Down on the farm: New players give varying results for Tigers

A lot has changed since our last recap of the farm system for the Detroit Tigers. The trade deadline has come and gone, and for the first time in quite some time, Detroit was waving the white flag on July 31st, trading away the likes of David PriceYoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria. The return haul for those three All-Stars was five pitchers, and a shortstops. Among those pitchers are Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd, who were immediately inserted into the starting rotation.

The team has also seen a shocking move in the front office, as now former president and General Manager Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties “to pursue other opportunities”, according the Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. Dombrowski made moves to trade the high-profile impending free agents to help re-stock the farm system with some depth, with the mindset to re-load once again in the offseason for 2016.

Norris and Boyd came over from the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for David Price. Norris has been in the rotation ever since, while Boyd made a brief start down in the minors before making his team debut last Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals. Boyd toes the slab for the second time in a Tigers uniform tonight against the same Royals team.

Let’s go through the Tigers’ farm system and see who’s playing well and who has hit the skids.


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Photo courtesy of


There has been a lot going on for the Toledo Mud Hens as far as players moving up and down.

Corner infielder Jefry Marte was promoted back in early July to give the Tigers an option to play first base while Miguel Cabrera continues to rehab. Outfielder Tyler Collins was called up as a fourth outfielder after the Tigers traded away Yoenis Cespedes.

Top Tigers prospect Steven Moya has struggled to get it going, hitting just .235 for Toledo this season. However, the run production that comes with Moya’s scouting is there, as he’s hit 15 home runs and driven in 56 runs in 98 games. He’s also hitting over .320 in his last ten games.

Since being promoted from Double-A in mid July, Dean Green is hitting just .205 in 12 games for Toledo, with no homers and only 2 RBI’s

One of the two pitchers the Tigers received from the New York Mets in the Cespedes trade was Luis Cessa. Since joining the Mud Hens rotation, Cessa has made one start and got rocked. In 5.0 innings of work, he gave up 8 ER on 9 hits. He’s slated to make his second start on Tuesday.


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The Erie SeaWolves were another recipient of some prospects acquired in trades made at the trading deadline.

Shortstop prospect JaCoby Jones was the return package from the Pittsburgh Pirates when the Tigers traded away Joakim Soria. JaCoby drew some resemblances to Steven Moya, in that he was a big kid with a ton of pop, but plate discipline was an area of concern. So far, all Jones has done was produce. In 12 games since being acquired and assigned to Erie, he is .341 with 4 home runs and 11 runs batted in. He has struck out in 25% of his at-bats as well however.

Starting pitcher Michael Fulmer has been brilliant in his two starts since coming over from the Mets, and was the more highly regarded of two between him and Luis Cessa. In two starts for the SeaWolves, the 22-year old Fulmer is 2-0, giving up no runs and just seven hits, striking out eleven batters and walking only three. Fulmer this season in the minor leagues with the Tigers and Mets is 8-2 with a 1.79 ERA in 18 starts.

Some of the original Erie SeaWolves are still performing well as they have been all season. Center fielder Wynton Bernard is hitting .283 through 106 games this season, and nearly hitting at a .300 clip in his last ten contests. He has record three hits in back-to-back games.


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The Lakeland Flying Tigers arguably have had the most traffic as far as players moving through the system in the last few weeks. They too are now home to one of the trade acquisitions.

Starter and 21-year old Jairo Labourt was one of three pitchers the Tigers received from Toronto in the David Price deal, and the one that has been almost forgotten about. Labourt had a 4.59 ERA in 18 starts for Toronto’s Single-A Advanced affiliate before being dealt. In his two starts for Lakeland, he has record identical starts of 7 H, 4 ER, and 5 K. He went 4.0 innings and walked two in his first start, while going 6.0 and walking four in his second outing.

Second baseman Curt Powell has been one of Lakeland’s more better hitters since being sent down from Erie in the middle of the season, where he hit just .241 in 26 games. In 54 games for the Flying Tigers, Powell is hitting over .300. Among one of the more consistent hitters who has been with Lakeland all season is Francisco Martinez, with a slash line of .271/.300/.410 in 105 games.

Starting pitcher Kevin Ziomek has been one of the more bright spots in the rotation for Lakeland this season, especially as of late. In his last two starts, he’s given up just five hits, struck out sixteen and walked two in 15.0 innings. He has an ERA of 3.78 in 22 starts this season.

Detroit Tigers starter Kyle Lobstein, who has been sidelined with a shoulder issue since the middle of May, is set to begin his rehab assignment, when he takes the bump Monday night for Lakeland.


Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


The West Michigan Whitecaps were the only team in the Tigers’ farm system that didn’t receive any players via trades at the deadline.

Tigers prospect Derek Hill continues to have injury troubles on top of an underachieving season. In 53 games for West Michigan, the 19-year old Hill is hitting just .238. He has not played since the 10th of July. Outfielders Christin Stewart and Rashad Brown have combined to help fill in for Hill’s absence. Stewart is hitting .292 in 24 games for the ‘Caps since being promoted in mid-July, while Brown is hitting .281 in 51 games.

Right fielder Michael Gerber continues to be the team’s best hitter and most efficient run producer. Gerber, hitting .312 on the season, is hitting .308 in his last ten games, including at least one hit in eight straight.

Detroit Tigers Futures Game representative and Whitecaps closer Joe Jimenez continues to pitch well in his role. In his last ten outings, he’s given up just one earned run on six hits in 11.0 innings with a K/BB ratio of 13/2, earning him six saves during that span. Also, starter Spencer Turnbull has been pitching well as of late. In his last ten games, he’s given up 2 ER or less in eight of those ten games, going 6-2 with a K/BB ratio of nearly 2:1.

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