Friday, October 10, 2014

All-time Detroit Tigers team - The pitching staff

So I hear pitching is important in this game of hardball. Luckily, after 120 years of Tigers baseball I have quite a crew of pitchers to choose from. I'm going with an 11 man staff and a 5 man starting rotation. Really, I could have gone with less than 11 since I have some serious innings eaters on this staff, but I didn't want my relievers getting bored out there by themselves.

Before I get into the staff, there are a couple of notable players left off of the team. If this were a "best season" team rather than a career Tiger team there's no way that I could leave off Mark Fidrych. But the bird man doesn't make the cut as his career numbers are actually more in line with a Doug Fister. Also, if Max Scherzer signs with the Tigers this off-season he likely would make the team as well. As it is now, however, his career numbers aren't good enough.

Enough talking, you want to see the staff! Here they are.

SP#1 Hal Newhouser (1939-1953) - Newhouser is my opening day pitcher. Consider just some of his numbers. 200 Tiger wins. 3.07 career Tiger ERA. Just shy of 3000 innings and nearly 1800 strikeouts. Those are some powerful numbers. Newhouser starts opening day.

SP#2 Justin Verlander (2005-Present) - If Verlander would quit having seasons like this last one he'd likely be my opening day starter. Instead he sits as my #2 starter. He's passed Newhouser in career Tiger strikeouts and has his eyes set on taking over as the leader in that category someday. Career WHIP of 1.21 is very impressive as well.

SP#3 Mickey Lolich (1963-1975) - Did someone mention something about a career strikeout leader? That's Mickey! 2,679 K's. That's a ton! Really, Lolich could be my second starter, but I don't want two lefties throwing in a row. Gotta turn those hitters around.

SP#4 Jack Morris (1977-1990) - Jack the Cat joins Lolich as members of the 3,000 Tiger innings pitched club. He came up 2 wins short of 200 for the Tigers. Obviously a big part of the 1984 World Series team. I saw him pitch Game 4 of that series at Tiger Stadium.

SP#5 Denny McLain (1963-1970) - McLain will be our fifth starter. We will be hiring Don Kelly to spend all his time hanging out with Denny to make sure the guy with an outstanding WHIP of 1.11 stays out of trouble.

The Bullpen

The bullpen starts with these three old guys. They're actually starters, but you don't need to tell Tiger fans that their bullpen has kinda sucked all-time. So, we're throwing a bunch of stud starters out there. Dizzy Trout (1939-1952), Hooks Dauss (1912-1926), and George Mullin (1902-1913) will be ready to go if we see 2014 Justin Verlander or if Denny McLain starts spending time with his mob friends. That's nearly a combined 600 Tiger wins waiting for action.

John Hiller (1965-1980) will be my lefty specialist out of the pen. Hiller saved 125 games and also started 43 for the Tigers at a time when relievers didn't just throw 1 inning. A very valuable member of the 1968 team.

Can't have a team without Mr. Butt chin! Mike Henneman (1987-1995) is the best right handed reliever the Tigers have had. Not a ringing endorsement, but it's what we have. That's why our starters are going 9 innings often. Henneman does have 154 Tiger saves. (The other options were Todd Jones and Jose Valverde. Yikes!)


When Verlander throws 100 pitches after 5 innings, someone's gotta lock the game down. That job goes to Guillermo (don't call me Willie) Hernandez (1984-1989). Although Hernandez wasn't there many years it was quite a ride when he was. Hopefully, he throws like he did during the Willie years.

There you have it. That's the team! Let me know what you think, and what team you'd like me to come up with next!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Tigers all-time team - The Bench

If you haven't checked out the starting lineup, go back to the last post and do that first. Has now been updated with pictures.

A team with a dominant, productive starting lineup doesn't need a bench, right? It's not like a team is going to get into the playoffs and have 2 runners on and need a big hit to keep the season alive and... Hmmm, maybe a bench is important after all. Luckily, the all-time Tigers team has that covered. I want diversity on my bench. I need to be able to pinch hit with a player capable of getting on base if we need runners on. I need a lefty slugger that can hit for one of my right handed catchers in the late innings. I need a utility player who's not really a utility player. One that can play all of the positions well, and not hit at the Don Kelly level. I need someone ready to fill in at first when Greenberg decides to run back off to war again. I'm going into the season with 11 pitchers, since I have some big time inning eaters in my rotation, so that gives me a 5 man reserve unit. Here it is - my bench.

C - Bill Freehan (1961-1976) - Freehan really could have been the starting catcher on this team. His lifetime Tiger numbers are so close to Parrish's that it's almost like they're the same player. I'd prefer that one of my catchers could hit left-handed, but that's not really an option as I'm not going to go into a season with Mickey Tettleton, Matt Nokes, or Alex Avila as my backup. When Avila is one of your top 3 lefty hitting catchers of all time, you know that's a soft spot. So, I'll just use one of my lefty hitters off the bench to hit for catcher early in the game, and then again maybe later on as I have a surprise emergency 3rd catcher available...

