The 2003 Tigers were a horrible 43-119 (26.5%), but you can’t blame that record on lefty swinging DH Dmitri Young. Young played in 155 games in 2003 for the Tigers and he was 167 of 562 (.297 avg, .909 OPS) with 78 runs scored, 29 homers, 85 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. He was an A.L. All-Star for the Tigers in 2003. Young played in 487 games in his five years with the Tigers and he was 500 for 1,793 (.279 avg, .826 OPS) with 255 runs scored, 82 homers, 267 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Young had his best season (2003) in the worst season in Detroit Tigers’ history.
The Tigers have placed 26-year old righty swinging CF Austin Jackson on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right hamstring. Jackson has played in 34 games for the Tigers so far this year and he is 41 for 151 (.272 avg, .704 OPS) with 33 runs scored, 2 homers, 11 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. Jackson will be replaced on the active roster and likely in CF by 21-year old righty swinging outfielder Avisail Garcia. Garcia came into this season as the Tigers’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America. Garcia played in 14 games in A+AAA-ball this year for the Tigers and he was 26 of 61 (.426 avg, 1.076 OPS) with 13 runs scored, 2 homers, 8 RBIs and 2 stolen bases. Garcia played in 23 games for the Tigers last year and he was 15 for 47 (.319 avg, .692 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 0 homers and 3 RBIs.
27-year old righty swinging 3B Matt Tuiasosopo is making the most of the few ABs he has been getting for the Tigers this year. He has played in 23 games for the Tigers so far this year and he is 12 for 37 (.324 avg, .959 OPS) with 6 runs scored, 2 homers and 11 RBIs. Tuiasosopo has now played in 94 games in his first four years in the majors and he is 46 for 230 (.200 avg, .609 OPS) with 21 runs scored, 7 homers and 26 RBIs. He has whiffed 81 times while only walking 19 times so far in his career as he was overmatched at the plate earlier in his career. The Tigers hope that he keeps up the good work moving forward.
19-year old righty swinging outfielder Austin Schotts came into this season as the Tigers’ #5 prospect according to Baseball America. Schotts has played in 27 games in A-ball so far this year and he is 18 for 87 (.207 avg, .566 OPS) with 14 runs scored, 1 homer, 10 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Schotts has now played in 69 games in his first two years in the minors and he is 67 for 245 (.273 avg, .723 OPS) with 46 runs scored, 4 homers, 31 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. The Tigers are likely going to take things slowly with Schotts moving forward.
30-year old righty swinging 3B Miguel Cabrera and 30-year old righty starting pitcher Justin Verlander are off to blazing starts in 2013. Cabrera is trying to win back to back A.L. MVP Awards. He has played in 31 games for the Tigers so far this year and he is 48 for 126 (.381 avg, 1.062 OPS) with 26 runs scored, 6 homers, 37 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has really been locked in at the plate this year as he has walked more times (17) than he has whiffed (16) so far this year. Verlander won the A.L. Cy Young Award back in 2011. He has started 7 games for the Tigers so far this year and he is 4-2 with a 1.55 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He has given up 38 hits and 13 walks while whiffing 50 batters in his first 46 1/3 innings so far this year, which is impressive. The Tigers are in great shape in 2013 with Cabrera and Verlander leading by example.
26-year old lefty swinging catcher Alex Avila is off to another slow start for the Tigers at the plate this year. He has played in 20 games for the Tigers so far this year and he is 13 for 74 (.176 avg, .544 OPS) with 7 runs scored, 3 homers and 3 RBIs. He has already whiffed 24 times against only 7 walks so far this year. Avila has now played in 410 games in his first five years with the Tigers and he is 323 of 1,260 (.256 avg, .777 OPS) with 149 runs scored, 43 homers, 178 RBIs and 7 stolen bases. Avila has been a decent hitter in the past, so the Tigers are confident that he will snap out of his funk at the plate in the near future.
The Tigers have placed 30-year old lefty reliever Phil Coke on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 26th, due to a strained left groin. Coke has pitched in 9 games (0 starts) for the Tigers so far this year and he is 0-3 with 1 save, a 8.31 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Tigers have called up 24-year old righty reliever Jose Ortega to replace Coke in the pen. Ortega has pitched in 10 games (0 starts) in AAA-ball this year and he is 1-0 with 1 save, a 0.00 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP. He only has given up 5 hits and 7 walks while whiffing 19 batters in his first 14 innings pitched in AAA-ball this year and that is impressive. Ortega has now pitched in 189 games (1 start) in his first seven years in the minors and he is 13-18 with 9 saves, a 4.01 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Ortega got his first shot at the show for the Tigers last year, working in 2 games out of the pen in which he was 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Ortega came into this season as the Tigers’ #16 prospect according to Baseball America.
23-year old lefty starting pitcher Jose Alvarez is off to a fast start in AAA-ball for the Detroit Tigers in 2013. Alvarez has pitched in 5 games (all starts) in AAA-ball for the Tigers so far this year and he is 1-2 with a 1.61 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Alvarez has given up 19 hits and he has walked 7 batters in his first 28 innings this year while whiffing 24 batters…..which is impressive. Alvarez has now pitched in 159 games (116 starts) in his first eight years in the minors and he is 48-40 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP. If Alvarez keeps up the good work in AAA, he might get his first shot at the show later on in 2013.
The Tigers have sent 25-year old righty reliever Brayan Villarreal to AAA-ball. He pitched in 7 games (0 starts) for the Tigers this year and he was 0-2 with a 20.77 ERA and a 3.69 WHIP. He gave up 8 hits and he walked 8 batters while whiffing 6 batters in his first 4 1/3 innings for the Tigers this year. This has to be a huge disappointment for the Tigers, as Villarreal had a breakout season for the Tigers in 2012. He pitched in 50 games (0 starts) for the Tigers last year and he was 3-5 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Villarreal will be back with the Tigers are some point in 2013.
The Tigers have called up 35-year old righty reliever Jose Valverde and he will take over as the closer. He pitched in his first game for the Tigers last night and he worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning against the Royals to earn his first save of the year. He pitched in 3 games (0 starts) in A-ball for the Tigers and he was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, as he didn’t sign with the Tigers until after spring training was over. The Tigers didn’t re-sign him over the winter because of the price tag and his performance in the playoffs last year. He pitched in 4 games (0 starts) in the playoffs last year and he was 0-1 with 1 save, a 30.37 ERA and a 4.50 WHIP. He did pitch in 71 games (0 starts) for the Tigers during the regular season in 2012 and he was 3-4 with 35 saves, a 3.78 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Valverde has now pitched in 207 games (0 starts) in his first four years with the Tigers and he is 7-12 with 111 saves, a 2.98 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Valverde is currently #5 in saves in Tigers’ history with 111. The Tigers were smart to bring back Valverde, as they were having problems closing out games this year….and they were lucky that he was still available.