Jim Adduci hits a solo home run for the Detroit Tigers earlier this year in a game at Baltimore. Adduci has been one of the Mud Hens to move up and be productive at the major league level. ASSOCIATED PRESS
When the Tigers called up Chad Bell and Artie Lewicki from Toledo to start in the majors over the weekend, both pitchers struggled. Several Twitter followers suggested that the Mud Hens have not helped Detroit much this year.
To me, that points out a problem with perspective.
Last season, the Tigers promoted Michael Fulmer from Toledo to fill a spot in the rotation, and all the right-hander did was earn American League Rookie of the Year honors.
But for Tigers fans to expect that type of support from the Hens every season is the equivalent of expecting to see Halley’s Comet every season.
Instead the expectation should be that players called up from Toledo are productive. And more than a few Mud Hens have done that this season.
Jim Adduci was batting .318 before he got hurt, and fellow outfielder Alex Presley has hit better with the Tigers (.312) than he did with the Hens (.216). And catcher John Hicks took a hot bat in Toledo (.269 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 52 games) when he drove up I-75 to Detroit (.315 with six homers and 22 RBIs in 46 games).
The same holds true for pitchers such as Warwick Saupold, Toledo’s Opening Day starter who has three wins and a 3.81 ERA in 36 relief outings for the Tigers. Lefty Daniel Stumpf also has been solid in Detroit’s bullpen, posting a 2.97 ERA in 43 appearances.
In short, it’s all about expectations. Having realistic expectations of players called up from Toledo to Detroit gives those players a better shot at being successful.