The Detroit Tigers announced some big news late Wednesday evening when they promoted four prospects in their minor league ranks. The headliner is righthander Matt Manning, our No. 3 prospect in the system prior to the season. After tearing up the Single-A Midwest League, Manning will test his mettle in High-A Lakeland.
The other promotions are noteworthy too. Outfielder Jake Robson will move from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo, presumably to take the place of the injured Christin Stewart. Robson’s carrying tool is his speed, which some have graded as a double-plus (70 grade) tool. He has hit for high average and posted excellent on-base numbers at every minor league level so far, and is starting to hit for more power. He was our No. 24 prospect in the system this spring.
Outfielders Cam Gibson and Jose Azocar will also move up a level. Gibson, the son of former Tiger and current Fox Sports Detroit announcer Kirk Gibson, has shown some promise down in Lakeland. He will move up to Erie. Azocar previously struggled with the Flying Tigers, but will get another shot at High-A ball after posting an .845 OPS in 27 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps. Neither player made our preseason top 30 list.
Where does the time go?
Wednesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics marked the midpoint of the Tigers’ 2018 season. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News released his midseason grades for the Tigers, and they’re rather harsh. Blaine Hardy was only given a B, and Mike Fiers’ surprising performance only earned a C-. Click through the slideshow-y goodness (ugh) for the rest.
Again, where does the time go?
Former Tiger Ron LeFlore had one of the most unconventional rises to the major leagues in baseball history. From prison inmate to professional baseball player, it’s a story fit for a movie. The Athletic’s Jeff Pearlman told LeFlore’s story again, which is now nearly 45 years old. We’re getting old, y’all.
The trade market is flooded with players
Anyone who expects this to be a busy summer for the Tigers might end up disappointed. With the separation between haves and have nots wider than it has ever been, there are a lot of teams looking to sell off spare parts. Take the reliever market, for example. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal didn’t even have to dig very deep to show how crowded the shelves are.
Consider this partial list of relievers who are known or reported to be available:
Baltimore: Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Darren O’Day.
Chicago White Sox: Joakim Soria, Xavier Cedeno.
Cincinnati: Iglesias, David Hernández, Jared Hughes.
Detroit: Shane Greene.
Miami: Kyle Barraclough, Adam Conley, Brad Ziegler.
New York Mets: Jeurys Familia.
San Diego: Hand, Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates.
Texas: Jake Diekman, Keone Kela.
Toronto: John Axford, Tyler Clippard, Seunghwan Oh, Aaron Loup.
In other words, don’t expect someone to pay through the nose for Shane Greene.
If the playoffs started today...
Halfway thru MLB Season Postseason Picture— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) June 28, 2018
(1) Boston vs. winner of (4) New York vs. (5) Seattle
(2) Houston vs. (3) Cleveland
(1) Milwaukee vs winner of (4) Chicago vs. (5) Los Angeles
(2) Arizona vs. (3) Atlanta
So much for the Dodgers being out of the race.
Around the horn
Chris Bosio’s former co-workers were just as surprised about his firing as we were. Jayson Werth announced his retirement on Wednesday. Here’s more speculation on possible Tigers minor league call-ups. Grant Brisbee points out that yes, the Yankees are very good. Mets GM Sandy Alderson will take a leave of absence due to an ongoing battle with cancer.
Baseball is heartbreaking
This should have been the final out of the College World Series.
Instead, we get a winner-take-all Game 3 on Thursday evening.