Minor League Notebook: 8/1

The Tigers and its farm system had been on a big winning streak - but it was bound to stop sooner or later. And Sunday, it did. Not only did the Tigers lose, but the farm teams combined for a 1-3 record, with just a win from Short Season-A Oneonta saving the Tigers from a day without a victory. But, despite all the losses there are a pair of Outfielders that are putting up some impressive numbers.

AAA Toledo 59-51, 1st place in West division
The Mudhens suffered a tough loss on Sunday, losing to Indianapolis 10-5. Pat Ahearne was the starter, but didn't have his best, stuff, allowing all 10 runs in 5 innings of work. Offensively, the double play combo of Warren Morris and Rayner Bautista had 2 hits each, Bautista also scored a run and Morris drove one in. Nook Logan also had a hit, a run scored and an RBI.

The loss certainly wasn't gone, but Nook Logan's performance drew some smiles. Logan went just 1-for-4, but his hit was a double, he also drew a walk and showed some patience at the plate. Logan's brief stint with the Tigers showed that he's certainly someone worth watching - but he still has quite a few things to improve on before he can make the big league club and stick. His defense is still average, and to be the leadoff hitter that he's been groomed to be, he must become more patient at the plate and start taking more walks. Logan is going to learn, sooner or later, that a .303 on base percentage won't keep him in the leadoff hole for very long.

AA Erie 56-48, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves played a good game, but a 4-run 8th inning by Harrisburg sent Eire packing with a 6-5 loss. Kenny Baugh received a no decision, though he left the game with the lead. Baugh pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits with 3 strikeouts. Rick Palma couldn't stop the bleeding however, giving up 3 more runs in the 8th to take the loss. Offensively, Erie was powered by the long ball, getting 4 Home Runs - 2 from Curtis Granderson. Granderson went 3-for-3 with 2 solo shots. Rich Gomez and C Russ Cleveland also each had a Home Run.

In June it was Juan Tejada, and in July (and carrying into August) it has been Curtis Granderson. Granderson has continued to play solid defense and make contact while being patient at the plate, but in just the last few weeks his power has come around significantly. Granderson's slugging percentage is now up to .470, as he continues to enhance his status as a prospect. It's still hard to say if Granderson will ever develop the 30 Home Run power that some envisioned when he was drafted 2 years ago, but this latest surge is definitely a sign that it's still within the realm of possibility.

High-A Lakeland 14-22, 5th place in West division
The L-Tigers were off on Sunday, but will hopefully resume play on Monday evening against Brevard County.

Low-A West Michigan 14-21, 5th place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps battled on Saturday, but Sunday they were just plain beaten, as they fell 7-2 to Peoria. Chris Steinborn was the starter and took the loss although he didn't pitch poorly. Steinborn gave up 4 runs in 7 innings of work, including 2 walks and 2 strikeouts. The only notable offense at the plate was a 2-run Home Run by Garth McKinney, his 16th Home Run of the season. Luis Sabino was the only other Whitecap that managed a hit - a double in the 9th inning.

Despite his struggles with consistency and contact, McKinney continues to show good power - launching his 16th Home Run of the season. Many don't realize how truly difficult it is to hit for power when half of your games are played at Fifth Third Ballpark, but the 16 Home Runs he has had are quite impressive - especially with a month left on the season. For comparison, last year's Home Run leader was Brent Clevlen, with just 12. The year before that - Juan Tejada with 11. So while 16 Home Runs sounds like just an average amount, if McKinney continues this pace he'll get to 20 for the year - and that would be quite impressive (note: I've checked the stats, and I can't find a prospect in the entire system that has done that).

SS-A Oneonta 20-20, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers didn't follow suit with the rest of the team, beating Lowell 14-4. Josh Kauten got the win, pitching 5 innings with 3 runs (but just 1 earned) and 7 strikeouts. At the plate, Juan Llamas had a huge day, going 4-for-5 with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored. 1B Rafael Mendez went 2-for-3 with 2 RBI, and C Dusty Ryan went 1-for-4 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored.

Rookie GCL Tigers 18-17, 2nd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers were off on Sunday, but get started up again on Monday when they face the GCL Phillies.


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