Minor League Notebook: 8/23

All and all, a solid day for the Tiger organization, as the minor leaguers combined to go 4-2, a solid compliment to Jeremy Bonderman's gem against the White Sox. It wasn't a great day for the Tigers young starter in AA-ball, but a number of his former teammates had great days at the plate, while West Michigan just keeps winning.

AAA Toledo 63-67, 2nd place in West division
The Mudhens got a win in extra innings on Monday, beating Indianapolis 4-3 in 10 innings. Andy Van Hekken pitched strong as the starter but got a no decision, going 7 innings with 3 earned runs and 5 strikeouts. Jason Karnuth got the win in relief, to improve his record to 5-2 on the year, pitching i 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Offensively, Greg Norton went 1-for-3 with 2 RBI, while Jorge Toca, Brant Ust and Warren Morris each chipped in 2 hits apiece.

Andy Van Hekken didn't get the win, but his performance was definitely a bright spot. He's had an up and down season, but with a solid finish could still find himself with a September call-up once Toledo's season ends Labor Day weekend. Van Hekken will have to perform well in the callup (assuming he gets it), because a poor performance could leave him bound for the same territory Shane Loux is in, pitching in Toledo with little possibility of getting a big league promotion.

AA Erie 70-56, 2nd place in Southern division
The Seawolves lost on Monday after winning 3 straight, dropping a game to Altoona, 9-5. Joel Zumaya took the loss, his first for Erie, going 6 innings with 5 earned runs. Zumaya also walked 3 and struck out 8 batters. Despite the loss, that didn't mean there was no offense - as Curtis Granderson once again hit the cover off the ball. Granderson went 3-for-4 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI. Derek Nicholson and Scott Tousa stepped in for Juan Tejada and Ryan Raburn and both produced, with Nicholson launching a solo Home Run, and Tousa went 2-for-5 with 2 runs and an RBI.

Zumaya didn't pitch great on Monday, but everyone has to remember that he's a 19 year old playing in AA ball. For a comparison, Jeremy Bonderman didn't even play AA ball as a 19 year old, although he did make the jump to the big leagues at 20, that was just as much out of need as because of his big league readiness. Zumaya is also up with Erie partly because of need, but unlike many of his teammates, he's just looking to hold his own before returning next season where he'll look to make some noise, still far ahead of his age as a 20-year old in AA-ball.

High-A Lakeland 19-36, 6th place in West division
The L-Tigers were victorious behind the efforts of their two young stars, Brent Clevlen and Scott Moore. Lakeland beat Fort Myers 7-6, coming from behind after Corey Hamman struggled as the starter, giving up 6 runs in the first 2 innings. Hamman never recorded an out in the 2nd; he went 1 inning, and gave up 6 runs on 7 hits. Moore and Clevlen led the comeback at the plate; Clevlen had a 2-run Home Run to help start the comeback, while Moore had an RBI groundout, and scored the tying run on a solo Home Run. Gilberto Meija would score the game winning run in the 9th on a throwing error - Meija went 2-for-5 with 2 runs and a solo Home Run also.

Brent Clevlen continues to slowly return to form, while Scott Moore has been steadily inconsistent all year long. He continues to show great power with incredible patience for someone his age, but his average continues to be drastically low (just .220), and despite his 13 Home Runs, his slugging percentage isn't all that great either at .379. His defense at Third Base is another concern - he leads the team in errors by a long shot with 27. For each stride Moore seems to make, he still lags behind in another area. Just another indication that while he still has a bright future, he's still a long ways away.

Low-A West Michigan 33-24, tied 1st place in Eastern division
The Whitecaps won as well on Monday, downing South Bend 3-0. Christhian Martinez led the way, following Jeremy Bonderman in also throwing a complete game shutout (although he only had 1 strikeout as opposed to Bonderman's 14). Martinez also allowed just 3 hits. Danilo Sanchez led the way on offense, going 3-for-4 with 2 runs and an RBI. Kelly Hunt and Garth McKinney also had 2 hits each.

Christhian Martinez is quickly emerging as a solid pitcher for the Tiger organization, although he is old for the league at 25 years of age. Closely comparable to Juan Llamas in Oneonta, Martinez's age definitely helps him when facing mostly younger players, those in their first couple years of professional competition. Nevertheless, it's hard to argue with a 3-hit shutout, no matter what level. The Tigers will have to wait and see how Martinez does next season, when he'd probably move up again, either to Lakeland or Erie, depending on his spring performance and need on the two teams.

SS-A Oneonta 31-30, 2nd place in Stedler division
The O-Tigers also got a win, beating Vermont 9-3 on Monday evening. Andrew Kown got his first win as an O-Tiger, going 6 innings while allowing 2 runs on 9 hits with 5 strikeouts. Ezequil Perez and Collin Mahoney closed it out, with Mahoney giving up the other Vermont run. C Dusty Ryan had a good game at the plate, going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Justin Justice also performed well, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBI. Brooks Colvin and Juan Llamas added 3 hits apiece.

Rookie GCL Tigers 24-30, 3rd place in Northern division
The GCL Tigers couldn't keep the wins coming unfortunately, as they fell 6-5 to the GCL Phillies. Adriano Santos started, giving up 3 runs (2 earned) in 7 innings. Santos had a no decision. Jose Fragoso took the loss, allowing 2 runs in just 1/3 of an inning. At the plate, Jordan Foster and Santo De Leon had a hit and 2 RBI, and Jeramy Laster chipped in with 2 hits.

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