Toledo 1 Louisville 3
Enrique Gonzalez had a nice start allowing 3 runs (1 earned) on 6 hits, a walk, and 6 strike outs in 6 innings. Daniel Schlereth allowed 2 hits and 2 walks but fanned 3 and nobody crossed home plate on his watch. Offensively Ben Guez led the way with a double.
Bowie 5 Erie 3
Audy Ciriaco homered. Josh Burrus had 2 hits and a walk. Duane Below gave up 2 homers amongst 6 hits in 3 innings. It was another short outing for Below who is coming off of TJ surgery.
Clearwater 2 Lakeland 6
Brayan Villarreal continues to shine. He surrendered a solo homer, but he also fanned 9 and walked only 1. He has 26 strike outs and 2 walks in 15.1 innings this year. Billy Nowlin doubled and singled. Daniel Fields added 2 hits, a walk, and 2 stolen bases.
West Michigan 2 Dayton 5
Jamie Johnson went 3 for 3 with a walk and his OBP sits at .475. Mike Gosse added 2 hits and Wade Gaynor drove in 2 runs. Giovany Soto allowed 3 runs on 7 hits, no walks, and 3 K’s.
In other Whitecaps news, Jacob Turner’s start last night was pushed back due to forearm stiffness which doesn’t sound serious. Then again the organization has been down playing the Cody Satterwhite situation as well.
The Tigers have added Scott Sizemore, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch, and Audy Ciriaco to the 40 man roster, protecting them from the Rule 5 draft. The roster was at 42, but with the 6 free agents off the roster, and the addition of these 4 players it is now full at 40.
The additions of Sizemore and Strieby are not the least bit surprising. Strieby was one of the best hitters in the Eastern League last year while he was healthy. He’s seemingly blocked at first base and will see increased work in the outfield, but regardless he is too good of a hitter to let walk. Sizemore of course is the heir apparent at second base with the likely departure of Placido Polanco.
After those two though there was a larger pool of players on the bubble. The Tigers decided to stick with the toolsy (and hopefully starting to translate to production) Ciriaco and the power of Brennan Boesch. Ciriaco finally started to tie those tools into some production late last year where he got his line drive rate up to the teens from June forward. And despite Boesch’s struggles controlling the plate (127 K’s and 34 BB’s last year) he did slug at a .510 clip. It’s interesting though that as Dave Dombrowski talks about improving plate discipline throughout the organization they protected two players who have the strike out and walk rates that Ciriaco and Boesch do.
Among those left off the roster were a handful of pitchers including Luis Marte, Bryan Villarreal, Scot Drucker, and Brett Jensen. I’m not necessarily surprised by the absence of any one of those pitchers, but that none were protected is a little surprising.
Things are likely to change yet as trade rumors swirl and the Tigers have to decide on a shortstop.
Just because the regular minor league seasons are over doesn’t mean there isn’t news coming out about the Tigers prospects. The instructional league is in full swing, the Arizona Fall League is starting, and post season awards are being handed out.
The IL games are underway. Mark Anderson of TigsTown is on site and filing daily reports. The first one was free, but the subsequent ones are premium content. Based on the 2 reports so far Audy Ciriaco has been a star.
The IL is also a chance to see many of the Tigers 2009 draftees in Tigers uniform for the first time. Lakeland resident Roger DeWitt has been hanging around the fields and posting his pictures on Flickr. As has been the case the last few years, Roger was the first to get shots of the Tigers first round picks in action and he has Jacob Turner throwing on one of the practice mounds.
Arizona Fall League
The Tigers have had to make some adjustments to their AFL roster due to the arm problems of Cody Satterwhite and the lingering wrist problem of Ryan Strieby. In a surprise move (at least I was surprised), 2nd round pick Andrew Oliver will take Satterwhite’s spot.
What isn’t known is if Oliver is going because he has really impressed so far and the Tigers want to see what he does against advanced competition in preparation for an aggressive assignment next year, or if he is going by default.
Casper Wells will take Strieby’s spot, but that isn’t so much of a surprise.
Player of the Year Honors
Congratulations to Scott Sizemore and Casey Crosby who took home organizational Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year honors. (As predicted by Take 75 North).
