Breaking a long standing record at Arizona State that was held by Barry Bonds, put Spencer Torkelson on the map. Drafted this past year No.1 overall by the Detroit Tigers, Torkelson headed to summer camp and was and is working on transitioning from first base to third. Now as part of a group of players at the Tigers instructional league, Torkelson is proving his worth.
This fall at instructional league play for the Detroit Tigers, Spencer Torkelson is batting third in the lineup, fellow Tigers first round draft pick Riley Greene is batting in front of him. Tigers fans should get use to that rather nasty 1-2 punch.
It is easy for young prospects to get lost as they try to advance through the minor leagues. Spencer Torkelson has had a well rounded, mature adjustment to professional baseball. “Torkelson is as advertised,” vice president of player development Dave Littlefield said. “He works the count well. He’s got power. He can hit. We’re trying him out at third base. He’s an athletic guy, great makeup, ballplayer.”
On Monday during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Torkelson stepped to the plate and flashed exactly what Littlefield described. Hitting a 375 foot home run, after which Torkelson said he did not get all of it.
Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson have bonded. They have become fast friends. That is important because they project as future All-Stars. They also project to be part of a formidable part of the Tigers batter order for years to come.
Both Torkelson and Greene are described as being very humble, level headed players who love playing the game and want to get better every day. This is the fun part of watching and tracking prospects. To see players growth is encouraging, more so because two of the Tigers organization’s top prospects are on track.
It is not often when a person behind a microphone is celebrated. In the case of Mike “Doc” Emrick, he of such eloquent vocabulary and an overriding love for hockey who announced Monday he was stepping down from calling NHL games is a broadcaster to be celebrated. Mr. Emrick was the very best at his craft.
At the tender age of 74, the NHL has lost it’s voice. Mike “Doc” Emrick had called games for 47 years. When he began his career Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr and Bobby Hull were still playing. Emrick would see Gordie Howe’s son Mark and Bobby Hull’s son Brett not only play but join they’re dad’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The same Hall of Fame where Emrick received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award for broadcasting excellence from in 2008. “Doc” also won seven Emmy Awards for excellence in broadcasting, the only hockey broadcaster to receive one. Emrick became the first member of the media to be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.
Mike Emrick’s resume includes 22 Stanley Cup Finals, 19 Winter Classic and Stadium Series games, 14 NHL All-Star Games and six Olympics. What has endeared Emrick to hockey fans was his unabashed wonder at the skill and courage of hockey players.
NBC and NBC Sports allowed Mike “Doc” Emrick to take a final bow in a very fitting way.
There are very few words to adequately describe the life and career of Doc Emrick, so let's let his own words carry the day as he announces his retirement.
There is no way around it, Mike “Doc” Emrick will be missed. NBC Sports said that Emrick will do some video essays from time to time, which from a Detroit Red Wings and hockey fan, I along with countless others are glad to hear.
Detroit Lions rookie running back D’Andre Swift took the ball and 54 yards later had the longest run of his brief NHL career. It was the Lions longest gain on the ground in 30 games. Moments later Swift was rewarded for his effort has the Lions allowed him to carry the ball across the goal line for a one yard touchdown.
D’Andre Swift’s Detroit Lions debut ended poorly. As you may recall, Swift dropped the game winning touchdown pass against the Chicago Bears. After the game Swift told anybody and everybody this was not the norm.
Sunday’s games against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, D’Andre Swift ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries spearheading the Detroit Lions second win of the season. Along the way the Lions may have found the teams featured back.
Swift, a second-round pick in April’s draft, saw an increase in playing time against the Jaguars. Swift’s football touches jumped from 6.25 in the first four games of the season to 17 on Sunday in Jacksonville. The young running back made the most of those touches, becoming just the second Detroit Lions running back to rush for 100 plus yards since 2013.
