Last week Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitching Coordinator Jon Matlack was sitting in the stands watching the Triple-A Toledo Mudhens when he was unexpectedly called to the clubhouse. Even more unexpectedly he was fired by Tigers assistant GM Al Avila after 15 years in the organization. In the story Matlack, the 1972 National League Rookie Of The Year with the New York Mets, says he has “No Idea” why he was fired, talks about his time with the Tigers, and being regarded as one of the most highly regarded coaches by the Tigers minor league pitchers.
West Michigan Whitecaps pitcher Alex Burgos wears a number of hats for the Detroit Tigers Low-A affiliate. The 5’11” lefty is currently 6-4 with a 2.44ERA in 13 starts for the Whitecaps. In the video, Burgos talks about his role as a translator for some of non-english speaking teammates, the success of his season, and shows off some mad dance skills.
The Minnesota Twins have traded Delmon Young to the Detroit Tigers for pitching prospect Cole Nelson and a player to be named later. Nelson is currently 5-11 with a 4.87ERA in 105.1IP for the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers in the Florida State League. The 22 year old lefty has struck out 87 and walked 50 and opposing hitters are batting .299 against him. Nelson made his pro debut in 2010 going 1-0 with a 0.66ERA in 27 innings between Lakeland and the GCL Tigers. The 6’7, 233 pound pitcher was a 10th round pick of the Tigers out of Auburn in the 2010 draft.
From the time his career began as a prospect with the Baltimore Orioles to his major league debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1996 and continuing through the remainder of his six year major league career that included stops with the Cincinnati Reds and the Colorado Rockies, Kimera Bartee was always a student of the game. That attention to detail has served him well as the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates Short-A affiliate the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. In the story Batree talks about being the rare manager who prefers to coach at first base rather than third, teaching the finer points of baserunning to his players, and having had the opportunity to learn from some of baseball’s best base runners during his playing days.
Another fan ran onto the field and was arrested, this time at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City during Saturday night’s Royals vs Tigers game. The fan is loose for about 30 seconds and jumps up and down in the outfield before surrendering peacefully and being led off in cuffs. This video is unique in that it is taken by someone with first row dugout seats so you get to see the guy led into the dugout and down the stairs into the underbelly of the stadium. This guy is the latest in a series of fans to run onto Major League Baseball fields in the past couple of weeks including a pair at Busch Stadium and a guy at Citi Field.
UPDATE: This is video that starts sooner than the original video below. It’s amazing how long it takes Royals security to get to this guy. He’s on the field running around for nearly a full minute before finally giving up. The second video picks up at about the 50 second point of the first video.
The Seattle Mariners have traded pitchers Doug Fister and David Pauley to the Detroit Tigers for pitcher Charlie Furbush, outfielder Casper Wells and Francisco Martinez. The 20 year old Martinez is one of the top prospects in the Tigers organization. The third baseman is one of the youngest players in the Double-A Eastern League and is holding his own at the level batting .282 with 14 Doubles, 4 Triples, 7 Home Runs, and 46 RBI’s this season. He played in the 2011 Futures Game. Martinez has been fast tracked through the organization since signing with the Tigers as a non drafted free agent out of Venezuela back in 2007. Last season in High-A, Martinez hit Florida State League pitching to the tune of .271 with 17 Doubles and 3 Home Runs. He is a steal for the Mariners in this trade and has serious big league potential in the future. The 26 year old Wells has bounced between Detroit and the Triple-A Toledo Mudhens the past two seasons. In 64 games in Detroit in 2011, Wells batted .257 with 10 Doubles, 4 Home Runs, and 12 RBI’s. He was sent down to Toledo on July 22nd and was hitting .370 in Triple-A prior to the trade. Wells batted .233 for Toledo in 2010 before a big league call up that saw him hit at a .323 clip in 36 games late last season for the Tigers. Wells was a 14th round pick by Detroit in the 2005 draft. Furbush made his major league debut earlier this season for Detroit and was 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 32.1 innings of work. He walked 14 and struck out 26 over 32.1 innings of work with opponents hitting .302 against him. In Triple-A the 24 year old The 25 year old was 5-3 with a 3.17ERA in Toledo this year and had 61 strikeouts in 54 innings with opposing hitters batting just .180 against him. In 2010 Furbush was one of the breakout pitchers in minor league baseball finishing with 183 strikeouts across stints with the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers, the Double-A Erie Seawolves, and the Triple-A Mudhens. The 6’5″ lefty was a fourth round pick of the Tigers out of LSU in the 2007 draft.
