Detroit Tigers pitcher Casey Mize working on command during spring training

Casey Mize was the Detroit Tigers first overall draft pick in 2018 for good reason. Mize, has quality stuff, electric stuff even. He has the pitches and mental makeup to be a staff ace. That is not what is in question. Spring training 2021, is seeing a trend with Casey Mize that needs to be reversed. Mize’s walks are up. It is just spring training, but this needs to be addressed.

When Casey Mize pitched at the University of Auburn, he rarely walked any batters. Also during his time in the Detroit Tigers minor leagues Mize walked just  26 batters in 123 minor league innings. This shows he is generally around the strike zone.

This spring has been a bit different. Dating back to last season when Mize made some starts for the Tigers he began to see a rise in walks. The Detroit Tigers need to give more attention to the potential future staff ace.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Casey Mize #74 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 15, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

New Tigers pitch coach Chris Fetter, has been setting up schedules and working on pitching regimen’s for the entire Tigers organization’s pitchers. It has already paid off in Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd’s delivery. Body in releasing the ball a split second longer than last season and thus far in spring training the results have been improved

Back to Casey Mize, he was the first pick in the 2018 draft for a reason. He has the stuff. That is not the question. While Mize is barely missing the strike zone, he is still missing it. 3-2 walks are hurting him. This is indeed what spring training is for.

For any pitcher confidence is key. No matter starting pitcher of relief pitcher. It could hamper Mize’s development if he falls into bad habits that carry over into the season. No matter if he starts the season at Triple-A or in Detroit.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 12: A detailed view of a Detroit Tigers baseball hat and Rawlings glove sitting on the field during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 12, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It should be noted this is not the time to worry. It is the time to address the rising walk issue and begin to get the young pitcher ready for the next phase in his development. Which I believe, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch and his staff will do.

Gone but not forgotten, the Detroit Tigers honor Al Kaline

This year’s spring training marks the first one since 1954 Detroit Tigers legend and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member Al Kaline has not been in Lakeland Florida for spring training. Kaline passed away last April. The Detroit Tigers are still honoring the man known as “Mr. Tiger.”

The Detroit Tigers have placed a jersey with the familiar #6 and Kaline stitched above the number in Kaline’s old locker. It is a way that players, coach’s and Detroit Tigers front office have chosen to remember the Tiger icon. Such honors go to players who exemplified team, city and general good characteristics that seem to set them apart from others.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 17: A detailed view of a equipment bag sitting on the field during the Detroit Tigers spring training workout day at the TigerTown complex on February 17, 2014 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

No matter if he was a player, broadcaster,  special assistant to the team President or just helping with batting instructions and fielding tips, Al Kaline was for 66 years at Tiger Town in Lakeland, Florida in uniform ready and willing to pitch in.

Kaline, made no secret about his love for the city of Detroit, Michigan or the people or his beloved Detroit Tigers. The Detroit Tigers front office, players and coaching staff has never steered away from how they felt about “Mr. Tiger.”

So with little fanfare, but deep respect for Al Kaline, the Detroit Tiger clubhouse staff members prepared his uniform and a locker as they have done over many years.

BOSTON, MA – JUNE 22: Al Kaline #6 of the Detroit Tigers sits on the dugout steps during an MLB game against the Boston Red Sox on June 22, 1955 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images)

Al Kaline gave much to the game he loved. He also gave to the Detroit Tigers and city of Detroit. Kaline simply could not stay away and nobody was going to tell he had to. This is just a little look at how not only the Detroit Tigers viewed Kaline but how the clubhouse attendant’s also viewed him.

What makes it even better in my opinion, is that the Detroit Tigers did nothing to draw attention to Al Kaline’s locker being set up with his uniform. That is exactly how Kaline would have wanted it to be.