Both had outstanding seasons. Crosby was kept on the 75 pitch limit which did hold down his innings but he still managed 117 strike outs in 104.1 innings. I’d imagine he’d start out in Lakeland next year with an 85-90 pitch limit but he could very well end up at Erie before the year is out.
Sizemore just raked the ball all season. He hit in Erie and continued hitting as he spent the 2nd half of the year in Toledo and he may be pushing Placido Polanco out the door.
The question of the 5th starter has been answered – for now. Zach Miner will take the spot formerly occupied by Eddie Bonine and before him Dontrelle Willis. Miner had some struggles with control out of the pen this year. But in two “stretch-out” starts for Toledo he has posted a 12:2 strike out to walk ratio in 8.1 innings. I’m in favor of giving Miner a shot, but I think there will be a pretty quick switch if he starts running every count full and walking people.
Injured middle infielders littered throughout the system
When the Tigers traded away their stud centerfield prospects middle infield became the organizational position of strength. Instead it’s become the organizational position of DL stays and ibuprofen. Edgar Renteria is battling a hamstring injury that he reagravated tonight.
Cale Iorg, the Tigers big time bonus pick from last year just hit the DL for Lakeland. His keystone partner Scott Sizemore has missed a big chunk of the season with a broken bone in his hand. Danny Worth, another draft pick from last year who has been a defensive whiz for Erie is now missing time. And high ceiling shortstop Audy Ciriaco just went on the DL for West Michigan.
And while they are health now, both Ramon Santiago and Mike Hollimon missed time this season due to separated shoulders.
It must be something they are putting in the water at second base.
Toledo 3 Durham 9 It wasn’t a good night for Virgil Vasquez who allowed 6 runs on 3 homers in just 3 innings. Yorman Bazardo came on in relief and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits in 4.1 innings while fanning 5 and walking none. And in an odd night, Hessman, Larish, and Hollimon didn’t homer. But Erick Almonte did.
Erie – PPD
Dunedin 1 Lakeland 4 Rick Porcello went 5.2 innings allowing 1 run on 5 hits, a walk, and 5 K’s. Brennan Boesch had a 3 hit game while Cale Iorg and Scott Sizemore had 2 hit games. Jeramy Laster homered and singled.
Lansing 3 West Michigan 6 Joe Tucker had 3 hits. Audy Ciriaco and Justin Henry had 2 hits each. Alredo Figaro allowed 3 runs on 6 hitsand 3 walks while fanning 5.
Lansing 5 West Michigan 0 Only 3 hits for the Whitecaps in this half of the DH. Manny Miguelez didn’t make it out of the first inning surrendering 4 runs and only recording 2 outs.
Jonathan Mayo covers the minor leagues and the draft as a senior writer for MLB.com. Mayo also has a book coming out that has some remarkable timing. It is a look at what it is like to face Roger Clemens and is appropriately titled Facing Clemens. The book was written and put to bed prior to the release of the Mitchell Report and will be available on March 1st, though you can pre-order it now.
Regardless of your feelings about Clemens, steroid users, and their place in history, the book looks to be a fascinating read. Mayo interviewed many of the great hitters about what it was like to dig in with Clemens on the mound. Whether or not Clemens did it naturally doesn’t change what the batters experienced when squaring off against the Rocket.
Mayo was kind enough to answer some questions about the now-depleted Tigers farm system as well as a look forward to the 2008 draft.
Detroit Tigers Weblog: After the trades this off-season, the Tigers seem to be deepest in the middle infield. Of Scott Sizemore, Mike Hollimon, Danny Worth, Cale Iorg, Tony Giarratano, and Audy Ciriaco who do you see having the highest ceiling, and who is most likely to make it to the majors?
Jonathan Mayo: From a pure upside standpoint, I think Ciriaco is still the guy. I know he only hit .224 in his full-season debut, but he’ll still be just 20 when the season starts. I think he has to start taking the raw tools and turn it into performance this year. As for “most likely to succeed,” I’d probably go with Worth or Hollimon at this point. I’ve seen Hollimon play several times and he just looks like a big leaguer to me. He also has the best bat of this group as of right now. Those kinds of offensive skills will play at 2B in the bigs. Worth, even though he hit when he got pushed up to Erie, will be a big leaguer more because of his glove. How much he can hit will determine whether he’s an every-day shortstop or a utility guy.