Results tagged ‘ Andrew Oliver ’
The Tigers made their first round of roster moves Tuesday, and as expected, it cleared a big chunk of the clubhouse. Yet none of them were of particular surprise.
Among the players on the 40-man roster, Duane Below, Audy Ciriaco, Cale Iorg, Andy Oliver, Lester Oliveros, Jose Ortega and Ryan Strieby were optioned to Triple-A Toledo. Jacob Turner was optioned to Double-A Erie, so it appears he’ll take that step up to start the season rather than wait until the weather warms up.
Among the non-roster invites, here’s teh list of guys optioned to minor-league camp: John Bale, Rob Brantly, Brandon Douglas, Avisail Garcia, Ben Guez, Bryan Holaday, Patrick Leyland, John Murrian, Chris Oxspring and Omir Santos.
Remember Jim Leyland’s running challenge to Justin Verlander on PFP grounders in workouts last spring training? Leyland would crow whenever he got a ground ball past Verlander, who’s competitive enough that he wants to win at that. Kept waiting to see if they renewed the challenge Monday, the first day of spring workouts, but Leyland found a new target for his fun: Jose Valverde.
“I set you up, baby! And I can do it again if I want,” Leyland bragged when he got a tricky ground ball past his closer.
“Anytime I want. Just a little on, a little off,” he said after another one.
Valverde loved it. He had a good laugh whenever Leyland said it. And then he came up with some pretty impressive grabs for a Big Potato.
Leyland loved that, too.
“He’s a fun guy,” Leyland said of Valverde after the workout. “He’s really got one of the better personalities I’ve ever been around. And I guess when you’re that big and strong, it’s probably a good thing you’ve got a good personality.
“He’s legitimately fun to be around. I like him a lot.”
Leyland also likes the PFP drills a lot, because the way they set it up, pitchers see a good number of ground balls without a lot of standing around. They separate the pitchers into groups and split them onto the four back fields of the Tigertown complex, then rotate them around. Each field emphasizes a different area.
“I think it’s a good drill,” Leyland said. “And I will do it for as long as I manage.”
Other things worth noting on the first day of official workouts:
- Leyland mentioned this as a key camp for Tigers pitching prospects Andy Oliver, Jacob Turner and Charlie Furbush, even though their chances of making the team out of camp are slim (Furbush might have a better chance as a potential lefty reliever). Barring injuries, they won’t be part of the starting five, but they stand as the Tigers’ best options for insurance starters if somebody gets hurt, either here or during the season. “We want these guys to start this process today to get themselves prepared to get as close as they can,” Leyland said. “And if something does come up, maybe somebody is ready by the camp.”
- For someone with such a key role on this team, Austin Jackson had possibly the quietest entrance of any potential star player this spring, which probably says a lot about how much he has learned in his second year. He showed up Monday morning after the clubhouse had emptied and pitchers and catchers had taken the field, then got in his work.
- Among the arrivals Monday was Max St. Pierre, who reported to camp noticeably lighter. That wasn’t by design. He said he had two bouts of stomach virus and the flu, the combination of which dropped 15 pounds off his frame. He’s fine now, but he wants to regain some of that weight before the season starts.
- Speaking of weight loss, Joel Zumaya said he’s down to 230 pounds, but wants to put on some weight before the season starts. “I want to be at the 240 range,” he said. “I’m at 230-231. But that’s just getting muscle and eating a little more. … If I can stay between 235 and 240, I think I’m good.”
- In case you were wondering, Don Kelly was not among the catchers who took their place for bullpen sessions Monday morning. He was working with the other position players. That’s fine, because Leyland said a month ago that Kelly didn’t have to report with the catchers. Kelly was here early by his own choice.
- Remember the ill-fated mohawk idea that went through the Tigers clubhouse last year? Detroit’s bullpen might have a replacement for it. Because right now, there are a lot of beards among the relievers, and not many plans to shave them anytime soon. Zumaya has pretty much a full beard and says he’s keeping it when the season starts. Schlereth has a beard fit for his native Alaska. Ryan Perry has a bit of one going. If it catches on, it’ll be a little cleaner looking than the mohawk one.
So as you might have seen on the site or on MLB Network last night, MLB.com came out with its preseason Top 50 prospect list. The Tigers came in with two kids on the list: Austin Jackson was the top Tiger at 38th, but first-round draft pick Jacob Turner isn’t far behind at 42.
Today, ESPN.com’s Keith Law came out with his top 100 prospects list. Jackson and Turner are on that list, too, but neither cracked the Top 50. Casey Crosby, however, did. He’s at 45, with Jackson at 70 and Turner at 80. Interestingly, Law is subdued on his projections for Jackson, whom he sees as a true center field with a league-average bat. Scott Sizemore barely missed the top 100, Law writes, and probably would’ve made the cut had his Arizona Fall League not ended early with a broken ankle. Law projects him as a “solid-average regular for several years.”
Not to be overlooked (thanks to Ed Price for pointing it out) is the prospects list from AOL Fanhouse, which has five (count ’em, five) Tigers in the Top 100. Jackson is 25th on that list by Frankie Piliere, who says Jackson has “grown by leaps and bounds since he was drafted.” The next-highest Tiger is Andy Oliver, who didn’t make the other two lists but hits 47th here. Another missing name from the other two rankings, Daniel Schlereth, is 78th, followed by Crosby at 82 and Turner at 90.
My point isn’t to argue that any one list is better than another; I just find the varying opinions fascinating. I’m entering my ninth year on this beat, and I can’t remember such varying national opinions on Tigers prospects. The one thing all these lists have in common is that they show progress in Detroit’s farm system. They’re drafting and developing more high-level talent rather than just one or two really good pitchers, and in the case of Jackson and Schlereth, they’re trading for them too.
Jason Beck / MLB.com
Tigers second-round draft pick Andrew Oliver made his pro debut Tuesday in the Arizona Fall League and took the loss for the Peoria Javelinas with a four-run third inning.
Oliver, the left-hander the Tigers drafted out of Oklahoma State, replaced Javelinas starter and fellow Tigers farmhand Scot Drucker, who gave up a run on a hit — a Brandon Laird RBI single — in two innings. A leadoff single and back-to-back walks — one on four pitches, the next on five — loaded the bases on Oliver. He fell behind on a 3-1 count to left-handed hitting Mets prospect Ike Davis, who got a fastball on the inside part of the plate and pulled it out to right for a grand slam.
Oliver retired the side from there, finishing with a 29-pitch inning. Tigers relief prospect Robbie Weinhardt came in later and gave up five runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings.
Casper Wells went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Cale Iorg had an RBI single.