TigsTown Players of the Month: July

After months of waiting, all of the Tigers eight minor league teams are finally playing games. While the pitching is nearly always great, the hitting has been more variable. Which hitters stepped up during July's hot temperatures? Check inside to find out!

Toledo's Jack Hannahan is putting together one of his finest seasons since his junior campaign at the University of Minnesota; and that didn't stop last month. While moving all over the infield to help fill holes, Hannahan posted a .267/.400/.500 line that included seven doubles, one triple, and four home runs. He also managed to walk 20 times while striking out 26 for the Mud Hens. One of Hannahan's biggest detractors in recent seasons has been his inability to hit for power, but with 19 doubles and 13 home runs at the close of July, Jack may finally be learning to drive the ball out of the ballpark.

There was some surprise this spring when the Tigers jumped Matt Joyce from West Michigan straight to AA-Erie, and that surprise was warranted after a horrid start to the season. But after finishing May with one of the worst offensive lines in the system, Joyce has begun to come alive, and July was his coming out party. While starting 26 games for the ‘Wolves, Matt posted a fantastic .354/.423/.667 line that helped power Erie towards the top of the Eastern League standings. Joyce ripped nine doubles, two triples, and six home runs, en route to scoring 20 runs, and driving in 16.

Shawn Roof was not expected to be an impact prospect when the Tigers drafted him late in the '07 draft, but he has come in and contributed off the bat. Bouncing back and forth between the GCL Tigers and Lakeland, Roof has been very good defensively, while also hitting at a .296 clip for the Flying Tigers. His two doubles and six RBI in only nine games has quickly helped make him a valuable member of an advanced team; despite his inexperience at the pro level.

West Michigan's Scott Sizemore was a man among boys in the New York-Penn League last season, and the early part of this season appeared to be just the opposite in the Midwest League. After struggling to get his bearings in his first taste of full-season ball, Sizemore finally broke out in July, posting a .322/.404/.506 line from the keystone. He ripped 11 doubles, walked more than he struck out, and even swiped three bases as he made sure people remembered he still is one of the organization's best middle infield prospects.

Oneonta is a tough place to hit for power, but that hasn't stopped Chris Carlson from continuing his powerful onslaught of professional pitching. After a GCL debut that saw him dominate nearly every offensive category, Carlson has continued to mash, jacking six home runs in only 96 at-bats. Carlson also continued walking a fair amount, intimidating pitchers into giving him 12 free passes. His .292/.370/.573 line leads the way for the O-Tigers, and they will look for him to continue leading the offensive charge for the remainder of the season.

Hayden Parrott only appeared in ten games for GCL last year, but he made his impact known; cruising to an OPS over 1.000. The 2007 season has seen much of the same for Parrott, as he makes a return to the GCL. In 23 games last month, the newly minted third baseman, managed a .293 average and nine RBI, on the back of 26 hits. Parrott's bat continues to elevate his prospect status, as he tries to find a position on the diamond that suits him.

The Tigers brought second baseman Pedruin Bautista stateside in 2005, after just one DSL season, and the results bordered on disastrous. With a poor American debut in hand, Bautista went back to the DSL in 2006, looking to get on track. The track wasn't found until 2007, and his July performance earns him his first TigsTown award. With a .303/.465/.470 line in his back pocket, Bautista may be signaling that he's ready for a second try in the GCL. In addition to his impressive offensive line, Pedruin also swiped seven bases in nine tries, giving him 21 heading into the season's final stretch.

Last, but certainly not least, VSL catcher Orlando Gonzalez has managed to continue raking since the Tigers established their first team in the league last season. After ranking eighth in the league last year in batting average, Orlando managed a .319/.386/.473 line in July, backed by three doubles, three home runs, and 20 runs driven in. Gonzalez struck out only four times in 91 at-bats, while drawing ten walks and scoring 17 runs for the VSL Tigers.

Many of the Tigers' bats were alive and well last month, as evidenced by the award winners above. With players from the top of the organization to the bottom hitting well, the Tigers appear in better position than ever to carry their Major League success well into the future. Look out next month, as a few of the Tigers more recent signees appear to be waking up in their first taste of pro ball.

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