Valuing the Tigers Trade Chips at the Deadline

One of the side effects of spending way too much time on Twitter is that you find some interesting questions about baseball to write about. Today’s comes from Jerry Mackinnem, who asked a good question about valuing trade chips at the deadline. Normally for big trades, good analysis would use future projections of WAR/$ (essentially, valuing players at the going rate of $9 million per WAR they expect to put up) and compare that to prospect valuations to try to work out fair trade value. The wrinkle that Jerry adds is an interesting one: how do you value a low WAR player at the trade deadline? Obviously someone like Shane Greene isn’t going to post gigantic WAR totals, but he’s a coveted trade chip. Can we do the math to figure out what he’s actually worth?

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The Detroit Tigers dropped a 6-3 decision to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, continuing Cleveland’s run of dominance with another sweep.

  • Matthew Boyd was good, mostly, but a fastball that leaked over the plate resulted in a two-run home run for Jose Ramirez. He’s been having very bad luck with home runs lately, which is probably coming at the wrong time for his trade value.
  • As an aside, the rest of the AL Central, particularly the Minnesota Twins, can thank the Tigers for waking Jose Ramirez up. You’re welcome.
  • Another defensive miscommunication resulted in a dropped popup in the ninth and the sixth Cleveland run. This team should thoroughly eviscerate Ron Gardenhire’s reputation as a manager of fundamentally sound teams.
  • Harold Castro had a nice little series, hitting a two-run homer that briefly looked like it would be decisive.
  • There’s not a lot to say at this point other than Cleveland is a substantially more talented team that play better on the field and make fewer mental mistakes. The Tigers are going to be at a talent disadvantage against the majority of teams they face. They do not have to be at a mental disadvantage, but they often are anyway. It’s the worst combination to watch.

The Tigers are on pace to lose 111 games. They will play again Friday night as they return to Detroit to open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays, with Jordan Zimmermann on the mound.

Bullet Recap: Indians 7, Tigers 2

The Tigers lost again on Wednesday, which is not a surprise. They struck out 17 times as a team in a 7-2 road loss to the Cleveland Indians.

  • The way Cleveland scored their third run is, perhaps, a perfect microcosm of this team. With a runner at second and two out, Cleveland’s Mike Freeman tried to bunt for a hit to bring in what was a huge third run, with the Indians up just 2-1 at that point. It worked, mostly because the Tigers are a fundamentally inept baseball team. The first baseman, Brandon Dixon, charged in to field the bunt. The pitcher, Nick Ramirez, didn’t seem to expect to have to cover first until it was too late to beat Freeman to the bag. Dixon spent that time staring at Ramirez instead of second baseman Gordon Beckham, who was on his way to cover the bag. Dixon didn’t notice until it was too late, Freeman won the race and Cleveland scored the third run. Combining a lack of talent with a lack of fundamentals leads to plays like that.
  • Joe Jimenez has nothing to get hitters out, is not a Major League pitcher at this point, and is rapidly hurtling toward Bruce Rondon future-closer-that-never-was territory.
  • Mike Clevinger is actually good. Combining his stuff tonight with this lineup and its approach was just going to end in tears.
  • Nicholas Castellanos was the only Tiger with more than one hit — two, in fact, one a home run. He still seems unlikely to command much in the trade market given his defensive limitations, but he could help someone, and he’s not hurting himself right now.
  • Spencer Turnbull was solid. The efficiency problems linger, but he got quicker outs — and a bit of luck with a line drive double play. I’m not sure he’ll ever be a reliable pitcher on a good team, but he’s definitely a Major Leaguer with something to work with.

The Tigers are on pace to lose 110 games. They will play again Thursday night in the series finale in Cleveland, with Matthew Boyd on the mound.

Looking at Players in a Potential Matthew Boyd Trade

Major League Baseball is about three weeks out from the trade deadline, and the Detroit Tigers, with one of the worst records in the league, have some assets to deal.

