15 Days: Number of Home Runs hit by Ryan Raburn in 2010 15 Days: Number of Home Runs hit by Ryan Raburn in 2010

Detroit Tigers Opening Day Countdown: 11 Days


15 Days: Number of Home Runs hit by Ryan Raburn in 2010
14 Days: Number of Detroit Tiger Cards in 2003 Topps Base Set
13 Days: Number of Starts Made By Jacob Turner for Lakeland in 2010
12 Days: Number of Playoff Appearances in Franchise History

Only 11 days remain until the Tigers open the season at (New) Yankee Stadium, and since it is Sunday, we can officially say that the season begins next week! So, what topical surprise does the number 11 have in store for us? Well, in 2010 there were 11 Tiger rookies that made their Major League debut.

Can you name them? Here they are (in order of appearance):

Austin Jackson – April 5
Scott Sizemore – April 5
Brennan Boesch – April 23
Casper Wells – May 15
Danny Worth – May 16
Jay Sborz – June 22
Andy Oliver – June 25
Robbie Weinhardt – July 7
Will Rhymes – July 25
Jeff Frazier – July 30
Max St. Pierre – September 4

I think eleven is too many. Not that rookies are bad, but you’re going to get into trouble when you’re relying on so many players without any major league experience. The good news is that eight of the eleven guys still factor into the future of the organization (or have the potential to). They weren’t just bringing up the next guy that still should have been sitting in AA or AAA (like they seemed to do in the early 2000’s. These were (mostly) guys that have bona fide major league skills, even if they weren’t the complete package yet.

It’s nearly impossible to be a strong division contender with so many first time rookies playing (not to mention players like Alex Avila and Daniel Schlereth who were still rookies even though they had debuted in a previous season), but all of that experience has to bode well for the Tigers in the coming years.

Whether it’s Sizemore or Rhymes at second base, or Wells or Boesch getting one of the last bench spots, or Weinhardt in the bullpen, or Worth or Oliver coming up to fill a void later in the season, it’s nice to know that these guys have all “been there before”. It won’t be a new experience for them; they’ll be better prepared to tamp down the butterflies and simply get down to business.

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