Welcome to June! If you’re reading this on Monday, welcome to MLB draft day, a day where Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila is sure to make a decision that some portion of the fanbase will take umbrage with.
The weekend is over, and oh what a weekend it was. The Tigers took two out of three from the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, dropping the final game of the series on Sunday. Some saw this as the end of the Rally Goose. Despite these claims, I assure you that reports of the death of the Rally Goose have been greatly exaggerated. We have played two full months of baseball and your Tigers are a scant 2 1⁄2 games out of first place in the AL Central division. The smart money says it’s only a matter of time before the Cleveland Indians take advantage of a pretty easy stretch in front of them and widen that gap considerably, but betting the smart money isn’t a whole lot of fun.
Grab a sweater, it’s about to get drafty
Ahead of the draft, Evan Woodbery of MLive shares the draft stories of Buck Farmer, Joe Jimenez and Niko Goodrum. From being drafted three times to not being drafted at all, it’s an interesting look at how varied the path to major league ball is.
Number one picks aren’t an automatic guarantee of success, and to help drive that point home take a few minutes to take a look at the last 20 years of number one overall picks. Temper those expectations, folks.
Now that you’ve had a dose of draft reality, let’s look at expectations. Detroit has reportedly narrowed it down to three players. You can read up on all three, but I’m going to tell you now that the only one you should really get familiar with is Casey Mize.
The call is coming from inside the organization
With a doubleheader on the slate for Monday, there were a few roster moves to be made. One of those moves was to call up pitcher Drew VerHagen. VerHagen has been owning Triple-A hitting since he was last sent down to Toledo. He’s going to get the start in game one of the doubleheader. It would seem that in the eyes of the organization, young Mr. VerHagen has earned the right to once again prove why he isn’t a major league pitcher. If you haven’t guessed, I don’t have a ton of faith in VerHagen, even with the stellar numbers in Toledo. He’s had ample opportunities to show what he can bring to the table over the last three or four seasons, and I think we’ve seen that it’s not much. I hope he proves me wrong.
The other roster move is that of the 26th man for the doubleheader, and it appears as though it’s going to be the seventh guy to make his major league debut this year. Pitcher Sandy Baez, in a move that reportedly ruffled the feathers of the brass, announced his own call up on the Instagram over the weekend.
Sandy Baez irritated his bosses by announcing on today's Instagram that he's being summoned by the Tigers. All but certain he'll pitch Monday's first game against the Yankees. But the team wanted that hushed until after today's game. Baez here gets a presidential pardon.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) June 3, 2018
While I take a moment to mention how dumb it is for the Tigers to get upset at a guy for excitedly announcing his first call-up, I would also like to point out the fact that Henning makes a very incorrect assumption about why Baez is getting called up in the first place.
Whether Sandy joins Javier and Joan in the pantheon of great Baez’s remains to be seen, but it’s nice to see him get a chance to come up to the big club, even if it’s just for one day.
Can’t keep a good McCann down
Catcher James McCann left Sunday’s contest with what is being reported as an intercostal strain. After getting checked out, McCann is slated to start behind the dish on Monday. I’m no doctor, but I’ve met one before, and in my extensive 30 seconds of research it looks to me like these sorts of strains are kinda tricky. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Grayson Greiner is making his way to the Motor City tomorrow.
Nick wants to know if you’ll do his podcast
If he hasn’t made it known before, Nick Castellanos wants to be in Detroit for the long haul. In a pretty in depth look at the whole Castellanos situation, Chris McCosky of The Detroit News covers both sides of the equation around the prospect of Castellanos’ future with the Tigers. Nick has become a big part of this team’s identity on and off the field. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s hitting the cover off the ball. It’s that kind of offensive output that also makes him a potentially valuable trade piece. There’s a lot to weigh here. I don’t care to speculate on the outcome, but I would like to point out one of the more important pieces of information in the article: Nick has a podcast. Because who doesn’t have a podcast these days?
The hottest thing since Legolas
When the Tigers traded outfielder Justin Upton at the deadline last summer the immediate return was pitching prospect Grayson Long. Lynn Henning of The Detroit News thinks the real prize of that trade might be the player to be named later that he spends ample time praising the analytics guys for targeting. There is a chance that the best Elvin product you will see that doesn’t originate from Middle Earth is young pitching prospect Elvin Rodriquez who seems to be turning quite a few heads at West Michigan. Twenty seven strike outs in your last 18 innings will do that. It’s hard to say what’s in store for the 20-year-old, but if reports from the likes of Lance Parrish are accurate, we could have something interesting on our hands.
Baseball is awesome
I gotta give it up this week for John Axford. A man smart enough to know that the best way to enter a game at CoMerica Park is in a golf cart that looks like it’s on fire.