I'm sure most people have joked at some time about the Detroit Mud Hens, or the Tiger Hens, or the Mud, or some other assorted name. It brings up an interesting question: Just how many games this year have been played by guys who spent time in Triple-A or lower this season?
So I thought I'd answer it by dividing the players into categories: Tigers who started the season with the Mud Hens, Tigers who finished the season with the Mud Hens, and Tigers who spent at least part of the middle of the season with the Mud Hens (not including injury rehab), to see what we come up with. I put an asterisk * by any player who made an MLB debut this season.
Major league numbers in regular font, minor league in italics.
Players who started the season in Detroit and were demoted permanently:
Scott Sizemore* -- 36 games, 135 plate appearances (72 games, 283 at bats)
Fu-Te Ni -- 22 games, 23 innings (10 games, 10 innings)
Players who spent part of the middle of their season in the minors:
Max Scherzer -- 26 games, 161.2 innings (2 games, 15 innings)
Rick Porcello -- 22 games, 128 innings (4 games, 28 innings)
Total for pitchers: 48 games, 289.2 innings
Ryan Raburn -- 84 games, 294 plate appearances (7 games, 27 AB)
Players who started the season in the minors (may or may not be current Tigers)
Brennan Boesch* -- 109 games, 436 plate appearances (15 games, 58 AB)
Jeff Frazier* -- 9 games, 24 plate appearances (119 games, 461 AB)
Jeff Larish -- 3 games, 10 plate appearances (84 games, 298 AB in Toledo)
Will Rhymes* -- 27 games, 114 plate appearances (95 games, 364 AB)
Max St-Pierre* -- 0 games, 0 plate appearances (59 games, 190 AB Toledo/Erie total)
Casper Wells* -- 12 games, 30 plate appearances (103 games, 387 AB)
Danny Worth* -- 39 games, 115 plate appearances (45 games, 164 AB)
Total for batters: 199 games, 729 plate appearances
Casey Fien -- 2 games, 2.2 innings (42 games, 60.1 innings)
Alfredo Figaro -- 4 games, 9.2 innings (23 games, 124 innings)
Armando Galarraga -- 18 games, 110.2 innings (8 games, 44.1 innings)
Enrique Gonzalez -- 18 games, 26 innings (11 games, 65 innings)
Andrew Oliver* -- 5 games, 22 innings (22 games, 124.1 innings Toledo/Erie)
Jay Sborz* -- 1 game, 0.2 innings (43 games, 43.2 innings)
Daniel Schlereth -- 9 games, 9 innings (38 games, 49.1 innings)
Robbie Weinhardt* -- 18 games, 17.2 innings (24 games, 34.1 in Toledo)
Total for pitchers: 75 games, 198 1/3 innings
So what do we get when we add it all up? Carlos Guillen and Ryan Perry all did rehab assignments in Toledo. So if you add them to the other 20, that makes 22 Tigers who passed through the Mud Hens' clubhouse at some point this season.
Players who spent part of their season in Toledo, not counting Guillen and Perry, have accounted for 1158 of the Tigers' 5149 plate appearances this season (22.5 percent), and 511 of the team's 1179 1/3 innings (43 percent). If you think Porcello and Scherzer skew things, that's still 221 1/3 innings by players who spent a large chunk of time in Ohio. There were 10 MLB debuts for players who were Mud Hens.
By the way, Austin Jackson did not spend a day of his season in Toledo but he did make his major league debut this year, too. He's played in 123 games for 547 plate appearances. So that's 11 debuts total.
Want to have more fun with Baseball-Reference and the Detroit Mud Hens?
Last night, the top three batters in the order made their MLB debuts this season, and four total in the lineup. On July 30, the top three in the order, along with Jeff Frazier and Danny Worth lower in the order gave the Tigers five starters who made MLB debuts this season. Another three Hens pitched that night. (FYI: They won!) There may be even better examples, but those ones popped out to me.
So I guess it's been that kind of season around here. If you like following prospects or rooting for guys to achieve their dream, it's turned out pretty well. Unfortunately the Tigers have the record to show for it.