Will he stay or will he go? (Photo by Alexandra Simon)

Shane Greene, the All-Star closer, will almost assuredly  be traded, while a team desperate enough for offense (like, say, the Cleveland Indians) might be willing to pay for Nicholas Castellanos.

But the real prize on the Tigers’ roster is Matthew Boyd, who has broken out to the tune of a 3.56 FIP/3.34 xFIP season. Boyd has been worth 2.8 fWAR in the first half, making him the fifteenth most valuable pitcher in baseball. However, given that Boyd is under team control through 2022, the price tag is sky-high. Complicating things is that the Tigers want an elite bat in any trade package, limiting the number of teams that have the ability to acquire the new Tigers ace.

Thanks to Chris Brown (via Twitter) we know that Boyd is worth roughly $65 million in surplus value. That’s enough to return one elite prospect, in the top 10 range, or a package including a top 25 prospect and a top 100 prospect, with maybe a throw-in or two. Given that the Tigers want an elite bat, though, not ever team is going to be able to pay the specific asking price they’re interested in. Let’s try to piece together what those trades might look like from every contending club. For this exercise, I’ll be using Fangraphs’ THE BOARD!, recently updated post-draft. I’ll toss in some scouting reports here and there, but this one’s gonna be long, so they’ll mostly be for key pieces.

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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.

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The Tigers, International Free Agents, and Top-30 Rankings

Yesterday, the Detroit Tigers signed Cuban outfielder Roberto Campos for a reported $3 million bonus, the largest international bonus in club history. The $3 million bonus comes off of last year’s signings of outfielder Jose de la Cruz and shortstop Adisino Reyes, the #15 and #19 ranked prospects on MLB.com’s Top 30 International Prospects list for 2018-2019. Those signings were complemented by the $1 million bonus given to shortstop Alvaro Gonzalez in the 2017-2018 International Free Agent class.

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Detroit Tigers Draft Roundup: The First Ten Picks, Reviewed

With the first ten rounds of the 2019 MLB Entry Draft in the books, the Tigers have bucked their trend of pursuing hard throwing SEC pitchers in favor of bats. Given that this class, shallower than most, was deep in good college bats, that was probably a wise decision. Combined with the Tigers’ weak pool of position player prospects, the emphasis on offense and power made total sense. But what about the individual players themselves? How did the Tigers do overall? Let’s take a look at each of the ten picks Detroit made in the draft this year, and look at their overall strengths and weaknesses.

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Tigers Select Nick Quintana #47 Overall in the 2019 MLB Draft

With the 47th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft, the Detroit Tigers selected third baseman Nick Quintana, a right-handed hitter out of Arizona State. Quintana is an elite college bat with plus power and plus defense at third base. He does have some issues with making contact, but he’s a high-upside player who has a real chance to start.

Of note, Quintana helps fill a major gap in the system, which is currently weak on corner infield bats and power.

 

Tigers Select Riley Greene #5 Overall in the 2019 MLB Entry Draft

Breaking a trend of selecting hard-throwing pitchers, the Tigers have selected prep outfielder Riley Greene at #5 overall in the MLB draft.

Greene, a left-handed hitter, is the impact bat Tigers fans have been craving. At 18 years old, he’ll take a little more time to develop than one of the college bats might have. Currently, he has elite contact skills and possesses an advanced approach at the plate, with plate discipline beyond his years. Greene projects to hit for power to all fields, though he still has to grow a bit more into his frame, as he’s more a line drive hitter right now.

Greene’s biggest weakness is on defense, where his athleticism and weak arm project him to either left field or first base. Granted, if he hits his ceiling with regard to power and patience, his defensive home won’t matter so much, but don’t expect Greene to be a wizard in the field.

As a high-school hitter, Greene will take some time to reach Detroit, but if all breaks right, expect an elite power threat who can hit in the center of the lineup for years to come.

More at MLB.com

Scouting Report at Bless You Boys