The Detroit Tigers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in Grapefruit League action on Friday, I think. Toronto pulled ahead early when Tigers starter Ivan Nova struggled in the first inning (more on that in a bit), and the Tigers scored some runs later on. The results don’t matter in spring training, though, and the loss brought the Tigers to 0-0 on the season.
Let’s dive into what happened!
- Ivan Nova was not particularly sharp in the first inning. The Blue Jays made some decent contact off him, leading to a trio of runs — though, I think he was hosed on one play; Teoscar Hernandez’s two-run double down the third base line looked like a foul ball. Either way, Nova worked into some deep counts, completely ignored Hernandez when he stole third base with ease, and threw 31 pitches in a lengthy opening frame. We didn’t see much of his second inning because we were stuck staring at Chris Ilitch, but that took a bit of time as well.
- Seriously, we saw way too much of Chris Iilitch in this game. It felt like he was in the booth for three innings.
- Jonathan Schoop certainly had a game to forget defensively. His errant throw put Jays leadoff hitter Billy McKinney on second base after a bunt single in the first, then he botched a potential double play ball and committed an error not long after. He redeemed himself slightly with a nice play on a short hop later in the third, and hit a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to put the Tigers on the board.
- Victor Reyes still doesn’t look comfortable as a right-handed hitter. Even as he poked a single into right in the first, he looked much more in control when he drew a walk from the left side in his next plate appearance.
- Zack Godley was nearly as inefficient as Nova, throwing 29 pitches in his lone inning of work. He walked three hitters and allowed a run, and does not seem like a good bet to make the Opening Day roster.
- Willi Castro worked a nice at-bat in the second... until he swung at a junk pitch for strike three. He went fishing a bit more early in his next at-bat, but worked the count back even before golfing a single into right. We shouldn’t draw any conclusions from one game, but Castro’s couple at-bats did not change my opinion that he could use an early season tune-up in Toledo.
- I wish we could have seen more from Rony Garcia. He gave up loud contact to two of the three batters he faced, including a leadoff double to Rowdy Tellez that went over Derek Hill’s head in center field. Fortunately for Garcia (and unfortunately for us), Derek Fisher lined into a double play, giving Garcia a tidy five-pitch inning.
- Riley Greene drew another walk in his first plate appearance, though it’s worth noting Jays righthander Jacob Waguespack wasn’t anywhere near the strike zone (he walked four hitters in 1 1⁄3 innings). Greene struck out later in the game, proving he is, in fact, human.
- Casey Mize looked more like the top prospect we expected, striking out two in his lone inning of work.
Casey Mize’s ridiculous splitter on full display pic.twitter.com/WNfiuWwwV7— Frank Stampfl (@Roto_Frank) February 29, 2020
- MLB Pipeline released their top 30 prospect list for the Tigers on Friday, and there aren’t many surprises in the top half. Casey Mize tops the list, followed by Matt Manning and Riley Greene. They have the same top 10 prospects we do, although they are a bit higher on shortstop Willi Castro, who sits at No. 6 in the system. Franklin Perez ranks 12th, and the trio of teenagers nobody has seen (Roberto Campos, Adinso Reyes, and Jose De La Cruz) are all bunched between 19 and 22. Flamethrowing righty Wladimir Pinto makes an appearance at No. 28.