Detroit Tigers’ Drew Smyly a natural for rotation – Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press
Smyly opened spring training in suburban Orlando by cranking out that heater at 94 m.p.h., a formidable speed for a young lefty in February, or any month, really.
Back home at Comerica Park, that velocity should make it difficult for left-handed hitters to pull the ball, meaning home runs over the rightfield fence will be tough. Team president Dave Dombrowski and his staff surely considered this when they sifted through scenarios to free a spot for Smyly during the off-season.
I believe Smyly will do a good job for the Tigers in 2014, but should things go south, fans will undoubtedly continue to crow about the unpopular Doug Fister deal, even if the pieces received from the Nationals (Robbie Ray, Steve Lombardozzi, and Ian Krol) play well.
Detroit Tigers Will Want To Keep An Eye On Kyle Lobstein – Nolan Sibernagel, Rant Sports
He is definitely not a bad option to be the last man in the rotation, but it never hurts to have a possible backup option in Lobstein. Also, having a heated competition for that fifth spot in the rotation always brings out the best in pitchers and can only benefit the Tigers moving forward.
Lobstein was terrific against Houston on Saturday, perfect except for a third inning walk in his three-inning outing. He could serve in Smyly’s role from a year ago as a swing man in the bullpen–capable of going three innings or to get a couple of guys out in situational scenarios. Still, the Tigers may want to keep him in Toledo and use him as a spot starter for the big club, especially with concerns with Justin Verlander‘s health and Anibal Sanchez also missed some time last season.
With one move, Tigers reinvent themselves on offense and defense – Ben Reiter, Sports Illustrated
This year’s offense, Ausmus told his club right away, might have a little less power sans Fielder, but will be more dynamic, especially on the basepaths. Kinsler has stolen 36 bases over the last two seasons and, as the likely leadoff hitter, will be encouraged to surpass his recent average. Rajai Davis, who was signed to a two-year, $10 million deal in December and will split time in leftfield with Andy Dirks, has passed 40 steals in four of the last five seasons. Austin Jackson, the centerfielder whose steal totals have dropped in each of his four seasons, from 27 as a rookie to eight last year, will be expected to run, as will shortstop Jose Iglesias, who had just five swipes as a rookie. “Everyone talks about Kinsler, Rajai Davis, Austin,” Ausmus said. “Jose’s just as fast as those guys.”
Through the first five Grapefruit League games, the new-look Tigers have shown an aggressive style on the basepads, although that led to four putouts on the bases in Friday’s loss to the Yankees. Detroit has also yet to hit a homer in Spring Training (not counting the game against Florida Southern on Tuesday).