Minor League Notebook: 7/14

The Tigers minor league clubs apparently don't dwell on past mistakes. After an 0-3 day Tuesday, they turned things around on Wednesday to go 3-0 on the day, including a huge game from Lakeland that included a great performance from one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, as well as production up and down the lineup.

AAA Toledo 49-43, 2nd place in West division
Toledo is still on their All Star break (they resume play Thursday), but Joe Vitiello made the team proud at the AAA All Star game. The International League All Stars beat the Pacific Coast League All Stars 4-3 in 10 innings, largely because of Vitiello. Vitiello hit a 2-run Home Run to start the scoring for the IL, who later won the game on a walk off Home Run by Columbus Clipper Andy Phillips.

AA Erie 47-41, 2nd place in Southern division
No word yet on the outcome of the Eastern League All Star game, but starter Kyle Sleeth already had his moment in the sun at the Futures Game this past weekend at the All Star festivities in Houston. Sleeth pitched to only one batter, but he happened to be the final batter of the game with the tying run on 3rd. Sleeth induced a groundout to end the game, and pick up his first career save. The Seawolves get back to playing Thursday as well.

High-A Lakeland 7-14, 6th place in West division
A huge offensive showcase by the L-Tigers broke them out of a 5-game losing streak, with a 15-1 win over Palm Beach. The big scoring didn't come until the bottom of the 7th, where Lakeland put up 11 runs. Up until then, they had only scored 4, which was still plenty for Joel Zumaya, who got the win (6-6) for his 6 innings of work. He allowed only 2 hits, 1 run and 1 walk, while striking out 6. At the plate, offensive stars were everywhere. Scott Moore went 3-for-5 with 4 RBI, C Alex Trezza went 2-for-3 with 3 RBI, 1B Chris Maples went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, and Tony Giarratano also contributed 3 hits for Lakeland. Unfortunately for Lakeland, even with the win, they still sit in last place in the West division. Scott Moore showed once again why the Tiger brass is still extremely high on their top draft pick from 2002. Many have resigned themselves to the realization that Moore will not shoot through the system and be ready for big league competition at 21 years of age, but he still carries tons of potential. His defense has struggled at Third base, and he could very well be in line for a switch to the Outfield (especially with Third Base a deep position in the organization - Jack Hannahan, Kody Kirkland, Wilkin Ramirez, Cory Middleton). Moore's batting average isn't high, but he is tied for the team lead in Home Runs with 10, his slugging percentage has steadily risen throughout the season, and his OBP is nearly 100 points higher than his average, showing great patience. It might take a while, but Moore still has a future in Detroit.

Low-A West Michigan 8-10, 4th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps pulled out a big game Wednesday, beating nearby Battle Creek, 2-1, despite facing Abel Gomez, arguably the top pitcher in the Midwest League. Jordan Tata got a no decision for his 7 innings of work, giving up 1 run on 6 hits. Tata was a bit wild though, walking 5 batters. The offense wasn't able to get a run off Gomez, but got a pair in the 8th off reliever Mike Gomez, which proved to be enough. Eulogio Delacruz pitched the 9th with 2 strikeouts and no hits for his 10th save. 1B Kelly Hunt had the big hit for West Michigan, driving in Juan Francia and Kody Kirkland for the winning (and lone) runs of the game.

One of the prospects at West Michigan is Eulogio Delacruz. Delacruz, just 20 years old and already pitching full season baseball, has emerged as the closer for the Whitecaps throughout the course of the season. Delacruz has been a bit wild, but still sports a 2-1 record with a 2.97 ERA. His fastball sits in the mid 90's, and hitters have a very tough time hitting it. Unfortunately, Delacruz doesn't throw another pitch - very rarely will he display anything offspeed in games. He's still in a low division, where hitters have struggled to catch up to his fastball, and because of it he has yet to develop a 2nd pitch. He's obviously destined to be a reliever, but without a 2nd pitch, he won't get the same results in the upper levels that he's getting right now.

SS-A Oneonta 11-13, 3rd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers got rained out on Wednesday, and even without playing a game, they fell in the standings. No word yet on the makeup date.

Rookie GCL Tigers 9-12, tied 2nd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers got a win Wednesday, defeating the Braves 8-5. Jay Sborz got the start but struggled, giving up 5 runs in 3 1/3 innings before being pulled. But the bullpen came up big, not allowing a run the rest of the way, and the offense provided plenty of support. RF Matt Parrish went 2-for-3 with a Home Run and 3 RBI. Leonardo Grullon also went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI.

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