Notes: The Toledo Mud Hens are off to a strong start, but not because of the incredible rotation they were thinking they'd have at this time last year. One year ago, the Mud Hens were anticipating a rotation highlighted by Wilfredo Ledezma, with Kenny Baugh, Preston Larrison, and possibly even Kyle Sleeth. But, Ledezma jumped right over Toledo, Larrison went out with tommy john surgery, and Sleeth stalled in Erie. So, now only Baugh is in the group, but that hasn't stopped them from jumping out to an 8-4 record.
TT Stat: And continuing with Baugh, he's off to a hot start especially, as the only starter with two wins so far for the 'Hens. In his last two outings, Baugh's sported a 2.45 ERA, including just eight hits allowed in 11 innings, including 8 strikeouts. Baugh, for the first time in years, appears to be fully healthy.
Notes: Good news on the injury front, as Tony Giarratano looks to be ready to get back on the field soon. Concern had arisen after Giarratano injured the same shoulder he hurt last season, and was flown to Detroit for observation. But Giarratano appears fine, and likely will be back in the lineup by Thursday.
TT Stat: A day after being inserted into the rotation, Mark Johnson made his first start, and it was impressive. Johnson, who got his first win of the year in the process, gave up just one unearned run in his five innings of work, and also struck out five. Johnson, a former Rule 5 draft pick of the Tigers, is no longer a propsect, but should help provide a steady presence, at least until Kyle Sleeth and/or Humberto Sanchez are ready to make the jump up, which appears to be coming soon.
Notes: It's worth noting unfortunately, it's not what you had but what you have. 3B Kody Kirkland has been off to a solid start, but another player off to a solid start is Tigers 2002 first round draft pick Scott Moore, and a player they just traded in return for Kyle Farnsworth. It's early, but thus far Moore is hitting .293 with an OPS over 1.000, including three home runs, 11 RBI, and a very impressive walk rate (10 walks with just eight K's).
TT Stat: Back to the actual L-Tigers, Virgil Vasquez was never regarded as someone with great 'stuff' per se, but simply got batters out. So far, he's done the same thing, working his way to a 2-0 record. Vasquez has allowed 18 hits in 16 innings and has just seven strikeouts, but Vasquez gets results, and so long as he continues to do just that, he'll be just fine.
Notes: Brooks Colvin was drafted last summer, but much wasn't even expected of him as the Tigers had taken Brent Dlugach in the sixth round. Colvin was originally expected to fill-in at third base as well as shortstop at West Michigan, but instead Colvin has jumped out at the gate and taken playing time away from Stephen Young. Young has struggled and Colvin has stepped up, including a 5-for-5 last night with two doubles. It's hard to imagine Colvin keeping up the rate he's hitting at right now, but still a promising sign from the youngster.
TT Stat: After two years of inconsistent starts for the GCL Tigers, the organization decided to push Jay Sborz a bit, and move him straight up to West Michigan, but because of depth, they placed him in the bullpen instead. So far the experiment has worked out well, as Sborz has looked good through four appearances. He's still struggling with his control (six walks in 8 1/3 innings), but he's struck out 13 in that same span, and has only allowed three hits.