Dominican Winter League Update: 12/17

The Tigers may still be more than two months away from getting spring training underway, but there are still other Tigers actively playing right now in various winter ball leagues. Who is excelling in their winter appearances in the Dominican?

Alexis Gomez is excelling for Aguillas in the Dominican Winter League, as he's posted a .307 average in 140 at bats. Gomez also leads the team with 26 RBI. The Tigers acquired Gomez last fall in the hope that he could develop into a contributor for the club, possibly as a fourth outfielder. An .829 OPS is certainly one way to make the Tigers believe you can make that happen.

The Tigers lost first baseman Juan Tejeda to the New York Mets, but we'll update him as a former Tiger anyway. Playing for Escogido, Tejeda has only gotten a handful of at bats, but has done well when he played, driving in eight runs in just 21 at bats. He hasn't hit for any power though, making his .333 average a bit empty. It appears the Tigers simply weren't confident enough in Tejeda's ability to hit for power from a position where obviously power is a necessity. Plus, the presence of Chris Shelton likely influenced the decision as well.

Escogido has another Tiger who the front office hopes can step up in '06, and possibly even make a push for a rotation spot. Unfortunately, Roman Colon hasn't dominated the competition in the Dominican. In four appearances, Colon has compiled a 6.17 ERA. Colon also gave up quite a few hits (21 in 11.2 innings), but his control has been good and he's averaging more than a strikeout per inning, so it hasn't been all bad for Colon.

Eulogio de la Cruz made one appearance for Estrellas, giving up one run in one inning of work, but that has been his only appearance of the season.

Wrapping up the Dominican League, Curtis Granderson started the season off playing for Licey, but seemed to have gotten all the work he wanted in. Granderson wasn't happy with his plate discipline in '05 after displaying excellent walk rates in '04, and went down with the intent to improve that. His .326 on base percentage is deceiving though because his batting average was an unfortunate .194. But 14 walks in 86 plate appearances gives him a .163 BB/PA rate, which is excellent to see for someone the Tigers hope can eventually slide into the leadoff slot.

On Sunday, we'll provide updates on the rest of the Tigers in action in the winter leagues.

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