Yup, Verlander was bad in his first 2 starts in his first year of professional ball and without any AAA experience (unlike McCarthy and Hernandez who both had at least a half season of AAA experience). I guess he is overrated, because human beings are not allowed to be nervous in such a situation. Of course, it would be nice to see him get some more time in the minors, particularly Toledo.
Regarding the farm system under Smith, I don't really remember what year it was when it was highly regarded, although think it was '97 or '98. What was Smith's problems? The system under him did a poor job of dealing with pitching mechanics and limiting injuries. Unlike what has been accomplished recently with Zumaya and Verlander in reworking their mechanics, they never did in the past. Also, he made bad trades of prospects for "proven" players. I don't think anyone around here will forget the Juan Gonzalez fiasco. Of course, none of the players at that time even could touch the upside of Verlander (and probably not even Zumaya for that matter, although Weaver from the time he was drafted in '98 was a safer bet than Zumaya). We all know Randy Smith was a master of trades though. Chris Holt was a stud, right? I do hold a tiny grudge against Randy Smith though for trading my favorite player at the time of Travis Fryman. But we did get future hall of famer Gabe Alvarez.
I still think that given the state of the franchise that Randy Smith left in 2002, we are going in the right direction. I think we're going to see a lot out of this team good or bad. The only part of this team at this point that I don't easily feel better about at this point vs opening day 2005 is the bullpen. I feel either better or about the same for every other part of the team despite the lack of aggressiveness this offseason. A healthy(ish) Guillen and a full season without a hernia to knockout Ordonez's conditioning could be as good as any free agent or trade they could make.
I'm not saying that Verlander is over-rated as much as over-hyped. Okay, he didn't have the experience of those other two, but what does that say? Shouldn't the Tigers brain trust have known better than to throw him into the fire? Why did they do that? Was it going to help the club make it's playoff push? <-sarcasm. Would anyone have thought anything of it if they were to simply say that he needs more seasoning in the minors before exposing him to major league hitters? You'd think for someone who is hoped to be the face of the team for the next decade they would try to protect him better.
I wonder if DD is hyping this guy, and to a certain extent Zumaya, to try to show people that he is producing players in the minors.
As for Smith, he was highly regarded as a boy genious when Illitch hired him. I think he must have used his flavor of the month status to promote his draft picks. To think that a minor league system could be so highly thought of and produce so little is hard to explain. Please understand that I am as far from a Randy Smith apologist as you'll ever find. That said, he did have help in destroying a once proud franchise. Monahan(sp) robbed the team to help support his pizza empire when he owned the team. The infrastructure of the minor league system took a huge hit that is felt today. So while Smith was bringing in over rated talent, the minor league system lacked the ability to properly scout and develop young talent. I feel the arm injuries were as much a byproduct of Smith drafting overused collegians and the lack of coaches to watch out for them.
I'll never understand the Travis Fryman deal.
As for the current state of the team, we'll have to wait and see. I am very concerned that in four years of very early draft picks we have yet to see anyone even close to a rookie of the year type player. That scares me.
So far, undeniably, the biggest move has been the restructuring of the coaching staff. Many people including sportswriters claimed Trammell was directly responsible for as many as 10 losses last year. That would put them at exactly .500. Now with the more experienced manager and a team that is at least as good as last year, does that automatically make them at least a .500 team in the eyes of those that were directly laying blame on Trammell?
And by the way, I do agree with moochman that Verlander probably shouldn't have made those spot starts. I know that the organization had already written Baugh off as having any future here and he no longer has any real upside, but I would have liked to see him get those chances. He is a smart pitcher and I think those spot starts were a bit disruptive in Verlander's season. It just seemed like it caused him to start pitching on an irregular basis compared to sticking to a normal every 5 days or so.
