Minor League Notebook: 6/22

The Tigers had another split among their minor league teams on Tuesday, going 2-2 for the day. Two top prospects also had starts, but both had outings they would soon rather forget. Meanwhile, a recent addition to the minors is looking like a solid addition to the organization, even though it is at the minor league level.

AAA Toledo 38-35, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens got a win on Tuesday night, beating Louisville 6-3. James Baldwin, a recent addition to the Mudhens (the other recent addition, Jimmy Haynes, was released this past week), got his first win as a Mudhen, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) while striking out 6. The new Mudhen offense, without Marcus Thames, still had a nice night, with every player getting at least 1 hit. Andy Barkett had a solo Home Run, and Eric Owens also had a 2-run triple. Chris Shelton is now hitting .462 at AAA after going 1-for-4 Tuesday.

The Tigers added Baldwin as insurance last month, and it's looking to be a solid move - unlike the Jimmy Haynes signing. The 32-year old Baldwin was a mainstay in the White Sox rotation in the mid to late 90's, but never had a huge season. He's bounced around the past few seasons, but the Tigers picked him up after the Mets dropped him earlier this year. The Tigers biggest concern when Nate Cornejo went down was that they'd be without a suitable replacement if another starter went down, with the team not having a top prospect near the majors, or another good reliever that could potentially make the move. Baldwin still may not be a world beater, but he should be a stabilizing presence in the Mudhen rotation over the final 2 months of the season.

AA Erie 40-29, 2nd place in Southern division
Erie got the win on Tuesday over Portland by a score of 10-6. Preston Larrison had a rough go of it, giving up 6 runs in 6 innings, but the offense kept hitting after he left, and Lee Rodney and Brian Schmack shut down Portland for the final 3 innings. Rodney got the win (2-0), Schmack got the save (his first). Erie benefited from 4 Home Runs, 1 each from Ryan Raburn, Kurt Airoso, Jack Hannahan and Brandon Harper.

Quietly, Preston Larrison has had one of the most impressive first half's of anyone in the Tiger organization. After a rough 2003, Larrison has straightened himself out, and is benefitting from having a complete rotation full of other prospects, deflecting attention off him. This year, Larrison has been more relaxed on the mound, and because of it, his fastball has its late sink back, and he's well on his way to making a push for Detroit's rotation sometime next season - and hopefully his future will go a little better than the one he is most often compared to; Nate Cornejo.

High-A Lakeland 0-1, 2nd place in Southern division (Note: the Florida State League keeps separate records for the first half and second half of the season). After a string of excellent starts, Joel Zumaya came out and threw a dud, as Lakeland fell to Jupiter 11-4. Zumaya only made it 4 1/3 innings, giving up 9 runs. At the plate, Gilberto Meija did everything he could to try and keep the team in the game, launching 2 solo shots (giving him 4 on the year). Scott Moore and Chris Maples also had 2 hits, and Mike Rabelo had 3.

The second half of the season will be very important to the future of Scott Moore. He was the Tigers top pick 2 years ago, but simply didn't look like the same player the Tigers drafted in 2003 at West Michigan. Thusfar in 2004, Moore has looked more 2003 than high school, definitely not a good thing. Moore has struggled some defensively, but the bigger concern is his .226 average and .370 slugging percentage. Moore has been patient at the plate (31 walks in 208 at bats) and leads the team in Home Runs (8), but hasn't made consistent contact, and only has 5 extra-base hits besides the Home Runs. For Moore to still have a legitimate future with the team, he needs to get his swing back and pull his average up, some added power to the gaps would help as well.

Low-A West Michigan 29-40, 5th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps are on their All Star break, they'll face off against Burlington on the 24th for their return.

SS-A Oneonta 1-4, 4th place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers lost again on Tuesday, falling to Tri City to go to 1-4 on the year. Josh Kauten got the start but only went 3 innings, giving up 2 runs in the process. Recent draftee Dominic Carmosino had a nice outing, pitching 3 innings of scoreless baseball. In the end though, Juan Figueroa got the loss, walking a not-so-impressive 6 batters in 1 2/3 innings. OF Bo Flowers had 2 RBI at the plate, and SS Ovtavio Amezquita had 2 hits for Oneonta.


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