Minor League Notebook: 7/26

The Tigers went 2-4 on the day, not quite taking after the big league club, who had an offensive explosion on Monday, after a big offensive day Sunday. The Tigers did get a split out of their rookie club in Lakeland, who is seeing a few players step up and helping the young club get a few wins as they battle amongst the other youngsters - even though the Tigers have still yet to sign their top two draft picks.

AAA Toledo 56-48, 1st place in West division
The Mudhens got a big win on Monday, defeating Scranton in 10 innings, 4-2. James Baldwin got the win, pitching 9 innings while giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits. The Tigers tied it in the 8th, then got a pair of runs in the 10th off a walk and and an error. At the plate, Rich Gomez went 3-for-5, including 2 doubles. Warren Morris and Eric Owens also had 2 hits apiece.

Eric Owens and Rich Gomez were added to provide veteran leadership in the Outfield - especially to provide consistency for an Outfield that would be highlighted by Marcus Thames and Nook Logan, 2 players not known for consistency. While they haven't provided the power many expected, they've provided veteran leadership for the team nonetheless - just another component that helps explain why the Mudhens are pushing for a division championship.

AA Erie 52-46, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves were off on Monday, they're back in action on Tuesday against Bowie.

High-A Lakeland 12-20, 6th place in West division
Lakeland suffered a tough loss on Monday, falling to St. Lucie 4-3 in 11 innings. Joel Zumaya had a good start nonetheless, allowing no runs in 6 innings of work, as well as striking out 4 batters. Gilberto Meija had 3 hits at the top of the order, and Mike Rabelo had 2 RBI off a double in the losing effort.

One hitter that didn't warrant praise however was Brent Clevlen, as he continues his steady drop in average and overall production. After an 0-for-5 night, Clevlen is now hitting just .218, and simply hasn't looked like the same hitter that he was at the beginning of the year. He entered the season as a consensus top 100 prospect in all of baseball, but it'd be hard to justify that status as of late. His strikeouts have risen steadily (102 now for the year), and his power numbers certainly are where they were expected to be (.333 slugging percentage, 3 Home Runs). Clevlen could very well try to be over-swinging to make up for the lack of power that was expected of him, but at this point, Clevlen needs to get his patience back at the plate, and simply make contact and worry about power as he develops.

Low-A West Michigan 12-18, 5th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps fell on Monday to Quad Cities by a score of 6-4. Chris Steinborn took the loss, giving up 5 runs in his 5 innings of work. He's now 5-9 on the year. On the plus side, Kenon Ronz and Eulogio Delacruz, who had been struggling as of late, each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. At the plate, Kody Kirkland went 1-for-3 with a 2-RBI double. Juan Francia and Eric Rodland each went 2-for-5 with a run scored also.

Kody Kirkland has still mystified many this year, which is now being viewed as a lost year for Kirkland. The good news is that after an incredibly slow start, his average has at least reached an above-terrible level at .230, and his slugging percentage is closing in on .400 (currently at .388). Kirkland's bottom line is that his patience just hasn't been what it was when he first started last season with Oneonta, when he'd sit and wait for his pitch, and then crush it almost every time. His defensive struggles combined with solid Third Base prospects waiting in the wings (Wilkin Ramirez and Cory Middleton) probably mean that he'll see a move to either Right Field or First Base, and maybe even a return to West Michigan. No one is giving up on Kirkland just yet, but this wasn't the season many had hoped for.

SS-A Oneonta 17-19, 3rd place in Stedler division
Oneonta lost a high-scoring affair on Monday, losing to Vermont 9-7. However, the loss certainly wasn't a reflection on Nate Bumstead, who pitched 6 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts. Ezequil Perez and Matt Pender gave up the bulk of the runs, Pender took the loss. C Dusty Ryan went 1-for-2 with 2 RBI and 2 walks at the plate, and Bo Flowers went 1-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.

Rookie GCL Tigers 14-15, 2nd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers got in a pair of games on Monday, splitting the two with the GCL Phillies. They lost the first, 12-8. Dominic Carmosino took the loss, giving up 3 runs in 2 1/3 innings. Sendy Vasquez was the starter, but only made it through 1 inning before being yanked for allowing 4 runs. Matt Linares went 2-for-6 with 2 RBI, and Luis Gil went 3-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored.

In the 2nd game, the GCL Tigers shut out the GCL Phillies, winning 4-0. Lucas French got the win, striking out 9 batters in 5 innings without an earned run. Leonardo Grullon didn't get a hit, but got on base, scored 2 runs and swiped a base. Cory Middlleton, a recent draftee out of high school, also went 1-for-3 as he leads the team with a .333 average.

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