Detroit Tigers Minor League Week in Review: 7/11 - 7/17
Toledo Mud Hens
42-53, 4th in the West Division
It was a short, four-game week thanks to the AAA All-Star Game on Wednesday, but the Mud Hens had a tough go of it, beating Columbus on Thursday, but then falling to the Clippers the next three days. The lone win was of the walk-off variety, with a JaCoby Jones single, a Jeff McVaney triple, and a John Hicks single producing two runs for the 4-3 victory. Closer Bobby Parnell picked up the win with a scoreless inning, though Cory Riordan had his third consecutive solid start for the Hens, giving up just three runs over seven innings. Parnell took the loss the next night after giving up a run in the 10th inning in relief of Buck Farmer (7IP, 4ER, 10K), while Matt Crouse (4 1/3IP, 3ER, 5K) lost on Saturday, and Thad Weber (4 1/3IP, 6ER) took the L on Sunday.
- Weber’s rough outing was his second worst start of the year, but the veteran righty has been the most reliable starter for the Mud Hens this season. He’s the only pitcher on the team who qualifies for the ERA title, and his 109 1/3IP are the fifth most in the International League.
- Toledo received a boost last week in the form of two new outfielders. Alex Presley joined the organization on Thursday, and while he went just 3-for-16, he did play all three outfield positions. And Steven Moya returned to the Hens for the first time in a month on Sunday, going 1-for-4 with a triple.
- Casey McGehee and Chad Huffman played in Wednesday’s All-Star Game, with Huffman starting at first base and going 0-for-2 with two strikeouts, and McGehee starting at third base and going 0-for-2. Huffman also participated in the Home Run Derby on Monday, an event he won back in 2009, but he failed to advance after hitting six home runs in the first round.
40-55, 5th in the Western Division
The SeaWolves also had an abbreviated week due to All-Star Game festivities, but Erie made the most of their limited action, winning three of four games. Strong starting pitching was the story, with Josh Turley (6IP, 1ER, 7K) and David Martinez (5 2/3IP, 0ER, 6K) picking up wins, and Artie Lewicki (5IP, 0ER, 5K) taking a tough-luck loss thanks to an unearned run. But the best outing of the week, and one of the best starts this year in the entire organization, went to Myles Jaye on Saturday night. The 24-year-old gave up a double to begin the game, but then set down the next 25 Akron batters he faced in order, before giving up a one-out single in the 9th. Joe Jimenez retired the final two batters to secure the 1-0 win and pick up one of his three saves on the week, while Wynton Bernard provided all the offense with a solo home run in the 4th.
- Corey Jones singled on Thursday to stretch his hitting streak to new career-high 18 games, while Jason Krizan went 5-for-16 and set a new career high with his ninth home run, and Anthony Gose began his slow climb back into the organization’s good graces with a 1-for-10 performance, with three walks and three strikeouts.
- Jaye’s final line on Saturday was 8 1/3IP, 2H, 0ER, 0BB, and 11K -- good for a game score of 97. He struggled in April, going 0-3 with a 5.87 ERA, but he has been very solid since, posting a 3.24 ERA over his last 89 innings.
- Four SeaWolves players participated in Wednesday’s Eastern League All-Star Game, though no one had a particularly strong outing. Jones started at third base and went 0-for-2, Connor Harrell went 0-for-2 with a strikeout as the backup right fielder, Krizan went 0-for-4 as the starting left fielder, and Tommy Collier gave up one hit in his lone inning pitched. Krizan did win the Home Run Derby the night before, blasting 30 home runs, including 10 in the final round, to take home the crown.
Lakeland Flying Tigers
39-50 5th in the North Division, 5-16 6th in the Second Half
Lakeland’s mid-season swoon continued as the Flying Tigers won just once in five games to drop to last place in the second-half standings, and fall a season-worst 11 games under .500. The lone win came on Monday, with Lakeland’s bats busting out for 14 runs and Endrys Briceno picking up the win with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. That win was followed by a series of rainouts and disappointments, with the team missing out on three games due to rain, getting outscored 13-3 in three losses, and blowing a 9-4 lead to lose 10-9. Tyler Alexander (5IP, 0ER, 4K) was solid, but the rest of the starters were not, and the offense was absent for long stretches of the week.
