Detroit Tigers Minor League Week in Review: 5/2 - 5/8
Toledo Mud Hens
13-14, 4th in the West Division
The Mud Hens put together a strong 4-2 week, winning a three-game series at Gwinnett and then returning home to take two of three from the Columbus Clippers. The week’s action began with two decisive wins, thanks in part to strong pitching from Josh Turley (6IP, 2ER, 6K) on Monday and four 2-run homers on Tuesday, but the final game against the Braves was a classic pitcher’s duel, with Matt Boyd tossing eight scoreless innings, and neither team scoring until the 11th inning. Toledo struck first in the top of the 11th on an RBI single from Tyler Collins, but Gwinnett also plated a run in the bottom of the inning off Bruce Rondon, and then scored again in the 12th to win 2-1. An ugly start from Daniel Norris on Friday (2 1/3 IP, 7ER) led to a Mud Hens loss, but the team bounced back to eke out wins on Saturday and Sunday. The offense was led by Steven Moya, who seems likely to be the International League player of the week after going 11-for-24 with four home runs and ten RBIs, but Chad Huffman (7-for-20, 2HR, 5 RBIs) and Wynton Bernard (6-for-11, 4 SB) also had strong weeks at the plate.
- Moya is now batting .304 and ranks either first or second in the IL in runs scored (21), hits (34), doubles (10), home runs (9), RBIs (23), and slugging percentage (.652).
- Rondon had a very busy week, pitching four times and picking up two saves. Meanwhile, fellow reliever Bobby Parnell pitched three scoreless innings. The former Mets closer has only allowed one earned run all year, and hasn’t given up a hit in his last five innings, though he has walked five batters.
- That Weber continues to lead all of Triple-A in ERA (1.17), and Boyd isn’t too far behind him at 2.20. As a team, the Mud Hens own the 4th best ERA in the International League.
13-16, 3rd in the Western Division
The SeaWolves produced a couple of absolute offensive explosions last week, but they were inconsistent in the rest of their games and managed to go just 3-4, dropping one spot in the standings. They began the week with a four-game set at home against the Altoona Curve, losing on Monday when closer Paul Voelker gave up his first earned runs of the season, but bouncing back on Tuesday with a 14-0 victory. Erie lost Wednesday but put together a nice come-from-behind win on Thursday to split the series. The Wolves then headed to Bowie, where a rainout on Friday led to a twinbill on Saturday in which the team scored just two runs in 14 innings to drop both ends of the doubleheader. But then the bats awoke again on Sunday, exploding for a comfortable 13-6 win. Lucas Harrell, Cory Riordan, and Tommy Collier picked up the wins last week, while Dean Green (7-for-24, 6 RBIs), Jeff McVaney (10-for-23, 12R, 2HR), and Jason Krizan (9-for-28, 2HR, 8 RBIs) all had huge weeks at the plate.
- Erie continues to own the worst ERA (4.55) in the league. Lucas Harrell is the only starter on the team with an ERA under 4.81, and the only starter with a WHIP below 1.3.
- Tuesday’s 14-0 win saw all ten batters record a hit, seven batters get at least two hits, and five players collect at least two RBIs. It was Erie’s most lopsided win since a 16-2 triumph over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in June of 2013.
- McVaney came into Monday’s game having scored six runs on the season, but tripled his total after crossing the plate a dozen times last week. His .408 on-base percentage is fifth best in the Eastern League.
Lakeland Flying Tigers
16-13, 3rd in the North Division
A rainout and a scheduled day off meant Lakeland only played five times last week, but they made the most of it, using solid pitching and timely hitting to win four times. A rehabbing Angel Nesbitt started Monday’s game and gave up a run in just 2/3 of an inning, but four other pitchers combined to hold the Daytona Tortugas to just one more run and pull off a 3-2 win. The team lost 7-4 the next night, but then headed to Brevard County, where they served up a three-game sweep of the Manatees. Jeff Thompson (4 2/3 IP, 1ER), Tyler Alexander (5IP, 0ER, 7K), Jairo LaBourt (5IP, 3ER, 6K), and A.J. Ladwig (5IP, ER, 5K) picked up the wins last week, while closer Joe Jimenez collected three more saves. Veteran first baseman Wade Hinkle (7-for-20, 4 RBIs) led a balanced offensive attack, while Mike Gerber (8-for-23) showed signs of breaking out of his slump, Christin Stewart went 7-for-20 and hit his league-leading 9th home run of the season, and Joey Pankake saw his average jump more than 50 points after going 7-for-19 with 6 RBIs.
- Stewart’s nine home runs are three more than any other player in the Florida State League. Pankake is tied for 4th with five homers, and Gerber is tied for 7th with four.
- Starter Endrys Briceno has given up 20 earned runs in 27 2/3 innings, for an ERA of 6.51. The team’s other four starters have given up a combined 22 earned runs in 106 2/3 innings, for an ERA of 1.86.
- Jimenez leads the league with six saves, and he hasn’t given up a run so far through 11 innings. He has surrendered three hits, walked four, hit two batters, and struck out 18.
West Michigan Whitecaps
14-13 6th in the Eastern Division
Like Lakeland, West Michigan had Sunday off and lost a day during the week to weather, but the Whitecaps couldn’t quite match the success of their organizational brethren to the south, going 3-2 and dropping a spot in the standings. The Caps hosted Beloit to begin the week, losing Monday’s game after the Snappers plated two runs in the top of the 9th, but getting revenge on Tuesday with a 6-3 win. West Michigan then took their first two games against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers before falling 10-2 on Saturday. Jonathan Maciel earned a win in relief of Sandy Baez (4 1/3 IP, 3ER), while Eudis Idrogo (5IP, 2ER, 5K) pitched well but took a no decision, and starters Jordan Smith (5IP, 3ER, 4K) and Matt Hall (6IP, ER, 5K) picked up the other two wins. Infielder Will Maddox went 7-for-20, lowering his average to .360, while outfielder Rashad Brown had a huge week, going 8-for-18 with 6 RBIs.
- Hall hasn’t given up more than one run in any of his five starts. His 0.98 ERA ranks fourth in the Midwest League, and his 0.94 WHIP is good for seventh.
- Will Allen’s .250 batting average and zero home runs don’t stand out, but he currently ranks fifth in the league in doubles, and he’s sixth in RBIs because he’s gone 12-for-37 (.324) with runners in scoring position.
- Last year’s 3rd-rounder Drew Smith made his season debut with a scoreless inning on Monday, while fellow 2015 draftees Kyle Dowdy (14 IP, 2ER, 16K) and Jake Shull (13 2/3 IP, 0ER, 11K) have both been outstanding in relief.