Minor League Notebook: 6/27

While Tiger fans were busy watching Carlos Pena launch the team's 2nd game winning Home Run in as many games, the minor league clubs weren't doing quite as well - only Oneonta was able to pull out a win on Sunday. Toledo got good games out of Nook Logan and Chris Shelton (still on a rehab assignment), but are showing the struggles of losing Marcus Thames and Mike DiFelice.

AAA Toledo 40-37, 2nd place in West division
Toledo is slowly feeling the effects of not having their big bat in the middle of the lineup, as they fell to Columbus 6-1 on Sunday. James Baldwin went 7 innings, allowed 5 runs and took the loss for Toledo as the offense got 10 hits, but none were extra base hits. Nook Logan, Chris Shelton and Eric Owens each had a pair of hits for Toledo.

Nook Logan has had a very interesting career in the Detroit minor league system. After being a selection of Randy Smith - a man who loved speedy Outfielders that could never hit much - Logan moved up the ladder, but faltered as the pitching became more challenging. Logan's average (.259) and on base percentage (.294) are certainly not good for a potential leadoff man, but he still leads the International League in stolen bases at 34. Regardless of Alex Sanchez's performance, Logan probably doesn't project to be much more than a backup Outfielder and pinch runner in the big leagues.

AA Erie 41-33, 2nd place in Southern division
Preston Larrison handed the bullpen a 2-1 lead, but the group didn't pull through, as Mark Woodyard lost the lead, and Brian Schmack gave it to Altoona. The Erie offense, much like Toledo, had a number of hits, but couldn't put together any runs at the end. Larrison for his effort (7 innings, 1 earned run, 2 strikeouts) got a no-decision. SS Anderson Hernandez had 2 hits at the top of the order, and Jason Knoedler went 3-for-3 with an RBI.

On Saturday, Wilfredo Ledezma pitched another gem, throwing a complete game shutout - warranting serious attention from the Tigers. However, if not for Ledezma's amazing season, everyone would be talking about Larrison. He only has 4 wins, and his K:BB ratio isn't amazing (1.46), but Larrison is back to throwing in his 2002 form, with his low-90's fastball with good late sink on it, and more importantly, keeping the Seawolves in games. Ledezma may be the Pitcher of the Year, but Larrison has certainly made the comeback of the year.

High-A Lakeland 1-5, 4th place in West division
Lakeland continues its slow start to the 2nd half of the season, falling to Tampa 9-2. Andy Baldwin made his debut with the L-Tigers, but it wasn't a spectacular one, as he went 4 2/3 innings with 7 runs allowed (although only 4 earned). Tony Giarratano had his first Home Run with Lakeland on his way to a 4-for-5 day, and Scott Moore also had 2 hits.

While Giarratano is sky-rocketing up the charts among prospect rankings, Brent Clevlen has hit a rough patch. His average has now fallen to .233, as he is in an 0-for-25 slump, not showing the patience at the plate he was displaying throughout the beginning of the year. The Tigers really had high hopes for Clevlen, but .233-2-37 isn't exactly make many think he's a future big leaguer.

Low-A West Michigan 2-2, tied 2nd in Eastern division
The Whitecaps lost a tight one on Sunday, falling to Burlington by a score of 2-1. Virgil Vasquez had a good day for West Michigan, going 6 innings with 2 earned runs and 7 strikeouts, but only 2B Eric Rodland could come up big at the plate (2-for-3 with an RBI).

Despite being on the small side, Eric Rodland has been hitting well for the Whitecaps. Rodland's game broke him out of a 1-for-11 slump, but despite the recent slump, Rodland still leads the team in batting average among those eligible (3.1 plate appearances/game). The 24-year old Rodland has had a big year for the Whitecaps at a time when they got the short end of the Tigers prospects.

SS-A Oneonta 4-5, 2nd place in Stedler division
Oneonta was the lone farm team to come up with a win, and even they needed extra innings (putting up 3 runs in the 10th) to do it. Lavin Lewis pitched 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball for Oneonta, but Ed Clelland, who allowed the tying runs to score in the 9th would take the win. Recent high draft pick Jeff Frazier went 2-for-6, while Rafael Mendez and Justin Barnes each had their first Home Run of the season.

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