Dirks Works His Way Up the Ranks

Amidst the struggles of the Erie SeaWolves this season outfielder Andy Dirks has had a breakout campaign. Since the Tigers selected the outfielder in the eighth round of the 2008 draft he has worked hard to move his way up through the system.

In just his third season Dirks began this year as TigsTown's No. 47 prospect as well as the ‘Wolves starting leftfielder and leadoff hitter. Like the rest of the SeaWolves Dirks began slowly seeing his average drop to .115 on April 15.

Things started to change though for Dirks two days later, and as he got hot so did the SeaWolves. He carried a seven-game hitting streak from April 17 to April 23. By the end of the month Dirks' average had climbed to .250. While batting primarily out of the leadoff position he set the table for the middle of the order.

"Dirksy is a grinder, he makes pitchers work and just finds ways to get on base " said manager Phil Nevin. "He does whatever we ask him to do and he provides a spark to our lineup."

Dirks also batted third at times for the ‘Wolves this season and his 46 RBIs still rank second on the team. The outfielder led Erie in stolen bases (19), hits (108), and total bases (165) at the time of his promotion to Toledo.

One thing that Dirks added to his offensive repertoire this season was a little more pop to his bat. When he left Erie he had a career high 11 home runs.

"I'm seeing the ball well this year," said Dirks. "I'm just trying to make solid contact and hit the ball where it is pitched."

As well as Dirks has hit his defense was probably even better. Playing the short left field fence at Erie's Jerry Uht Park can be tricky and he has shown a mastery of it. Whether it was tracking down fly balls or making strong throws Dirks showed the capability to play in the Major Leagues defensively.

"I may not have the strongest arm, but I make sure that I am accurate it with it," Dirks said.

Maybe Dirks should give himself a little more credit for a strong arm since he leads the Eastern League in outfield assists with 16.

"I think guys are learning to not run on him," said Nevin.

Thanks to the progress that he made this season Dirks earned his first All-Star selection and moved up to TigsTown's No. 32 prospect after the release of the mid-season rankings.

"It was a great honor to be recognized," said Dirks.

"He really deserved to go (to the All-Star game)," said pitcher Zach Simons. "He just produces."

Dirks took the next step towards playing in the Major Leagues when he was called up to Triple-A Toledo on August 3. At the time of the promotion Dirks was batting .278. He has not slowed down since arriving to Toledo. In his first seven games with the Mud Hens Dirks has hit .414 with six doubles.

"It's exciting to see guys move up," said Nevin. "I'm happy for Dirksy."

If Dirks continues to hit while at Toledo and, with the rash of injuries that the Tigers have had, there could be an outside chance of seeing Dirks in a Tigers uniform at the end of this season.

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