With the start of the official workouts means that we will start to see more players funnel back to the minor league side of things, especially as more players return from the World Baseball Classic. Tiger Manager Jim Leyland has said to expect the first significant round of cuts this coming weekend, which will be perfect timing as the minor leaguers will begin to participate in exhibition games starting on Saturday, March 18th.
While the Tigers big leaguers get most of their work in at Joker Marchant Stadium, the minor league workouts will take place behind the stadium at the AAA Field beyond the left field wall, and at the quad (four fields with the home plates meeting at the center) beyond right field between Joker Marchant and the lake.
While everything is grouped together as being ‘minor league workouts', it's not as unstructured as it may sound. The Tigers don't have a 150-plus players all running around on the field, waiting their turn to take batting practice behind the other 80-some position players the Tigers have in the system.
Instead, the players are split up into separate groups, not necessarily named by team, but rather by level. So the group of players that the Tigers believe to be the best bets for the Toledo roster will play and practice with the AAA group; the best bets for Erie will play and practice with the AA group; and so on. However, these groups are not set in stone, the Tigers minor league operations staff make changes regularly as far as who will be playing where, sometimes even daily. Many coaches and front office members weigh in on those decisions, but they're ultimately left up to minor league operations director Dan Lunetta and player development director Glen Ezell.
For more information on the ins-and-outs of Lakeland, Joker Marchant Stadium and Tigers' spring training, see last year's interview with former Lakeland Tigers' general manager Todd Pund. Click here for the story (premium).