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 Verlander/Zumaya in Futures game 
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Post Verlander/Zumaya in Futures game
http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050710&content_id=1125086&vkey=news_det&fext=.jsp&c_id=det

Nice article about our two future aces.

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Verlander, Zumaya put skills on display
Promising right-handers show potential at Futures Game
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Tigers prospect Justin Verlander pitched a scoreless inning on Sunday. DETROIT -- Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya found out what it's like to pitch at Comerica Park on Sunday. The way their seasons are going, the Motor City could be in their very near futures.
"It gets in my head that I can be here in a matter of months or next year," Zumaya said as he sat in what's usually the Tigers clubhouse. "I could be sitting in this spot."

A few years ago, the thought of any highly rated prospect in the Tigers organization -- let alone any that could make an immediate impact in Detroit -- seemed like a stretch. In that respect, Sunday's All-Star Futures Game put the faces of Detroit's rebuilt farm system on a national stage.

"I haven't taken the smile off my face yet," Zumaya said. "It's exciting. I didn't sleep at all last night, I was so anxious to get here."

Verlander has posted a 10-2 record and a 1.44 ERA in his first pro season between Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie, while Zumaya leads the Minor Leagues in strikeouts at Erie at age 20. Though they didn't pitch back-to-back on Sunday, unlike their order in the Seawolves rotation after Verlander was called up last month, they were about as potent a 1-2 punch as the U.S. Team had in defeat.

"We're similar guys. [We're] power pitchers," Verlander said, "so hopefully we can learn from each other and improve. If we get up here, we're both for the better and can win some games for the Detroit Tigers."

Or as Zumaya put it, "All I can say is watch out."

Verlander's Tigers affiliation and his well-deserved publicity made him the marquis player for many in the crowd, earning him a heavy demand for autographs and a sizeable applause before the game while he warmed up in the bullpen. Since his Major League debut on the back end of Monday's day-night doubleheader at Cleveland wasn't televised in Detroit, this was the first chance for most Tigers fans to see him pitch, let alone anyone else.

"It gave me chill bumps when I was out there warming up and they announced my name and I got that big applause," he said. "It was fantastic to be out here and have the fan support. Hopefully I didn't disappoint and hopefully I'll be able to throw for them again."

Though he pitched just one inning, the 10-pitch performance went better than Monday, when the Indians batted around in a three-run outburst. A Kendry Morales double to left-center was Verlander's only damage. Unlike Monday, he did not hit 99 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun. He had to settle for hitting 98 twice and regularly topping the mid-90s on his fastball.

Zumaya retired the side in order in the fourth inning on 11 pitches, all of them fastballs. He struck out World Team catcher Miguel Montero looking at a 99 mph fastball on the outside corner.

It's that kind of aggressiveness that Verlander likes most about Zumaya. "The way he attacks hitters, he's not afraid of anybody," Verlander said. "He knows what he has. He knows he has great stuff and he'll challenge anybody. He's got three good pitches. I really enjoy watching him throw."

His fastball is nothing new. He started wowing scouts with it in his first full pro season two years ago as an 18-year-old at West Michigan, touching 99 after being clocked by scouts in the low 90s a year earlier in high school. He entered this season with 309 strikeouts over 263 1/3 career Minor League innings, yet had a relatively high 3.62 career ERA. He fanned 29 batters in 20 innings at Erie down the stretch last season, but gave up six home runs.

The difference that has allowed him to succeed this year is adding savvy to his sizzling arsenal.

"I'm actually pitching now," Zumaya said. "I'm not throwing the ball. The last two years at West Michigan and Lakeland, I knew I had the ability to throw the ball hard and I was just throwing the ball. I wasn't pitching, hitting my spots and knowing when to use a pitch in a count and getting a ground ball and using my fastball for strikeouts."

Aside from his taste of the big leagues, Verlander has been relatively disciplined in that regard. His struggles Monday, he said, came from being unable to throw his changeup and curveball for strikes. He chalked that up to nerves, though Tigers pitching coach Bob Cluck suggested he went away from his secondary pitches too quickly.

Verlander called it part of the learning process, and he understands if it means more time in Erie.

"You're always anxious to get here and stay," he said. "But at the same time, I know there's a process and I have to continue to do well in the Minor Leagues and refine myself. No matter how well or bad I'm doing, there's always things I can fix to improve my pitching."