- Mike Gerber’s stunning turnaround continue last week, as he went 9-for-18 with a HR and six runs scored. The lefty outfielder has now hit safely in 11 consecutive games, and is hitting .397/.457/.740 with seven home runs in his last 20 contests.
- Hard-throwing reliever Malvin Martinez had never thrown a competitive pitch outside of the Dominican Republic before this season, but the 21-year-old has held his own for Lakeland, posting a 3.44 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 6 walks in 18 1/3 innings, despite skipping over the Gulf Coast League, the New York-Penn League, and the Midwest League.
- Former college teammates Christin Stewart and A.J. Simcox both had productive weeks, with Stewart going 3-for-13 with 5 RBI, and Simcox going 6-for-20 and scoring four runs.
West Michigan Whitecaps
49-40 3rd in the Eastern Division, 10-12 4th in the Second Half
The Whitecaps had a down week, going just 2-4 and losing ground in the standings. The week began with a tough 4-3 loss in 13 innings to the Fort Wayne TinCaps, though the Whitecaps were able to shake off that disappointment and win their next two games at Kane County. The Cougars salvaged the final game of that series, though, and West Michigan lost 4-3 in the 11th inning on Saturday at Clinton, and fell to the LumberKings 7-3 on Sunday to end the week on a three-game skid. The team did get solid starts from Spenser Watkins (5IP, 2ER, 7K) and Eudis Idrogo (5 1/3IP, 1ER, 4K) in wins, and from Beau Burrows (5IP, 2ER, 1K) in a no decision, while Ryan Milton provided strong relief, striking out ten in 6 1/3 scoreless innings, and picking up his first save of the season.
- Second baseman Will Maddox once again led the offense last week, going 8-for-28, scoring four times, and stealing his 16th base of the season. The 24-year-old ranks second in the league in batting average, and is tied for ninth in steals. He has a chance to become the third player in Whitecaps franchise history to win the Midwest League batting crown.
- Burrows saw his ERA fall to 1.99 after his start on June 9th, but he has given up 16 earned runs in just 15 1/3 innings over his last four outings, and his ERA has climbed all the way up to 3.74.
- Derek Hill’s offensive surge slowed down a bit last week, as he went just 5-for-24, but the speedy outfielder did swipe three bases. He has six steals in his last ten games, and his 27 steals this season are the second most in the league.
19-11 1st in the Stedler Division
The numbers still suggest that Connecticut shouldn’t be winning very often, but the Tigers keep finding ways to make it happen. They had their third consecutive winning week, going 4-3 to remain in first place. The week began with a 3-1 loss to State College, but Connecticut bounced back with two consecutive shutouts over the Spikes behind solid starts from 2016 draftees Austin Sodders (3IP, 0ER, 2K) and Kyle Funkhouser (3IP, 0ER), though Oswaldo Castillo and Ryan Castellanos picked up the wins. The club then lost twice in a row at Tri-City, but they finished the week strong by besting the ValleyCats with a three-run rally in the 9th on Saturday, and then recording a 10-3 triumph over the Vermont Lake Monsters on Sunday. The week’s other wins went to Emanuel Chavez and Mark Ecker in relief efforts.
- Castellanos is third on the team and 18th in the league in innings pitched, despite starting only twice this season. His 2.20 ERA is second best on the team, and 17th best in the league.
- First baseman Blaise Salter had a terrific week at the plate, going 11-for-27 with two home runs and seven RBI. The 23-year-old ranks sixth in the league with 30 hits, and he’s tied for sixth with three home runs.
- Four 2016 draftees have gotten off to terrific starts as relievers in pro ball. Ecker, John Hayes, Zac Houston, and Bryan Garcia have combined to give up zero runs in 29 1/3 innings, with just 15 hits and 7 walks allowed against 40 strikeouts. Houston alone has struck out 17 in just eight innings.
