Off. Coordinator – Joe Lombardi
Joined: February 11th, 2005, 3:01 pm
September call ups to be role players in divisional chase?
With the odd composition of the team I think that we will see quite a bit of September call ups and while the minor leaguers may not play much I think we will see them function as valuable role players. The AAA mudhens and AA seawolves are both out of postseason contention and each play their last game on Monday Sept 5th. the Tigers play 27 games in September and have 22 games after Sept 5th with only 2 scheduled days off in the month.
Outfield defense - OF starters Delmon Young, Austin Jackson, and Brennan Boesch only Jackson is a strong fielder while the other two are average to below average. Andy Dirks has good range as a corner outfielder but an average arm and Magglio is a poor defender who can no longer hit. Clete Thomas in AAA hasnt had a good season hitting but has a strong arm and CF caliber range and speed. Thomas could come up in September and be a late inning defensive replacement for Young and Boesch. He would also be a legit pinch running option. He is on the 40 man roster meaning nobody would have to be cut to bring him up. The Tigers dont seem to have any OF left in the upper levels of the minors that appear to offer much at the plate.
Infield - The problems with our defense in the infield is well documented and our AAA team has several solutions to this. Danny Worth is an excellent glove at 2b, 3b and SS but he is a marginal hitter without much power. He will be a defensive sub when Santiago is not available. Brandon Inge is under contract and a superior defender to Betemit, Raburn and Kelly at 3B. Inge is also back on track at the plate in AAA hitting for avg and power. At minimum he will be a defensive sub but w his contract status he will probably get some at bats perhaps even a few starts at 3B. I forsee a platoon bw Inge and Kelly with Betemit becoming a pinch hitter/bench player. The Tigers also need a legitimate backup C with Martinez injured and Avila playing everyday. Inge's most likely and most valuable role for 2012 will be as a super sub playing C, 3B and probably even some OF - its not out of the question they ask him to catch a few innings but that will probably wait until next year. Inge is not on the 40 man roster which currently sits at 39 - the 40 th spot will be his. Will Rhymes is another option at 2B, he is a capable defender certainly much better than Raburn and Guillen but not as good as Santiago. He will probably get a chance to play in spurts as he hit well in AAA this season and also had a good run last season in the bigs as the No 2 hitter. Ryan Strieby is a power hitting 1B blocked from the bigs by Cabrera and failed in an attempt to convert him to a viable OF. If we werent in contention he would probably get some At Bats to at minimun showcase him but thats not appropriate during a pennant race. My gut feeling is that he wont get called up and will be sent to a fall league for additional at bats but its possible he comes up after Toledo's season and gets some at bats in blowout games. His power would be valuable as a pinch hitter but he probably isnt experienced enough for that. Inge and Rhymes come up Sept 1 and Worth less likely Strieby come up Sept 6th. Cale Iorg is a SS on the 40 man roster who is supposedly a great fielder but has no bat and Ks way too much. He wont be up and this is probably his last season in the Tigers organization. Potentially could be removed from the 40 man roster in September to make room for someone else if needed though the Tigers would probably like to at least try and trade him.
C - Omir Santos is a dependable defensive catcher on the 40 man who has major league experience but is not a prospect. He will probably come up and catch a few innings late in games that are out of hand and maybe get one or two starts at catcher. If he doesnt come up Sept 1 I would be shocked and it probably means that either VMart is completely healthy or that Inge will be expected to catch some. Santos did recently spend some time on the DL so that may be a factor. There are no other catchers on the 40 man roster.
Pitching - this is where it could get interesting. Jacob Turner is having a stellar season and did well in his spot start in Detroit. The Tigers are currently limiting his innings in AAA pitching him every 10 days or so. He has pitched 120 innings or so this season and pitched about that many last season. I suspect the Tigers dont want him to get past 140-150 innings this year. That they arent letting him use those innings in AAA tells me that they are planning on bringing him up Sept 1st and could give him some innings in the pen, probably to begin with in long relief but they may ask him to pitch important innings. He could be a factor with Albuquerque coming off a head injury and projected relievers Schlereth/Perry having bad seasons and recently acquired David Pauley not proving reliable yet. Turner could possibly make the postseason roster as a reliever if he does well. Chance Ruffin if not included in the Fister/Pauley trade as the player to be named is having an outstanding season and would potentially be called up and probably be called on ahead of Turner in a short inning role. Adam Wilk will almost certainly come up as he s had a good season and is another valuable left handed arm. He also has a outside shot to slot ahead of Below and possibly Schlereth for a postseason roster spot. Andrew Oliver and Villareal have not had good seasons since major league call ups and probably wont be up in Septmber. Jose Ortega isnt ready for the bigs yet either. Drew Smyly a left handed starter has had a breakout season at A and AA this year but isnt on the 40 man and has probably approached his innings limit not to mention the left handed pitchers at higher levels than him. he is unlikely to be called up but seems to have a good future though he may be sent to Seattle as the player to be named. Casey Crosby, Jay Voss and Austin Wood are legit lefties at AA as well that are also probably not ready especially not in a pennant race.
OF - Clete Thomas
IF - Inge, Rhymes, Worth. Outside shot for Ryan Strieby
C - Santos. Outside shot for Inge, Max St Pierre, and Bryan Holladay
P - Turner, Ruffin if not traded, Wilk, Perry. Outside shot for Brayan Villareal and Andrew Oliver.