Detroit Tigers: Steven Moya and/or Mike Hessman Should Be Called Up in September

With September right around the corner, the Detroit Tigers will soon be joining the rest of Major League Baseball in the process of calling up players when rosters expand. There are a number of players who seem locks to be called up (Bryan Holaday, Ian Krol and Dixon Machado) while others’ chances aren’t guaranteed (Marc Krauss, Jeff Ferrell and Wynton Bernard).

Regardless of the other players packing their bags and heading to Detroit, there is one type of player the Tigers will almost surely call up– a slugging, bench bat.

As of now, the two obvious (and really only) candidates are Steven Moya and Mike Hessman. Expect at least one of the players to get the call come September—if not both.

The Case for Moya

At 24-years-old, Steven Moya ranks as the Tigers’ prospect—even after the trade deadline acquisitions of top prospects like Michael Fulmer, Luis Cessa, JaCoby Jones and Jairo Labourt.

Moya has (insert adjective here, somewhere between outstanding and exceptional) power as well as a strong arm and the ability to run well. The only knack on him is that he doesn’t really hit for average, and strikes out a lot (129 in 103 games at Triple-A this season). The lack of hitting for average (as well as a low walk rate), could hurt Moya. However, if he can hit even .250, he’ll enjoy at least a 10-year career. He’s got that kind of power.

Adding him to the roster in September would give the team a powerful—if raw—bench option. He can also provide dependable defense while also brining some speed. If called up, the Tigers will be hoping that Moya’s experience in September will help pave the way to bigger things next season, similar to James McCann’s situation last year.

The Case for Hessman

While the 37-year-old Hessman doesn’t possess the same potential as Moya due to his age, he does bring power.

The veteran is the minors’ all-time home run leader, with a whopping 433 minor league bombs. He has 16 in 103 Triple-A games to go along with 52 RBI, 21 doubles and four (!) triples. Like Moya, Hessman has never been much of a contact hitter. He’s hitting .241 this season and is a career .233 hitter in the minors.

For all his power, one would think the minor league home run king would have received an extended look in the big leagues. However, Hessman has never logged more than 32 games in a season and has only played in 109 big-league games.

While his career batting average in the majors (.188) isn’t pretty, Hessman has actually performed solidly while wearing a Tigers uniform. In 29 career games with Detroit the slugger has mashed nine home runs to go along with 19 RBI, a double and 13 runs scored. He hit .256 with a .945 OPS over that span. Here’s hoping, should he be called up, that he repeat those numbers.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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The Detroit Tigers Aren’t Out of the Playoff Race Yet

Entering Friday, the Tigers sat an uninspiring 13 games out of the American League Central lead. However, they also began the day only five games back of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the second wild card spot.

Why is this important?

Because Miguel Cabrera is back.

The slugger returns from a lengthy disabled-list stint and immediately gives the Tigers a massive shot in the arm (understatement of the century).

Cabrera’s numbers on the season? A .350 batting average, a .456 OBP, a 1.034 OPS (!), 15 home runs, 54 RBI and 32 extra-base-hits.

Yeah, he’s going to help the Tigers.

Detroit opens a three-game set in Houston against the Astros on Friday before facing the Cubs in Chicago before returning home to face Texas. The former Marlin slots in at third in the Tigers’ batting order. His arrival means the red-hot Ian Kinsler (.374 batting average, .979 OPS since the start of July) receives more at-bats in the second spot in the order. It also means less pressure on Victor Martinez and J.D. Martinez, who slide down the order. At the very least, Cabrera moves everyone but Kinsler down in the lineup, thereby lengthening it considerably.

To put Cabrera’s importance to the team in perspective, his WAR is 4.0. That’s for wins above replacement. Four wins. Add four wins to the Tigers and they would be .500 on the season.

Not only is Cabrera back, but Bruce Rondon is pitching like the pitcher most thought he would become. Rondon owns a 1.80 ERA over his last 11 appearances, striking out 14 batters in ten innings in the process.

