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”

Dmitri Young in the Hall of Fame Classic. Come again … ?

This morning I received my Baseball Hall of Fame newsletter, Inside Pitch, and the lead story recapped yesterday’s Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown.

Before the game they held a parade that featured Hall of Famers Jim Rice, Ozzie Smith, Goose Gossage, Phil Niekro, Andre Dawson and Dick Williams.

Scanning through the article I could’ve sworn I saw Dmitri Young‘s name.

Dmitri Young? At the Hall of Fame Classic?

Lo and behold …

Soon enough the crowds headed to historic Doubleday Field for the day’s main event, which began with a Legends Hitting Contest won by two-time All-Star Dmitri Young in a finals showdown with Reggie Sanders.

“It felt great,” Young said minutes later. “It took a couple of swings but once you get in the swing of things and the mentality comes back with all the baseball players. I just started feeling comfortable up there.

“I was here in for the Hall of Fame Game in 2005 and came in second against Big Papi (David Ortiz). But now I’m the champ and have a watch to prove it.”

At this point I had to find out which players were a part of this game. The answer included several obscure former Tigers players including pitchers John Doherty, Jon Warden and Jack Lazorko, and infielder Frank Catalanotto.

You can see the box score here (be warned it’s not a web page — it fires up an Excel document) and you’ll see several well-known names — from Bill Lee to Dale Murphy to Dave Henderson.

And with names like that you can understand my curiosity about DY.

Classic, I suppose, but not in traditionally classic fashion.

Tigers Today: April 27, 2010

BehindHomePlate.jpg

Tigers’ Record: 11-9, 2nd place; 2.5 GB Minnesota

Today’s Game

Tigers vs. Twins | 7:05 p.m. ET — Comerica Park | On the air: FSD/1270 AM & 97.1 FM

Pitching Matchup

Justin Verlander (1-1, 6.95 ERA) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (2-0, 1.29 ERA)

Yesterday’s Results

Tigers 8 – Rangers 6

Continue reading “Tigers Today: April 27, 2010”

Sheffield, Texas Ranger?

Rumblings of the Texas Rangers showing interest in DH Gary Sheffield?

Frank Catalanotto is one player Texas might attempt to trade. He has a guaranteed $6 million left on his contract, including $4 million in 2009 and a $2-million buyout (or $5-million salary) the next year.

As someone I worked with once said: “Two words: what. ever.

Exactly.