June 12, 2013
COLUMBIA, Mo. - As the Mizzou baseball team has spread across the country to play summer ball, it is time to look at what former Tiger standouts are doing in the major leagues. Currently, there are four former Tigers on big league rosters with a fifth - Kyle Gibson - lingering close to being called up to join the Minnesota Twins as arguably the top pitching prospect in the Twins organization. Oh, and it may be worth mentioning that Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers is one of the frontrunners for the Cy Young Award at this point of the season. Below is a look at the Tigers in the Bigs.
Max Scherzer - SP - Detroit Tigers
Scherzer, the 2005 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, has blossomed into one of the top pitchers in the major leagues in 2013. Now in his fourth season with the Tigers after coming up through the Diamondbacks organization, Scherzer leads the Majors in wins and winning percentage (9-0) and is second in strikeouts (106) and WHIP (0.87). In fact, he owns a 10.6 strikeouts per nine inning ratio this season and has allowed just 57 hits in 90.1 innings. He has won four of his last five starts with his only no-decision in that time coming in an 8.0-inning outing against Baltimore in which he allowed just three earned runs while striking out 10. He has reached double-digit strikeouts in four of his 13 starts this season, highlighted by a 12-strikeout performance in 8.0 innings at Seattle on April 17. In his last outing, he earned his ninth win in a 3-2 win over the Royals while current Royal reliever and former Mizzou All-American Aaron Crow took the loss in that game.
It is worth noting that Scherzer's 9.4 career strikeouts per nine innings would rank sixth in major league history if he met the minimum requirements (1,000 innings pitched), which he should come close to by season's end. You may have heard of the five guys that rank ahead of him on the list: Randy Johnson, Kerry Wood, Pedro Martinez, Tim Lincecum and Nolan Ryan. And yes, he would rank ahead of some guy named Sandy Koufax.
Ian Kinsler - INF - Texas Rangers
Kinsler has been on the disabled list since May 17 with a rib issue but was having another All-Star season before missing nearly a month. He will begin a rehab assignment as early as Thursday according to reports and will look to add to an impressive stat line when returning to the big leagues. In 40 games before his injury, Kinsler was batting .302 with seven homers and 11 doubles while driving in 20 runs and scoring 24 as one of the Rangers' top run-producers. The .302 average was a welcome sign to Rangers fans as Kinsler had not hit over .300 in a season since 2008 when he hit a career-best .319 and his power numbers were on pace for his third 30-homer season before the injury. With seven big flies in 40 games, it is not a stretch to think that 30 homers is still a legit possibility. In fact, he was slugging .500 before he got hurt, which is on pace to be the second-best clip of his eight-year major league career. Despite batting from the right side, Kinsler continues to crush right-handed pitching this season hitting .324 and slugging .590 with all seven of his homers and seven of his 11 doubles.
Aaron Crow - RP - Kansas City Royals
The former first-round draft pick has developed into one of the Royals' top relievers this season as he ranks ninth in the American League in holds with 10 in 23 appearances. Crow has pitched 19.1 innings and has a 4.19 ERA with 13 strikeouts and a save. Despite the 4.19 ERA this season, he has really only been roughed up once this season as the St. Louis Cardinals tagged him for four earned runs in 0.2 innings in a 5-3 loss on May 29. In fact, he has two wins and two holds in his last five appearances. He did however take the loss in his most recent outing in a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers - and coincidentally it was former Mizzou hurler Max Scherzer that was on the other end of that decision as Mizzou was very well-represented in that game. Crow has struck out 143 batters in 146.0 innings in his career.
Nick Tepesch - SP - Texas Rangers
The newest of the Tiger big leaguers, Tepesch is putting up impressive numbers after winning the No. 5 spot in the Rangers' rotation in spring training. In fact, he owns a 3.92 ERA and has 45 strikeouts while compiling a 3-5 record in 11 starts this season. He had one of the best debuts in Rangers history as he was first Texas Ranger to pitch into the eighth inning of his major league debut since fellow Mizzou alum John Dettmer did so in his debut back in 1994. Also, the Mizzou theme for the night was set on the first out of the game as Tepesch retired Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings on a liner to former Mizzou infielder>Ian Kinsler at second base. Tepesch will start tonight against Ubaldo Jiminez and the Cleveland Indians at the Ballpark in Arlington as he looks to shake off a rough outing in a 6-1 loss at Toronto last time out.
Although Kyle Gibson is not yet in the big leagues, it is worth it to update what the former first-rounder is doing as he could be called up to join the Twins any day now as he continues to deal in AAA. Below is a look at what he has done.
Kyle Gibson - SP - Rochester Red Wings (Minnesota Twins)
Gibson continues to deal as the ace of the Red Wing staff with a 3.16 ERA and six wins in 13 starts this season. In his last five starts, he has dominated AAA batters, going 4-0 including a complete game shutout on May 19 in which he struck out eight batters. He followed that outing with 8.0 shutout innings while striking out seven in another win. He most recently earned a win on June 9 against Toledo in 7.0 innings, allowing just four hits and one earned run while striking out five.
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