One of the few bright spots during the Detroit Tigers’ dismal 2018 campaign was the low-key addition of one Niko Goodrum. A former Minnesota Twins prospect who couldn’t quite put it together on their timetable, Goodrum emerged at the plate with a solid blend of power, speed, and on-base ability. He also displayed the athleticism to play acceptable defense at just about any position on the diamond. Tigers general manager Al Avila appeared to have acquired a nice utility man for nothing.
We are three weeks into the 2019 season, and people are beginning to wonder if picking up Goodrum was a bigger coup than we first realized. Goodrum has been the Tigers’ best offensive player in the early going, and he is showing signs of a real breakout at the plate.
Of course, numbers in April are extremely difficult to project from. Ben Clemens over at FanGraphs took a deep dive into peripheral numbers that tend to indicate true skill changes, and he came away convinced the Tigers have found a real diamond in the rough.
Ron Gardenhire enters the top 50
With the Tigers’ win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, manager Ron Gardenhire picked up his 1,141st victory as a major league manager. The win pushed him ahead of Tom Kelly, Gardenhire’s former mentor, who managed the Twins from 1986 to 2001. The Tigers’ skipper is now 50th all-time among major league managers and still climbing on a list that seems likely to have a limited amount of future members.
.@tigers manager Ron Gardenhire with today’s lineup card after picking up the 1,141st win of his managerial career, passing his mentor Tom Kelly for 50th in MLB history. #MotorOn pic.twitter.com/lIewrAgI9k— Tigers PR (@DetroitTigersPR) April 18, 2019
Thursday was also Miguel Cabrera’s 36th birthday. We offer some classic moments of Cabrera entertaining the crowd on this occasion.
April 18, 1983: Miguel Cabrera born in Maracay, Venezuela pic.twitter.com/m4ucAnMi2n— Tigers History (@TigersHistory) April 18, 2019
It’s Miggy’s birthday, so let’s take a look at some of his funniest moments … pic.twitter.com/HF0gZ3W6QG— MLB (@MLB) April 18, 2019
There were some amazing pictures taken during Wednesday night’s lightning interrupted contest with Pittsburgh. For example, this one.
Around the horn
The Tigers were drawing some national ink this week. Beyond the Goodrum piece, Sung Min Kim had a nice piece on Matt Boyd for FanGraphs on Tuesday. Our own Jacob Markle wrote a nice scouting report with some good video clips on Tigers’ prospect Elvin Rodriguez for The Pitcher List.
It’s only April 19, but the Boston Red Sox are a mess. Stephanie Apstein takes a look at how they can turn it around in a competitive division. Emma Baccellieri has some fun with small sample oddities of the young season. Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer looks at the extremes of three-true-outcome baseball we have seen in the early going.
Baseball is awesome
First, look at this damn thing.
Jose Alvarado just hit 100 mph and it looks just ridiculous. Here are two different views thanks to the Rays broadcast. pic.twitter.com/GOHFTBgvXI— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) April 19, 2019
Ok. Let's try to shake that pitch off with some fun chicanery.