Results tagged ‘ Casey Crosby ’
Casey Crosby’s would-be audition for the Tigers rotation fill-in role apparently looked like a kid making his Triple-A debut, which he was. The big left-hander showed his potential, striking out four of his first six batters and fanning six over four innings against just two walks, the six runs and five hits he allowed in the process sent the Hens to defeat and likely sent Jim Leyland (who was in attendance) into serious thought on how he’ll fill Doug Fister’s rotation spot coming up later this week.
Crosby spent all of last season at Double-A Erie, his first full, healthy season since coming off a spat of injuries that slowed his career since he was a highly-regarded draft pick in 2007. He made an impression in Tigers camp this spring, and Leyland said over the weekend in response to questions about the rotation that he would be heading to Fifth Third Field to watch Crosby. Other Tigers officials had watch fellow Hens lefty Andy Oliver struggle with walks on Sunday night.
Crosby didn’t struggle with walks, but he gave up early damage — a leadoff triple and two-run double in the first inning, then a tape-measure home run to Denis Phipps following an Argenis Diaz error.
So at some point very shortly, Leyland and team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski have to decide how to approach this rotation spot for the next couple weeks. Duane Below would still seem to be an option despite pitching back-to-back days over the weekend (hey, he does lead the Majors in wins at the moment). Adam Wilk still stands as the most effective Mud Hens starter out of the gate with five scoreless innings on one hit to go with six strikeouts last Friday.
With the Tigers pretty well done in free agency and clear of arbitration, they began the process of signing their younger players by reaching agreement with six members of their 40-man roster on Tuesday.
Lefty starting candidates Duane Below and Casey Crosby reached agreement on one-year contracts, as did prospects Avisail Garcia, Jose Ortega, Tyler Stohr and Brayan Villarreal. The deals raise the total of signed Tigers to 24 players on the 40-man roster.
The deals are essentially a foregone conclusion. Players on the 40-man roster without enough time in the Majors to qualify for arbitration can either negotiate a contract with the team or have the club renew their contract at the last possible date – this year, it’s March 11. Most players will reach an agreement before then.
None of the players who agreed to terms Tuesday have a full season in the big leagues yet. In fact, Below is the only one with more than a month in the Majors. He turned a couple of midsummer spot starts into a bullpen role down the stretch in a pennant race, and could be poised to win a rotation spot out of camp this year.
The 26-year-old Michigan native went 0-2 with a 4.34 ERA in 14 games, allowing 28 hits over 29 innings with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts.
Crosby came out of the same 2007 draft that brought Rick Porcello to the Tigers. The left-hander passed up on a football scholarship to Illinois to sign with Detroit for a bonus just under $750,000 before injuries slowed his development. A healthy 2011 season put him back on the prospect watch with a 9-7 record and 4.10 ERA at Double-A Erie. Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski mentioned him last week as part of the rotation competition for the lone open spot.
Villarreal was the surprise of last year’s camp, making the Tigers’ Opening Day roster as a reliever. The 24-year-old right-hander gave up 12 earned runs on 21 hits over 16 innings before spending the rest of the season at Triple-A Toledo.
Talked today with Tigers minor league operations director Dan Lunetta, who sounded pretty optimistic that Casey Crosby’s elbow injury isn’t going to require surgery. The highly-regarded pitching prospect will open the season on the disabled list, but the elbow is supposedly fine. The hope is to get him throwing again in about two weeks.
“There’s some inflammation and we need to get it quieted,” Lunetta said.
Any elbow injury with Crosby is obviously a big deal after he underwent Tommy John surgery following the 2007 draft. He’s slated to start out the season at Class A Lakeland.
Meanwhile, at Double-A Erie, the SeaWolves will open the season without either of the relievers who tied for the team lead in saves last year. While Cody Satterwhite is on the disabled list with his shoulder injury, Brett Jensen unexpectedly retired. He’s just 26 years old, and he’s healthy, but by all accounts, he’s ready to do something else.
“He just decided it was time for him to take his life in a different direction,” Lunetta said.
Jensen wasn’t a highly-regarded prospect by any means; he was left off the 40-man roster over the winter. But as a 6-foot-7 right-hander with a sidearming delivery, he had some ingredients to maybe develop into a big-league reliever down the road. Jensen went 5-5 with a 3.19 ERA and 12 saves at Erie last year, striking out 59 batters over 53 2/3 innings.
On the minor-league wire, Kory Casto and Ryan Roberson have joined Jason Stokes among the veteran hitters to be released by the Tigers this spring.
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.
Triple-A Toledo second baseman Scott Sizemore and Class A West Michigan left-hander Casey Crosby have been selected the Tigers' Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year, respectively. Sizemore, an All-Star Futures Game participant in July, batted .308 with 39 doubles, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs and 21 stolen bases between Toledo and Double-A Erie. Crosby went 10-4 with a 2.41 ERA for the Whitecaps, striking out 117 batters over 104 2/3 innings.