Tom de Blok sent down to Midwest League

According to his player page, Tom de Blok has been sent down to the West Michigan WhiteCaps on June 11. Just after a good outing in which he gave up only two runs in six innings.

Tom de BlokIt is no secret Tom struggled at the start of the season as he needed to adapt to the level. But After his poor outings on April 14 and 21 in which he gave up 6 and 7 runs respectively, he started to do better.

In the following three starts, he gave up only one run per game and his ERA dropped dramatically. But Tom hit a speed bump in May and one in June as he gave up seven and five runs in those games. But the rest of his outings he did pretty well as he gave up only two runs in each of those three games.

On Sunday vs the St. Lucie Mets, Tom pitched six innings in which he gave up two runs on two hits and two walks and struck out six, by far his best outing in which he managed to bring his ERA below 6.00 for the first time this season.

It is not clear why Tom has been sent down. Perhaps because baseball is a numbers game, perhaps because the Tigers want him to work on his pitches or mechanics. It is all up in the air.

As Tom has pitched in the Midwest League before, it should not be much of a problem for him to find his groove there.

3 Replies to “Tom de Blok sent down to Midwest League”

  1. When you run up innings on a guy who hasn’t thrown that many, this is a common result. DeBlocks’s 2018 performance may be a result of the pressure they put on his arm in 2017. I don’t know how many weeks over which he threw the 82 innings, but it is a common occurrence for young arms.

    Let’s recall that, except for extraordinary records like 10-1, wins and losses matter little in the minors. Their employers (except Seattle and one other club this year) do not care about minor league wins and losses. They care about ERAs and K/bb ratios and batting-average-against.

    At Rookie-through-high-A, there is precious little instruction. The coaches & managers have small-to-no coaching experience. MLB teams try to convince the world that pro playing experience is more important than demonstrated coaching skill. The fact is they do not want to pay for experienced coaches.

    In my long-winded way, I’m trying to say young Tom is on his own (as are the other pitchers at that level. Most guys who make MLB will tell you they learned tools, including pitches and grips, from each other.

    Talented guys like Tom deBlok do find their own way and climb the minor league ladder. However, the majority of these guys with their backs to the wall cannot. Every year, MLB’s p.r. staffs tell everyone about the few who fight their way to advancement; we never hear about far greater number who do not.

    Encouragement from back home means a LOT to a young man in Tom’s situation. Former teammates, friends, coaches and opponents. I stress that he needs encouragement — not coaching, which will only add to his confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know he is struggling so far. I wonder if he is practicing on a slow pitch like a knuckle or a changeup. If so it hasn’t panned out well yet.
    Even at A Full, his first game a few days ago, he is struggling. A level where he was flat out dominating last season.


  3. This is the constant problem of Europeans trying to advance in the MLB system.

    Frankly, it is the reason they’ve been playing over 100 years in Europe, but have produced exactly one guy who’s played a full year in MLB (Germany’s Max Kepler with the Minnesota Twins).

    FIRST: Young Europeans like DeBlok (age 22?) must learn to compete in seasons with more than 3 times as many games. That’s the main hurdle for American college players, as well as Europeans.

    SECOND: The skill levels in Europe, and the intensity of competition, are woefully behind the US, Japan, Caribbean talent pools. I’ve coached US college players and in Europe, the difference is striking. The pressure a European players experiences is a ho-hum experience for an equally-talented American.

    THIRD: The minor leagues don’t exist to reward the minor leaguers who are playing best. The minors exist to promote the 1-3 players on each roster who were paid bonuses of $1 million+, and everyone else is just there to give the top 1-3 guys someone to play against. Occasionally, a guy drafted below the 10th round makes it — but they are EXCEEDINGLY rare.

    SO….. There is no surprise about your Tom. A kid who has a 5.90 ERA against whom hitters have a .298 batting average is going to get sent down. If he doesn’t cut that ERA in half, he will be released.


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