HIGH CLASS-A: LAKELAND FLYING TIGERS
Because of the playoff procedure for Class-A ball, the ‘Flygers’ had a chance to make the Florida State League (High A) playoffs after going 34-34 in the first half. However, they have struggled in the second half. They are 22-32, 13.5 GB in the North Division and just one game away from being eliminated.
There was a notable roster move that came from Lakeland last week. When the Tigers traded for Erick Aybar from the Braves, one of the players Detroit parted ways with was Flying Tigers catcher, 23-year-old Kade Scivicque. The former fourth-round pick in 2015 was hitting .282/.325/.308 in 105 games with Lakeland this season, and that came on the heels of slashing .269/.333/.381 in 51 minor league games in 2015, helping lead the Class-A Whitecaps to a Midwest League title.
Scivicque was one of the leading hitters for the Flygers this season, so who will help fill his absence to finish out the season? Well first baseman Wade Hinkle has been as steady as they get all season. He’s hitting over .400 in his last ten games, driving in ten runs over that span. He’s now slashing .297/.372/.438 with two weeks to go in the season.
Others have picked up the slack as well. Outfielder Ben Verlander is also hitting at a clip over .400 in his last ten games, increasing his batting average nearly .030 points over the last ten games. Fellow outfielder Rashad Brown has seemingly picked up right where he left out prior to his promotion from West Michigan, hitting .278 in 15 games with Lakeland but striking out at a higher rate (26.4 percent K-rate in Lakeland; 19.4 percent K-rate in 64 games with WM).
In the rotation, A.J. Ladwig has been solid all season long (3.90 ERA in 23 games, 19 starts). And with the promotion of Tyler Alexander to Erie, Jeff Thomspson has taken his spot as the No. 2 guy in that rotation. Thompson has a 2.41 ERA over his last three starts, a 3.59 total ERA in 25 games (19 starts).