Detroit Tigers Minor League Week in Review: 4/7 - 4/10
Toledo Mud Hens
1-0, 1st in the West Division
The Mud Hens couldn’t have begun their season much better, thrashing the Louisville Bats 10-2 in front of an announced crowd of more than 12,000 in Toledo. The Hens struck first, scoring eight runs in the second inning. Steven Moya was the offensive star of the day, connecting for two hits in that second inning, including a three-run homer, and hitting another HR two innings later. The big outfielder finished the day 3-for-4 with three runs scored and five RBIs. Newcomers Nate Schierholtz and Bobby Wilson also chipped in, with Schierholtz going 2-for-3 and scoring twice, and Wilson going 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Matt Boyd was the beneficiary of all that offense, but he was very good in his own right, giving up just two earned runs, walking one, and striking out seven over six innings of work. Unfortunately, that was the last baseball fans in Toledo got to see for the week, as rain, snow, and generally unpleasant weather conspired to cancel games on Friday and Saturday, and spoil a makeup doubleheader on Sunday.
- Moya now has nine career multi-homer games, though has never hit three in one contest. Last year he didn’t hit his second home run in Toledo until May 23rd.
- Boyd’s win was his first for the Mud Hens, as he threw only two innings in Toledo last year before heading to the Majors.
- All eight of Toledo’s 2nd-inning runs on Thursday were scored with two outs.
1-2, T3rd in the Western Division
The Erie SeaWolves also began their 2016 season in impressive fashion, putting together a 7-0 road win over the Trenton Thunder. The squad couldn’t continue that success, however, falling to Trenton on Friday and Sunday, with Saturday’s game postponed due to inclement weather. The Wolves did get a number of solid individual performances, however, with the offense being led by infielder Alberto Gonzalez and catcher Austin Green, while starters Myles Jaye and Corey Riordan combined to give up just one run over nine innings, and Matt Crouse gave up just one run in 4 2/3 innings of relief.
- Gonzalez went 4-for-5 in his first game, and he leads the Eastern League with a .600 average and three doubles.
- Starter Tommy Collier surrendered five runs on five hits and a walk on Sunday, recording only a single out before being replaced by Crouse. It was the shortest outing of his career.
- First baseman Dominic Ficociello drew praise for his performance in spring training, but he has begun the regular season 0-for-12 with four strikeouts.
Lakeland Flying Tigers
1-3, T5th in the North Division
The only team in the system to play its full allotment of games, the Flying Tigers struggled to a 1-3 record, at one point blowing a 6-0 lead, and needing extra innings to collect their only win of the week. Big leaguers Cameron Maybin, Alex Wilson, Blaine Hardy, and Daniel Norris all made rehab appearances for the club, but their presence wasn’t enough to prevent the team from being outscored 28-11 on the week. Wilson, in fact, took the loss in Thursday’s opener, giving up three runs in 1 1/3 innings of work. There were a few very good pitching performances last week, however. Last year’s 2nd-round pick Tyler Alexander impressed in his five-inning full-season debut, giving up just one run on four hits and striking out five. Jairo Labourt and A.J. Ladwig were both terrific in what amounted to delayed starts (Labourt came in after Hardy, Ladwig after Norris and Wilson), with Labourt walking three and striking out eight in four scoreless innings on Saturday, and Ladwig giving up just one hit over six innings to earn the win on Sunday. Unfortunately, the offense never really seemed to get on track last week, with only OF Mike Gerber (4-for-17, 2 HR) posting a solid performance.
- Labourt had 21 outings of at least four innings in the Florida State League last year, and he gave up at least one run in all of them.
- Maybin played in all four games last week, going 3-for-13 with two doubles, two walks, two strikeouts, and a stolen base.
- Gerber homered twice in Lakeland’s first three games. The last Flying Tiger to do that was OF Mike Hernandez back in 2007. Maybin was also on that Lakeland squad.
West Michigan Whitecaps
2-1, 3rd in the Eastern Division
The defending Midwest League champion Whitecaps began their season with a four-game, home-and-home series against the South Bend Cubs, winning their first two games in Indiana before dropping their home opener on Saturday. Sunday’s game was postponed due to snow. The squad’s offense was paced by 25-year-old second baseman Brett Pirtle, who went 5-for-9 with three doubles, three walks, five RBIs, and five runs scored last week. First baseman Will Allen also had a solid week at the dish, going 4-for-10 with a double and two walks. The team’s three starters all authored solid performances, giving up just three earned runs and striking out 12 in 12 2/3 innings, and reliever Jake Shull posted three scoreless innings, but the rest of the bullpen struggled, surrendering 18 hits and eight earned runs in nine innings.
- Fernando Perez struck out seven and did not allow a hit in his four shutout innings in Friday’s weather-shortened win, but he did walk three batters and hit three more.
- Infielder Steven Fuentes went 3-for-12 with a triple and three RBIs last week, but his seven strikeouts is tied for 2nd most in the Midwest League.
- Through three games the Whitecaps have yet to hit a home run or surrender a home run.