TigsTown April Pitchers of the Month

Another season, another round of TigsTown monthly awards. As is always the case with the Tiger farm system, there are plenty of pitchers making their case for the season's first round of monthly honors. The only difference this year, none of them are the hard-throwing strikeout artists General Manager Dave Dombrowski is known for.

Starting with one of the more dominating stretches in recent memory, West Michigan's Chris Cody has been absolutely unhittable early in the season. With 33.2 innings (good enough for 1st in the Midwest League) under his belt, Cody sports a sparkling 0.27 ERA and 0.77 WHIP. In five April starts, Chris has allowed only 20 hits and six walks, while striking out 34; an extremely impressive number for someone often considered a soft-tossing lefty. His 2-1 record doesn't do his dominance justice, as he lost his last start 1-0 on an unearned run. Cody's dominance is even more evident when looking at his league counterparts, as his ERA, WHIP, strikeouts, and runs against, all rank him in the top six amongst Midwest League starters.

Nearly just as impressive has been the start of Erie right-hander Dallas Trahern. After exceptional seasons at West Michigan and Lakeland in 2005 and 2006, respectively, his superb efforts are continuing at AA. Dallas' 4-0 mark in four starts, makes him tops among Easter Leaguers in wins. While averaging over six innings per start, he has managed only five walks while striking out 12. His 1.42 ERA and 1.14 WHIP rank 5th and 21st in the Eastern League, respectively. Despite being one of the youngest pitchers on the Erie staff, Trahern is quickly establishing himself as a leader by example, and his exceptional efforts should begin garnering him more national attention.

Coming off one of the best AFL pitching performances in years, TigsTown's #19 prospect, Virgil Vasquez was poised for a great debut season at AAA. Despite all that good will working for him, Virgil was shelled in his first to starts, giving up 16 hits and eight runs in under 10 innings of work. That all changed with his April 16th start against Durham, as he went on a 3-start run that saw him post a 0.98 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 18.1 innings. Vasquez's season numbers have jumped in line with what was expected, as he ranks 11th in the league in innings, tied for 3rd in wins, and tied for 2nd in strikeouts. Vasquez was rewarded with the MiLB.com International League Pitcher of the Week award for the week ending April 22nd, and that's unlikely to be his last honor of the season.

Just six months after being named the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Burke Badenhop is back at it again; this time in the Florida State League. The Bowling Green product has picked up where he left off at West Michigan in 2006, posting a 2.73 ERA in his first five starts of 2007. He's allowing less than a hit per inning, while walking only six batters all season, and striking out 20. His 2-2 record ties him for 9th in the FSL in wins, while he ranks in the top twenty in both ERA and WHIP, at this early stage of the season.

Just one month into the season, it appears the Tigers recent trend of dominating pitching performances at the minor league level, is poised to continue. The Tigers have a healthy stable of young arms, and if April is any indication, every award should be hotly contested this season.

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