Quick Hooks, Vol. 1: answers to your Tigers questions


It's time to man-handle some questions from readers of the site! You have your burning curiosities about the Tigers, and I have mostly non-useful answers for you -- oh, boy, do I have some non-useful answers for you. Feel free to drop future questions into the comments section below, or just shoot me a note on Twitter at @HookSlide23. Let's get this week's party started.


/stops stroking Sale long enough to stop the porno music

I'm not sure what you mean. Zimmerman has a 7.88 ERA, a nasty 2.250 WHIP, he's only striking out three batters per nine innings, and he hasn't even pitched since 1999, so wh--

/double-checks

Ah, I see. That extra "n" is kind of important.


Ok, getting back to the actual Jordan Zimmermann, here's the dirty little secret: baseball people love pitchers who get lots of strikeouts, and if you use Baseball Reference's "Compare Player" tool to look at Zimmermann and Sale side-by-side, the web site just returns these two pictures:


Can we just stop for a moment and enjoy how weirdly inappropriate this answer has become? We're "stroking Sale" and talking about "circus balls."

Circus. Balls.

The point is, Chris Sale is the high-strikeout, flashy, name-brand cereal pitcher who has finished in the Top Ten for Cy Young votes each of the last four years. Jordan Zimmermann is the generic-brand cereal, who quietly goes about his job, getting outs and preventing runs while never over-dominating hitters with a lot of strikeouts.

That's actually very polite of him, I think. 

And it's also why the Tigers were able to get him for around $22 million per year, instead of paying David Price or Zack Greinke prices. Both of those pitchers are being paid in units of private Greek islands right now, and Jordan Zimmermann will be every bit as competent for the Tigers without costing them one of Al Avila's kidneys.

Good job, Al!


First of all, can we just talk for a second about why this Twitter handle is "Hippos Revenge"? Are you an actual hippo? If so, how did you discover the Internet? How do you type with those four-toed hooves? What revenge are you seeking, and why?

Or am I way off with this line of questioning, and I should be going more this direction?


Alright, enough tomfoolery (for a few seconds, anyway).

Jarrod Saltalamacchialadeedahsamalasimbakamasutra is off to a seriously hot start in April, with his six home runs, three doubles, 15 RBI, and .995 OPS. That's both good news and bad news.

The good news is, obviously, WOOOOOOOOO power from the catcher position! The last time the Tigers had that luxury was, what? Lance Parrish and/or Matt Nokes in the 80s? Mickey Tettleton in the 90s? Bill Freehan back in the 60s?

The bad news is that "Salty" has a higher career strikeout rate than Justin Upton, which is impressive, considering that Upton is whiffing more often than Late 90s Me during Singles Night at the bar at 1:30 in the morning. (This probably had a lot to do with my love of Shawn Colvin at the time. Miss you, Shawn. Call me.)

In other words, expect some regression from Saltalamacchia soon, and expect to be relieved when James McCann gets into the starting lineup to keep things balanced.


I would love to answer this question, especially coming from a drunk Anthony Gose. (I assume the only way I'd be attracting Anthony Gose's attention on Twitter is if inebriation is involved.)

It's an intriguing idea, actually, and it touches on a deeper question that people might be asking themselves during those long, reflective, taking-too-much-time-in-the-shower moments: is Upton struggling right now because he's playing for the first time in his career on an American League team?

Let's look at it from the reverse angle and ask Baseball Reference to tell us how Upton has performed in interleague play during his career, as a life-long National Leaguer trying to hit American League pitching.

/gets distracted for 9 hours looking at Upton's stats at Dodger Stadium, in the 7th inning, on 2-2 counts, during day games

Ah, here we go. In interleague play during his career, Upton has had 590 plate appearances, during which he slashed .280/.353/.433, with a .785 OPS and 17 home runs. Honestly, this isn't terribly far off from his overall career numbers, which is good news.

It means Upton knows how to hit American League pitching, which seems like a good thing, given that he's, you know, playing in the American League now.

No, the only thing that's going to get Upton going is time. He's going to average 26 home runs and 164 strikeouts per year, and if you remember that J.D. Martinez finished 2015 with 38 home runs and 178 strikeouts, you'll realize that a guy can whiff an awful lot and still be forgiven by the fans as long as he hits enough dingers.

Upton will get there. I promise.


Are you really a Grandmaster, Matt? Or is this a situation where you're currently a Grandbachelor who's working on the "master" status but is struggling to finish that final thesis paper?

The answer to this awesome, awesome question is simple: none of them are using Shawn Colvin, so they all fail.

But given what we have to work with, these are my top three picks:
  • Miguel Cabrera, "Hypnotize" (Notorious B.I.G.)
  • J.D. Martinez, "Hustlin" (Rick Ross)
  • Ian Kinsler, "Superstition" (Stevie Wonder)
Miggy gets major style points because the chanted refrain, "Biggie, Biggie, Biggie, can't you see?" sounds a lot like they're saying "Miggy, Miggy, Miggy, etc." (Check it out for yourself on YouTube.) 

J.D. Martinez wins relevancy points because, let's face it, the guy is a gritty, hard-working gamer who took a career that was swirling the toilet bowl and forged it into a career that now includes a Silver Slugger award and Gold Glove considerations. He's been "hustlin'" indeed.

But my vote goes to Ian Kinsler, simply because Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" is just a flat-out, bad-ass tune that has stood the test of time. That opening, funky keyboard riff is almost enough to make your forget that Shawn Colvin even existed. You hear that lick, and it immediately meshes perfectly with this sassy visual:


Or this:


Ian, you wonderful, scrappy, mouthy, cheeky bastard. You deserve every bit of that funked-up keyboard intro.

Enjoy the full song here:


Alright, that's it for this week's "Quick Hooks" feature. Send me your questions on Twitter at @HookSlide23, and we'll see you next week!
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