I think you are WAY overstating the quality of the Tigers Minor League System of the late 90's. It was never ranked or rated #1 by any reputable service (Baseball America, Sports Weekly, Sporting News, etc)...perhaps in the top 10, but I'd even question that. Hope usually ran dry shortly after the players they picked played in the minors. Here is a list of 1st rounders (selection# in parenthesis) Since 1990:
1990: Tony Clark (2)
91: No Pick
92: Rick Greene (16)
93: Matt Brunson (9)
94: Cade Gaspar (18)
95: Mike Drumright (11)
96: Seth Greisinger (6)
97: Matt Anderson (1)
98: Jeff Weaver (14)
99: Eric Munson (3)
00: Matt Wheatland (8)
01: Kenny Baugh (11)
02: Scott Moore (8)
Besides Weaver and Clark, who became decent, not great MLB players, who was even REGARDED (let alone highly) of this group once they started moving through the system? I realize there are more rounds that round 1, but this is about all you need to see to know why exactly the Tigers are where they are today. Who are/were these guys above? Just pitiful.
"all i care about....is baseball"---Tyrus Raymond Cobb
tthousand66 wrote:I think you are WAY overstating the quality of the Tigers Minor League System of the late 90's. It was never ranked or rated #1 by any reputable service (Baseball America, Sports Weekly, Sporting News, etc)...perhaps in the top 10, but I'd even question that.
I am certain that during the glory years of the Erie SeaWolves that the Tiger minor league system was rated the #1 system in baseball by Baseball America. This is just from the ever-fading memory and I can't recall what year it was. I think a couple years before Smith's dismissal.
They were touting such talents as Nate Cornejo(sp), Eric Munson, Omar Infante, Brandon Inge and a couple others. They were refered to as the Erie 5 by some and were thought to be the cream of what was regarded as a top minor league system. I think a C named Rivera might have been one of them.
I can't help but think that Smith's rep and players high draft positions must have swayed BA's braintrust so much so that they totally missed on their assessment. Or the wonderful system was never judged on their ability to develop talent Or lack of ability, one could say.
sorry, I just don't believe that. I do recall a time the Tigers minor league system was looking to be moving up,but not a top overall ranking from a baseball rag. All that aside, Detroit has NEVER had a "can't miss" prosepect along the lines of Arod, Griffey, Jeter, etc. of days past, or a Felix Hernandez, Brandon Wood type at hitter or pitcher. The days you are probably talking about were when Encarnacion and Kapler---Drumright and Cornejo were their best hopes. Nothing of the can't miss variety. In fact, they ALL missed!
"all i care about....is baseball"---Tyrus Raymond Cobb
tthousand66 wrote:sorry, I just don't believe that. I do recall a time the Tigers minor league system was looking to be moving up,but not a top overall ranking from a baseball rag. All that aside, Detroit has NEVER had a "can't miss" prosepect along the lines of Arod, Griffey, Jeter, etc. of days past, or a Felix Hernandez, Brandon Wood type at hitter or pitcher. The days you are probably talking about were when Encarnacion and Kapler---Drumright and Cornejo were their best hopes. Nothing of the can't miss variety. In fact, they ALL missed!
I agree that the Tigers system at the time was looked at as having solid depth as opposed to star power, as opposed to the current system which Zumaya and Verlander are viewed as considerably better prospects than anyone the Tigers have had in quite a while. Of course what happened to the Tigers prospects back then has no relation to today's prospects. Different GM, different minor league coaches, different scouts, etc. Be skeptical of the Tigers' minor leaguers all you want, but without the system getting back to a state of producing talent on a relatively consistent basis from within(like it seemed to do 10+ years ago), the team doesn't have a whole lot of hope for long term success. Randy Smith's regime proved it could not produce in that way, and major injuries to pitchers were about as frequent as wins. Domborowski's regime still has yet to prove either way after starting basically from scratch. Building a minor league system from nothing can't be easy, but we're close to seeing what has come of these past 3+ years (or so). Right now, I'm not so much concerned about the farm system as I am about the durability of some of the team's key players at the MLB level.
By the way, I do remember a publication rating the Tigers as having the best farm system in baseball, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Baseball America. But then again, I couldn't back that up with facts more than anyone else could right now.