Arizona Fall League - The AFL takes place over six weeks in October/November and features six teams each made up of a handful of minor league players from five different MLB franchises. Players in the AFL tend to be a mix of legitimate prospects who missed time during the regular season and organizational talent who might be of interest to other teams. For 2015, the Tigers have sent seven players to the AFL to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Dominic Ficociello - A 12th-round pick in 2013, Ficociello is a switch-hitting first baseman who split his season between high-A Lakeland and AA Erie, playing in 128 games and hitting .293 with 8 HR.
Mike Gerber - A senior-sign out of Creighton in the 15th round of the 2014 draft, Gerber has done nothing but perform since turning pro. The outfielder had a terrific 2015 campaign for the low-A West Michigan Whitecaps, batting .293 in 135 games, with 54 extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases. He helped lead the Whitecaps to a championship, and he was named the organization’s player of the year by both TigsTown and the Tigers themselves.
JaCoby Jones - Jones came to the Tigers in a late-July trade that sent Joakim Soria to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He spent the first half of the season playing shortstop for high-A Bradenton before being promoted to AA Altoona for a handful of games. The Tigers kept him in AA after the trade, and he finished his season with Erie. In all he played 133 games and hit .257 with 16 HR and 25 stolen bases. Jones has played mostly third base for Scottsdale, and he was named Co-Player of the Week in the first week of the AFL.
Jeff Ferrell - The Tigers took Ferrell in the 26th round in 2010, and he spent his first four seasons as a pro working as a starting pitcher. He converted to relief in 2015 and shot through the system, converting 16 of 17 save opportunities in 38 1/3 innings between AA and AAA, and even making nine MLB appearances.
Austin Kubitza - Kubitza was selected in the 4th round in 2013 out of Rice, and he quickly made his way to AA, where he spent all of 2015. He had a rough season, however, posting the highest ERA (5.79) of any starter in the Eastern League.
|Austin Kubitza||3||11 1/3||0||1||0||1||14||4||5||7||3.09|
Adam Ravenelle - The Tigers 4th round selection out of Vanderbilt in 2014, Ravenelle has worked strictly as a reliever since turning pro. He missed most of the first three months of the season with illness and hand issues, and is in the AFL to get some more innings on his arm.
Montreal Robertson - The Tigers nabbed Robertson in the 29th round of the 2011 draft out of a small community college in Mississippi, and the hard-throwing reliever has made slow but steady progress through the system.
|Montreal Robertson||4||8 2/3||2||1||0||1||6||2||0||6||2.08|
Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League (LIDOM) - Like the AFL, the LIDOM features six different teams competing for a league title. However, the action in the Dominican League is much more competitive than that of the AFL, and the rosters are made up of a mix of minor leaguers, current major-league players, former big leaguers, and Dominican veterans. There are nine players who ended their 2015 season in the Tigers organization currently listed on LIDOM rosters.
Steven Moya - The powerful Moya has been one of Detroit’s top outfield prospects -- and top prospects overall -- for several years now. Injuries and ineffectiveness rendered 2015 fairly disappointing for him, but he’s back home in the D.R. trying to work out the kinks.
Jefry Marte - The Tigers signed Marte as a minor-league free agent prior to the 2015 season, and he enjoyed the best year of his professional career. He performed very well in AAA and got into 33 MLB games for the Tigers, hitting .213 with 4 HR.
Jairo Labourt - One of three players acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for David Price, Labourt is a hard-throwing lefthander whose numbers have yet to match up to his pure stuff. He posted a 5.12 ERA in 116 IP in high-A ball in 2015.
Others of Note: Edgar De La Rosa (has not pitched), Rafael Dolis, Confesor Lara, Jose Valdez (has not pitched), Alexi Casilla, Alberto Cabrera.
Venezuelan Professional Baseball League - Like its Dominican counterpart, the VPBL takes place over roughly three months and features rosters full of minor leaguers, prospects, MLB players, and retired big leaguers. There are eight teams in the VPBL, and their rosters boast 14 players who ended the 2015 season in the Tigers organization.
Javier Betancourt - Betancourt held his own as one of the youngest players in the high-A Florida State League this year, batting .263/.304/.336 in 122 games and playing solid defense at second base.
Dixon Machado - Always lauded for his glove at shortstop, Machado put together his second consecutive solid offensive season in 2015, earning a trip to the Majors where he hit .235 in 24 games. He’s been more like Babe Ruth in the VPBL, however.
Wynton Bernard - Signed after an open tryout in 2014, Bernard has been consistently productive for the organization for the past two seasons, even winning the Midwest League MVP award in 2014.
Others of Note: Adenson Verastegui, Alfred Gutierrez, Angel Nesbitt (has not pitched), Manny Pina (has not played), David Gonzalez, Victor Padron, Harold Castro, Francisco Martinez, Eudis Idrogo, Miguel Gonzalez, Alberto Gonzalez.
Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente - Just underway, the Professional Baseball League of Puerto Rico features four teams playing against one another for roughly two months. Two Tigers prospects from Puerto Rico are playing in 2015.
Joe Jimenez - Jimenez had one of the finest seasons of any player in the system, serving as the primary closer for the Midwest League Champion West Michigan Whitecaps, and winning the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year award.
Also Playing: Ismael Salgado
Mexican Pacific League - The Mexican Pacific League lasts about three months and features eight teams made up mostly of Mexican professional players. The Tigers’ lone representative in 2015 is relief pitcher Julio Felix.
Australian Baseball League - The ABL lasts three months and features six teams made up primarily of Australian players, though some North American players do make the trek to play down under. Three Tigers prospects are participating in the ABL, including native Aussies Aaron Sayers and Warwick Saupold, and 2013 6th-rounder Calvin Drummond. Third baseman Zac Shepherd is expected to join the Sydney Blue Sox at some point during the ABL season.
Liga Paralela de Beisbol - The Venezuelan Parallel Baseball League is more like the Arizona Fall League than the VPBL, and is designed to give very young players the chance to continue improving. There are 14 different teams in the league, and the Tigers have a squad dedicated solely to their young prospects. The roster includes promising young players Anthony Pereira, Adrian Alfaro, Jose Azocar, Elys Escobar, Luis Torrealba, and Johan Belisario, as well as a handful of youngsters who just joined the organization in July.