Just kidding, of course. But if you haven’t noticed what’s going on in Las Vegas – and unless people call you Torgy, you probably haven’t – Terry Tiffee is absolutely destroying the Pacific Coast League. “Big deal,” you might say. “So a guy with some MLB service time is putting up some nice numbers very early in the season in a hitter’s league. So what?”
I’ll tell you “so what”. It’s one thing to go 4 for 10 over three games and say you’re hitting .400. And it’s quite another to be 118 at-bats into your season and have the following line:
That’s a 1.218 OPS.
You know how sometimes you see gaudy numbers and people say, “wow, that’s video game numbers!” Forget that – I couldn’t even do this in a video game. He’s got 56 hits in 118 at-bats. That’s not a small sample size; that’s a man simply abusing the poor pitching staffs of the PCL.
He’s even caught the eye of Baseball Prospectus (this is from a few days ago, so the numbers aren’t exactly the same – and unless we made a trade with Pittsburgh I missed, that’s Andy LaRoche, not brother Adam), who gave him an honorable mention for April Minor League hitter of the month:
Tiffee is a former semi-prospect with the Twins as a third baseman, but is now a 29-year-old journeyman. Nonetheless, he’s taken advantage of a great home park to hit an absolutely ridiculous .486 in his first 26 games, going 51-for-105. He’s not a prospect, but he is why Adam LaRoche is returning from his injury a rung down, at Double-A Jacksonville.
It’s a fair point – he’s not a prospect, putting up a .624 OPS over 239 at-bats in parts of three seasons (2004-06) with Minnesota. But the fact is, if a .475 average doesn’t get you out of Triple-A, what does? No one’s saying he’s found some sort of magical secret to hitting (although…) and that he’d do anything like this in the bigs. But really, there’s only two outcomes to this crazy hit binge he’s on:
1) It’s a huge fluke, and he’s having the time of his life, which will likely come to an end soon, or
2) He’s a late bloomer who’s somehow had it all click for him, and he’s finally ready to be a productive major league hitter
Either way, wouldn’t it be better for him to be putting this crazy run he’s on to use in the bigs? Even if it really is just a hot streak, then there’s no sense in wasting what’s left of it in the minors, so let’s ride him until he drops.
Even better, he’d fit in perfectly on the Dodgers the way the current roster is constructed. Tiffee is a third baseman by trade, and has also logged time at first base and left field this season. How perfect is that? Right now, this team has no backup third baseman other than our All Star catcher, which is an entirely separate and mind-blowing discussion. This team has no backup first baseman other than pinch-hitter “extraordinaire”, 38-year old, .095-hitting, Mark Sweeney.
I know it won’t happen, because Joe Torre seems to love guys like Sweeney. But, Tiffee serves a much greater purpose in the field than Sweeney, and right now he’s 1000 times the hitter Mark is too. Even if Tiffee does turn out to be a total mirage, all we’ve lost is… Mark Sweeney and his .095 batting average.
More importantly, now is the time for this. Andy LaRoche is officially off the DL and has been optioned to Vegas to get at-bats, so he can’t be recalled for 10 more days. Nomar doesn’t seem like he’s going to be available in the next week or two either, so before we have to start finding roster spots for those guys.. let’s see what we actually have here.
Free Terry Tiffee!