Detroit Tigers Dissector: Magglio's Replacement Lurking In Erie?

Johnny LawrenceCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2009

Welcome to Rudy Dominick and Johnny Lawrence's Week 19 installment of Detroit Tigers information and analysis. Each Thursday, we will delve into all things Tigers.

Read and digest, or skim and spit out our insightful banter.

Keep An Eye On...

Charles Furbush, Starting Pitcher—Lakeland Flying Tigers (A)
(Past Nine Starts)
2-2, 46.1 IP, 37 H, 9 BB, 45 K, 2.14 ERA

Drive By Argument:  Was the Media-Hyped Red Sox Brawl A Positive for Detroit?

LAWRENCE:  Though it was a pleasure to watch, I strongly disapprove of the actions Rick Porcello took.

To reset the circumstance, the Red Sox trailed 3-0 as Kevin Youkilis stepped to the plate in the second inning, having already been hit the night before.

Porcello plunked him on the first pitch, likely a response to Miguel Cabrera being hit twice in the series, then Youk set off immediately for the mound. Both benches cleared.

The ejected Porcello left the game in the hands of middling relievers.

In the midst of a pennant race, you don't want Chris Lambert pitching multiple innings against one of baseball's premier offenses.

And that's exactly who stepped in and coughed up the lead.

Let's be honest with ourselves, Lambert is a nice Triple-A pitcher and nothing more.

Porcello's decision cost the Tigers a shot at a win and possibly more distance from chasing rivals Chicago and Minnesota.

Reaching the playoffs should be the Tigers main concern, not seeking retribution against a team they won't see again until October or next year.

DOMINICK:  Johnny, I'm going to take the opposite approach you did.

The 20-year-old rookie gained respect from teammates for protecting his hitters.

And his consequences were minimal—Major League Baseball suspended Porcello for five days, pushing his next start back one day.

I enjoyed his unexpected takedown of Kevin Youkilis, which should earn Porcello the nickname “El Matador” around the clubhouse.

He obviously has watched too many UFC fights or wrestled in high school.

Living in Connecticut, in the heart of Red Sox Nation, the brawl strengthened my dislike for Boston. Listening to their New England Sports Network announcers pat themselves on the back the whole game was more than this Tiger fan could take.

Despite the Tigers unfortunate loss, I expect it to spark new energy for a slumping team.

Brennan Boesch Seeks To Replace Magglio in Right
Magglio Ordonez redefined the word "clutch" during his tenure in the Motor City, though it seems like a lifetime ago Tiger fans last felt confident when he stepped up to the plate.

The harsh reality is his 2009 production ranks sorely below the standards he set and certainly miles away from the elite of the elite making $18 million or more.

There are only seven players who out-earn Magglio:

1. Alex Rodriguez, $33,000,000

2. Manny Ramirez, $23,854,494

3. Derek Jeter, $21,600,000

4. Mark Teixeira, $20,625,000

5. Carlos Beltran, $19,243,682

6. Carlos Lee, $19,000,000

Rather than go down the road of whether or not the Tigers should keep or cut him, let's shift the focus to Detroit's future in right field. After all, an aging Ordonez assures the Tigers will soon need a new man to patrol Kaline's corner.

If the Tigers seek a productive youngster to heal their wounds, they should look east to Erie, PA.

24-year-old Brennan Boesch is having a breakout season with the Double-A SeaWolves.

Standing 6’6” 210lbs, Boesch was selected by Detroit in the third round of the 2006 draft. He paces the Eastern League in home runs with 25, five more than second place Cleveland prospect Carlos Santana.

Despite a mediocre .265 batting average, he has knocked 79 runs home, smacked seven triples, and stole seven bases. Boesch ranks third in the E.L. in runs batted in and fifth in slugging percentage (.526).

His left-handed bat could give Detroit a more balanced lineup and provide protection for Cabrera, if he develops as hoped.

Defensively, his glove is developing as quickly as his bat.
Through 104 games, Boesch has committed six fielding errors, the same number of errors all last season at High-A Lakeland.

This week I attended two Erie games against the New Britain Rock Cats and classify Boesch as an all-or-nothing type hitter with above average speed.

In the first game, he launched a ball over the right field wall and flew out three times to Rock Cat outfielders. He also gunned down a runner attempting to stretch a single into a double from deep right.

While Boesch may not blossom into a perennial All-Star, he could someday provide Detroit manager Jim Leyland a new left-handed power option.
A non-righty slugger with above-average speed (only one caught stealing) would be a suitable roster filler when 35-year-old Ordonez says goodbye.

Favorable Matchups

August 14: DET Placido Polanco vs. KC Zack Greinke (.371, 13-for-35, 0 K).

August 14: DET Jarrod Washburn vs. KC Mark Teahen (.176, 2-for-17, 3 K).

August 16: DET Armando Galarraga vs. KC (2-0, 27 IP, 28 K, 1.67 ERA).

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