After beating the Giants 6-3 behind a strong outing from Rick Porcello, the Tigers terminated pitching coach Rick Knapp on Sunday, replacing him with bullpen coach Jeff Jones.
Knapp had spent 2 1/2 season as Detroit’s pitching coach after replacing the fired Chuck Hernandez.
The Tigers are 45-40, leaving them just a half-game back of Cleveland in the AL Central, and they just had both Justin Verlander and Jose Valverde named to the AL All-Star team, but they do rank 12th in the AL with a 4.40 ERA, leaving them ahead of only the Orioles and Royals. Verlander is the team’s only starter with a sub-4.00 ERA.
Max Scherzer’s inconsistency and the lack of development from former first-round picks Porcello and Ryan Perry could have been factors in the dismissal. Scherzer is 9-4 this season, but his ERA stands at 4.90 following another poor outing Saturday. Porcello is at 4.96. Perry, who was drafted with expectations that he’d emerge as a closer down the line, has an 8.20 ERA in 18 2/3 innings this season.
The Yankees probably have the best minor league system in baseball right now and the best player in that system is, without question, shortstop Gleyber Torres. Now that top prospect is a step closet to the Bronx: he has been promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The Yankees don’t rush their prospects anywhere nearly as fast as a lot of teams do, but Torres, who is only 20, proved himself to be ready for the promotion. In 32 games at Double-A Trenton this year he hit .273/.367/.496 in 139 plate appearances. That OPS is almost 100 points higher than that which he posted in high A-ball in 2016.
Torres came over to the Yankees from the Cubs organization in the Aroldis Chapman trade last summer. At this rate he’ll be playing shortstop behind Chapman in New York before too long.
Dodgers outfielder Brett Eibner came into yesterday’s game against the Marlins as a pinch hitter in the sixth inning. He hit a single scoring Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez and then advanced to second on the throw home. Overall on the year he’s 5-for-16 with a walk, two homers and six driven in eight games. Admirable work for a guy whose job is to be a bench bat and outfield depth.
As Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports, however, he could possible provide some bullpen depth too:
Eibner has thrown several bullpen sessions at Dodger Stadium and at Oklahoma City, working on building arm strength and developing secondary pitches to accompany a fastball he said hit 95 mph in college.
The idea, still in its theoretical stages, would be for Eibner to remain, primarily, a backup outfielder, but to possibly serve as an extra arm during periods when the Dodgers pen gets worked hard. Something less than an everyday reliever but something more than the gimmick of using a position player to save the real pitchers in a blowout.
In an age when teams have cut their position player depth down to the bone in the service of adding more relief pitchers, finding a guy who can do both could provide a nice little boost, no?