TigsTown MLN: Pitchers Making Noise

While the season is still young, a pair of pitchers have impressed in the first few weeks - a very good sign for these two youngsters after their past struggles, one with injuries, the other with poor big league performances on other rosters. Plus, which team is simply blowing away the competition on a regular basis?

Notes: Sean Douglass continues to make noise in the rotation for Toledo, as the 25-year old tries to make a case for a job with the Tigers. Douglass has performed well at every minor league stop, but has yet to excel in a big league setting. But, if the Tigers' pitchers continue to struggle, Douglass might get a third big league opportunity to show he can make it. If he does get the chance though, he'll have to prove he can handle it quickly though, because the Tigers have a handful of other pitchers at Toledo, all of whom are looking for a shot in Detroit.
TT Stat: After narrowly missing making the big league club out of spring training, Alexis Gomez has done nothing to show that he's not ready for the chance. Gomez hasn't hit for a lot of power (two doubles, one home run), but he's made good contact and been patient at the plate. This in turn has resulted in an OPS of .915, helped largely by a two game weekend stretch in which he went 3-for-6 with a home run and three RBI.

Notes: Jeremy Johnson is yet another pitcher that is now in his second year after surgery, and looks to be returning to his pre-injury form. Despite the lost year, Johnson is already in AA-ball and is still just 22 years old. A strong year from Johnson and he'll suddenly jump right back on to the top ranks of the prospect charts.
TT Stat: Offensively, Don Kelly has had a great start to the year. He leads the team in average (.333) and home runs (3), and has been a strong presence to start the year when a number of other players have had a slow start. Where Kelly hasn't been as impressive is defensively, as Kelly has already made eight errors at third base and shortstop. Kelly, who has been projected to be an excellent utility player at the big league level, likely just needs to get comfortable in the field after a year off.

Notes: Strangely enough, the L-Tigers have started their season playing 10 of their first 13 games, including an away-home-away series that they just finished up with Dunedin. Despite being away from the friendly confines of Joker Marchant Stadium, the club is off to one of their hottest starts in years, thanks largely in part because of the excellent starting pitching they've received so far.
TT Stat: Most impressive of all so far has been Lakeland's impressive stats and average margin of victory. Through their 13 games, Lakeland is average nearly seven runs per game (6.77). How many are they giving up? Just 3.23 runs per game. While they may currently be tied with Fort Myers for first in the division, if that margin continues, the L-Tigers will have no problem cruising to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 when they fell in the League finals.

West Michigan
Notes: Andrew Kown may have been scared making his return to the mound on Wednesday night since the last time he was there he was being carted off on a stretcher, but he didn't let any of that show through, as Kown pitched five strong innings, but got a no decision in the process. Regardless of the result, it was important that Kown show no ill effects of the scary incident from ten days ago.
TT Stat: Collin Mahoney is still very rough around the edges, but outside of those control struggles, it's been a solid start to the year for Mahoney. While he's likely over-matching the youth of the Midwest League with his pure heat, Mahoney's 2.08 ERA is impressive, and being 2-for-2 in save opportunities is yet another bright spot. Mahoney won't be able to continue having success if he keeps trading walks for strikeouts (he has three apiece right now), but for now, it's a very promising sign.

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