In training camp D’Andre Swift suffered a hamstring injury cost him significant practice time. At times Swift has not be on the same page as the rest of the offense, in part due to lost time from the injury and as part of having not mini camps due to the global pandemic. Not to mention Swift is a rookie so there are usually growing pains with first year players.
Through the first few games Swift flashed enough signs of what he could be. Sunday in a hot, humid, steamy day in Jacksonville Florida, D’Andre Swift put together for the most part a complete game. The one glitch was running the wrong route on a Matthew Stafford pass attempt.
D’Andre Swift is an up and coming player for the Detroit Lions and should be the teams RB1 going forward.
Franklin Perez was one of the crown jewels of the 2017 trade that sent longtime Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros. Injuries derailed Perez’s development. The young pitcher threw just 27 innings due to injuries. Now healthy, the Tigers believe Franklin Perez has a future spot in the teams starting rotation.
At just 22 years old it is way to early to give up on Franklin Perez. When he arrived as part of the Verlander package, Perez was a top 10 prospect in the Detroit Tigers minor league system. Injuries and time missed saw Perez fall in the rankings and land at No. 14.
Perez’s pitch’s suggest he can be a solid three or four pitcher in the Tigers rotation. If it were another team he could be a number two starter. The Tigers with excellent pitching prospects which includes Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal and Matt Manning may actually see Perez at four.
When healthy, Franklin Perez is very talented. The young right handed pitcher, showed a lot of potential in summer camp, but his fastball was stuck in the low 90s and his command was off at times. There were still moments where Perez gave reminders of just how good he can be.
Once Perez can clean up his wildness and consistently throw the ball around the plate he should arrive in Detroit. The future of the Tigers starting rotation already looks solid. Throw a healthy, confident Franklin Perez into the mix and the Detroit pitching staff of the future looks downright scary.
It is not out of the question all four of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects arrive at Comerica Park next season. However that shakes out. The Tigers are just about ready to remake the 2020 worst pitching staff in MLB and replace it with young talented pitchers eager to prove themselves.
When this happens fans will be able to finally see a light at the end of the long rebuild.
The Detroit Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield, is in Lakeland Florida preparing for an onslaught of Tigers prospects to begin offseason development. This after there was no minor league baseball played due to COVID-19.
Detroit Tigers top prospects Spencer Torkelson , Riley Greene and Parker Meadows all where chosen to participate in Toledo as part of the Tigers shuttle during the 2020 MLB regular season. Those top prospects will be in Lakeland as will 16 of the organizations top 30 prospects.
Some players are training for the first time since spring training. “They are shaking the rust off, there’s no doubt about it, Guys are in different levels of shape. It’s going to take a little time to get some of the timing back for the hitters, even the conditioning that’s necessary to play defense, or to be ready to throw off a mound,” Littlefield said during a ZOOM call.
It is a needed activity for all prospects. To further development and to get back to baseball. It is safe to say because on the lengthy layoff players will be brought along slowly at the start.
For the prospects it is also a way to bond and create some chemistry as they had into fall ball or the offseason depending on each players developmental needs. Something that is needed in sports. Good chemistry leads to a better culture which in a perfect world leads to winning down the line.
It will be worth monitoring for fans and media. The Detroit Tigers have a top 10 prospect pool, those players are looking to take the next step in hopes of finding their way to the major leagues soon. For a city who’s sports teams are either just bad (Detroit Lions) or rebuilding Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons, prospects, drafts and free agents are about the only enjoyment until the teams are set to win again.
Optimism has been extremely hard to come by for Detroit sports fans lately. The Pistons, Lions, Tigers and the Red Wings have not been good to say the least. Yet, for all the misery the Red Wings have one thing the other Detroit teams do not, a proven general manager. Steve Yzerman’s play for the Red Wings is to build his team through the draft. Something the other Detroit teams should mimic.