 

Rumor: The Detroit Red Wings could trade two young forwards

Rumors are just that, rumors. However, this seems to be one that is gaining momentum. It is widely being speculated that Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman could move two of the teams young forwards. Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi. While this may come as a shock to many, it should not. The Red Wings who will have much needed salary cap space would benefit further if they move Mantha or Bertuzzi or both.

First let me say that if Steve Yzerman moves Anthony Mantha and/or Tyler Bertuzzi he would have to be blown away by an offer. Both Mantha and Bertuzzi are on contracts that other teams would find attractive so money would not be an issue.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 17: Steve Yzerman of the Detroit Red Wings poses for his official headshot for the 2019-2020 season at Little Caesars Arena on September 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The real question is should Yzerman move the players at all? It seems like of the two players Mantha would not be moved due to his skill set. Yet that is exactly why other teams would line up for his services IF he is put on the trading block.

Tyler Bertuzzi, is a gritty players and has offensive scoring punch to go with his two-way play. Bertuzzi would be an easy trade as well. Teams would also line up for his service.

But as this rumor has gained traction what would it mean for the Red Wings? First and foremost it would be a very smart move for Yzerman if he does trade them. It would go a long way in speeding up the Red Wings rebuild. Both players would net a big returns.

This is what a rebuild looks like. Tough decisions need to be made. Steve Yzerman has done the tough decision part before when he took over as GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. This would be nothing new for the seasoned Yzerman.

DETROIT – MAY 11: An octopus hangs above the ice before game one of the 2007 Western Conference finals between the Anaheim Ducks and the Detroit Red Wings on May 11, 2007 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Red Wings fans need to understand that while yes Anthony Mantha and Tyler Bertuzzi are very good players. Their real value to the organization may be in the form of a trade.

 

Detroit Tigers Matt Manning fires two scoreless innings in spring training, what it does and does not mean

Yesterday the Detroit Tigers #3 ranked prospect, pitcher Matt Manning had a good showing. Sure it is only spring training. But, for Manning and the Detroit Tigers this is an encouraging step in the young pitches development. Manning is one of the prospects who will lead the charge out of the Tigers rebuild.

No matter if it is spring training or a regular season game, prospects tend to allow the game and moment to be bigger than them. That is why when Detroit Tigers prospect Matt Manning took to the bump yesterday, he had all eyes on him.

LAKELAND, FL – FEBRUARY 12: Matt Manning #83 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Facility on February 12, 2020 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Manning did not let the moment be to big for himself. Instead he was calm, cool, and collected. Manning was firing strikes all over the strike zone. A very good sign. His fastball had life and was popping. Manning has always had a nasty curveball, which he showed off as well.

As I stated Matt Manning is the Detroit Tigers #3 ranked prospect, he is the #25 ranked prospect in all of baseball per MLBPipeline. Manning has a very smooth delivery and his  mechanics are generally spot on.

Matt Manning has a slider that bites in on hitters as well as the nasty 12 to 6 curveball he mixes in with a changeup and his fastball. Yesterday, Manning faced the Philadelphia Phillies for two innings. He did not give up a run and made a nice bare-handed play as well.

Manning’s fastball sits between 97-98 MPH. Yesterday he threw it 92-93 MPH, as many pitchers generally hold back a little during spring training. What stood out yesterday was just how good and how effective both his slider and curveball are. In fact he got two swing-and-misses with his curve.

It is a safe bet Matt Manning makes his first appearance in Detroit this season. He is one prospect Tigers fans have been waiting for. Sure Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are as well, but both pitchers pitched for the Tigers last season.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 04: A detailed view of the baseball glove and hat used by Jeimer Candelario #46 of the Detroit Tigers sitting in the dugout during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on September 4, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The Royals defeated the Tigers 7-6. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Once Manning gets his feet wet in the major leagues, the Detroit Tigers will be a step closer to ending a long rebuild.

