Starting off at Toledo, where the Mud Hens have lost a couple of key offensive members over the past month. Nonetheless, a player the Tigers still hold in high regard, Alexis Gomez, emerged as he was given a greater opportunity to produce. Curtis Granderson was one of the main catalysts offensively this year for the ‘Hens, but Gomez was able to replicate his numbers, posting a .380/.417/.519 line for the month of August. His offensive jump in production helped keep the ‘Hens rolling despite the losses and will hopefully continue to be a presence in the playoffs.
Moving on down to Erie, where despite having won the award the last two months, Juan Tejeda continues to be far and away the most productive SeaWolves' hitter. After a slow start that was hampered by nagging injuries, Tejeda has been mashing the ball all over Jerry Uht Park. Tejeda hit .310 for the month, including a .478 slugging percentage. And while it certainly isn't a downer on the second half Tejeda has had, one would have almost wished someone else in Erie could have stepped up (and maybe helped them avoid the rough losing streak they've been on over the final six weeks of the season).
Next stop, Lakeland, Florida, the Tigers offseason home and the home of one of the biggest comeback stories in minor league baseball this year. After a putrid 2004, Clevlen has turned things around in a big way, mashing all year long. That continued in August, as not only did he slug .475 playing half his games in a pitcher's park, but he posted a .421 on base percentage, which was more than 100 points higher than his average for the month. His standout month earns him player of the month honors for Lakeland.
Over at West Michigan, it's been an up and down season for youngster Wilkin Ramirez. Ramirez came into the season with plenty of promise, having a power swing that was matched by few, if any, in the entire organization. Things have been rocky for the third baseman (both at the plate and in the field) but it finally came together for Wilkin in August, as he posted a .327/.421/.510 line. Not only did Ramirez crush the ball, but he did so with plenty of patience, finally showing some maturation in his young baseball career.
Down at Oneonta, plenty of players have been hitting all summer long, as evidenced by having the most powerful offense in the New York-Penn League (they've scored 439 runs up through September 4th, the next closest team had 375). So, Oneonta was a tough call, but in the end, Matt Joyce got the nod. Besides his much-publicized 6-for-6 day earlier in the month, Joyce crushed practically everything that came his way, hitting nearly .400 for the month (.396) while slugging an impressive .574. The outfielder, who just turned 21 last month, has quickly picked up notoriety within the organization as someone to watch down the road.
Finally, we wrap things up with the GCL Tigers, where the choice was obvious. The Tigers had a number of impressive young catchers coming into the year, but Sandoval outplayed them all, stealing most of the playing time behind the dish in the process. Sandoval didn't have much patience (his .361 on base percentage is aided by his .339 average), but his slugging percentage approached .500 for the month, an excellent number considering his youth, inexperience, and the park he played in.
Running through the stats, one thing is obvious; the Tigers are no longer searching to find bright spots in the farm system at any given place or time. Each team continues to see players step up and make a case for themselves and for their future in the organization.