Sunday, February 1, 2009

Quotes & Notes: Maturing Tigers

■ Matt Nestor is back covering the Tigers for the Columbia Tribune this year, and he starts off with No Longer a Puzzle. A quote:
These days, Missouri is treated more like the longtime powerhouse Pittsburgh
Steelers. This version of the black and gold is expected to be in the postseason
picture every year.

Missouri was ranked 10th in the Baseball America preseason poll, and Jamieson didn’t have to make any pitches to support his squad.

"Last season, there was a lot of preseason discussions, people calling us and talking to us to try to get a feel for the team by the people that do the polls and anybody involved in college baseball," Jamieson said. "This year, this fall, it was quiet."

Maybe the outsiders are starting to get it. The Tigers were often hurt in past projections because pollsters concerned themselves with who had left the team. It’s now recognized that the Tigers have a history of replacing top players with somebody as good or better, part of the network, has an article Scouting Padres Prospect Nathan Culp (MU 04-06):

“I think he will make adjustments as he goes along,” Lezcano said. “This game is about adjustments. The higher you move and the more you play games against
each other, you have to make adjustments. He’s one of those kids that makes adjustments all the time and that’s his forte, his command and he’s a good competitor.”

Conclusion: Culp is a lot like Jack Cassel but from the left side. He has a
deeper repertoire than most and has hitters pounding the ball into the ground regularly. The theory is if his defense is improved, so will his numbers – as
balls just outside of range can be scooped up.

Culp must improve his first three innings to really make a statement. He can get hit hard over the initial frames and needs to do a better job of getting into rhythm early on.

■ The Fort Worth Star-Telegram says Ian Kinsler's leadership saves the day for the Texas Rangers:

At just 26 years old, Kinsler (MU 2003) is not precisely the guy you’d think capable of playing Henry Kissinger or Jimmy Carter in a crucial negotiation. He’s not the Yoda type.

But Kinsler’s sage counsel to Young throughout the recent crisis, giving his friend a sounding board on a daily basis through the firestorm that erupted, eventually was one factor that helped convince him to accept the Rangers’ "request" to move from shortstop to third base for the good of the team.

Not the franchise, necessarily, but the team and his teammates in the clubhouse. There’s a distinction there.

Kinsler’s role in this cannot be overstated. He showed uncommon wisdom in helping to get Young through this and still remain a Ranger. That kind of clubhouse leadership can only bode well for Texas.

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