State, Auburn, Ball State, Northern Illinois, Marshall, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Lafayette, Southern Mississippi, Air Force, Oklahoma State

After #1 Rice lost to Vanderbilt, Minnesota slides right in despite an unimpressive win over Montana State. #3 Arizona falls to New Mexico and slides down. New to the rankings are 3-0 Vanderbilt, who handily defeated previously #1 Rice 38-21. Nebraska had a dominant performance over #5 New Mexico State and moved in, as did South Florida after knocking off #4 Kansas. I swear there is no Big Ten bias.

AL OF/1B/DH Updated Too

I've also updated the projected Elias Rankings for 1B/OF/DH. A few notes:

  • The designated hitters fluctuate like crazy. The removal of Matt Stairs and additions of Oscar Salazar, Jeff Larish, and Tug Hullet have done wonders to boost the rankings of the other designated hitters. I could not find precedent for a player being released in September, so I have left Mike Sweeney on the list. Had he qualified as a Type A or B, the A's would not have been entitled to compensation, though. If he ends up not being on the list, all of the designated hitters will see their total fall a few points. Mike Sweeney qualifying could be the difference between one or two draft picks for the Rangers if they get compensation for Milton Bradley.
  • Teixeira, Guerrero, Ibanez, and Abreu remain as Type A's. Jim Thome has been promoted to Type A from B because of the designated hitter madness.
  • Milton Bradley, Garrett Anderson, and Jason Giambi remain Type B's. Frank Thomas and somehow Sean Casey (his batting average and OBP help a lot) are also Type B free agents if the season ended today.
Once again, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the designated hitter rankings because of the Sweeney situation and the fact that it is subject to change dramatically for the rest of the year. This will only affect the scores of those players who qualify at DH right now.

Elias Catchers Updated

In the American League, Jason Varitek remains the only Type A free agent. Ivan Rodriguez has fallen further behind and looks more likely to be a type B. Pudge is the only Type B free agent right now, as Gregg Zaun has lost his status. Miguel Olivo, Rod Barajas, Zaun, and Mike Redmond all are within striking distance of Type B status.

In the National League, Jason Kendell and Paul Lo Duca remain as the only Type B free agents. Lo Duca has lost some ground and could lose his status. Among those close to Type B status, Javier Valentin may not qualify at catcher depending on how national league pinch hitters are treated. Also, it shows how many Astros fans have read this thread as nobody noticed that Brad Ausmus was missing from the last rankings. Somehow, he's right on the brink of Type B status, but still seems to be a long shot.

Updating the firstbasemen and outfielders will be next, either Monday or Wednesday depending on my schedule.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

More on Stress Fractures in the Shoulder

From the Abstract of "Stress Fracture of the humerous in college baseball pitchers: A case report" by Polu, et. al.:

As the number of young people participating in sports at the professional and amateur level grows, so does the incidence of stress fractures in the athletic population.13 Stress fractures usually result from a sudden change in volume or intensity in the athlete's regimen.5 Several theories have been proposed to explain stress fractures. One theory suggests that, over time, repetitive, nonviolent loads applied to bone overwhelm its ability to compensate. As a result, reabsorption exceeds formation and predisposes the weakened bone to a stress fracture.1,5 A second theory considers that stress fractures occur when muscular fatigue leads to alterations in movement patterns, with a redistribution of force to the underlying bone.5 In effect, the shock or energy absorption capabilities of muscle are overpowered, and the bone is subjected to abnormal forces and predisposed to development of a fracture. Devas7 first described stress fractures in the athletic population in 1958. Since then, stress fractures have been documented in various athletic activities, most notably in the tibia or tarsus bones of runners.16 In contrast, stress fractures of the upper extremity have not been as widely reported. Although upper extremity injuries account for 20% of all athletic injuries,15 most are soft tissue injuries of the shoulder.15,22 The number of reported humeral stress fractures is particularly low, and these fractures are usually not recognized until later in the course of injury, when a spiral fracture occurs secondary to muscular violence.1,4,10,12,22 The patient who develops a humeral stress fracture usually experiences a period of arm fatigue and aching after cessation of the sporting activity. Gradually, the pain occurs during the activity itself and can be referred to the shoulder or elbow. Physical examination will reveal tenderness at the site of the stress fracture, but the range of motion of the elbow and shoulder are not affected.76 Stress fractures usually appear as localized periosteal reaction, endosteal thickening, a radiolucent cortical line, or a combination of these three.216 Bone scan and MRI are both sensitive imaging tools in detecting occult fractures. Scintigraphy detects minimal changes in blood flow and metabolism occurring during the abnormal bone remodeling process and is usually positive within 12 to 15 days after the onset of symptoms.5,17,20 Roub et al.20 demonstrated that tibial stress fractures in young athletes could be detected on radionuclide imaging before changes were seen on plain radiographs. Imaging modalities have played a valuable role in the diagnosis of stress fractures. Although plain radiographs are the first modality used in evaluation of bone injury, evidence of stress fracture on radiographs depends on the interval between injury and evaluation. It may take several weeks for stress fractures to become visible on plain radiographs. However, many patients with stress fractures do not have any radiographic findings.
So a stress fracture is either the result of a sudden change of activity (check) or alterations of movement patterns (compensating for injuries?). Obviously, Joel Zumaya's injury was so unique that the recovery process should not have been expected to go smoothly. It just seemed curious to me that he was allowed to continue pitching even though he complained of shoulder pain. Let's just be patient with him, let him get as close to 100 % as possible before letting him pitch again.

Now, what worries me is that something had to have caused this. It could be adjusted mechanics, or it could be something as serious as decreased stability in the shoulder. It just seems like he is at risk of this repeating.

Either way, he shouldn't be expected to contribute to the 2009 Tigers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Zumaya Has Stress Fracture; Tigers Medical Staff Swings and Misses Again


A stress fracture in his shoulder? How can this not be spotted? After failing to spot Clete Thomas's torn elbow ligament for a few months and several other screw ups, I don't see how the Tigers' medical and training staff can stay in place after this year. It has been a disaster.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Junichi Tazawa

One of the places I would advocate that the Tigers look for pitching help is Japan. Today, 22 year old Junichi Tazawa has announced that he will not be joining the professional leagues over there and will instead be coming to the Major Leagues.

Whereas most pitchers who come over from Japan are well into their 30's, Tazawa's arm is fresh and should be able to withstand a multi-year deal. He evidently throws in the mid 90's with a forkball and slider. That sounds like prime reliever material to me, and this could be a piece of a bullpen that is sorely lacking in arms right now.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Elias NL Relievers Posted

I know this one will generate a lot of responses because the rating don't look like one would expect. First I want to remind everybody of what statistics are used for relievers:
  • Total Games (Relief Games + 2*Games Started)
  • Innings Pitched (Weighted 75%)
  • Wins + Saves
  • Winning Percentage
  • ERA
  • IP/H
  • K
Keeping in mind that the formula was developed in 1981, before the save statistic became the monster it is today, it makes sense that it makes up a small portion of this formula. Also, because players are ranked in the categories and then given a score, somebody who racks up a lot of saves will not move way up the list. Jose Valverde leads everybody in the wins+saves category with 94, and gets 144 points in the rankings for that. Several players tied at 8 are getting 76 points in the category. In short, the rankings don't overvalue closers.

As of now, Type A relievers include Ryan Dempster, Russ Springer, Juan Cruz, Brian Fuentes, Doug Brocail, and Kerry Wood. Also among the type A's in Takashi Saito, but I'm not sure if he is a free agent. With his elbow injury and age, I doubt anybody would give up a draft pick to get him anyways.

Type B free agents include Brian Shouse, Jason Isringhausen, Salomon Torres, Joe Beimel, Jeremy Affeldt, Bobby Howry, Dave Weathers, Trevor Hoffmna, Brandon Lyon, and Eric Gagne. Arthur Rhodes just misses out on Type B status.

Juan Cruz's appeal decreases if he will cost a draft pick to sign. I don't see Doug Brocail and Russ Springer netting picks, as it's just not worth it.