 

 

The Detroit Tigers are giving Isaac Paredes a legitimate shot at making the team

For the Detroit Tigers sixth ranked prospect, Isaac Paredes hitting has never been an issue. Paredes can rake with the best of them. Fresh off of posting huge numbers in the Mexican winter league. Paredes arrived in Lakeland Florida and the Tigers are ready and willing to allow him to earn a roster spot. Why? Because Isaac Paredes can help the Tigers.

Isaac Paredes will play in his first Grapefruit League game on Wednesday. This after sitting out the appropriate amount of time coming from Mexico to Florida due to MLB’s COVID guidelines.

LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 11: General view of Joker Marchant Stadium, Spring Training home of the Detroit Tigers on March 11, 2005 in Lakeland, Florida. The Detroit Tigers defeated the New York Yankees 10-7. (Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB via Getty Images)

Detroit Tigers first year manager A.J. Hinch said Paredes will start at third base, his usual position, on Thursday, then play second base this weekend. Paredes can also play the outfield.

Where Isaac Paredes will actually end up playing is a great question. But when a young player can hit like Paredes, you find a way to get him on the field. One thing it does is it gives Paredes multiple pathways to the roster.

A.J. Hinch said he feels that it would do both Paredes and the Detroit Tigers no good to send the young slugger to Triple-A. That any further development should and needs to take place in Detroit.

CHICAGO – AUGUST 19: Isaac Paredes #19 of the Detroit Tigers fields during his Major League debut against the Chicago White Sox on August 19, 2020 at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images)

It was known when the Tigers traded for Isaac Paredes he was projected to be a very good hitter with power to all fields. In Mexico this past offseason Paredes had a confidence building winter ball season.

Paredes who hit just .220 with a .568 OPS in 108 plate appearances for the Detroit Tigers last summer, also had memorable moments and encouraging signs that pointed that he was close to producing more.

Then came winter ball in Mexico, and Isaac Paredes put on a show. Posting .379 average in 145 at-bats. Isaac also was first in on base percentage with .480 , he had doubles 17 , and on base plus slugging 1.060. He walked an eye popping 27 times against just 12 strikeouts in 177 plate appearances. Isaac Paredes also won the batting title.

This is what Tigers manager A.J. Hinch means when he said Triple-A would not do Paredes and the Detroit Tigers any good. Hinch may be right.

With the end of his career in sight, Detroit Tigers Miguel Cabrera can reach two milestones

Miguel Cabrera is already a Hall of Fame player. He is one of baseball’s all-time great right handed hitters. Yet with any aging player, Cabrera has dealt with injuries the past few seasons. Time has caught up with “Miggy.” With the Detroit Tigers in a rebuild and the aging Cabrera in decline. It is not all bad news. Cabrera can reach two big milestones this season.

PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 15: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers argues with the umpires in the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates while wearing the #42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson Day during the game at PNC Park on April 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Miguel Cabrera is 13 home runs shy of 500 and 134 hits short of 3,000 hits for his career. If he was not already a Hall of Fame caliber player reaching two of baseball sure thing (as in the Hall of Fame) numbers would be the clincher.

It is never easy or fun to watch a player who was once the absolute best at the sport they played decline as the years roll on. That has been the case in Detroit with Cabrera, who has not resembled the player who was the American League back-to-back MVP Award winner in 2012 and 2013.

Miguel Cabrera  turns 38 years old in April. Yet for as much as Miggy loves playing the game of baseball, father time can be cruel. As injuries have piled up it has taken the Tigers star player longer to reach 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. Yet, Cabrera still showed up to rehab in order to get back on the field.

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 27: A detailed view of the 2012 Triple Crown Award presented to Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers prior to Game Three of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park on October 27, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Giants defeated the Tigers 2-0. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Tigers have a good minor league prospect pool. One that has Cabrera’s replacement in it. But when a player has accomplished so much, there is no need to bump him out of the lineup. After all when healthy Cabrera can still hit pretty good.