GCL Tigers West
11-9 3rd in the Northwest Division
The Tigers West had a bit of a rough week, going 2-4 and falling six games out in their division. The week got off to a bad start with two tough losses to the first-place Blue Jays, but the squad bounced back with a 6-0 win over the Yankees West behind a strong performance from Anthony Castro (5IP, 0ER, 4K). The Yanks got revenge the next day against first-rounder Matt Manning (3IP, 4R, 0ER, 4K) in a 6-5 win, and then the Pirates shut out the Tigers for 14 consecutive innings. But the club responded late on Saturday, scoring eight times over the final four frames, including a three-run ninth that led to a 8-7 walk-off win.
- Ignacio Valdez has never found much success as a pro, hitting just .223 over 209 career games, but he had the game of his life on Saturday, going 4-for-5 with a home run and five RBI, including the game-winning single.
- Castro has now made four appearances since his return from arm surgery. He struggled in one start, but has been very good in the other three outings, and his 22 strikeouts is good for seventh in the GCL.
- The Tigers spent their 12th-round pick this year on outfielder Daniel Woodrow from Creighton, and the former teammate of Mike Gerber is off to a fine start in pro ball. He went 8-for-19 last week, with three walks and two stolen bases, he’s tied for the league lead with seven doubles, and his .367 batting average is good for fifth in the GCL.
GCL Tigers East
8-12 3rd in the Northeast Division
The Tigers East had a terrible week, going just 1-6, getting outscored 51-22, and tumbling out of first place. The week began two losses in one day to the Pirates, thanks to the completion of a game suspended on June 25th. The Tigers lone win came the next day against the Buccos in a wild 15-11 game that featured a walk-off grand slam from Moises Bello. That was the highlight of the week, though, as the team was then swept by the Braves and the Blue Jays. No starting pitchers excelled last week, and Javier Villarroel had a particularly rough week, losing both starts, and giving up nine earned runs in just three innings.
- Catchers Bryan Tejeda (.328) and Elys Escobar (.302) continue to lead their team on offense, and they’ve caught 44% of the runners who have tried to steal against them.
- Starter Francisco German is one of the few bright spots for the pitching staff this season. He has given up only one run in three of his four outings, and he leads the team with 19 strikeouts in 19 innings.
- Shortstop Isrrael De La Cruz has put his wheels to good use so far this season. He is tied for fourth in the GCL with three triples, he’s tied for fifth with six stolen bases, and he hasn’t been caught stealing yet.
18-17 3rd in the San Pedro Division
It was a slightly shortened week in the DSL as clubs had Saturday off before Sunday’s All-Star game, but the Tigers managed to move up one spot in the standings thanks to a solid 3-2 effort. The week began with a one-run loss to the Cardinals, and it ended with a one-run, walk-off defeat at the hands of the Rockies, but in between the club used some offensive fireworks to reel off three straight wins. First-baseman Jose Quero had a monstrous week, going 10-for-20 with nine RBI, while shortstop Jorge Ynirio went 7-for-16 and scored seven runs. The team’s starting pitching was inconsistent, but Eddy Castro (5IP, 0ER, 3K), Jesus Paricaguan (5IP, 1ER, 5K), and Alfedo Silva (4IP, 0ER, 7K) were all terrific.
- Outfielder Juan Ramirez had a relatively quiet week by his standards, playing just three times and going 5-for-11 with no walks. He did extend his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games, and he continues to be a fixture on the offensive leaderboards.
- Quero has had a spectacular July, going 23-for-50 with two home runs, ten walks, and just four strikeouts in 12 games. He has raised his average from .288 to .367, and has joined Ramirez among the offensive leaders in the DSL.
- Paricaguan and Ramirez were the team’s two representatives in Sunday’s All-Star game, though only Ramirez played, going 0-for-2 as the AL team’s backup center fielder.