Rondon’s resurgence gives the Tigers three dependable, late-inning arms at the end of games. With Rondon, Alex Wilson and Blaine Hardy, there less of a need to feel anxious when the Tigers close out games.

Further stats of note on Rondon? His FIP (Fielding independent pitching—basically an ERA that the pitcher can control) is 2.43, lower than every reliever the Tigers have used this season. He’s also allowed only three base-runners (one hit, two walks) over his last six outings. He’s struck out 40% of the batters he’s faced over that span. In terms of his last six outings, Rondon’s opponents are managing a .259 OPS.

If he continues to pitch like that down the stretch in save-situations, the Tigers are going to be tough to beat.

The tricky part of the wild-card situation is that the do have to beat a number of teams (at least in the standings) in order to make it into October. The Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays all sit ahead of Detroit in the wild card race. That’s not to mention the New York Yankees and the Angels, who lead the race. Even with all those teams ahead of them, the Tigers can take solace in the fact that all of them (with the exceptions of Tampa Bay and Texas) have struggled as of late. New York and Baltimore are both 4-6 over their last ten respective games while Anaheim is 5-5. Minnesota is the fastest sinking ship in the harbor with a 3-7 record over the team’s last ten contests.

With Miguel Cabrera back in the fold and the back-end of the Tigers bullpen gaining some much needed consistency, the Tigers aren’t out of the playoff picture yet, not even close. Throw in some uncertainty ahead of the team in the standings and Detroit has the potential to make some noise down the stretch and once again make the postseason.

All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Detroit Tigers Remaining Schedule Without Miguel Cabrera

With Miguel Cabrera missing what will amount to six weeks, here’s a look at the Tigers upcoming schedule over those six weeks.

(RELATED: Miguel Cabrera Replacements).

After taking two of three against the Blue Jays, the Tigers travel to Seattle to face the Mariners. Here’s the rest of the schedule.

3 games at Seattle (the M’s are six games below .500 and nine games out of first place in the American League West).

3 games at Minnesota (Detroit is 7-2 versus their American League Central rivals this season).

4 home games against Baltimore (Entering Monday, the O’s are 44-39 and a game back of the Yankees for first in the American League East).

4 home games against Seattle.

3 games at Boston (Boston is last in the AL East and only one win better than the M’s).

3 games at Tampa Bay (the Rays are two games above .500, but also field one of the worst offenses in baseball).

4 games at Baltimore.

3 home games against Kansas City (Detroit is only 3-4 against the Royals this year, but given the rivalry between the two, you can expect the Tigers to come out swinging).

3 home games against Boston.

3 games at Kansas City.

3 games at Houston (the Tigers are 2-2 against Houston this season, and will look to claim the series against the young Astros).

Verdict: The Tigers certainly have a manageable schedule without Miggy. They’ve been afforded a few breaks with series against teams the Tigers excel against, teams with poor records, and teams with equally poor offenses.

It won’t be easy. This is, after all, Major League Baseball, but the Tigers have the chance to put up a winning record without their star player.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 5-4 Win vs the Chicago White Sox

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by the Tigers bullpen. Bruce Rondon and Joakim Soria threw scoreless innings. Rondon pitched a perfect inning, striking out one batter. Soria was a tad more dicey, allowing two hits while striking out one in the ninth to close out the game. It was Soria’s 17th save.

  • Two

The number of hits by second baseman Ian Kinsler. The infielder has been in a bit of a slump, so the fact that he collected two hits and scored a run across four plate appearances can only be viewed as a positive. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of his slump.

  • Seven

The number of strikeouts by Anibal Sanchez over seven innings. The former Miami Marlin allowed six hits, four runs (all earned), two walks and three home runs. He earned a no decision as Rondon picked up the win.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 8-2 Loss vs the Cleveland Indians

  • Zero

The number of at-bats by Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Miggy received a rare day off.

  • Three

The number of strikeouts by Tigers outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. With Cabrera getting the day off, everyone moved up a spot in terms of the usual middle of the order. This meant Cespedes hitting cleanup behind Victor Martinez. The outfielder had a single hit in four at-bats, striking out three times.