As first reported by SI.com’s Jon Heyman late Friday night, the Detroit Tigers plan to call up the organization’s top pitching prospect Jacob Turner. The 20 year old was 3-5 with a 3.48ERA in 17 starts for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves. Turner has struck out 90 batters while walking just 32 in 113.2 innings this year. Eastern League batters are hitting just .239 against him. Turner who was 9th overall pick in the 2009 draft went a combined 6-5 with a 3.28ERA between the Low-A Western Michigan Whitecaps and the High-A Lakeland Flying Tigers in 2010. He is considered to be one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball and was among the key pieces of the Tigers bid to acquire Colorado Rockies pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez at the trading deadline.
In 1908, Luther Taylor completed an eight year career for the New York Giants. In the 103 years that have passed, there has never been another deaf pitcher in the major leagues. Los Angeles Angels farmhand Ryan Ketchner is on the cusp of being the first in the last century. This season at Triple-A Salt Lake, the 29 year old right hander has posted a 5-6 record with a 5.88ERA in 18 starts. He’s previously pitched in the Detroit Tigers organization and made it as high as Triple-A Toledo in 2009 and 2010. He has yet to make it to the majors. In the story Ketchner talks about his hearing impairment, meeting former deaf major leaguer Curtis Pride, the challenges of playing without being able to hear, and the advantages his lip reading abilities give him and his teammates. It’s a fascinating read.
Former New York Yankees prospect and brief Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers pitcher Jason Beverlin has been named as the Head Baseball Coach at Bethune Cookman University, a NCAA Division I program in the MEAC Conference. Cookman was most recently the pitching coach at the University of Tennessee. In his brief big league career Beverlin made three starts for the Detroit going 0-3 with a 9.49ERA in 2002. Later in 2002, he went 0-0 with a 7.31ERA for Cleveland. Bethune Cookman is coming off a 36-25 season going 18-0 in the MEAC.
It’s been a long road filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows for 2006 1st round pick Andrew Miller. The 6’7″ lefty was one of the best pitchers in the country for the North Carolina Tar Heels when he was selected by the Detroit Tigers with the 6th overall pick. He was rushed to the major leagues after just three appearances at High-A Lakeland, and pitched out of the bullpen for Detroit during the final month of the 2006 season. In 2007 he was back to being a starter, made 13 starts in the minors before once again being rushed to the majors and seeing marginal success. Following the season Miller was traded to Florida as part of the Miguel Cabrera blockbuster deal and struggled in both the majors and minors for three years before being traded by the Marlins to Boston during the 2010 offseason. Boston then released Miller before resigning him to a minor league deal. The 2010 season was the worst statistical season of Miller’s career going 2-9 with a 5.35ERA in the minors and 1-5 with a 8.54ERA for the Marlins. Since joining the Red Sox organization in 2011 however he’s finally beginning to blossom into the pitcher he was expected to be back in 2006. Miller went 3-3 with a 2.47ERA for Triple-A Pawtucket before being promoted to Boston. Since hitting Fenway Park, Miller has given the Red Sox a shot in the arm going 4-1 for the big club. In the in depth story, Miller talks about his roller coaster career, making it to the majors so quickly, dealing with the struggles he’s faced throughout his career, and embracing the success he has found in Boston.