Yes, Al Avila and company are at it again. On Tuesday, it was announced that Stephanos Stroop, another Los Angeles Dodgers minor league pitching coach, has been hired by the Tigers as a minor league Pitching Coordinator. New player development honcho Ryan Garko has really raided the Dodgers’ player development system to build his staff since he was hired in late September. This of course makes good sense, since it is system he’s intimately familiar with as a former Dodgers player development coach himself.
Stroop has been in the Dodgers organization for the past three years. Based on his updated LinkedIn profile, it appears he’ll be responsible for the lower levels of the system, so presumably that means the Complex League pitchers and the Low-A level, though perhaps it could include High-A West Michigan as well. It seems likely the Tigers will have two or three coaches with this general responsibility level.
Excited for the opportunity and journey ahead in joining the Detroit Tigers as a Pitching Coordinator. Thankful for the last three years with the Dodgers - a great place to grow and learn. Let’s get to work. pic.twitter.com/x0IicCsvTd— Stephanos Stroop (@StephanosStroop) October 26, 2021
In other player development system news, Jason Beck of MLB.com was asked about the status of former Director of Pitching Strategies, Dan Hubbs last week. It appears Hubbs is no longer part of the organization.
Beyond the fairly comprehensive overhaul of the front office and the player development staff, there hasn’t been a whole lot to report from Tigertown over the past few weeks. That’s generally par for the course in October, but with CBA negotiations and a potential lockout looming in early December, things may be quieter than normal in November as well.
Eric De La Rosa is still thriving out west
Things have also been particularly quiet because the trio of Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Ryan Kreidler didn’t end up playing as much Arizona Fall League ball as the Tigers had expected. Greene suffered a concussion in a collision during the Toledo Mud Hens’ final series of the year and the Tigers shut him down to be careful. Torkelson was swinging it well for the Salt River Rafters until turning an ankle last week. He too was shut down. And not to be outdone, as this group has spent most of the year together, shortstop Ryan Kreidler’s stint in the AFL also came to an end due to a calf strain. Yeah, maybe just rest up for 2022, guys.
Spencer Torkelson's Arizona Fall League season is over due to sprained ankle, according to Tigers. He'll focus on preparing for start of Spring Training.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) October 22, 2021
Ryan Kreidler will also miss remainder of AFL season after suffering a left calf strain. He's currently undergoing treatment.
On the other hand, outfielder Eric De La Rosa was the most interesting player the Tigers sent out west, and he’s continuing to perform. While Tork, Greene, and Kreidler have already well surpassed the level of the Arizona Fall League’s pitching, De La Rosa broke out of West Michigan this season with a strong campaign, and his overall athletic speed and power profile remains interesting.
However, he’s still hampered by a real weakness against good breaking stuff. De La Rosa was able to sustain some success after his jump to Double-A Erie, but despite a semblance of plate discipline, his strikeout rate continues to hover near 30 percent. As a player who is a more natural fit for the combination of talent and experience in the AFL, it’s been good to see him sustaining his 2021 success out west anyway, despite the fact that major gains will have to come quickly to turn him into something more than a 24-year-old lottery ticket. He has a pair of homers and an .868 OPS in six games for the Salt River Rafters.
Still, it IS the Arizona Fall League, and not exactly a display of refined talent overall.
The Arizona Fall League began two weeks ago today.— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) October 27, 2021
AFL pitchers collectively have a 6.02 ERA.
AFL batters collectively have a .262/.378/.427 slash line and .805 OPS.
The leaguewide walk rate is 14.6 percent.
Tarik Skubal donates to Kingdom Home
This. We love this. Well done, gentlemen. Hopefully the organization is contributing as well.
Verlander chats with A.J. Hinch
No the other Verlander, sorry. Ben Verlander, former Tigers’ farmhand and younger brother of Justin, hosts a podcast called Flippin’ Bats. He had A.J. Hinch on the show last week, and while this isn’t hard-hitting journalism, there was certainly some interesting comments and insight from the Tigers’ skipper that makes it worth a look.
Jon Heyman guesses Carlos Correa to Detroit
We’re not even really to the rumors portion of the offseason yet, as talks can’t begin formally until the season ends. However, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman took at stab at the landing place of most of the top free agents this winter. Noting the Yankees and Twins as possible suitors, he goes on to guess Correa to Detroit. Does this mean specific? No. The only strong takeaway around the league is that the national writers do generally expect the Tigers to aggressively pursue a top shortstop talent this offseason. Hey, so do we.
Lockout a near certainty this winter
A general consensus is developing that MLB’s owners will institute a lockout of players on December 2nd, when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires. Unless a deal is done by that point, which seems unlikely, this would basically freeze free agency and stop talks with individual players until a deal is done. While it sounds ominous, and seems to invoke the specter of an impasse and possible strike, really a lockout isn’t unexpected no matter where your level of optimism for a swift resolution currently resides.
Around the horn
Our friends over at Motor City Bengals committed the gruesome crime of considering a Casey Mize trade this offseason. While highly unlikely, it is actually a worthwhile thought exercise if nothing else. Also, FanGraphs recaps Game One of the World Series, and is also running their contract crowdsourcing series once again where readers can join in estimating free agent deals this offseason. Rob Manfred defended the Atlanta Braves name, chant, and the “chop” prior to Tuesday’s game.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals fired Mike Shildt, and hired 35-year-old Carlos Marmol as their new manager on Tuesday—should’ve just made Yadi player-manager in our opinion. The San Diego Padres are still looking for a new manager to replace Jayce Tingler, and Ozzie Guillen was recently interviewed. The New York Mets continue to look for a GM, and after longtime A’s GM Billy Beane declined the opportunity to deal with that mess, the Mets turned to Milwaukee Brewers GM, Matt Arnold, as the key candidate they’d like to interview. Just one problem, the Brewers seemed disinclined to allow them to interview him. And then there’s this.
Matt Arnold has withdrawn his name from consideration for the Mets President of Baseball Operations job, per source. He is expected to remain with the Brewers as GM.— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) October 27, 2021
Baseball is awesome, injuries are not
By now you may have heard the news. Atlanta Braves’ starter Charlie Morton was injured by a comebacker in Tuesday’s Game One of the World Series. Clearly in pain, Morton continued to dominate the Astros for several more at-bats before finally having to be lifted from the game. Turns out he was pitching on a fractured fibula, which is crazy. We don’t want to hear about bloody socks anymore, thanks.