Cleat Geeks

Tiger Time: Meet the September Call-ups

With the month of September, in addition to pennant races and playoff hunts, we see the roster of each Major League team expand with the annual September call-ups. The Tigers, like every other team, have called up some players, three to be exact, to add some depth to their team. Here they are and here’s what you need to know about them.buckfarmercenter

Buck Farmer: Farmer is no stranger to the big leagues, spending time in Detroit both this season and last season. Less than stellar in 2015, Farmer has rebounded a bit in 2016 in limited time with the big club, logging 17 innings in 11 games with an ERA of 3.71 to go with a slightly elevated WHIP of 1.41. He’s also proven to be a bit wild, surrendering 11 walks to counter 17 strikeouts. The move to call up Farmer is one that is for bullpen depth, where the Tigers have direly struggled as of late. He’s not the most sure arm but he brings more big league experience than most other right-handed pitching candidates (Joe Jimenez, looking at you. Disclaimer: I would not have minded seeing Jimenez in that bullpen down the stretch) and, looking at his game logs, his ERA is deceiving due to two bad outings (one early in the season against New York, one in July against Cleveland). Take away those two outings and Farmer is a more than capable mid to long relief man that the Tigers can use down the stretch.

johnhicksJohn Hicks: A 26-year old catcher, Hicks’s name was one that I was not initially familiar with; then I saw his numbers from this season and wondered why we hadn’t heard more about him. Unimpressive in a 34-game stint with the Seattle Mariners last season (.063 BA with 18 strikeouts), Hicks has come alive in the minors, batting .310 across AA and AAA ball, with 10 HRs and 47 RBI. Defensively he has been dependable, fielding at a .992 clip, making four errors. On the basepaths he has cut down 24 of the 61 runners who have tried to run on him, good for a 39% caught stealing percentage. Hicks will add depth and another option in the platoon of James McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, with this month potentially serving as an early audition for the backup position for next season as Salty is only on a one year veteran’s minimum deal. Hicks is yet to see any playtime for the Tigers, but that may change in the weekend series against Baltimore.

Joe Mantiply: Another name that was not initially familiar to me, Mantiply was another one who left me wondering why I hadn’t heard joemantiplymore about him. This 25-year old lefty spent most of the season with the AA Erie SeaWolves where he proved to be one of the most dependable arms on the team, posting a 2.47 ERA through 51 innings in 49 appearances, holding a WHIP of 1.00 even. However, once he earned the call-up to AAA Toledo, things got a bit dicey. Through 7 games he held a 4.32 ERA, giving up 4 runs through 8.1 innings. He was surprised to earn his call-up to Detroit but he has already made an appearance, albeit only for 1/3 of an inning in a blowout. There is a lot of upside as the lefty brings solid, not electric but solid, stuff with a young arm to the bullpen, with the intention of being a weapon there in the future.


jacobyjonesJaCoby Jones: OK, I only said three players and Jones isn’t technically a September call-up but he’s close enough. Through six games we’ve seen only a small sample of JaCoby Jones and what he’s able to do (for better or worse). Though he’s considerably cooled down since his first two games there is still a lot of upside with Jones. He’s a versatile fielder who can play on the infield as well as stepping into the outfield, as we’ve seen him do already in Detroit. He’s a bit trigger happy at the plate (see his AB during game two of the latest Chicago series) but that’s to be expected of a youngster who’s no stranger to the strikeout (120 across 413 PA across AA and AAA). But despite that and his .243 average at AAA, he was on a hot streak and was showing his true potential when the Tigers gave him the call to join the team in late August. With Maybin being made of paper in CF and the impending free agency of J.D. Martinez, Jones could be thrust into an expanded role as early as next year and this short call-up will be crucial to see how he will be able to handle the potential of that situation.

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