The Detroit Tigers have already utilized their farm system quite well, having to shuffle players back and forth between the Majors and Triple-A Toledo in the first month and change. Some moves have paid off in a limited sample, most notably the performances of John Hicks and Jim Adduci, who is still with the big league club.
There are a number of players that have been getting it done through the first 5+ weeks that Tigers fans should be focusing on a bit more. We'll take a look and who's hot and who's not for every minor league affiliate of the Tigers in this minor league update.
TOLEDO MUD HENS (AAA)
- Arsenio Leon: The 30-year-old out of Venezuela has allowed just one ER over 13 innings of work for Toledo this season, converting on seven of his eight save chances and holding opponents to a .130 average. Don't be surprised to hear his name called if Detroit needs a late-inning option in the bullpen in the near future.
- Buck Farmer: The 26-year-old righty has logged a 2.78 ERA in six starts, with a K:BB ratio of 5 to 1. The minor league track record for Farmer speaks for itself. He's made minimal appearances for Detroit over the last three seasons, making dramatic improvements each season. He's a viable option for the club if they need a long relief or spot start.
- Steven Moya: Moya has definitely not played with a chip on his shoulder since being cut in spring training. He's mustering just a .162 average and striking out more than 38 percent of the time. With his dreadful performance, he may be losing a starting gig, which we will get too shortly.
ERIE SEAWOLVES (AA)
- Mike Gerber: Gerber (Tigers' No. 7 prospect) just continues to rake and perform very
well at the dish. Through 30 games, he's hitting just over .300 with ten doubles, already a third of his total in that department from a year ago (in 132 games).
- Christin Stewart: Paired with Gerber, Stewart (Tigers' No. 2 prospect) is providing a nice combination in the SeaWolves lineup. Also through 30 games, he's hitting .269 with 15 of his 29 hits going for extra bases. His 23 RBI are tied for second in the Eastern League (AA).
- Tyler Alexander: The 22-year-old southpaw Alexander (Tigers' No. 4 prospect) has been a bit erratic early on, not sure what you're going to get from start to start. So far, he has a 5.08 ERA in six starts, most recently allowing three ER in just 1.2 IP on Monday (05/08).
LAKELAND FLYING TIGERS (HIGH A)
- Beau Burrows: The 20-year-old Burrows (Tigers' No. 3 prospect) has adjusted very well since jumping from Low-A West Michigan. Burrows has compiled a 1.16 ERA in seven starts, striking out six or more in five of those outings. Staying the course might mean seeing him make the jump to Double-A sometime this season.
- Ben Verlander: The 25-year-old younger of the Verlander Brothers is putting together his best offensive season of his career, so far. BV through 24 games is hitting .268 with a .361 on-base clip. Should he continue to trend upward in those categories, he too will find his way to Erie.
- Matt Hall: The 23-year-old Missouri State product Hall was called up mid-season a year ago from West Michigan after registering a 1.09 ERA in 12 starts. He's made 18 appearances (17 starts) for Lakeland since then and has a 4.70 ERA, including a mark north of 6.00 in six starts this season.
WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS (LOW A)
- Jacob Robson: Here's a guy to keep an eye on. 22-year-old Canadian Jacob Robson (Tigers' No. 30 prospect) is hitting .350 through 30 games for the ‘Caps, good for top-5 in the Midwest League (Low-A). It's just Robson's second professional season since being drafted out of Mississippi State a year ago and he is coming off a .294/.399/.395 campaign with Detroit's rookie and short-season A level clubs.
- Gregory Soto: This is Soto's (Tigers' No. 29 prospect) first season with West Michigan and fifth overall in the Tigers' system. So far so good, five starts made and no earned runs allowed in 28 innings logged. The 22-year-old Dominican-born Soto has a career 3.02 ERA in 63 minor league games (48 starts).
- Daniel Pinero: The 23-year-old Virginia shortstop product Pinero (Tigers' No. 25 prospect) is hitting just .188 over his last ten games played and .215 on the season. Like Robson, this is his second pro year after being drafted in 2016 by Detroit. Based on last year's numbers, he has the makings to be a solid-hitting player with limited pop but adequate plate discipline.