There is not a week that goes by that we on the Bless You Boys staff aren’t blown away by a FanPost submission. In fact, our newest prospect writer Kenon was introduced to us by a FanPost about his memories as a Tigers fan [Ed.: So was the person writing this article]. We love to see what you guys do with the FanPost Friday prompts, and what you write on your own just because you’re so passionate about the team.
With that in mind, we will be making more of an effort to spotlight the best of the best on a monthly basis. So, without further ado, here are your best FanPosts from July.
First and foremost we need to shout out the one and only Dan Dickerson, who takes time to craft some incredible Tigers content to share with us. In “Random thoughts on interesting stuff from the first half....” he muses about baseball in general and the state of the Tigers.
When fans in NL cities argue against the DH, or recoil in horror at the thought of a DH, they often start with the argument that there would be less strategy with a DH. Mainly, there would be no... double switch. I always think of Jim Leyland when I hear this argument. Jim Leyland managed in the National League for 14 years before taking over as Tigers manager. And Jim Leyland believes the double-switch is the most over-rated strategic move in baseball, often used when it doesn’t need to be. He believes - and there’s much logic in this - that the decision to take a pitcher out in the American League is much more difficult than in the National League.
There was certainly some behind the scenes cursing on our end when the July 25 post from Adam Rivard, titled “How to Fix Michael Fulmer” went up. Mostly because we had been working on something similar ourselves, and Adam beat us to the punch.
Essentially all of the stats suggest that Fulmer should use the 4-seamer as his primary fastball and use the sinker below the zone to get ground outs, which is what he did two years ago. Fulmer’s sinker simply isn’t a pitch that should be put in the zone regularly, while his 4-seam fastball gets weaker contact and more strikeouts whether it’s in or out of the zone. Using the 4-seamer more may not fix all of Fulmer’s problems - his changeup has stopped getting whiffs for no clear reason and is getting hit as a result - but throwing his best fastball more is a pretty simple change that should pay big dividends. Fulmer could be an ace who gets strikeouts and weak contact at an elite level, but it won’t happen if he keeps leaning on his sinker.
On July 27, user bargall32 took the FanPost Friday prompt “Who would you trade at the deadline?” and ran with it in the post “Fanpost Friday: Just a few pieces” which went into wonderful detail about a bevvy of potential trades.
This trade might be asking a lot from Atlanta, but I don’t think Detroit would sell for less. With a very deep farm system, Atlanta may use Toussaint as a trade chip to bolster their outfield ranks. Acuna would most assuredly move to CF with a struggling Inciarte to the bench. Castellanos would then be used in left field.
Speaking of trades, user BigMaxN went all in on the topic, but taking a deep historical dive and reviewing the “Best trades in Tiger History” on July 27.
Andrew Miller, Cameron Maybin and others for Miguel Cabrera [and Dontrelle Willis]. Miller has had a great career as a relief specialist. Maybin’s sometimes been an average Centerfielder. Both were first-round picks and highly rated prospects, and both were not good for the Marlins and developed later. Cabrera has been one of the superstars of the Tigers’ most-competitive era in team history (at least since 1934-1945), and has been worth 51 WAR for the Tigers over the past 11 years. He will wear the Olde English D on his Hall of Fame plaque. Maybin was worth 3 WAR for the Marlins. Miller was worth a negative 2.4 WAR, and Burke Badenhop was worth almost 2 WAR for them. The other players were worth negative 1.2 WAR for Florida.
Another interesting topic, especially at the midway point of the season, is the Rule 5 draft. User mrsunshine took a look at the recent Rule 5 players in the July 22 post, “2018 Rule-5 Draft Review (another Where Are They Now?)”
Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers - Victor has had incredibly limited playing time in the first half, and for a few months was basically the designated pinch-runner for Victor Martinez. He’s come on a bit with increased playing time, but for the season is slashing .221/.229/.513 with an OPS+ of 39, 5 stolen bases, and a WAR of -0.4. Hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire in his 95 at-bats (small sample size!)
BigMaxN had a busy month of detailed historical FanPosts. Another great entry was “5 of the most underrated Tigers of All-Time” on July 22.
Dizzy Trout. Aside from the hysterical name, which gives the impression of a fish swimming in circles, Dizzy was a great, great player. Although his stats were slightly exaggerated by playing in wartime (and before the integration of the Big Leagues), Trout was worth 9.8 WAR in 1944, finishing second in the MVP race to teammate Hal Newhouser. Even post-war, Trout managed a 7.5 WAR season in 1946. Trout could hit too. In ‘44, he was worth 1.5 WAR as a hitter. His total 11.3 WAR in that season is actually the most WAR by a player named Trout.
Prior to the trade, user rschutzpah took a look at the Tigers future and what they needed to add on the open market in “What they need is you” from July 18.
This leads me into what I believe Tigers need in their system with the crop of prospects they have. That starts with another catcher. Preferably one that bats lefty, but also is solid defender too. After that, I think Tigers need to find themselves a defensive wizard at SS with some upside with the bat. I would also like to see the big bat in the OF to go with what they already have. Lastly, I would like to see an influx of lefties to mix in with Tigers current righty hoard. Of course, there is nothing that says Tigers need to get this all this year.
Earlier in the month on July 9, user jaypolger was asking the same question, but focused on specific names in “Finding expendable position players at the deadline.” Guess who was singled out as a target?
The division rival Indians have one of the best young shortstops in baseball in Francisco Lindor and also have two shortstop prospects that will be ready to break into the major leagues in 2019: Willi Castro and Yu-Cheng Chang. Cleveland’s #6 prospect (according to MLB.com), 21-year-old Castro is currently scuffling a bit at Double-A with a OPS of just .666. However, the switch-hitter fared about 100 points better during his age-20 season at high-A ball. Castro also has the hands, actions, and arm strength to stick at short stop. Chang is 22 years old and playing in Triple-A. He is currently boasting an OPS of .724 in the International League. Chang is Cleveland’s #7 prospect and also possesses the tools to remain at shortstop.
This just goes to show how incredible our readers are, and how much thought and work goes into their posts. Not sure what to write? Every Friday we offer up a new FanPost prompt you can draw inspiration from.