The Tigers' schedule could allow him to return here sooner than he thought. They play a day-night doubleheader against the Twins July 23 without an off day until July 28. That likely means the Tigers will again need a sixth starter, and little has changed to suggest Verlander wouldn't again be their best option.

Feasibly, a trade at the deadline could create a full-time rotation spot for him. Even if it doesn't, it doesn't seem long until he can call this his home park.

"It was still pretty fun," he said. "I had a great time here, but there's nothing like the big leagues."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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July 10th, 2005, 9:57 pm
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I didn't see the game, but i've heard great things about these guys.

Ledezma was in the futures game last year, correct? I hope he pans out. Seems like we may have rushed him.

Bonderman, Ledezma, Verlander, Zumaya! Good young talent!

I heard that the team may have a 100 million dollar payroll in the future, especially with the NHL having near a 30 million payroll, and Illitch wanting to win.

Gets me excited... good win today Tigers!

BTW - Screw You Percival :finger:


July 10th, 2005, 10:39 pm
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Quote:
BTW - Screw You Percival


I agree. He has been a big disapointment so far :x

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July 11th, 2005, 12:32 pm
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Percival is not a good player. Detroit overpaid as they did with every other external free agent laying out millions more against no competing bids. A 36 year closer with arm problems. That is desperation talking. I like Dumbrowski and I think the farm is finally improving a bit, but those signings will never pan out. That includes Rodriguez.

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July 11th, 2005, 1:25 pm
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... and Ordonez. I don't like his effort, and he only goes for homeruns. His BA isn't anything special at all. And he's making 16 million each season! We have an option to opt out of his contract at the end of this season. I'd do that, I don't want him to ruin our organization with his injuries and his salary.


July 11th, 2005, 1:45 pm
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Pudge and Ordonez, bad signings? Wrong. Ordonez is sweet, he does not only go for home runs and is actually a great fit for our park. He is a candidate for 50 doubles given our park dimensions and he routinely mashed 40 for the Sox. His average will end up around .300 by seasons end and he walks about as often he strikes out. No question we overpaid but he is a top notch player.

The Tigers also have a lot of money coming off the books this year from Higgy, JJohnson, RWhite, Polanco, Pena, Urbina, Vina and I think Dmitri Young (not sure on Meat Hook). Depending on who they keep they should be able to still land another good FA. If they can get close to .500 combined with the All-Star exposure they should be able to avoid overpaying, particularly for pitchers who would supposedly want to come to a pitchers park, F-U Carl Pavano. Hitters will still be tough to attract.

Percival sucks but its easy to trade away a closer, all he needs really is a 4 or 5 game stretch without blowing it and someone would take a look at him. Remember we got decent value for Todd Jones a couple years back. Farnsworth could be a dominant closer and with the starters eating up so many innings I'd expect Spurling, German, Rodney, and Walker to be able to protect leads until the 9th.


July 12th, 2005, 12:04 pm
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If I'm not mistaken the option on Ordonez is only for his knee limiting his playing, nothing about the rest of his body. I agree he is a great player and we did overpay for him, but we sure can use his bat at this point.

As for pitching, I think Farnsworth could be a dominate closer given the opportunity, but we need to showcase Percival if we want to trade him. Hopefully he will perform at a level that will catch the eye of a contender needing a closer. Maybe Boston. As for Pavano, it must suck to be a Yankee right now. It seems that we dodged a few bullets with free agents that turned us down.....Pavano, Beltre...anybody else I missed.

Overall it looks like Tram and the boys might have a good thing going. All we need to do is get our hitters to be consistent and we could be on our way. Can you believe we actually seem to be flush with quality pitching prospects. When's the last time anyone said that about the Tigs?


July 12th, 2005, 1:12 pm
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jomo269 wrote:
seems that we dodged a few bullets with free agents that turned us down.....Pavano, Beltre...anybody else I missed.


Derek Friggin Lowe. I'm so glad. I can't belive i wanted that guy even a bit.


July 13th, 2005, 1:37 am
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You know who we missed out on, Matt Clement. I can't believe the cubs let him go. His record wasn't so good, but he go no run support. Now Matt has a great record and a good era.

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July 13th, 2005, 10:19 am
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can't wait to see how verlander does against minnesota :D

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July 22nd, 2005, 1:21 am
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