Haven't seen anybody post this yet... Anyway it sounds as if Twins closer Joe Nathan will likely be out for the year. That should open some serious doors for the Tigers to have a legitimate shot at the Central this year. Hate to see anyone get injured, but this should keep things interesting this summer.
OT- Joe Nathan injured
I thought he was one of the reasons that the twins hung in it. It will help us out, but it will hurt the twins.
It will help us out, but it will hurt the twins.
You don't say...losing your great closer will hurt your team and help teams that you have to play a lot?
I just can't put the tigers competing for the division, although I guess the competition is spectacularly terrible. I don't think our pitching, starting and relief, got any better, and I'm not sure how much better the offense will be, despite the addition of Damon.
The Max Scherzer plus Schlereth and Coke I think clearly helps the pitching staff. Scherzer at 100 percent is much better than Jackson and the bullpen gets two more arms.
JV, Scherzer and Porcello is a great 1-2-3.
Unless he is pitching to Jayson Heyward, in which case, it results in 455 foot home run. No knock on Scherzer, but that was a bomb.
He can, how you say, mash? Fun fact, he was drafted in 2007, which was a ridiculously loaded draft. Interesting names from just the first round include Heyward, Matt Wieters, David Price, Matt Laporta, Madison Bumgarner, and Rick Porcello.
Jason Heyward knows how LOST ends.
As an Atlanta resident and Braves fan, it's awesome to see Heyward get love on MGoBlog. The hype down here is unreal for this guy. Every conversation about the Braves on spors talk radio basically ends in the hosts revealing their desire to have Heyward's children.
Probably the most amazing thing about Heyward, has been his plate discipline. He's walked 6 or 7 times already. The at-bat when he went yard off Scherzer he had fought back to a full count after being down 0-2. That part of his game is what makes me think he's ready for the bigs now, despite not being legally old enough to drink.
Scherzer's a fairly good choice for a 2-starter I suppose (although his performance this spring has been concerning, not because he's been bad but because he's been extremely awful), but I'm concerned with Porcello as a 3-starter. Not to say that I don't think he'll pan out as a pitcher, but it should be noted that second year starters often have arm problems due to lingering fatigue from their first MLB season.
Also, while 1-2-3 is pretty solid, our 4 and 5 starter situation is scarily bad. We need two starters out of Robertson, Willis, Bonderman, Galarraga, Miner, and perrenial bullpen/minor league guys. This isn't exactly promising.
Porcello threw almost 80% sinker/fastball last year. He's just touching the surface with his potential. When he was scouted in HS, his out pitch was a nasty curve that he barely even threw last season. There's no doubt that Leyland/Knapp were keeping the kid gloves on him and I think they will allow him more freedom this year.
I do have some concern as far as fatigue is concerned...mainly because his velocity tended to fade faster as the season went on...but I am not overly concerned about it. Detroit's been criticized for bringing pitchers up too fast but I think they did a pretty good job handling him last year. I think he takes a step forward. Remember, he has always been mentioned in the same breath as guys like David Price, Tommy Hanson and Brett Anderson....and last year he did nothing to take himself out of that conversation. He's got all the talent in the world. Plus he's not afraid to man up and throw down (Boston).
I wouldn't worry that much about Porcello's stamina in the long run. He's still like 16 years old, so I wouldn't expect him to be pitching 230 innings per year yet. Leyland handled him wisely, and didn't send him out there Doc Gooden/Mark Fidrych (sp?) style and let him throw until his arm fell off.
In the short run (i.e. this year), I think they may still keep him on a shorter leash with pitch counts... but probably not as bad as last year, where 100 pitches signaled OMG GET HIM OUTTA THERE BEFORE HE ASPLODES!!!
More in reference to possible injury than anything. Young, fatigued arms are probably the most susceptible to injury.
I hate to sound like Simmons (and I really hate to admit publicly that I'm a Yankees fan), but I've watched a lot of Phil Coke and he is WAY worse than his stats. He had great numbers, but folded in any big moment. Give him a huge lead or a huge deficit and he'll give you 2 or 3 perfect innings. 1 or 2 runs either way late in the game and you're in for a 3-run frame.
In the same way, though, Damon's not as bad as some people are worried he'll be.
Coke isn't going to be an 8th inning, pressure situation guy for the Tigers.
You can never have to many bullpen arms. Period.
