Leading the latest crop of releases is hard throwing right-hander Sendy Vasquez. Despite drawing raves for his blazing fastball, Vasquez has been the subject of many questions over the last two years, including his ability to control his powerful heater, his suspension for a failed performance-enhancing drug test, and his difficulties getting into the country this spring. After a rough start to the 2007 season with Lakeland, news of his 50-game suspension came down, and when he returned he was demoted to short-season ball with Oneonta. Sendy had ranked as high at 26th in TigsTown's annual prospect rankings, but had fallen hard following his rough season, ranking 75th in TigsTown's last rendition.
Joining Vasquez on the unemployment line was reliever Orber Moreno. Signed late in the off-season as a minor league free agent, Moreno failed to show the stuff that had made him a solid prospect in the past. Having not pitched professionally since 2006, he was a long shot for any roster this season, and unfortunately, his release does not come as a surprise.
Yet another pitcher released by the organization, 26-year old righty Phil Napolitan is gone after three years with the organization. Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Wichita State, Napolitan spent nearly all of the last two years pitching for West Michigan in the Midwest League. The Tigers took a chance on the former second baseman and outfielder turned pitcher, hoping his arm strength would translate well to the mound. While he was effective in spurts, reported back issues held him back, and his overall performance was mediocre.
The final release at this time is outfielder Mike Sullivan. The four-year Ball State standout spent two years in the Tigers organization after coming in as a 31st round selection in the 2006 draft. Working in the GCL his first year, he managed to rank fourth in the league in triples with four, and then proceeded to post five three-baggers in 2007 with Oneonta. Sullivan demonstrated a rare enthusiasm on the field, but his skill level just was not up to par with the expectations of the organization going forward.
As organizational rosters continue to change as we approach Opening Day for the minor league clubs, check back with TigsTown.com for all the updates.