The Detroit Tigers managed to claw their way to victory for just the second time in fifteen games (with one result pending until September) on Tuesday night, with the nadir of the season still seemingly far below. But never fear, brave Tigers fans, there is good news out there to be had.
The times seem grim currently, but the future looks pretty bright. From bargain bin pick-ups, to top prospects, to the upcoming 2019 Major League Baseball amateur draft, there are plenty of stories to keep you interested.
Niko is better than he looks
Long-time Bless You Boys community member David Tokarz published a piece on how Niko Goodrum might be better than he looks. Using Statcast data, he illustrates Goodrum’s ability to hit the ball hard and approach with a productive launch angle, though the luck demons seem to be haunting him for now. As the sample size grows, we will know who Niko really is, but for now the data weigh in his favor.
Casey Mize is dominant
There is no doubt that Casey Mize has been taking the minor leagues by storm this season thus far, and sports writers around the nation have taken note. Some of them have distant observations that they share with their audiences, and others resort to unconventional anecdotes. This entry is of the latter sort.
Milton Berle was a legend in Hollywood for the size of his member, and he relates a now famous—although quite possibly apocryphal—anecdote about it in his autobiography. One day he was challenged to a literal dick-measuring contest in a sauna, leading Jackie Gleason to supposedly quip, “Go ahead, Milton, just take out enough to win.” This approximates how it felt watching Mize pitch to a Double-A lineup.
While this is one of the more bizarre descriptions of Mize’s mastery I’ve read in... well, ever, it seems rather fitting given that, from what we know, he has been holding back on some pitches and working on others to further his development. If this truly is the case, Casey looks to be a big, bright shining star.
Derek Hill might be breaking out
Piggybacking on the link above, Derek Hill is finally beginning to make the waves he was expected to back when he was drafted in the first round of the 2014 draft, 23rd overall. Long known for his speed and defense, Hill’s professional career has been derailed by multiple injuries over the years: 2014 (back), 2015 (quad strain), 2016-2017 (Tommy John surgery), and 2018 (knee).
This article from The Athletic expounds upon the short entry linked above, but the long-story-short is that, now healthy, Hill is showing promise at the plate with quick hands and bat speed, along with his ever-present glove in the outfield. While he is still dealing with swing-and-miss issues, the vast improvements witnessed so far this season have been promising.
Daniel Norris might be peaking
Daniel Norris has had a long road since his acquisition from the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2015 via the David Price trade. Between injuries and inconsistencies, the player who was the centerpiece of that exchange has struggled to live up to his potential. It is possible, however, that he has finally turned the corner.
Norris has managed to hold his own this past month, despite a rough outing against Oakland on May 17. But what is making the difference is adjustments in his approach — instead of relying on the moribund velocity he once had, he has been utilizing the art of pitching to get through opponents’ lineups, and it appears to be working.
It’s mock draft season!
As the calendar flips from May to June and the beginning of summer approaches, a special time arrives for many baseball fans. High school teams have finished off their schedules, college clubs have endured their conference tournament gauntlets and either go home or prepare for the NCAA tournament, while the big league teams culminate their scouting efforts for the amateur draft.
As far as the Detroit Tigers are concerned, there is not a lot of variation in the projections on who they will select with the number five pick. Between Andrew Vaughn, J.J. Bleday and Riley Greene, many are hoping that Vaughn is available when the Tigers’ turn comes up — especially your humble links-smith.
Around the horn
Dustin Pedroia’s possible premature parting piece from FanGraphs. Where have all of the crafty pitchers gone? Do not let his infamous error define the recently late Bill Buckner. Hank Aaron supports players who use their platform to speak about social and political issues.