Two years into his job, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman has had two very solid drafts. Drafts that have added to the Red Wings prospect pool. Coupled with Yzerman’s quote that “you can’t build a team through free agency,” Yzerman is using the NHL Draft to build his roster.
The Detroit Red Wings are signing low-term free agents that will help the team be a better. The catch is the players the Red Wings have signed can be flipped at the trade deadline for more draft picks. As they have value around the league.
Detroit Red Wings fans knew Yzerman would improve the team and organization. The Red Wings GM wants to avoid long term contracts for now and focus on putting the right group veteran players around his core players and he wants to do it being cost effective.
The 2020-21 Detroit Red Wings should be a little better than last seasons and that is just fine. The Red Wings need to continue to get top 10 draft slots and the scouting department needs to continue to do their solid work.
Steve Yzerman built a Stanley Cup-winning team in Tampa Bay. It took time, it will take time in Detroit as well. But, Detroit sports fans have more faith in Stevie Y. than they do with the other general managers in the city putting their teams together.
Building through the draft is the right move no doubt about it.
Detroit sports fan like their sports stars gritty to match the blue-collar feel of the Motor City. After all the fans insisted the city take down a mural of Detroit Red Wings Steve Yzerman because his face was touched up. Down it came and up went a mural showing all of Yzerman’s facial scars. Fans were happy. Former Tigers player Don Kelly was that sort of player and could be a solid hire for the Tigers.
Don Kelly played 544 games for the Tigers from 2009-14 mostly as a utility player. Kelly is not known for his heroic moments, yet is beloved by Tigers fans to this day. In the four years since Kelly’s playing days ended. The 40 year old has skyrocketed up the coaching ranks, currently serving as the bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With Ron Gardenhire’s sudden retirement from the Tigers managers job Don Kelly “baby!” could be a solid choice to take over. Kelly started his post baseball career as a scout for the Detroit Tigers in 2017. A year later he was the first base coach for the Houston Astros. Now as mentioned a bench coach for the Pirates.
That is three big promotions in just four years. What makes Kelly valuable is his insight into multiple facets of the game, from a scout to a bench coach. Kelly knows many of the young players within the organization, as well as understands analytics and can evaluate talent.
While Don Kelly only lacks manager experience his overall resume is solid and on par for a job opening. One more thing that I believe should be noted is that Kelly during his playing career played every position on the baseball field. So he knows what he’s talking about.
At just 40 years old Kelly is able to relate to younger players. He could be perfect to lead the Detroit Tigers out of the rebuild and back into contention. Also worth noting the Tigers general manager Al Avila said that he intends to interview former and currently suspended Astros manager A.J. Hinch for the managers spot. Could he bring Don Kelly to Detroit to be his bench coach?
That could set Kelly up nicely for when he does get a managers shot.
Lucas Raymond, LW, William Wallinder, D, Theodor Niederbach, C, Cross Hanas, LW, Donovan Sebrango, D, Eemil Viro, D, Sam Stange, RW, Jan Bednar, G, Alex Cotton, D, Kyle Aucoin, D, Kienan Draper, RW, Chase Bradley, LW are now part of the Detroit Red Wings organization.
It absolutely hurt the Detroit Red Wings not having the first pick in the draft. Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman did the best he could and pulled off some really solid draft picks. Picks that will help the brutal rebuild the Red Wings are enduring.
Yzerman did score a home-run pick when the Red Wings selected Lucas Raymond. Defensman William Wallinder was thought to be a first round player but fell into the Red Wings lap with the first pick in round 2.
For Yzerman and his scouting department they did not have any big misses and were able to get volume which is what is needed for rebuilds. Theodor Niederbach and Cross Hanas in my opinion were very good picks for the draft slot. Both players have big upsides and project well at the NHL level.
“At the top of the draft, you’d like to think you have a little bit more certainty as to what the player is going to be and who the top, top prospects are,” Yzerman said after Wednesday night concluded the 2020 NHL Draft.
