TigsTown MLN: Larish Moving Up

The season is winding down for the minor league teams, but it's really just starting for one recent draft pick. Find out what he's done so far, and where he might be headed over the coming weeks. Plus, was the GCL up-the-middle duo simply a product of hype – or is there some real talent there?

Starting with that recent draft pick, just over a week after signing, Jeff Larish has already received his first promotion. When he was still in the negotiating process, there were rumors circulating that Larish was campaigning to get sent straight to AA Erie, possibly as a negotiating ploy, or possibly simply because he believes he's good enough to hit at that level right now.

That didn't happen though, and he was started off at the GCL level, but that obviously wasn't a long term location for him. He's already been promoted to Oneonta (and hit a home run in his first game), and could very well see another promotion before this season runs out. Should West Michigan end up squeaking into the playoffs, there's a chance that Larish could be added to their roster to provide another big bat in the middle of the lineup, much the way Juan Llamas was in 2004 after a successful season with Oneonta.

Possibly the best part of this whole situation is that Larish, who will turn 23 this fall, will now already be getting his feet wet in professional baseball, and the Tigers will have a better gauge of where he stands as a player. While he had high contract demands and an agent (Scott Boras) that isn't known for settling, with little bargaining power and already the perception of being a player that wouldn't sign easily, it's good to see the Tigers coming to an agreement with the youngster.

Moving on to the GCL, much was made of a pair of youngsters with loads of potential on the squad – Audy Ciriaco and Agustin Guzman. Ciriaco (who turned 18 just before the season) was a spectacular shortstop out of the Dominican, while Guzman (still 17) was found at a community college in Louisiana, and drafted out of there.

Have their stats met the hype though? Contrary to public belief, they likely have.

Ciriaco is hitting .254/.302/.442, a respectable line for a shortstop who is still extremely young and facing his first level of organized competition. His power numbers are especially promising, as his slugging percentage is a near 200 points higher than his average, showing that he's not just building his power numbers with a high average. Ciriaco is tied for second in home runs, and fourth in slugging percentage. The youngster will still need plenty of time to develop, but there's no reason not to be optimistic, as his defense should smooth out and his patience should increase with the more reps he gets.

Guzman hasn't had quite the same, but at just 17 years of age, he's playing against competition that is mostly two and three years older than him. Guzman has struggled making contact (hitting just .214), but has continued the patience he displayed while at Baton Rouge Community College, walking once for every ten plate appearances. His power numbers have also been respectable, with a slugging percentage of .386. He's been competing with Pedruin Bautista for playing time, and so that hasn't helped, but the main point is that Guzman hasn't been completely overmatched while playing far above his age. He may not move with the same speed of Ciriaco, but he's still one to watch moving forward.

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