Starting with the recent draft picks, the Tigers just added one of their top picks to the fold, as they inked third round draft choice Chris Robinson. Robinson, a catcher, was sent to low-A West Michigan where he'll likely receive a majority of the time behind the plate for the ‘Caps. Whatever time he doesn't take will be taken by Dusty Ryan, who has had a rough start to the year, but has shown signs of life in the month of June. Andrew Graham, who appears to be fading from prospect status, was sent down to Oneonta. Robinson got his first start Monday, but it wasn't the debut he was hoping for, as he went 0-for-4.
One prospect that hasn't had any struggles whatsoever to start his pro career has been Clete Thomas, the Tigers' sixth round out of Auburn. Thomas has been hot ever since joining the O-Tigers, and was named the New York-Penn League's Player of the Week. For the week, he hit .458 while slugging .750, and was a perfect 5-for-5 in steal attempts. An impressive start for the youngster, who TigsTown.com spoke with prior to the weekend and we'll be launching a Q&A with Thomas later in the week.
Finishing up briefly with Jeff Larish, the Tigers fifth round selection out of Arizona State. For those that may not have known, Larish is far from a fifth round talent, likely possessing all the tools to have been a first rounder. The reason he wasn't? Two words: Scott. Boras.
Larish was drafted last year, only to hold out and eventually return to school, scaring away even more clubs, besides those that already completely passed over him because of the Boras tag. The Tigers however don't anticipate having the same struggles. Besides having a working relationship with Boras (Pudge Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez are both Boras clients), Larish no longer has the leverage of returning to school, and could see his stock completely plummet if he doesn't sign for a second time and plays Independent League baseball. It may still take some time, but expect Larish to sign on the dotted line eventually.
The most notable roster move over the past few days was of course the promotion of Justin Verlander for a one game appearance in the big leagues. Verlander had a respectable start having jumped from just 14 innings above A-ball straight to the big leagues. But it was simply a cameo, and he'll be returning to Erie now where he belongs, and where he'll likely stay, at least until Erie's season finishes up.
One player on the move out of Erie is Don Kelly, who was promoted to AAA Toledo after absolutely crushing Eastern League pitching for two months. Kelly had a .345/.408/.524 line with the SeaWolves, and after having already proven he could hit at the level, it was time for a promotion. Of course, the promotion came about because Toledo third baseman Jack Hannahan went down with a hamstring injury, and the ‘Hens needed a replacement. This will be a good challenge for Kelly, as he looks to solidify himself as a legit prospect in the organization and prove he can hit outside the friendly confines of Jerry Uht Park.