The much improved quality of the Detroit Tigers farm system continues to attract notice as we approach the advent of major league baseball activity in mid-February. In recent weeks, MLB Pipeline has been publishing top ten lists of prospects in various categories, and the Tigers young hopefuls are making their presence felt.
On Monday, they published their top ten list of right-handed starting pitching prospects. Number two on the list? The Tigers number one overall pick in 2018, Casey Mize. Only the Astros top pitching prospect, Forrest Whitley, ranks higher among right-handed pitching prospects, and Whitley is already major league ready. MLB Pipeline also rated Mize’s vaunted splitter as the best pitch in the “other” category and had him rated near the top in terms of command.
Also drawing rave reviews was the defensive ability of catching prospect, Jake Rogers. MLB Pipeline recently picked Rogers to anchor their 2019 All-Star Defense team. That assessment echoes the opinion of most of the other major prospect scouting sites, such as Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs. Over the past two seasons, Rogers has emerged as the consensus best catcher in all of the minor leagues. Questions remain about his bat, yet on defense alone Rogers is already a good enough to play in the major leagues. He should be a key piece of the Tigers rebuilding project.
"He's the best defensive catcher by a wide margin."— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) January 14, 2019
For the 2nd straight year, #Tigers prospect Jake Rogers is behind the plate on our All-Defense Team: https://t.co/3axOilKoso pic.twitter.com/uOgnOPRCS5
Rumors swirl around Bryce Harper and Manny Machado
The free agent market this offseason was always going to revolve around a pair of stars reaching free agency at a relatively tender age. Plenty of deals have been made already, yet the whole industry seems to be waiting for the biggest pieces to fall before things move on to the wealth of mid-level free agents available. News on Monday seems to indicate that the dam is close to bursting.
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported on Monday that Machado is weighing an eight-year offer from a somewhat surprising source, the Chicago White Sox. At the same time, the Philadelphia Phillies apparently remain in play for not only Machado, but for Bryce Harper as well. There are less specifics in Harper’s case—though the Nationals may have already set the market at $300M—but the Phillies and Nationals are thought to be the two likeliest landing places for the 26-year-old slugger.
Meanwhile, Craig Edwards at FanGraphs threw some cold water on the pursuit of Manny Machado by unpacking some interesting similarities between a proposed Machado deal and the yoke that is the Jason Heyward contract on the necks of the Chicago Cubs. SB Nation’s own Grant Brisbee, on the other hand, took a look at Harper and Machado and how comparable players have gone on to perform.
The great Kyler Murray war of our time continues
So the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback-outfielder extraordinaire declared for the NFL draft on Monday. Do you think baseball is just going to roll over and take this? Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated reports that both the Oakland Athletics, who selected Murray in the 2018 Amateur Draft, as well as representatives from major league baseball, met with Murray to try and convince him to stick with baseball. It would appear that MLB has even authorized bending the rules for the A’s to tender Murray a major league contract in order to entice him to pass on football. Murray still has plenty of time to decide, and so all of the internet should be able to count on plenty more time to tell the young man what he should do with his life.
This swing is a sight for sore eyes.
Daniel Norris has been doing some young pitching camps, working out and practicing Taekwondo for agility and hip flexibility.
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My favorite part about these pitching camps is seeing the up & coming talent in this area. I’m honored to be able to share anything with the kids to help them achieve their dreams. - I think I have as much fun as they do. Thank you to @rbitricities for facilitating it & @jklivinfoundation for some of the raffle prizes. #justkeeplivin
And taking great pictures on his travels, of course.
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I’ve never been one for playing tourist while traveling, but I was curious to check out the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima earlier this week. Listening, reading & watching stories of the aftermath of the bombing were sobering and informative. Toward the end of the tour, the photos of burn victims made me feel really heavy so I went outside for some fresh air & to feel the rain. There was a group of students outside that had completed their tour. Most of the kids were running around playing tag, seemingly unaffected, but I couldn’t help but wonder if this young girl was feeling the heaviness as well, as she thought of someone her family had told her stories about.
Meanwhile, plenty of guys have already been in Lakeland for a long time, getting those sweet gains...