Cameron Maybin Emerges at Last

Perhaps “at last” is a skosh strong. After all, Cameron Maybin is still just 24. But as Jerry Crasnick writes today, in San Diego the former Tigers top pick is starting to reach the level of performance Detroit (and the Marlins) had expected:

… Maybin is Exhibit A of the wonders that result from talent colliding with opportunity. After more ups and downs than your average debt-ceiling negotiations, he’s found a home as San Diego’s resident leadoff hitter, fly chaser and catalyst.

(snip)

Maybin, acquired by the Padres from Florida in November in a trade for relievers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica, got the 2011 season off to a rousing start with a home run and a diving catch in St. Louis on Opening Day. Given the green light to steal by Padres manager Bud Black, he’s succeeded on 26 of 28 attempts. And his monthly batting averages — .247 in April, .263 in May, .288 in June and .315 in July — are testament to his personal growth.

(snip)

“This is the first time in two or three seasons where I’ve felt comfortable,” Maybin said. “I’m not worried about the consequences of going out there and trying to get a hit every night. Even if I have a bad week or a bad month, I feel like these guys are still with me.

I’ve often wondered if Maybin would’ve had the opportunity to develop with the Tigers. But, when I watch Austin Jackson I think they got a modified version of Maybin in the Curtis Granderson trade.

At any rate, it’s nice to see Maybin with a team that’s rebuilding and that can invest the time to watch him develop.

Tigers Prospects Dry Up After Arizona Fall League

Note: This article first appeared on ESPN.com’s SweetSpot blog today.

When the Tigers traded Scott Sizemore to the A’s over Memorial Day Weekend, it brought an abrupt and mildly startling end to his tenure as Detroit’s second baseman of the future. The Tigers, after all, anointed him as the heir apparent to Placido Polanco almost immediately after they lost Game 163 to the Twins in 2009.

Polanco was eligible for arbitration, which coincided with the Tigers’ momentary spending freeze, and soon he was back with the Phillies doing everything fans in Detroit had come accustomed to: steadiness in the field, reliability at the plate.

But back to Sizemore. The Tigers sent him to the Arizona Fall League – “a graduate school” for top prospects, according to the AFL Media Guide – in 2007 and again in ‘09 in what they undoubtedly expected to be a final tuneup before handing over the keys to second base to him for the foreseeable future.

Within days of the 2009 AFL season, Sizemore’s ankle was broken as he attempted to turn a double play and his fall league experience went kaput. It didn’t stop the Tigers from hoping that he could recover in time for spring training.

Fast forward to May 27 when he was dealt to Oakland for David Purcey (himself an AFL graduate) and the book was closed on Sizemore’s career in Detroit: 65 games, a .223 average, .605 OPS and a mere three home runs. Not legendary stuff and certainly nowhere close to Polanco’s track record.

Continue reading “Tigers Prospects Dry Up After Arizona Fall League”

Tigers Today: April 4, 2011

OriolesTigers’ Record

1-2; 4th place, 1.5 GB Royals

Today’s Game

Tigers @ Orioles | 3:05 p.m. ET – Baltimore | On the air: FSD/AM 1270 and 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Rick Porcello (0-0) vs. Jake Arrieta (0-0)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 10 – Yankees 7

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 4, 2011”

So Where Was I … ?

InboxI suppose you can call it a lack of foresight. Specifically, putting the word “daily” in your blog’s title sets a certain expectation that, frankly, is tough to meet — especially for someone like me to whom writing tends to be more ebb than flow.

Thanks for your patience as I still try to get the hang of this blogging while working the 8-to-6 shift.

***

What was the point of Tom Gage‘s column on Monday? So Mike Ilitch came to Lakeland and left without talking to the media — big deal.

Maybe the man didn’t feel well. Maybe he wasn’t in the mood. Maybe the trip to Spring Training was squeezed in an otherwise busy schedule.

Gage seems to be making a lot out of Ilitch’s in-and-out visit — that somehow the long-term contract status of Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland is now more in jeopardy than it is.

I’m not buying it. You?

Continue reading “So Where Was I … ?”

How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?

Rearview Mirror.jpgLooking around the majors there are plenty of former Tigers doing well — and some not so well. Here’s a look at some of the more notable players and their current numbers:

  • Placido Polanco, Phillies: .314 avg., 6 HR, 42 RBI, .348 OBP. Currently fifth in the N.L. in hitting, which is just another reason the Tigers (and fans) are regretting his departure.

  • Omar Infante, Braves: .347 avg., 7 HR, 37 RBI, .837 OPS From Rob Neyer: “At the moment, he doesn’t have enough plate appearances to qualify [for the batting title]. To reach 502, he needs another 169 in the Braves’ 38 remaining games.”

  • Andres Torres, Giants: .287 avg., 13 HR, 57 RBI, .869 OPS. Torres is the embodiment of stick-to-itiveness. Nearly a decade after he was touted as a centerpiece of the Tigers new wave of young talent, he’s downright essential to the Giants offense. Good for him.

    Continue reading “How are Former Tigers Faring in 2010?”

Tigers Today: April 4, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Final Spring Training Record: 18-12-2

Today’s Game

Off Day in Kansas City

The Tigers will conduct a 1 p.m. workout on Sunday at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium in preparation for Opening Day.

Jeremy Bonderman remained behind in Lakeland and will pitch in a minor league game on Sunday before joining the club in Kansas City.

Yesterday’s Results

Brewers 13 – Tigers 12

The Tigers rocked Brewers pitchers for five homers (Austin Jackson, Magglio Ordonez, Ryan Raburn, Danny Worth and Jeff Larish) but the bullpen obliterated another sterling performance by Rick Porcello (4.1 innings of two-hit, walk-less pitching).

Of particular wretchedness was Joel Zumaya who surrendered five runs without registering an out. Phil Coke didn’t fare much better: three earned runs in just a third of an inning.

Oh, and in his final spring tuneup, Dontrelle Willis gave up five hits in his three scoreless innings. Keep those fingers crossed.

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 4, 2010”

Nate Odds and Ends

In case you were wondering, here’s what Nate Robertson looks like in a Photoshop-driven Marlins get-up. NateMarlins.jpg

Here’s what Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez had to say about his new starter:

“I know that he’s a pretty good pitcher. … “There were a couple of years that he threw right around 200 innings. He’s a workhorse. Coming to the National League, where teams haven’t had a chance to see him much, maybe he can help us out.”

Nate will join former Tigers Cameron Maybin, Burke Badenhop and Cody Ross on Florida’s Opening Day roster. Andrew Miller was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans last week.