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Future Tigers: End of July Report – Isaac Paredes, Matt Hall, Casey Mize, and more!

The list of top 30 prospects received a little facelift since our last report on the Tigers’ farm system. The list now has a handful of the club’s 2018 draft picks as well as a newcomer in shortstop Willi Castro from the Leonys Martin trade on Tuesday.

Before we look ahead to August, we look back on who was hot and who was not to close out the month of July.

[Note: Number next to player denotes prospect ranking within the organization (MLB prospect ranking) | Click here to view our “mid-July” report on the Tigers’ prospects.]

3 UP

ISAAC PAREDES – INF, Erie (No. 12)

  • LAST 10 GAMES: .323 BA (10 for 31), HR, 7 RBI, 7 R
  • SEASON STATS: .273/.353/.460 in 96 games at High-A/AA, 13 HR, 58 RBI

Isaac Paredes showed zero signs of struggling to produce at the dish while playing in the Florida State League (High-A), where it is traditionally tough to put up big numbers for most minor leaguers. Paredes logged a .793 OPS in 84 games with the Flying Tigers before a promotion to Double-A Erie earlier this month, where his OPS is approaching 1.000 after only 12 games there. Still, just the tender age of 19, the native of Mexico has already set a new personal-best for homers in a single season with 13. Paredes has also shown an improvement in plate discipline with a slight uptick in his walk rate (9.6 percent).

We will dive more into him a little later regarding his defense but the Tigers have made it known that they are playing him all over the infield, sans first base.

MATT HALL – SP, Toledo (No. 21)

  • LAST 3 STARTS: 1-0, 2.60 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 9 BB, 20 K
  • SEASON STATS: 6-2, 1.82 ERA in 30 games (7 starts) at AA/AAA, 1.08 WHIP, .177 opp. BA

One of the biggest risers in the Tigers’ revamped list of top prospects via MLB Pipeline, lefty Matt Hall continues to enjoy a breakout season of sorts and make his case for a potential September call-up. Hall was “effectively wild” in his first start at Triple-A Toledo when he walked five batters but has settled in nicely with consecutive quality starts in his last two outings with the Mud Hens. He seems to be rejuvenated somewhat since the Tigers turned him back into a starter (1.16 ERA in seven starts), which is impressive given his solid 2.52 ERA in 23 relief appearances to open the year.

ZAC HOUSTON – RP, Toledo

  • LAST 5 GAMES: 6 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 12 K
  • SEASON STATS: 1-2, 2.04 ERA in 33 games at AA/AAA, 0.98 WHIP, .158 opp. BA

Big Zac Houston was one guy that the kind folk on Twitter were clamoring for to be somewhere on the Tigers’ newest top 30 prospects list, given his incredible success in 2018, and justifiably so. The 6-5, 250-pounder and a former 11th-round pick in 2016 has been nothing short of dominant since joining the Tigers system. Now in 85 career relief appearances, Houston carries a sparkling 1.70 ERA. He has been the Mud Hens’ resident closer since being promoted at the end of May, converting five of his six save opportunities.

3 DOWN

BEAU BURROWS – SP, Erie (No. 5) [No. 95 in MLB]

  • LAST 3 STARTS: 2-1, 6.00 ERA, 15 H, 8 BB, 20 K
  • SEASON STATS: 8-7, 4.15 ERA in 19 starts at AA, 1.26 WHIP, .233 opp. BA

It would appear that Beau Burrows hit a little bump in the road towards the end of July. If you add in a fourth outing to his recent sample size, the ERA climbs to over 7.00. In two of those four starts, Burrows failed to get through four innings. And if not for a seven-inning, one-run performance on July 15, who knows where he would be from a run prevention standpoint. All that said, this is fairly common to see. Nothing to get too worked up over, at least for now, as long as he is healthy and the stuff looks good (both appear to check out).

SANDY BAEZ – RP, Erie

  • LAST SIX GAMES: 11.17 ERA (12 ER in 9.2 IP), 10 BB, 9 K
  • SEASON STATS: 1-7, 5.82 ERA in 24 games (15 starts) at AA, 1.57 WHIP, .287 opp. BA

The Tigers made the decision in early July to make Sandy Baez a full-time reliever after 15 starts, given the fact that his arsenal of pitches can play up more in shorter, quicker bursts as opposed to over longer stretches of a game. Early on, he was adapting well to his new role, pitching to a respectable 3.60 ERA in his first seven showings out of the bullpen. But Baez has been shelled in each of his last two games (9 ER in 3 IP) that has re-inflated the ERA. Again, thinking into the future, this is probably the best move for Baez and the Tigers.

WLADIMIR PINTO – RP, Lakeland

  • LAST 4 GAMES: 11.25 ERA (5 ER in 4 IP), 4 BB, 6 K
  • SEASON STATS: 3-2, 4.20 ERA in 28 games at A/High-A, 1.23 WHIP, .164 opp. BA

Disclaimer: take this entry with a grain of salt. Remember when we were singing the praises of Wladimir Pinto earlier in the season? He didn’t allow a run in 16.2 innings of work at West Michigan before graduating to Lakeland. But since he joined the Flying Tigers, he has been virtually all-or-nothing from a performance standpoint. In fact, he has had more scoreless outings (9) than not in his 17 games for Lakeland. The problem? When Pinto gives up runs, they come in bunches. He has given up multiple runs in six of the eight appearances in which he was scored upon. Still, the 20-year-old still projects as a lively, late-inning arm but he will need to garner more consistency as he ages and matures.

OTHER NEWS & NOTES

  • Casey Mize, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and the Tigers’ newest No. 1 among its crop of prospects, made his professional debut last week in the Gulf Coast League before making his first High-A appearance on Tuesday. So far, Mize has twirled five scoreless innings, striking out eight batters and issuing just one free pass. There has been no word of when he will make his next start but it figures to be with the Flying Tigers again.
  • While there was encouraging news from one minor league hurler for the Tigers, there has been some unfortunate health news regarding two of their top pitching prospects. Right-hander Kyle Funkhouser, who recently was promoted To Triple-A, suffered a freak injury to his foot while walking home from a game last month. He will miss the remainder of the season and undergo surgery but the Tigers expect him to be ready by spring training. Meanwhile, Franklin Perez is also being put on the shelf for the remainder of the year with what the Tigers are calling “capsular inflammation in the right shoulder.”
    • Funkhouser logged a 3.74 ERA in 17 starts at Double-A Erie before being called to Toledo, making two starts with the Mud Hens prior to the injury. Perez, after missing nearly three months to start the year with a lat injury, made seven starts between the GCL and High-A Lakeland and posted an inflated 6.52 ERA, never pitching more than 3.2 innings in any outing.
  • The addition of newest shortstop prospect Willi Castro has created a bit of a middle infield logjam at Double-A Erie. Castro will join Sergio Alcantara and the aforementioned Isaac Paredes, three guys who have been primarily shortstops in their young careers. Not long after Castro was acquired from the Indians, Tigers general manager Al Avila came out and said that all three will rotate defensively between second base, third base, and shortstop.

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