TigsTown MLN: Fall Ball Begins

While everyone in Detroit was focused on the Tigers clinching their first playoff berth in 19 years, that's not the only thing the organization had going on. After a week of camp workouts, the Instructional League season gets underway on Monday, with four weeks of fall ball ahead.

After a couple weeks of rest, it'll be back to work for most of the players in the organization, as the Tigers will use the next month to gather a number of their players together for a little over a month of instructional work with all of the club's roving instructors.

One of those roving instructors will be Mike Rojas, the former manager of the Lakeland Tigers. Rojas has accepted a position to take over the duties of the roving Catching Instructor, which opened up when Bill Freehan retired. With his move, that now opens things up at the managerial spots in both Erie and Lakeland.

For those that aren't familiar with the Fall Instructional League, it is much like spring training, only it's not organization wide, and the focus is more on individual development and preparation for the following season. It also gives the Tigers another month to work with their recent draft picks, so that the organization can ensure that the players are where the Tigers want them to be next March.

There are a handful of pitchers that the Tigers are hoping to develop this fall, but possibly the key development will be that of Kyle Sleeth. Sleeth is now nearly 18 months removed from Tommy John surgery, and after struggling mightily against competition above rookie level, this next month will be a key development point in Sleeth's growth. If he can't begin to work through his issues, he may very well find himself completely falling off the prospect radar despite being a first round pick (3rd overall) just 3 years ago.

As stated, this time period is especially important for new members to the organization who have only had a couple months to work with the Tiger coaches. While they undoubtedly received good instruction from their respective programs, this is a key time to work out any and all problems with players, as most of the recent draftees will be moving on to play full season baseball next season for the first time, and will have plenty to contend with besides just the day-to-day playing.

The 41 man roster is a who's who of the top Tiger prospects – Cameron Maybin is the highlight on the team, as he marks his one year anniversary with the club, finally coming to terms with the Tigers last fall just in time to participate in some fall drills. That was without a doubt a big help in helping Maybin be able to produce at West Michigan – a big jump in competition, especially considering he didn't come from a highly competitive baseball area.

Beyond Maybin is the Tigers '06 first round pick, Andrew Miller, who will be heading down to Lakeland once the Tigers conclude the regular season. Miller has had a bit of a rocky debut in the big leagues, but after seeing him compete, there's no question that the talent is there for him to become a top of the rotation starter, and with a bit more seasoning, he'll likely find himself back in Detroit soon enough.

Beyond Miller, the Tigers 2nd through 7th round picks will also be participating in the fall workouts. That includes the entire Oneonta crew of position players; Ronnie Bourquin, Brennan Boesch, Ryan Strieby, Scott Sizemore and Jordan Newton. Jonah Nickerson didn't put in the same summer work as a number of the other pitchers did, so he'll also be putting some work in (while the others will be resting after pitching for their college clubs this spring and the Tigers this summer).

To see the full roster, visit the TigsTown Premium Forum, or click here

Following is the complete schedule for the fall games:

25-Sep MON @ CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
26-Sep TUE CAMP DAY
27-Sep WED @ ATLANTA 1:00 PM
28-Sep THU CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
29-Sep FRI @ ATLANTA 1:00 PM
30-Sep SAT CAMP DAY
2-Oct MON @ CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
3-Oct TUE CAMP DAY
4-Oct WED ATLANTA 1:00 PM
5-Oct THU @ CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
6-Oct FRI CAMP DAY
7-Oct SAT CAMP DAY
9-Oct MON CAMP DAY
10-Oct TUE CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
11-Oct WED @ ATLANTA 1:00 PM
12-Oct THU CAMP DAY
13-Oct FRI @ CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
14-Oct SAT CAMP DAY
16-Oct MON @ CANADA 1:00 PM
17-Oct TUE ATLANTA 1:00 PM
18-Oct WED CLEVELAND 1:00 PM
19-Oct THU ATLANTA 1:00 PM
20-Oct FRI @ CLEVELAND 10:00AM

Note: Camp days are typically not open to the Public


Tigs Town Top Stories