World Series Recap: What the Tigers Can Learn as Baseball’s New Era Shines on the Brightest Stage

by Travis Leonardi

It was no surprise to once again see the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. With an extensive number of homegrown All-Stars, a commitment to analytics and a top ranked farm system, they have dominated the regular season for nearly a decade. Although the Dodgers have failed to secure a title, their eighth consecutive division title and third NL pennant in four years somehow feels like just the beginning for Dodgers fans.

Although they held the best record in the American League at 40-20, the Tampa Bay Rays are a different story. Branded as a “small market” team in the AL East, constantly contending with the powerhouse franchises of the Yankees and Red Sox is a difficult feat. However, in the past 3 seasons the Rays’ commitment to analytics and player development is consistently paying off. Their surplus of prospects from their top ranked farm system and bullpen of flamethrowers won them 90 games in 2018, 96 games in 2019 and a .667 win percentage in the shortened 2020 season, second in baseball to the Dodgers.

Though the Tigers became known as an “old-school” franchise that did not rely heavily on advanced analytics, the Tigers have made great strides in modernizing the organization since Al Avila took over GM duties. The franchise has installed Statcast at all their developmental facilities, created their own analytical database CAESAR, and plucked hires from the Driveline talent pool, to name a few. They now find themselves behind only the Rays as the second ranked farm system. Through consecutive top picks and an improved drafting strategy, the Tigers have quickly risen as one of the league’s most exciting groups of young talent. All signs point to following the model of the new-school franchises. As the Tigers emerge from the rebuild over the next few seasons, will this new model resemble the Dodgers, the Rays, or somewhere in-between? Can the Tigers find sustained success?

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Have Hope, Tigers Fans

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feeling.
— Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’

As we speak, the Detroit Tigers — yes, those Detroit Tigers — are in contention for the eighth and final American League wild card spot. Yes, we know what you’re saying. The Tigers don’t have a chance. It’s just a pipe dream. The odds are against them. There are too many better teams ahead of them. They’ll never make it in so why bother.

Jeimer is leading the way. (photo by Alexandra Simon)

These are all justifiable positions one could take on the current state of the Detroit Tigers’ postseason hopes. Detroit Tigers fans are used to having their hopes and dreams stomped on and spit upon by the Detroit Tigers.

The sharp sting of our postseason disappointments are still fresh and painful. The fanbase is reluctant to be hopeful in a season, a year, where Murphy’s Law reins supreme. The Tigers don’t have a chance so why should I get my hopes up? Why are you enjoying this? They’ll just blow it in the end. Don’t you remember 2006-2011-2012-2013-2014-2016, etc.

Why get our hopes up? Well, why not.

Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal are headlining the youth movement in the Tigers’ rotation. Isaac Paredes, Willi Castro, Daz Cameron, and other prized position prospects are emerging from the haze of the alternate training site. The bullpen is finally — FINALLY — somewhat competent! For the first time in four years the Tigers are dancing around the edges of the wild card hunt! The Tigers’ farm system is among the top ranked systems in baseball after years of being maligned for the lack of depth. And there are even more exciting prospects on the verge.

Why shouldn’t we enjoy the ride? Who knows when the next playoff race will find its way back to Detroit? The Tigers went nearly twenty years between postseason appearances not so long ago. Are we all so jaded that a close wild card race isn’t enough to shake us from our perpetually negative, fatalistic mindset?

It’s okay to embrace things that are fun, and have hope that good things will come. Wild card races, regardless of the likely result, are fun and good. Let yourself enjoy it. Sometimes the ending point isn’t what truly matters, it’s the journey taken, the memories made along the way, and the promise of a better future just on the horizon.

MLB Suspends Operations, Pushes Back Start of Season

You’ve probably heard the news by now and if you haven’t, well, you’re hearing it now! Due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, MLB has suspended spring training and will push back the start of the regular season by at least two weeks.

Get those DVRs and MLB.tv accounts fired up. We could be looking at a lengthy hiatus. In the meantime, follow us at @glasshalffulmer for the usual inanity.

Take care, everyone.

JaCoby Jones: A Swing Analysis

Guest post by Travis Leonardi

(All GIFs courtesy of @domhunt18 on twitter)

Stellar defense and a bright personality made JaCoby Jones a fan favorite in Detroit since his debut in 2016. He has shown flashes of the power-speed prospect that was advertised when the Tigers traded Joakim Soria to acquire him in 2015. However, Jones’ offensive production left much to be desired in his first few years as a professional. After leading MLB in defensive runs saved in 2018, Tigers GM Al Avila stated Jones could be a future All-Star if his hitting improved.

More after the jump

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June Schedule Wallpapers and A Thing of Note

This was originally scheduled for June 1st, but since it’s an offday I decided to release it into the wilds a little early.

Your friends at Glass Half Fulmer decided it was time high time to bring back the GHF schedule wallpapers. After making these, I have a new appreciation for old friend MonkeyWrench32 and his graphic skillz.

Get yer wallpapers here! We have a couple different sizes to choose from:

1920×1080
1280×720
1024×576

And a Thing of note:

Your Glass Half Fulmer team is welcoming on longtime friend of the blog, tokarzontigers, as a contributor. Let’s give Tokarz a friendly welcome and don’t forget to check out his piece on Niko Goodrum here!

Game 9: Royals (2-4) @ Tigers (5-3)

Kansas City Royals

Jorge Lopez (R)

1. Whit Merrifield (R) RF
2. Adalberto Mondesi (S) SS
3. Alex Gordon (L) LF
4. Jorge Soler (R) DH
5. Frank Schwindel (R) 1B
6. Chris Owings (R) 2B
7. Hunter Dozier (R) 3B
8. Martín Maldonado (R) C
9. Billy Hamilton (S) CF

Detroit Tigers

Matt Moore (L)

1. Josh Harrison (R) 2B
2. Nicholas Castellanos (R) RF
3. Miguel Cabrera (R) 1B
4. Niko Goodrum (S) DH
5. Jeimer Candelario (S) 3B
6. Christin Stewart (L) LF
7. Mikie Mahtook (R) CF
8. Grayson Greiner (R) C
9. Jordy Mercer (R) SS

The Tigers look to claim another series early on this season, as they send veteran Matt Moore to the mound against the Kansas City Royals. Moore looked good in his first Tigers start; he gave up just two hits, walked one, and struck out six in seven innings.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

The Tigers, who sit at 5-3 at the start of the day, are essentially tied for first place with the Minnesota Twins. That’s what everyone expected to see even eight or nine days into the 2019 season. Right? Right!

How ‘Bout Those Tigers?

OR: Fun With Small Sample Sizes

April 5th was the Detroit Tigers’ first offday of the 2019 season. The Tigers, as one might expect, sit at 5-3 and are currently in second place behind only the Minnesota Twins despite a -4 run differential. It’s what we all expected, right? Right!

How have the Tigers done it? Most fans expected a dismal start to the season, considering the Tigers did next to nothing to improve on a team that staggered to a 64-98 season the year before. So, what gives? Well, the starting rotation, which one might reasonably expect to be terrible, especially with the absence of Michael Fulmer due to Tommy John surgery, has been carrying the team this first week.

More after the cut!

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We Didn’t Start the Fiers

Because he got traded to the Oakland Athletics after all!

Mike Fiers was one of many Major Leaguers put on trade waivers this week and, unsurprisingly, the Oakland Athletics claimed him on Friday. The teams then had 72-hours to work out a trade, or the Tigers could pull Fiers back or let Oakland claim him. The deadline was at 1:30pm today. At 1:28pm according to Lynn Henning), the two teams hammered out a deal.

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