Once again, I want to point out these rankings are very close and subject to change in a hurry.

Next I'll go back through the position players. This should be more like rapid fire because I already have the DL info for most of these guys.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Willis and Garcia will start next week

According to Jason Beck.

I don't know what to make of this, but having them start in Texas is certainly throwing them into the fire. I guess we'll see, and hope they can put some good starts together. Especially with Willis, I am firmly in the "I'll believe it when I see it" camp. It will probably be next year when Garcia completely recovers.

Monday, September 08, 2008

College Football Rankings - Week 3

I promise I'll get around to the Tigers eventually, but I wanted to post this week's IC Rankings.

  1. Rice
  2. Minnesota
  3. Arizona
  4. Kansas
  5. New Mexico State
  6. Northwestern
  7. SMU
  8. Tulsa
  9. Duke
  10. Kansas State
  11. Iowa State
  12. Wake Forest
  13. Idaho
  14. Notre Dame
  15. Wisconsin
  16. Connecticut
  17. Utah
  18. Temple
  19. UNLV
  20. Tulane
  21. Mississippi
  22. Alabama
  23. Arkansas State
  24. Louisiana-Lafayette
  25. Michigan State
Also Recieving Votes: Colorado, Nebraska, Baylor, Eastern Michigan, San Jose State, Auburn, Northern Illinois, Marshall, Buffalo, Ball State, Louisiana Tech, Toledo, Southern Mississippi

Remember, these rankings start in reverse order of last year and straighten themselves out. It is more of a test to see how the preseason rankings affect the final rankings than an actual ranking system at this point.

I promise the next post will be on the Tigers.

AL Relievers Posted

Kyle Farnsworth is currently on the B/no type border. If he can pick up another win in relief, he would cement his type B status. These rankings are subject to change, and likely will. It's too soon to say Farnsworth will come out one way or another, although I doubt he will finish up with Type A status.

Elias Error - NL Starting Pitchers Update

I just spotted an error in the projected Elias Rankings. When updated the pitching statistics, there is an error in how the data is delimited when imported from Baseball Reference. Please disregard the pitching projections for now, as some players' win totals are incorrect.

Update: The error has been fixed, and the correct projected rankings are up. Before, any NL pitcher who won more than ten games in 2007 was having the first digit of their win total ignored. This error is fixed and does not appear to be anywhere else. This does dramatically affect the rankings, and that is shown on the page. CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Oliver Perez, and Derek Lowe are the Type A free agents now. Lowe is close to the A/B border. John Smoltz, Brad Penny, Kyle Lohse, Jamie Moyer, Randy Wolf, Greg Maddux, and Braden Looper are type B's with Randy Johnson just outside of the A/B border.

Please note that this program has not been completely debugged. If you see something completely out of whack, please bring it to my attention. I apologize for the error.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Elias Update - 9/4

The National League Starting pitchers are up now. C.C. Sabathia, Kyle Lohse, Ben Sheets, and Oliver Perez are the projected type A free agents. Meanwhile, Randy Wolf, Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Jamie Moyer, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux project as Type B free agents. What does this mean from the Tigers standpoint? Assuming all of these guys are offered arbitration, the Typ A free agents will cost their first or second round pick. Are Kyle Lohse and Oliver Perez worth a draft pick that high? Didn't think so. Wolf and Lowe, if they remain a Type B, could be worth a gamble.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

College Football Rankings

I wanted to post these rankings. I call these the Initial Condition (IC) Rankings (Yes, that's a differential equations term), used to show the effect that preseason polls have on rankings. What I do is start teams in the reverse order of finish from last season and use the same assumptions and patterns used in the real human polls. Championship Division teams are still treated as inferior, and unranked teams will get a huge boost from upsetting top teams. I'll post the preseason rankings and the Week 2 rankings today, and will try to update this weekly.

