It is a beautiful morning, indeed, my fellow baseball fanatics, as the greatest show on astroturf is upon us. Tomorrow night, the American League will face off against the National League in the 91st rendition of the MLB All-Star Game. While our Tigers representation tops 2019, when I made my personal pilgrimage to the Midsummer Classic, that’s only because the commissioner tossed us a bone. (Finally, that doggone Manfred did something!)
These are your Monday morning links.
Miguel Cabrera and Gregory Soto to the main stage
In case you missed it, your Detroit Tigers will send two representatives to the Midsummer Classic for the first time since 2017, when Detroit sent 2017 AL Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer and Justin Upton, recipient of the “Only Good Al Avila Free Agent” award (yes, you can hang an asterisk on that trophy, too).
So, who’s heading to Denver? Is it MLB Pipeline’s #1 prospect in baseball, Riley Greene? Is it Tarik Skubal, recipient of the annual “April Cy Young”? Is it former number one overall selection Spencer Torkelson? (That would be awkward.)
If you had asked me to make a prediction this time last year for this season, I might have actually chosen Casey Mize and Matt Manning. However:
I think my summation of the Tigers season is Harold Castro has as many pitching appearances as Mize and Manning combined.— Bill Ferris (@billfer) July 17, 2022
So instead, we get the second selection of relief pitcher Gregory Soto and a special celebration of Miguel Cabrera, who commissioner Rob Manfred summoned to the game along with fellow future first-ballot hall-of-famer Albert Pujols.
You know what? I like it, at least under the circumstances. They might be empty calories, but watching Miguel Cabrera hit a seeing-eye single or a smoked double to the gap four times out of ten with a runner in scoring position has been the most enjoyable part of following this 2022 Detroit squad. Furthermore, Cabrera and Pujols are undoubtedly the best hitters of their peak, and I will carry core memories of Miggy’s triple-crown celebration in Kansas City and of his 2013 third base summer to the grave.
I love Miguel Cabrera, man. Knowing his knack for timely hitting, I hope he knocks one 420 feet out of Coors Field.
Jace Jung and Peyton Graham made for a good draft day
Move over, Tram and Lou! And, uh, Javy Baez and Jonathan Schoop.
On Sunday night, the Detroit Tigers showed mercy to the Bless You Boys minor league prospects team by resisting the temptation to reach on a high-school prep pitcher, and instead taking a well-developed infielder. With the twelfth selection in the 2022 Major League Baseball first-year player draft, the Detroit Tigers selected 2B/3B Jace Jung from Texas Tech University. Jung’s brother Josh currently ranks as the #13 prospect in all of baseball on the THE BOARD from FanGraphs, so while he may not be the son of an MLB legend like the top two picks in this draft, the pedigree is there. The tools are pretty similar as well.
Furthermore, Jung was quite happy about joining Detroit. This, in my humble opinion, is the number one way to win favor with the Detroit sports faithful as you enter town.
Jace Jung said he had a great meeting with Tigers a couple weeks before Draft, so he let out a yell when he found out he was their pick.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 18, 2022
Jung: "Honestly, if there was a wall in front of me, I probably would've ran through it. So I'm thankful that wasn't there."
With that said, Jace, if you’re reading this: Detroit athletes are prone to some pretty baffling injuries. Please, for the love of God, do not attempt to run through a wall.
With their second selection of the night, the Tigers selected shortstop Peyton Graham out of the University of Oklahoma, who ranked tenth in FanGraphs’ 2022 MLB Draft prospect rankings. (Jung, for those who are curious, ranked 20th). The selection of starting pitcher Jackson Jobe last season allowed for the addition of starting pitcher Ty Madden with the team’s second selection, but we’ll see how the numbers break down for these signings in the days to come.
Headlines around the horn
MLB agrees to $185 million settlement in minor leaguers class-action lawsuit
According to reports, over $120 million is set to go to approximately 20,000 minor league players, as MLB has agreed to a settlement in the class-action lawsuit brought on by minor league player Aaron Senne et al. against the league nearly eight years ago, pending judge approval. If you divide that out, that’s $6,000 per player, which equals 19% of 2014’s real median personal income in the United States. Look: any movement of $120 million is a significant transaction. My initial assessment, however, is that the math says that number should be higher.
Jackson Jobe is finally getting turned loose
Hey, speaking of Jackson Jobe, the once 18-year-old draftee turns 20 on July 30 and is getting stretched out down in Single-A Lakeland.
Jackson Jobe’s outing is complete:— Tigers Minor League Report (@tigersMLreport) July 17, 2022
5IP - 6H - 2ER - BB - 6K - HR
75 pitches, 49 strikes
11 swings and misses (8 FB, 3 CB)
FB~ 94.4 MPH, ⬆️96.7 MPH
Don’t be alarmed by the sub-97 velocities. Jobe was selected for his spin rates, and if you’re paying attention to the league’s young breakout pitchers, you might have heard that spin rate and fastball shape are all the rage in today’s endlessly nuanced game. The right-hander’s athleticism bodes well for durable velocity. Efforts to tune up his fastball shape are on going.
It sounds like it’s time for your weekly assigned FanGraphs reading! This article is an intriguing comparison between Spencer Strider and Hunter Greene, two young National League pitchers with similar repertoires and pedigrees but intensely different results.
Enjoy the All-Star Break! You can’t lose if you don’t play.