The Detroit Red Wings second year GM sounded pleased with the draft haul, “Hopefully a few of them become NHL players.” It was not hard to identify what Yzerman and his scouting department were looking for.
Fast skaters, good hockey IQ, size with good character. As I stated before, the Red Wings did not have any real misses. The one pick I question is goalie Jan Bedar. Bedar has lacked consistency yet the 6′ 4″ netminder has the tools to be a very good NHL goalie. It seems Yzerman is banking on his developmental team to get Bedar to that level.
Now comes the fun part, watching prospects grow and reach the NHL.
How’s your mock draft? Detroit Red Wings General Manager Steve Yzerman does not care, neither does Director of Amateur Scouting Kris Draper. For the second year in a row Yzerman and Draper picked the player they feel can “move the needle.” Of all the names linked and mocked to the Red Wings with the No. 4 overall pick, not one person had them taking Swedish forward Lucas Raymond.
The rebuilding Detroit Red Wings have needs up and down the roster. Sure Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, Filip Hroneck and a couple others give the Red Wings good players to build around. The key word is build. Detroit GM Steve Yzerman said it will take time.
Steve Yzerman is not afraid to throw curveballs at experts. Many had the Red Wings taking other players. Until Yzerman made the pick and surprised many. One thing, the Detroit Red Wings got a player who is elite and will add offense to a team in need of it from the second line to the fourth line.
Lucas Raymond, my goodness what a player the 5′ 11″ Swedish forward is. What exactly are the Red Wings getting in Raymond? Let’s take a look. For starters Raymond is an excellent skater. Raymond has outstanding speed and fantastic acceleration.
As for Raymond’s offensive game he uses his speed very well and has very good stickhandling skills. The young forward is rarely rattled and plays with poise beyond his years.
Lucas reads the play extremely well, He is also above average at anticipating when a teammate will be open for a scoring chance. Raymond has a good solid wrist shot and a quick release. His quick hands allow him to change the angle on his shot and fool goaltenders.
Defensively Lucas Raymond plays all three zones. His size and lack of upper body strength can at times expose some weakness. Something the Red Wings will ask him to clean up when he plays this coming season in Sweden.
This was a very good pick by Yzerman and his scouting department. Raymond is very happy to join the organization who has had it’s fair share of great Swedish hockey players over the years.
Detroit Red Wings general manager has a history of big daring moves. He did it during his time in Tampa Bay and put an eventual Stanley Cup Champion on the ice. Yzerman’s latest big move is daring, he has waived veteran forward Justin Abdelkader for the purpose of buying out the remainder of his contract.
Before the 2016-17 NHL season the Detroit Red Wings then general manager Ken Holland sign forward Justin Abdelkader to a massive $29.75 million dollar contract ($4.25 million dollar salary cap hit.)
Since that time Abdelkader has failed to live up to the contract. After scoring 23 in 2014-15 and 19 goals 2015-16 , Abdelkader never came close to those offensive totals again.
As one of the Red Wings alternate captains, Abdelkader played 49 games last season, getting three points (all assists), with a minus-14 rating. It is a move that needed to be made.
Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman made the bold move Tuesday afternoon. Knowing full well the buyout will count against the cap for six years: $1,805,556 in 2020-21, $2,305,556 in each of 2021-22 and 2022-23, and $1,055,556 in the following three seasons.
From a team stand point this is a bit of a blow. Many in and around both the Detroit Red Wings and the NHL say that Abdelkader is a great teammate and great in the locker room. On the ice was a different story.
Knowing Steve Yzerman’s history, it is safe to say that he is clearing a roster spot for a bigger move. This is a big year for the Red wings rebuild. The media knows, fan know it Yzerman surely knows it.
Just what that move will be is held by one person, the general manager. Yzerman has never made a big move and followed it up with a small move. He goes big then often goes bigger.
Perhaps something is brewing tonight during the 2020 NHL Draft. We shall see.