Winter League Update - 12/16

The Tigers are going through a serious struggle at the big league level – as they continue to fight for free agents and convince high-caliber players to make Detroit their home. But despite those struggles, the winter hasn't been all bad for the Tigers, as quite a few prospects are still impressing in Winter League baseball.

Omar Infante continues to impress in the Venezuelan League, as he has pulled his average all the way up to .290, and has also brought up his slugging percentage significantly, with a slugging percentage of .493. The Tigers would like to see a few more walks (10 walks in 131 at bats), but an OPS of .833 will make many in the front office smile as they hope the youngster blossoms into one of the top Second Baseman in baseball.

Another Tiger, Wilfredo Ledezma, made a pair of unimpressive starts earlier in the month, but has since stopped pitching. Ledezma was only looking to improve a few certain aspects, and may very well have decided to allow his arm to rest before spring training in February in which he'll be relied upon to take a spot in the starting rotation.

Rick Palma also continues to impress in the Venezuelan League, with a 4-2 record and a 2.34 ERA. His 2-to-1 K:BB ratio also is a good sign for the youngster as he battles the odds to get a shot in Detroit.

Moving on to the Dominican League . . . IF Gilberto Mejia has regressed a little, but is still displaying a respectable .286 batting average. His batting average has dipped a bit, but his power has picked up, especially to the gaps, as he now has a .444 slugging percentage.

Much like Ledezma, 1B Juan Tejeda appears to have shut it down for the winter, preparing for the upcoming season in which he'll dope to duplicate his 2004 breakout year.

Franklyn German continues to impress, with a 2.20 ERA in 12 appearances in the Dominican League. Of course, it remains to be seen if he can translate this success into success at the big league level, but with each impressive performance, he continues to give himself a greater chance of getting yet another shot to prove himself.

Other participants in the Dominican League; Rayner Bautista, Victor Mendez and Eulogio Delacruz have also apparently ended their Winter League ball to rest and prepare for the '05 season.

One who has yet to hang it up is another Tigers, 1B Carlos Pena. Pena is hitting .313, and while his power numbers haven't increased (still 3 Home Runs and 11 RBI), he now has 18 walks in just 67 at bats, showing incredible patience, a skill that will benefit Pena immensely if he can continue to be selective at the plate.

Roberto Novoa also appears to be slowing down, as he's only pitched in 1 game (and that being just 1/3 of an inning) in the past 2 weeks. Novoa remains 1-0, now with a 4.12 ERA.

One final notable, Byron Gettis continues to shine in the Puerto Rican League. Gettis is hitting .395 in 81 at bats, and while it hasn't been for much power, his high average still gives him a slugging percentage over .500. Again, a great sign for Gettis, who will push to make a name for himself with his new organization.


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