June 6 - June 12 Detroit Tigers Minor League Recap: Angels in the 'Caps Outfield

The Tigers five affiliates mostly held their own last week, though the teams at the top and the bottom of the ladder dragged the cumulative record down to 14-18. Last week in the minors we saw a very strong AAA debut in Toledo, a double homer doubleheader in Erie, the return of a key arm in Lakeland, a hot start by a priority signing in the DSL, and terrific play from the outfielders in West Michigan.

Detroit Tigers Minor League Week in Review: 6/06 - 6/12

Toledo Mud Hens
28-34, 4th in the West Division

The Mud Hens spent all week on the road and they probably can’t wait to play a few games at home after going just 2-5 last week. The action began in Pawtucket, where Toledo dropped three of four games to the Red Sox, all by the score of 2-1, Offense was in short supply all series, as the team’s only win was by the score of 3-2. That wasn’t the case in Rochester, where the Hens scored 21 runs in three games (18 in the 7th inning or later), but they still went just 1-2 because the Red Wings managed to score 22 runs. The week’s two wins went to starter Matt Crouse (6 1/3, 2ER), and Logan Kensing, who pitched a scoreless 7th inning of relief on Friday before the offense exploded for seven runs in the 8th. The offense was held in check for the first part of the week, but JaCoby Jones (10-28, HR, 4 RBI), Casey McGehee (10-26, HR, 4 RBI), and Steven Moya (9-for-28, 3 RBI) all did their part.

    • Jones had a fine AAA debut last week, hitting safely in all seven games to extend his hitting streak to nine. The 24-year-old seems to have put it all together this year, boasting a .324/.387/.581 slash line through 27 games.

    • Anthony Gose has been in Toledo for just 25 games, but he leads the team in strikeouts with 44. He’s whiffing in 38% of his plate appearance, after striking at a 37.6% rate in the majors.

    • Bruce Rondon picked up two saves on the week, giving him seven on the season, which is tied for the 4th most in the International League. Unfortunately, he also sports a 4.34 ERA and an unsightly 2.04 WHIP.

Erie SeaWolves
26-39, 5th in the Western Division

The SeaWolves played at home all week, but the confines of Jerry Uht Park weren’t especially friendly, as the club split their eight games. The week began with a four-game set against the Altoona Curve in which the squads alternated victories. The Trenton Thunder then came to town, winning the first two games of the series, but the Wolves managed to even things up thanks to walkoff wins on Saturday and Sunday. Cory Riordan (6IP, 0ER) and Tommy Collier (6IP, 1 ER) both picked up wins with strong starts, while the other two wins went to closer Joe Jimenez, who pitched three scoreless innings on the week. The team’s offense put up some solid numbers, with Jeff McVaney (9-for-28, 7 R), Connor Harrell (9-for-27), and Dean Green (10-for-28, 2HR, 8 RBI) all having strong weeks at the plate.

    • McVaney’s 47 runs are good for second in the Eastern League, and he has scored 41 times in his last 42 games. The 26-year-old outfielder has had particular success against left-handed pitching this year, slashing .376/.454/.576 against southpaws.

    • Erie’s pitching staff continues to be the team’s Achilles heel. Their 4.76 collective ERA is the worst in the league by far, Tommy Collier is the team’s lone starter with a sub-4.00 ERA, and Jimenez is the only pitcher currently on the team with an ERA under 3.

    • Green’s two homers both came on Saturday, albeit in different games. In the first game of a doubleheader he knocked in his team’s only runs with a 2-run shot in the first inning, and in the nightcap he again went yard in the first inning, this time a 3-run blast. He ranks third in the EL with 13 homers on the season, and his 60 RBI leads the circuit.

