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Detroit Tigers Minor League Players of the Month: April 2017 - Efren Navarro, Christin Stewart, Zac Shepherd and Jacob Robson

The first month of the season is in the books, and TigsTown announces its first players of the month for April, highlighting a pair of outfielders, including one man that keeps slugging, and a prospect that appears to be regaining his form.

AAA Toledo Mud Hens – 1B Efren Navarro

 

74 AB | .338 AVG | .412 OBP | .459 SLG | 12 RBI

 

The Mud Hens had some significant changes on the roster in the first month, and a couple of their best hitters were plucked early on for need at the big-league level, but Navarro remained in Toledo all month long, and posted a strong average that led the way. While his power numbers aren’t typical for a primary first baseman (three doubles, two home runs), his success has been driven by making plenty of solid contact, and striking out only nine times in the entire month.

 

Runner-up: C John Hicks

 

 

AA Erie SeaWolves – OF Christin Stewart

 

78 AB | .295 AVG | .389 OBP | .603 SLG | 15 RBI

 

Stewart was one of the top power hitters in MiLB in 2016, and he’s continued that success with the SeaWolves in 2017, with ten extra base hits in the season’s first month, including six home runs. While Stewart still has plenty of swing and miss in his game (19 strikeouts), he also continues to show excellent patience, and through the season’s first month, has a nearly .300 average in addition to the power. At this rate, Stewart will be knocking for another mid-season promotion very soon.

 

Runner-up: OF Mike Gerber

 

 

A+ Lakeland Flying Tigers – 3B Zac Shepherd

 

84 AB | .310 AVG | .398 OBP | .560 SLG | 21 RBI

 

Shepherd had a disappointing 2016 campaign in Lakeland, but he’s showing his bat coming around thus far in the season’s first month and leading the charge for the Flygers. His timely hitting resulted in bringing 21 runs home while scoring 17 of his own, in addition to nearly boasting the coveted .300/.400/.500 triple slash line. As much as Stewart struck out, Shepherd struck out even more, so it’s unlikely to see his average sustain itself without reducing the swing-and-miss (36 strikeouts in 84 at-bats), but the return of his power is an encouraging sign, with nine extra-base hits in the abbreviated first month, while he only had 36 XBH all of 2016.

 

Runner-up: 1B Wade Hinkle

 

 

A West Michigan Whitecaps – OF Jacob Robson

 

88 AB | .330 AVG | .379 OBP | .409 SLG | 16 R

 

The Tigers eighth round selection in 2016, Robson led the way in West Michigan with a .330 average, and also crossed the plate 16 times for the club. Robson didn’t swing for a ton of power (four extra base hits) and only earned seven walks, but his high average carried the way to nearly an .800 OPS. He was particularly adept at producing when at Fifth Third Ballpark, posting a .912 OPS at home.

 

Runner-up: 1B Blaise Salter


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