Prior to Nathan going down. I had the Tigers, Twins, and White Sox running pretty similar tracks to another play-in game, but this really is game changing and a huge setback for the Twins. I have to think they suffer greatly from this, as Jon Rauch and Matt Guerrier just don't give me the "Shit, this game is over." feeling as it enters the ninth.
I think they might try to swing a trade to be honest. San Diego has been dangling Heath Bell around for a while and I think Minny's FO realizes they need to be competitive this year if they want to sign Mauer to a long-term deal.
This is very, very good for Detroit. Joe Nathan was absolutely lights-out against the Tigers. This will definitely shake up the division if the Twinkies can't find a decent replacement at the back end of their bullpen.
Nathan is great at what he does, but the position is overrated. I am not saying it is a useless position, just that they can be replaced fairly easily.
Guys like Nathan are not just random dudes who come along every five minutes. He is a stud (studbolt?) and has been absolutely fantastic for Minnesota since he came over from San Francisco (along with Liriano for AJ Pierzynski - lol). He won't be easy to replace.
In general, yes, the position is overpaid and overhyped. But the few guys that are world-class are definitely not overvalued.
They just showed Nathan and Mariano Rivera's stats since 2004:
Nathan: 246 saves, 1.87 ERA, 11.1 K/9
Rivera: 243 saves 1.93 ERA, 9.3 K/9
That's a dominant pitcher. The loss of him from your bullpen and subsequent rotation of your bullpen arms is a huge difference.
I agree that Nathan is one of the best closers around. I would never trade for a top end closer if I were a GM though.
The closer is overrated? Errr...does. not. compute.
The position is overrated. If you lose a closer you can platoon guys who can replicate the missing numbers in wins-losses and make little difference in the end result as opposed to losing your stud first basemen or SS, etc. The position is not as important as everyone seems to think it is.
Okay, maybe the position is overrated. But Nathan is/was the twins best player in the bullpen and his numbers are SICK. The twins do not get better by losing Nathan, no matter what position he played.
Overall, closers are overrated....this is true. There is massive turnover every year when it comes to closers.
Having a closer like Nathan or Rivera, however, is not. Without a trade, there is nobody in Minnesota's bullpen who will even come close to replicating what Nathan does.
It's not so much that they lost their closer, it's that they lost their clear best reliever. For them that's their closer, but that's not the case for all teams (see, e.g., the White Sox whose best reliever is very obviously Matt Thornton). The Twins have to replace 70 innings of dominant pitching. Even though they have a good, deep pen, all of those innings will be picked up by inferior pitchers to Nathan, and some of them by vastly inferior pitchers.
the same way a kicker or long-snapper is overrated. In principle, it is a simple job that doesn't demand much more talent than any other position. But lord help you if you don't have a reliable one.
Nathan finished in a very strange position, and it is a shame to see him out for a long time. Even though I like the Tigers, I always like to see my favorite teams win against solid opponents. The Twins added quite a bit this offseason (JJ Hardy, Orlando Hudson).
I still think it's going to come down to starting pitching. Chicago obviously looks the best on paper in this department. If their starters stay healthy I think it's reasonable that they can win 90. If the Tigers' pitching comes through though I expect them to at least challenge for the division no matter what, and if the White Sox pitching falls apart Detroit probably wins it.
And hey, how bout them Royals?! Anyone? Crickets?
If Jake Peavy is healthy for a full season, look out. That's a big "if," though. The guy has amazing stuff but seems to be made out of tinsel. He's one of my favorite pitchers in the league so it will be hard to root against him, but he plays for the ChiSox so I must learn to hate him.
Extreme flyball pitcher going from Petco to Cellular? He'll do well but not nearly as well as one would think, IMO. People really underestimate how much of an effect San Diego's park has on its pitchers.
He'll also have way more run support in Chicago. In San Diego a pitcher has to almost throw a shutout each time out to guarantee a win. Their hitters, aside from Adrian Gonzalez (who I feel bad for being in that lineup with Kevin Kouzmanoff as protection), are a joke.
is that he won't be Chicago's best starter this year.
Buehrle? Maybe. I don't see Danks or Gavin Floyd being better. But, I could be wrong.
But the Twins have a history in the Gardenhire era of turning anonymous journeyman relievers into dominant closers, from LaTroy Hawkins to Eddie Guardado to Nathan. They'll likely find at least a competent replacement, but I feel bad for Joe. He probably doesn't have the time left in his career to rehab a yearlong injury and make a comeback.