2B - Lou Whitaker (1977-1995) - Do I need two left-handed hitting second basemen? No, probably not. However, I can't keep Sweet Lou and his 244 lifetime Tiger HR's off my time. Just like with the catching situation, if I need a right-handed batter to pinch hit with I'll have one. Lou also has decent speed so he can be used to run for some of my slow footed power hitters.

1B - Rudy York (1934-1945) - Like I mentioned yesterday, I have a plethora of great first basemen that I can throw out here, and I'm putting four of them on my team. Luckily three of my four have position flexibility. Miggy can play third. Greenberg can play OF (while fighting off the Germans), and Rudy provides some of the greatest flexibility of all sporting a whopping 239 career Tiger games behind the plate. That's more than enough time back there to be my third catcher if needed. Rudy can also play some third base and a little outfield for me. Similar to good ole Mike Heath, but with a ton of power.

1B - Norman Cash (1960-1974) - Like I said above, I need a lefty power bat and so "Stormin' Norman" is my man. His 373 career Tiger HR's are second only to Mr. Tiger Al Kaline. That's a lot of flights out of Tiger Stadium (which is where my team is playing all its home games). Cash can really only play first base, but luckily he's money there. I was very close to putting Sam Crawford in this spot just to get a speed guy on my team, but decided to go with power. Also gave Rocky Colavito some consideration, but he bats right handed. In the end, that was costly.

IF - Carlos Guillen (2004-2011) - Carlos Guillen? You didn't see that coming, did you? However, it's time to look a little more closely at Carlos. He's a switch hitter who has played 2B, SS, and 3B very effectively. He can also play 1B and LF in a pinch. His career Tiger OPS of .842 is actually better than any Tiger SS ever, including Alan Trammell. He's perfect for filling in at third at the end of the games so Miggy can get his legs stapled back together.

The team is coming together nicely. Now we just need to get the pitching staff put together. Coming soon...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Detroit Tigers all-time team

With the Tigers being eliminated too early and easily I figured it necessary to move on to more uplifting things. I don't wanna hear about free agency. I don't wanna talk about the crappy bullpen. I don't even really want to root for Kansas City. I want to live in a dream world where the all-time Tiger greats play together on a dominating team that wins 135 games and does that so handily that they can hit Nelson Cruz in the back every time he steps to the plate.

So, I've come out of my blogging retirement to make up my team. The starting lineup comes out today. The bench and pitchers will come soon. I want to win so I've got no room for my favorites. Also, my team is based STRICTLY on their work with the Tigers. If they didn't do it for the Tigers, it doesn't count. They shoulda worked a little harder to stay in Motown I guess. Longevity counts as well. (You hear that VMart and Max?)

1. Ty Cobb (1905-1926) CF - I'm putting Ty and his .434 OBP in the lead off spot. Great speed. Ideal lead off hitter. Easiest spot in the order to fill, although he's actually the career leader in Tiger RBI's.

2. Charlie Gehringer (1924-1942) 2B - I was originally a bit afraid of hitting to lefties in a row at the top of the order, but then I decided that it's Charlie freakin' Gehringer. Good speed. Handles the bat well. Struck out 817 times less than Brandon Inge in 4234 more Tiger at bats. And, no Inge is not on my team.

3. Al Kaline (1953-1974) RF - Mr. Tiger gets to hit in the 3 hole. Could have gone a couple of ways here, but Kaline still has 147 more Tiger HR's than Miggy and 93 more than Greenberg.

4. Hank Greenberg (1930-1946) 1B - Hammerin' Hank will hit cleanup with his 1.028 career Tiger OPS. Hank is part of a Tiger 1B crew that is very impressive. The bench battle to get on the team from the first base slot was fierce. Which brings me to...

5. Miguel Cabrera (2008-Present) 3B - I suppose I take a little hit defensively by having Miggy play third, but I need him and Hank in the lineup. Greenberg played a little outfield, and I almost threw him out there to open up another 1B slot, but decided against it.

6. Willie Horton (1963-1977) DH - Willie almost didn't even make it on the team, yet somehow makes it in the starting lineup as the DH. His 262 Tiger HR's rank him 4th all time, and that's pretty sweet.

7. Harry Heilmann (1914-1929) LF - Harry gets the nod in left. I see him sitting sometimes, however, when we want another lefty bat or want to insert another stud 1B off the bench. His 497 Tiger doubles and 145 triples are both 4th all time.

8. Lance Parrish (1977-1986) C - My two catchers are about even with their Tiger stats, so those two will take turns catching. I decided to go with Lance for now just because. Coin flip.

9. Alan Trammell (1977-1996) SS - I actually think Trammell's a better hitter than Lance, but I want his speed batting 9th before the top of the order. Trammell is 5th all time in Tiger stolen bases with 236. I was surprised by that one. He will be the only one in the bottom 4 of the lineup that will play every day. Just not another Tiger SS I want out there consistently.

My lineups going to play a lot of station to station baseball. Not a lot of speed, but not necessarily slow either. Won't be bunting.

Now it's your turn. Pick my lineup apart, and let me know what you'd do differently.