So baseball fans everywhere, will root for Cabrera from a baseball point of view. 500 home runs and 3,000 hits is an awesome achievement for any player on any team. They just have to fight father time or at least fend him off.

With the 2021 NHL trade deadline approaching, the Detroit Red Wings are ready to deal

It was part of the “Yzer-plan.” That is what is lovingly referred to by Detroit Red Wings fans describing the teams rebuild under general manager Steve Yzerman. The part in question is when Yzerman signed aging defensive veteran Marc Staal and forward Bobby Ryan to one year deals. The hope was that they would play well enough for Yzerman to cash them in for draft picks. They have played well and that is good news.

News broke Thursday that Steve Yzerman has been fielding calls on both Marc Staal and Bobby Ryan, along with longtime Detroit Red Wings forward Luke Glendening.

Luke Glendening is attractive to teams for a simple reason and a reason many team covet, he leads the league in faceoff percentage. For a team in playoff position looking to help a line out due to a weak faceoff issue, Glendening holds high value. Glendening who has been a Detroit Red Wings since the 2013-14 NHL season has been a fixture in the organization. But in a rebuild there is no room to be sentimental. Not when it come to returning the Red Wings to the playoffs.

DETROIT, MI – JANUARY 18: Bobby Ryan #54 of the Detroit Red Wings bumps gloves with teammates on the bench after scoring a goal in the 1st period of an NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Little Caesars Arena on January 18, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

Bobby Ryan has found his scoring touch again. This is great news for the rebuilding Red Wings. Scorers generally bring in nice returns. With 5 goals and 11 assists on the season, teams will line up for his services.

That brings us to defenseman Marc Staal, who is playing very well and providing leadership for a young Red Wings team trying to find their footing. He will be a hot commodity at the deadline.

Steve Yzerman has taken calls on these three players and perhaps others. The process should be interesting to watch. In my opinion, Detroit should get good draft capital with picks as well as possibly a young prospect.

One thing is for sure, Steve Yzerman will not be short changed. He understands the league and the value his players have. Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal were never going to be Red Wings for long. Their play has now increased the odds both will be dealt.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 17: Luke Glendening #41 of the Detroit Red Wings faces off against Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks during a pre-season NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on September 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

The trade deadline is coming. The Detroit Red Wings are open for business .

 

Detroit Tigers pitcher Tarik Skubal is adding a new pitch and it could mean big things

Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal made some starts last season in Detroit. As with many rookie pitchers, Skubal was up and down. Yet after some rough starts, Skubal started to figure things out and showed that he is close to being a very good starting pitcher. As one of the Detroit Tigers top pitching prospects Skubal seemed to have separated himself from the others. Now heading into the 2021 season, Tarik Skubal is adding a pitch to go with his other plus pitches.

This offseason, Tarik Skubal starting off trying to add a changeup to his pitching repertoire. Unsatisfied with the results he was getting, Skubal  changed gears and went in another direction. Like Detroit Tigers other top ranked pitching prospect Casey Mize, Skubal is working on adding a splitfinger fastball.

DETROIT, MI – CIRCA 1985: Jack Morris #47 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during an Major League Baseball game circa 1985 at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, Michigan. Morris played for the Tigers from 1977-90. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

Tarik Skubal struck out 27.2% of the hitters he faced in the 2020 MLB season, 4.3  above league average for a starting pitcher. However there was a clear vulnerability to right handed hitters.  They hit nine of the home runs he allowed in 2020.

Skubal has a fastball early and often approach to pitching in general. A pitcher can get away with that in the minor leagues. In the major leagues it is totally different. A steady diet of fastballs first translates into a lot of baseball ending up in the stands. As Skubal witnessed last season.

When thrown correctly the splitfinger fastball can be a devastating out pitch. Much like the one Casey Mize throws and former Detroit Tigers pitching legend and Hall of Fame member Jack Morris threw.