Lakeland Flying Tigers
31-30, 3rd in the North Division

A scheduled day off and a rainout meant the Flying Tigers played just five times last week, and they came out of the week with a solid 3-2 record, despite being outscored 27-13. The week’s action began with a tidy 1-0 win over Jupiter in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday, but the Hammerheads came back with a vengeance in a 13-2 win in game two. Lakeland won the third game of the series 5-1, but Jupiter once again broke out the next day with an 11-1 drubbing. The final game of the week was a 4-2 win over Fort Myers in which Tyler Alexander pitched 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball to earn his fifth win of the season. A.J. Ladwig earned his league-leading eighth win of the season on Friday, while Adam Ravenelle picked up two saves during the week. Absolutely no one on offense stood out last week. The team scored fewer than three runs per game, and catcher Kade Scivicque (5-for-18) was the only player to pick up more than four hits.

    • When April ended, Jairo Labourt owned a 1.29 ERA and batters were hitting just .085 against him in 21 innings. Hitters are still struggling to make solid contact against him, but his league-leading 43 walks have been a huge factor in causing his ERA to jump all the way up to 5.32 after two starts in June.

    • After averaging a home run every three games through April and May, outfielder Christin Stewart has gone deep just once in ten June contests. He is, however, positing his best OPS of the season (1.060) thanks to a .323 batting average, four doubles, and ten walks.

    • Starting pitcher Artie Lewicki returned with four scoreless innings on Thursday, his first game action since April 21st. The 24-year-old right hander now has a 2.55 ERA in 17 2/3 innings this season.

West Michigan Whitecaps
35-25 3rd in the Eastern Division

The Whitecaps were in first place a little more than a week ago, but a 3-3 week, combined with hot South Bend and Lake County teams, means West Michigan now finds itself 1/2 game out of the first-half playoffs, with only seven contests remaining. The Caps hosted in-state rivals Great Lakes and Lansing last week, and the action began on Tuesday with lefty Matt Hall (5IP, 0ER,7K) stifling the Loons in a 5-0 win. Beau Burrows (5IP, 1ER, 5K) and Kyle Dowdy (6IP, 1ER) also earned wins with solid starts, while Trent Szkutnik (7IP, 2ER, 4K) had a very nice outing spoiled by a lack of offensive support and some shoddy relief pitching. The offense received strong contributions from usual suspects Will Maddox (7-for-23, 4 RBI), David Gonzalez (8-for-23, 4 RBI), and Jose Azocar (12-for-26), while outfielders Cam Gibson (8-for-21, HR, 6 R) and Derek Hill (9-for-25, 6 R) both had the best weeks of their season.

    • The outfield trio of Azocar, Gibson, and Hill not only combined to hit .403 last week, but they also stole four bases and made strong contributions on defense, with Hill making several highlight reel catches, and Azocar picking up his league-leading 10th OF assist.

    • West Michigan’s 2.95 team ERA is best in the Midwest League, and the club boasts four starters with ERAs below 2.40, and four relievers with ERAs below 1.50.

    • Gibson put the “home” in home run last week, going deep on Friday for West Michigan’s first longball at Fifth Third Ballpark this season.

DSL Tigers
2-4 8th in the San Pedro Division

The DSL Tigers took part in their first full week of action, winning in 11 innings on Monday, but losing their next four contests. Reliever Wildenson Yanez picked up the lone win by tossing three scoreless innings, while Adonis Figuera (7IP, 0ER, 5K), Julio Guante (4IP, 0ER, 3K), and Alfredo Silva (3IP, 0ER, 5K) all pitched well in limited action. The offense was led by outfielder Juan Ramirez (8-for-15, 6BB, 3 RBI) and catcher Pedro Hurtado (4-for-10).

    • Third baseman Luis Laurencio had an eventful week, going 4-for-17 with three doubles and a team-leading four RBI, but also making three errors and striking out six times.

    • The season is only six games old, but Ramirez ranks second in the DSL with a .550 batting average, and first in the league with .654 on-base percentage.

  • The Tigers are one of eleven clubs in the 42-team DSL without a home run, and one of eight teams that have yet to surrender a home run.

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