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What are the most favrable surprises so far?


HeyAbbott

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In the past, we have had many unpleasant events with respect to Tigers baseball to discuss. There are four pleasant events so far I did not expect and leave me astonished.

1. The emergence of Zach McKinstry is unexpected.

At best, I thought he would be just a passing shiny bauble that would vanish like the morning dew. He has shown plate  patience and played far better than I expected.

2. So far, controlling the strike zone appears to be more of a reality than expected.

The improvement in getting walks is far better than I hope.

3. The bullpen has been almost as good as it gets.

4. General plate patience has been completely different than recent years.

The approach at the plate has been one of improved patience and is resulting in players getting good pitches to hit.

This team is fun to watch again.

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Yeah I'd have to agree with your choices, yeah the Tigers came out and said controlling the zone is something that they were going to prioritize but saying it and doing it are two different things and I was skeptical that they were going to actually do it or turn it around, atleast as quickly as they have. 

I also concur about the bullpen, I figured Lange was going to be a safe bet but outside of him I really wasn't sure what to expect after losing a few of our better relievers from last year but for the most part they have been excellent. Have had a couple rough outings here and there but that is to be expected, overall they have more than held their own.

As far as players go it's definitely got to be McKinstrey, E-Rod and Lorenzen for me. I was skeptical of E-Rod after last year, I kinda thought he was going to be another Zimmermann but it appears that I may have underestimated the impact  of whatever was happening in his personal life last year made on his performance. 

Baddoo has been another pleasant surprise, I didn't give up on him entirely but after last year if I were to bet on it I would've bet on him just being minor league fodder/AAAA type player the rest of his career but he's been much more than that thus far. As an added bonus he's starting to hit for the power that he showed in early 2021 the past week or so. 

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I kinda figured the ALC would suck, maybe not this bad but knew it was going to be poor but still you would've figured atleast one team would've broken out and 1st place wouldn't only be 1 game over .500. Of course the Twins pythag says they should be lucky so they may not be as bad as their record indicates. 

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1 hour ago, HeyAbbott said:

Baddoo has found himself. He is hitting and running very well. Another plus from last year.

Baddoo is only 24.  It seems to me like he’s older, but his rookie season was early.  I don’t think it was too surprising to see a Toledo stint this season.  But give him his due, his strikeouts are down and his walks are up, and he’s making good on his opportunity this season.  Would like to see more improvement at the plate and defensively, but I think he might be in the majors to stay now.

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15 hours ago, HeyAbbott said:

In the past, we have had many unpleasant events with respect to Tigers baseball to discuss. There are four pleasant events so far I did not expect and leave me astonished.

1. The emergence of Zach McKinstry is unexpected.

At best, I thought he would be just a passing shiny bauble that would vanish like the morning dew. He has shown plate  patience and played far better than I expected.

2. So far, controlling the strike zone appears to be more of a reality than expected.

The improvement in getting walks is far better than I hope.

3. The bullpen has been almost as good as it gets.

4. General plate patience has been completely different than recent years.

The approach at the plate has been one of improved patience and is resulting in players getting good pitches to hit.

This team is fun to watch again.

I guess for me, I would flip the plate discipline to the top and McKinstry down lower.  The rationale is that the plate discipline has been team wide.  McKinstry is just one player.  The odds of numerous players doing something unexpected is higher than one maybe late bloomer.

But both are fun stories.  This has been a fun May.  I suppose part of that is because the division leader is within a sneeze.  But even if the Tigers were behind by 6 or 7, being a game under .500 and the overall improved play from last season are welcome.  The record in close games, 9-4 in one run games, has to help keep interest up.  It gives me the sense that they aren’t out of it unless it’s a blow out (3-9).  Aside from those specific scenarios, they’re a .500 team.  So a two or three run game late is worth some attention.  Relevant baseball.  This fan base is starved for the playoffs, but relevant baseball makes for a nice appetizer.

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1 hour ago, Archie said:

I think McKinstry is the biggest surprise so far. How often does a team trade "cash" to get a player of any value?  

I looked at the stats today and I was mostly surprised that he has 10 steals already.  

I'd like to see him get more playing time against LHP to see if he can be an everyday player.  Although Schoop is hitting over .300 against LHP and Hinch likes playing matchups.  

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5 minutes ago, chasfh said:

Fun fact: nine of the ten teams in the AL East and AL West combined are above .500—above .518, to be precise—and not one of the other six teams have records that good.

Collectively the AL West is below .500 and it's all due to the A's.  The A's are on pace to lose 133 games, which would crush the AL record set by the Tigers in 2003 of 119 losses.  

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