  • Five

The number of strikeouts by starting pitcher Buck Farmer. Farmer, making a spot start, allowed eight hits and two walks to go along with the five runs (all of which were earned). On the bright side, the youngster did strike out seven Cleveland batters.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 7-3 Win vs the Cleveland Indians

  • Zero

The number of walks by Tigers starter David Price. The Detroit ace fanned seven batters, allowed one run and nine hits while handing out a grand total of zero free passes. He moved to 7-2 on the season with the win.

  • Five

The number of RBI by the middle of the Detroit order not named Miguel Cabrera. Victor Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes and Nick Castellanos combined to go five-for-twelve at the plate with five RBI and two runs scored.

  • 157

The total number of pitches thrown by the Tigers.  Included in the total number of pitches was 1.1 combined innings of relief from Al Alburquerque and Tom Gorzelanny. The duo didn’t allow a base runner and struck out one batter between them. Alex Wilson allowed three hits and two runs (both unearned) in one inning of relief.

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3 Stats from the Detroit #Tigers 12-4 Win vs the New York Yankees

Rejoice! The stats are back. After a short hiatus, these kind of pieces are back to stay at Know Hitter. Here’s three stats from Detroit’s triumphant 12-4 victory against the Yankees.

  • Three

The number of home runs by J.D. Martinez. Safe to say the dude was on fire. He drove in six runs on the say, propelling the Tigers to the win. The outfielder has never hit more than two bombs in a game, but on Sunday he mashed three.

  • Four

Victor Martinez is officially back ladies and gents. V-Mart posted a very… well, V-Mart stat line during Sunday’s win, going three-for-six with four RBI and two runs scored. In typical fashion, he didn’t strike out once. Like J.D., Victor also went yard. Although in Victor’s case he was limited to one home run. Still, a fantastic day at the plate for one of the league’s best pure hitters.

  • One

The number of times Miguel Cabrera failed to reach base. Miggy collected two hits and two walks, while scoring two runs. He’s hitting an absurd .346 on the season.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 8-1 Win vs the Cleveland Indians

  • Five

The number of strikeouts by Detroit’s hitters. Better things happen when teams strike out less. Case-in-point, Detroit struck out a dozen times in their last game versus Cleveland and lost, but this game they won by seven runs with (ironically) seven fewer strikeouts.

  • Zero

The number of runs allowed by Tigers starter Alfredo Simon in five innings pitched. The former Cincinnati Red allowed a mere three hits and a walk on five strike outs. He only needed 75 pitches.

  • One

The number of runs allowed by the Detroit bullpen. In surprising news, Joakim Soria was the only reliever to allow a run, otherwise the bullpen was solid. Blaine Hardy bounced back with two shutout innings while Alex Wilson and Tom Gorzelanny also kept the Tribe scoreless.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 4-0 Win vs the Cleveland Indians

  • 44

David Price’s ERA after the game. The Detroit ace threw a complete-game shutout, limiting the Indians to seven hits while striking out eight. He threw an economical 93 total pitches.

  • Five

The number of hits by the top third of the Tigers batting order. Miguel Cabrera and Rajai Davis had two hits apiece while Ian Kinsler also had a base knock. The trio combined for the majority of the team’s total hits (nine) while driving in all four runs.

  • One

The number of Tigers starters after the game with a batting average below .272. Nick Castellanos’ average following the game was .227.

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3 Stats from the Detroit Tigers 4-3 Loss to the Chicago White Sox

  • Seven

The number of innings thrown by Tigers starter Kyle Ryan. Ryan allowed only three hits, a walk and two runs (both earned) while striking out four. He gave up one home run.

  • Two

The number of holds by Tigers’ relievers Joba Chamberlain and Blaine Hardy. Both recorded one out in bridging the gap to Joakim Soria, who promptly blew the save.

  • Nine

The number of hits by the Tigers. They also added two walks, but couldn’t muster more than three runs.

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