These past 10 days have not been kind to the Tigers after a solid start to the season. Along with the numbers piling up in the loss column, the injured list is also seeing its share of unfortunate visitors. Matt Moore, who re-injured the meniscus in his right knee in the third inning of a game against the Kansas City Royals on April 7, is scheduled to go under the knife on Wednesday. The full extent of the damage will remain unknown until the arthroscopic procedure has been performed, but the best-case scenario is that he will only be out for four to six weeks.
Meanwhile, Jordy Mercer is out with an injured right quadricep muscle, which occurred running the bases on a double he hit against the Minnesota Twins last Saturday. He was placed on the 10-day injured list, with Ronny Rodriguez getting promoted in his place. There is no indication that the injury is severe, so it is expected that Mercer will return when his 10 day stint expires.
Talking about Matt Boyd
After getting swept in a weather-shortened two-game series by the Minnesota Twins and losing on Tuesday to the Pittsburgh Pirates in extra innings, the Detroit Tigers are feeling a bit down. But all is not doom and gloom in Tigerland. So far during this fresh 2019 season, Matt Boyd has been good. Really good. How good? Sung Min Kim outlines Boyd’s torrid start (with a shout-out to our very own Brandon Day) in this article published at FanGraphs. While Boyd’s current pace seems unsustainable, he still appears to have taken the next step in his development as a major league pitcher.
And so far in 2019, Boyd has been a strikeout machine. In three starts, Boyd has racked up 40.3% strikeout rate, the second highest rate the majors behind Blake Snell. Yes, there’s the obligatory small sample size warning here. Boyd will likely not keep that rate up for the rest of the season. But looking at the changes he’s made and how the hitters have responded to them, there are reasons to believe that he could be taking the next step as a pitcher.
Still not convinced? Max’s Sports Studio published a piece earlier this month that investigated Boyd’s progress from the perspective of spin rates. Long story short, there are some clear adjustments that he has made in his release point that may have allowed him to increase the spin rate on his fastball and slider, and the results have been phenomenal.
Niko is Good(rum)
Tigers general manager Al Avila catches a lot of flak from the fanbase for many of the decisions he has made since taking over for Dave Dombrowski. But if there is one thing he appears to be good at, it is his ability to find diamonds in the rough. Niko Goodrum is the latest example of that skill. This article from the Pitcher’s List goes in depth on what makes Niko so special.
Goodrum has expanded upon that success thus far in 2019, regularly hitting clean-up and stinging the ball to the tune of a .293 batting average, .512 slugging percentage, and 158 wRC+. Better yet, Goodrum’s box score stats are backed up by Statcast indicators that paint him as one of baseball’s 10 best hitters over the season’s first several weeks.
If Goodrum can keep up this level of performance, he will be a much-needed feather in Al Avila’s cap and a huge asset to the Tigers’ lineup.
The Detroit Tigers logo has gone through many changes over the years, and being a franchise that has persisted for well over a century, there have been many ups and downs. I’m not sure if this would be classified as an “up” or “down” moment, but I assume that is a baseball on the tiger’s head — it looks more like a physician’s head mirror to me, though.
La Tortuga! If you don’t enjoy watching this guy play, then you hate baseball. Signed, erstwhile non-believer.
Wherever you put him, La Tortuga will make plays. pic.twitter.com/X5jNiqWgw3— MLB (@MLB) April 16, 2019
Baseball is dead, RIP 1958.
That spin rate, though.
Strutting around the block
The Detroit Tigers honored a girl who faced down racism, then wrote about it. MLB is investigating racist messages sent to Cubs pitcher Carl Edwards Jr. on social media. Miguel Cabrera catches a third-party lawsuit from ex-business partners. Jake Rogers mashed two dingers last night. The Milwaukee “f* the umpire” Brewers have now caused three umpires to leave the game due to injury over the past three series. Casey Mize is a stud, according to one scout who is very well dialed-in.