Reviewing the transactions we didn't write about but, in retrospect, wish we had.
Although we've published more than 100 Transaction Analysis columns since November, the reality is not every signing or waiver claim gets covered. Most of those missed transactions amount to nothing, but a few result in larger impacts than expected. Here are five uncovered moves that yielded good returns during the first half, along with what we would have written if we had covered them at the time, and what we should have written if we'd focused on exactly the right details.
Detroit goes from a 5-0 hole to a 14-5 romp, Jacob deGrom blows away the Braves, plus more from Tuesday and what to watch on Wdnesday.
The Tuesday Takeaway
The Tigers looked like they’d be in for a long night when the Dodgers jumped all over Justin Verlander in the top of the first inning of Tuesday’s clash between the two first-place clubs.
Rick Porcello keeps the ball on the ground to notch a shutout, and the Angels sweep a doubleheader, plus more from Tuesday and what to watch today.
The Tuesday Takeaway
After walking off against Sean Doolittle and the Athletics in dramatic fashion on Monday night, the Tigers quickly disposed of the American League West leaders on Tuesday to clinch a series win. The game breezed by in just two hours and 13 minutes, as Rick Porcello tossed his second consecutive shutout and needed just 95 pitches to complete it.
Hi friends! What would you say if I told you that the Justin Verlander extension was just as big a mistake as the Ryan Howard extension? Would you call me an idiot and never listen to me again? Good, because I would never say that. Never. However, the Tigers did make one mistake that was similar to Ruben Amaro Jr.'s, and it looks increasingly likely that they'll pay for it. At Fox Sports, I went over Verlander's early-season struggles, why they're different than last year's, and why the two years a club has to wait and see might be its most valuable, if often overlooked, asset. Block quote time!
The Situation: The Tigers have struggled to find production at shortstop since Jose Iglesias went down with stress fractures in his lower leg, and this move is the next step in a continuing process to correct that problem. The club’s offensive production from shortstop has included a .167/.219/.233 line from the sinced-release Alex Gonzalez, a .167/.217/.190 line from the now-DFA’d Danny Worth, and a .200/.252/.252 line from the soon-to-be-backup Andrew Romine. Take a look at those numbers again and you will quickly understand why the Tigers decided to call-up BP’s no. 9 Tigers prospect.
The Tigers promote one of the minors' best relief prospects.
The Situation: The Tigers bullpen has floundered out of the gate to the tune of a 4.22 ERA and a bunch of revolving doors for the last two spots. Enter Corey Knebel, the Tigers’ fifth-rated prospect according to Jason Parks' preseason ranking, and one of the best pure relief arms in the minors. Knebel will look to lock down the middle to late innings and hand the ball off to Joe Nathan.
Background: Selected in the compensatory first round (39th overall) in the 2013 draft out of the University of Texas, Knebel flew through the minors at a torrid pace after eviscerating the competition. In Low-A West Michigan last season, Knebel appeared in 31 games, allowed 14 hits, and struck out 41 with 15 saves, posting a .133 batting average against and a 0.87 ERA. After that stellar performance, he headed to the Arizona Fall League, where he 8 tossed 2/3 innings, surrendering four runs and striking out 11. To start this season, the Tigers gave Knebel an aggressive assignment to Double-A Erie—where he allowed two earned runs in 15 IP, striking out 23 with a WHIP of 1.06—before sending him to Triple-A Toledo for three appearances that spanned four scoreless innings.
The centerpiece of the package the Tigers received in return for Doug Fister is about to arrive.
The Situation: When Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list with a finger laceration, the Tigers knew they would need another starter on May 6. The speculation as to who that starter would be ended when Detroit announced that the headliner in the Doug Fister trade, Robbie Ray, would take the bump next Tuesday in place of Sanchez.
A division can't be won or lost in the first week, but these teams did have relatively hefty playoff-odds swings already.
Last year, the Patriot-News of Harrisburg, PA issued a correction for a piece it had written on the Gettysburg Address, 150 years earlier. “We pass over the silly remarks of the President,” they had written in 1863. “For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of." It took some time, yes, but Patriot-News staff eventually did check themselves before they wrecked themselves.
Not one of Tyler Collins' or Roenis Ellis' PECOTA comparables was a major leaguer. But Collins, Ellis, and the rest of these unknowns are on MLB rosters today.
Opening Day is here, and that means it's time to introduce the unknowns who made rosters. This year's edition includes some new quirks. In addition to an expanded roster, each capsule now includes the player's major league service time (MLS) and the percentage of their PECOTA comparables who played in the bigs during the comparable season (MLB%), as a crude way to determine the unexpectedness of their Opening Day assignment.