TigsTown.com - Paul Wezner

Detroit Tigers Coaches Dish on Derek Hill, Christin Stewart and Dominic Ficociello

Get some inside perspective from Tigers staff members like big league manager Brad Ausmus and Whitecaps manager Andy Graham on a number of top hitters in the organization and how they've progressed, including Derek Hill, Christin Stewart and Dominic Ficociello

On Which Prospects Stood Out This Spring


Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus:

Ficociello did. Gerber, Ficociello...JaCoby Jones, yeah. There were guys that we’d heard about or seen a little bit of that impressed us. But Gerber and Ficociello in particular I think were the most impressive. We saw Ficociello a little bit last year in spring training, but he’s got some life in his bat.


Whitecaps Manager Andrew Graham:

You know, a lot of young kids obviously, but (Jose) Azocar is looking good. He’s got a chance to move quickly. And some of the guys pitching.


On Derek Hill



He’s made improvements. He’s looking good, he had a really good offseason in the weight room and obviously getting ready, being in shape so he’s not as injured as last year, so we’re excited about that. I mean Derek’s a great athlete, he’s got all the tools. He’s got great arm strength, his speed is off the charts. He’s very athletic in center field and plays good defense there. He’s getting healthy right now to make sure he’s gonna have a good season, I’m gonna call that, I think he really is. He’s just so athletic and he can cover a lot of ground in center field with his speed. His power is gonna develop as he gets stronger.


SeaWolves Hitting Coach Phil Clark:

I think Derek has got a lot of talent. He’s got speed, he’s got strength, he has a passion to play. I mean those are the top three right there. Now it’s just a matter of kind of putting it all together. Some of the things that we worked on mainly was just getting comfortable at the plate and finding a good angle for his bat, so his swing path can work through the hitting zone. And other than that it was just a matter of getting out and playing. Unfortunately he missed some time, but he’s gonna be exciting to watch as time goes on.


On Christin Stewart



I mean, Stewart is a power threat in the lineup, that’s what he’s known for, you know...supplemental first round pick. He came in with power. He’s still got more power to show, but he’s been hitting also, .290 to .295 for us all year, so it’s just a good bat to have in that five hole. He also drives the ball so he’s hit a lot of doubles and come up with big hits when needed, so it’s a good threat to have.


Clark: Stewart has shown me, and I think he’s shown everybody else that he’s a strong kid. He’s gonna impact -- when he makes contact with the ball it goes a long way. Right now we just need to keep the ball out of the air. Right now he’s got a lot of fly balls in his swing, and he’s getting acclimated to the style of pitching here. Guys are starting to mix it up on him a little bit, and that’s gonna lead to him just having strike zone awareness and barrel control, things like that. But he’s done well, since he’s been here he’s done a lot and he was a great addition for us.


On Zach Shepherd


Graham: Yeah, 19-year-old kid from Australia obviously. He hasn’t played all the baseball these other guys have because we don’t play in high school or college, so he’s come over and he’s done a great job for his first full season. He’s battled some injuries of late, with the wrist and finger, so his power numbers really dropped, but you know he’s got a lot of power and he’s gonna show that next year. But for a young kid, first year, he’s done a great job at third base and really developed at that position, and also with his approach at the plate.


Clark: Zach’s our young player. If you want to look at his numbers I think he’s done a good job for us. He’s been a solid third baseman for us. He’s another kid who’s always around and he’s always talking, he’s always asking questions, you know, so he’s coachable and he’s learning. I like what he brought to the table this year, and I can see a bright future for him.


On Kade Scivicque


Graham: Kade Scivicque has done a great job catching and calling the games. He works well with the pitchers, they’re comfortable throwing to him, and he’s also a guy who can swing the bat.  


Clark: To me Kade can be a low-maintenance hitter. I like his energy, he’s brought a lot of energy for us, especially behind the plate. There’s not a lot he needs to work on. There are some areas we need to work on, just keeping him through the ball, keeping him using the opposite side of the field a little bit -- you know he gets a little pull happy with it -- so we’ve got some stuff we’re talking about with him. But he’s great to coach. He’s a very coachable kid, he’s enthusiastic, he wants to learn, so that’s what I like about him.


On A.J. Simcox

Clark: It seems like he found an approach that he likes up here. He has a tendency to get loose, but I think an asset for him is the mental game. He’s very knowledgable about being a number two hitter. We talked about hitting a little bit tonight on the bench. He’s just talking baseball with me, but he definitely came in and helped us out a lot. He’s kind of been that number two guy that Andrew and I have been looking for all season. He’s plugged in that spot for us and he’s been a welcome addition.

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