While Tarik Skubal is still learning the pitch there are signs that he has it down. If a lefthanded pitcher like Skubal can master the splitter then suddenly the sky becomes the limit for what he will be able to do. It will also push his development forward quiet a bit.

Tarik Skubal has all of spring training and more than likely a few starts at Triple-A to hone the pitch. No matter how you slice it this can help both Skubal the the Detroit Tigers.

Little hints have been dropped about the Detroit Lions offseason plans

With new Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes brings a new direction for the organization. Also now in the mix is former Detroit Lions player and Lions legend Chris Spielman who is sitting in with Brad Holmes and Shelia For Hamp and others on draft and free agent plans. So here is a look at what Lions will probably do to improve the team.

The Detroit Lions have never been a franchise that has made big splashes in free agency. That trend looks like it will continue. In fact Lions fans should expect that the team will not sign any big name free agents. Look for Holmes to fill roster moves like Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila as well as Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman. Sign cheap players on a short 1-2 year deals.

01 May 2015: FormerDetroit Lion Chris Spielman during round 2 of the 2015. The NFL Draft is being held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What should be noted is that Chris Spielman and Brad Holmes and new Lions Head coach Dan Campbell all share similar philosophies. That it is better to build a team through the draft. Once a core group of players has been established then add to the core via free agency.

The Detroit Lions are in my opinion on the right track with the build your team through the draft thought process. So it is more of a, draft, develop process that leads to a younger team that is hopefully more athletic than the current roster able to grow together. There will be lumps along the way to be sure.

The fact that the Detroit Lions actually have an offseason plan is refreshing, on many levels. In years past it felt like they were throwing darts at a dartboard hoping to hit the board. They rarely did.

This is not an overnight fix. It took the Detroit Lions years to put a slow team filled with holes on the field. It will take time to reshape the roster. I have total confidence in Brad Holmes who helped to put a Super Bowl team on the field in Los Angeles with the Rams to build the Lions roster in much the same way.

SAN DIEGO, CA – DECEMBER 20: Head coach Dan Campbell of the Miami Dolphins stands on the field before playing the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 20, 2015 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

It is a good sign that owner Ford Hamp , Chris Spielman, Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes are all on the same page. It will do nothing but help the Lions moving forward.

Steve Yzerman is pleased with how the Detroit Red Wings are competing despite a losing record

The Detroit Red Wings are 5-12-3, and sitting 29th out of 31 teams in the NHL. That is not a great record. That said Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman said that he is “generally pleased with the effort, competitiveness” of his hockey team. That may sound crazy, stupid or far fetched. But it really is not.

The Detroit Red Wings pushed through games in which players were out due to COVID-19. The Red Wings lost all of those games. Yet with the players on the roster the Red Wings were competitive in those losses. “It’s difficult to win with a healthy squad, and it’s a challenge when you’re not healthy,” Yzerman said.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 20: Filip Zadina #11 of the Detroit Red Wings battle for the puck with Nicolas Beaudin #74 of the Chicago Blackhawks during a pre season game at Little Caesars Arena on September 20, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Since players have been returning to the lineup the Red Wings have improved play. It is not showing in the wins and losses. It does not have to. More on that in a moment. In a lot of situations during games, The Red Wings have seen a significant step in the right direction.

From better passes to better play from the blueline (defense) to young players such as Filip Zadina showing growth in his game, the young Red Wings are actually beginning to look the part of an NHL team. This is why wins do not matter.

Much like a baby needs to learn to crawl before it can walk, hockey players need to learn what it takes to play at the highest level. This is where the Detroit Red Wings rebuild is.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 21: Moritz Seider poses for a portrait after being selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)

Steve Yzerman is also aware that the organization’s top prospects are having very good seasons as well Yzerman is very pleased with the growth he has seen from Moritz Seider.

While the Red Wings record is not good. Throw that away. This season was never going to be about wins and losses. This season was getting young players to take the next step in development in order to push the rebuild forward.

That seems to be the case and Steve Yzerman is pleased.