Friday, January 27, 2012

Tigers rotation update, how Comerica might affect Fielder’s blasts

According to an interview on ESPN radio this afternoon, Tigers prospect Drew Smyly has a “legitimate chance” to open the season as the Tigers #5 starter.  So said Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who was being interviewed (presumably) about Prince Fielder as opposed to Drew Smyly.  

For those of you who don’t know much about Smyly.

The Left-handed Smyly is the # 3 prospect in the Tigers system according to Baseball America. Smyly features a fastball in the 87-92 mph range, with a slider and curve as well as a splitter-like change up, that will allow him to be a #3 or 4 starter in the bigs.

I was wondering about what a difference the dimensions of Comerica Park would play on Prince Fielder’s HR numbers compared to Miller Park and the folks at ESPN’s stats and information department were kind enough to do some number crunching. 

For 2011, 9 of Prince’s 24 HR would not have cleared the fences at Comerica with 1 that might or might not have gone out.  All of the nine were hit from Left-Center field to Right-Center, so Fielder might have to adapt and become a little more pull heavy with his swing to compensate, if he is going to duplicate his one HR every 15.3 AB ratio. 

With Smyly not having quite as much upside as Jacob Turner, who projects out to be a solid #2 or #3 rotation guy, being a LH pitcher might give Smyly the edge needed to finish off a very RH heavy rotation of Verlander, Fister, Scherzer and Porcello.   Also vying for the # 5 slot are fellow LHP’s Andrew Oliver and Casey Crosby, the Tigers #4 and #5 rated prospects by Baseball America respectively. 

Regardless of who ends up with the #5 spot, I am curious to see how Oliver, Crosby and Smyly end up pitching at AAA Toledo and for the Tigers this season, as none of the three LHP’s end up projecting into the Tigers lineup down the road, according to BA. 

Something to keep in mind, regarding Fielder and his power numbers, his HR total might take a  slight dip, at least at home, but I would expect to see a rise in Prince’s Double and maybe the occasional Triple numbers as many of Fielder’s blasts that don’t clear the fences, end up being chased around spacious Comerica Park.  I don’t know about you but seeing the 5’11”- 275lb Fielder headed into second base or rounding it into third is not a sight that the infielders of the AL will look forward to seeing.  I fully expect Prince to keep up his ranking of being in the top 5 in Slugging Pct in all of baseball, in 2011.

(Just a quick reminder, when I post here on Tiger Tizzy, any paragraphs entirely in BOLD font, is my opinion)

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