Preseason Rankings
  1. Idaho
  2. Florida International
  3. SMU
  4. North Texas
  5. Northern Illinois
  6. UAB
  7. Rice
  8. Duke
  9. New Mexico State
  10. Utah State
  11. Army
  12. Syracuse
  13. Kent State
  14. Tulane
  15. Louisiana-Lafayette
  16. Minnesota
  17. Temple
  18. Baylor
  19. Eastern Michigan
  20. UNLV
  21. UTEP
  22. Akron
  23. Colorado State
  24. San Jose State
  25. Marshall
Also Recieving votes: Toledo, Notre Dame, Louisiana Tech, Iowa State, Mississippi, Buffalo, Memphis, Miami (OH), Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Western Michigan, Stanford

Week 2 Rankings
  1. Rice
  2. Duke
  3. Minnesota
  4. Temple
  5. New Mexico State
  6. UNLV
  7. SMU
  8. Arizona
  9. Northern Illinois
  10. Tulane
  11. Eastern Michigan
  12. Kansas
  13. Mississippi
  14. Kansas State
  15. Idaho
  16. Tulsa
  17. Army
  18. San Jose State
  19. Marshall
  20. Florida International
  21. Buffalo
  22. Utah State
  23. Northwestern
  24. Louisiana Tech
  25. Toledo
Also Recieving Votes: Southern Mississippi, Iowa State, Boston College, Notre Dame, Wake Forest, North Texas, UAB, Arkansas State, Syracuse, Louisiana-Lafayette, StanKent State, UTEP, Colorado, Baylor, Wisconsin, Colorado State

AL Starting Pitchers Posted

Kenny Rogers will not be a Type A or B free agent. That really doesn't matter, because he is likely to retire if he doesn't return to the Tigers. Among possible free agents, John Lackey, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, and Mike Mussina currently project as Type A's. Meanwhile, Tim Wakefield, Paul Byrd, and Jon Garland project as Type B's. I'll have the NL Starters up before the end of the week. Relievers will take a while, as there will be 300 disabled list histories through which to search.

On the September Callups

I'm a bit late to this party, but here goes. So far, Willis and Dolsi are the only official call ups, but Leyland announced the rest. Toledo's season wrapped up yesterday, so the rest should be up soon.

Chris Lambert will be back in the rotation upon his call up. He's been profiled here before, but will need to improve upon his last outing if he wants an extended look.

Freddy Dolsi is back to the party after nine solid innings with the Mudhens. He will need to improve his peripherals if he wants to be a long term fixture in the pen.

Clay Rapada should have been on the roster all year. I have no idea why Casey Fossum has had his spot.

Dontrelle Willis won't pitch. He claims he's healthy. Color me sketpical.

Dusty Ryan has earned this with a nice season. If pitchers pitch better after Tommy John Surgery (They don't: pitchers just are finally healthy and likely had been pitching hurt before the surgery), would the same apply to catchers after meniscus surgery. It's a deteriorative injury that likely could have been affecting Ryan's performance prior to last year. His emergence could just be a return to health. That said, his build suggests he could be at risk for recurrance.

Mike Hessman is just back from winning the bronze, and now gets the shot he deserves for a while. With butchers Jeff Larish and Ryan Raburn playing third in Carlos Guillen's absense, Hessman would certainly be contributing to this team if they were shooting for the playoffs.

What about guys who didn't get the call? This will be a list of all guys taking up spots on the 40-man roster who did not get added to the roster. Leyland says these guys don't “dictate that a guy should be in the big leagues at the end of the year or next year.”

Eddie Bonine, Macay McBride, Todd Jones, Joel Zumaya, and Clete Thomas are all hurt.

Rick Porcello was likely on a strict innings limit. Finishing with exactly 125 innings almost suggests that was planned.

Virgil Vasquez had an off year with a nice finish to the season yesterday (5 hit shutout, 1 bb, 10 k). His prospect status has likely taken a hit this season.

Michael Hollimon was a tremendous disappointment this year. He went .154/.284/.252 after the all star break for the Hens. That is unacceptable and certainly explains why he didn't get the call. At 26, he needed to blow away AAA and failed to do so.

Brent Clevlen also regressed toward the end of the season. I'd chalk this up to his strikeouts getting worse and his other numbers regressing due to less luck on balls in play. He's out of options before next year, and I'm beginning to become doubtful that he will ever be a solid Major League player.