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Weekly recap of Tigers’ farm system

We continue our weekly segment on the Detroit Tigers minor league system recap. Detroit went 3-4 this week, including their first series loss of the season to the New York Yankees. However, starting pitcher Kyle Lobstein has pitched admirably in place of Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, who continues to rehab while on the disabled list. Lobstein (2-1, 3.50 ERA) has given Detroit a chance to win every ball game he has started in, which is just what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wants to see. Lobstein, who was expected to start down in Triple-A all season long, is already making a big impact with Detroit, showing that he has the potential to be a big league starting pitcher every fifth day.

Let’s see how Lobstein’s Triple-A teammates as well as the rest of the Tigers’ farm system has fared this past week.

TRIPLE-A: TOLEDO MUD HENS

Photo courtesy of www.aohtoledo.com
Photo courtesy of www.aohtoledo.com

Some good news concerning the health of a Tigers top prospect, as outfielder Steven Moya returned to the Toledo Mud Hens this week after rehabbing down with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Moya was out with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He debuted on Saturday, going 0-for-4 with a strikeout.

Tigers Need to Shake Things Up x
Tigers Need to Shake Things Up

Toledo (8-8) is getting some good piece of hitting from the players you would expect to be hitting, outside of Moya. Shortstop Dixon Machado is hitting over .300 on the season, but has gone hitless in his last four games. Outfielder Xavier Henry finds himself hitting a solid .333, and has seven hits in his last five games. Machado has more hurdles to get over as opposed to Henry if they want to get to the big leagues, but certainly good signs down in Toledo.

Catcher Bryan Holaday has seen his average dip down to .200, which has resulted in his playing time dip as well. His backup, Manny Pina, is 7-for-16 in his last four games.

Pitching prospect Buck Farmer continues to throw very well down in Triple-A. He is 3-0 with an ERA of 3.00, and a modest 2.8 K/BB ratio. Farmer will be the next pitcher called upon to the rotation if an injury arises. *knock on wood*


 

DOUBLE-A: ERIE SEAWOLVES

Photo courtesy of www.erieevents.com
Photo courtesy of www.erieevents.com

The Erie SeaWolves had a dreadful week, and are currently on a 6-game losing skid. The Double-A affiliate in the Tigers’ farm system now finds themselves 6-10 to start the season and towards the bottom part of their division.

Despite the recent struggles, Erie is getting some good play from some of the more notable names on the roster. Center fielder Wynton Bernard was hitting a sub-.200 average early on in the season. All he did this week was go 11-for-25 with two runs score and two runs batted in. Hopefully he can continue to swing a hot stick and impress the Tigers.

The leader in the SeaWolves clubhouse still belongs to Dean Green, as he continues to hit the cover off the ball. Green is hitting .412 with an 8-game hitting streak of his own, including five multi-hit games. He has two home runs and six runs batted in early on for Erie.


 

SINGLE-A ADVANCED: LAKELAND FLYING TIGERS

Photo courtesy of www.milb.com
Photo courtesy of www.milb.com

The Lakeland Flying Tigers (7-11) find themselves in the cellar in their division of the Florida State League. Now that Steven Moya has been called back up to Toledo, all eyes convert back to some of the Lakeland regulars.

Outfielder Ben Verlander, brother of Justin, is leading the team in batting average through 18 games this season. In his 12 games played, he is hitting .385 with two home runs and five runs batted in.

Flying Tigers first baseman Dominic Ficociello has a solid 4-game hitting streak and has seen his average climb up to .313. Former Philadelphia Phillies top prospect Jiwan James cannot seem to get a good rhythm going at the dish. James is hitting .230 through 17 games this season. He was once considered the best athlete, runner, and outfielder in the Phillies organization, before an injury in 2013 sidelined him.


 

SINGLE-A: WEST MICHIGAN WHITECAPS

Photo courtesy of www.play.google.com
Photo courtesy of www.play.google.com

More good news concerning the health of a top Tigers’ prospect in their farm system.

West Michigan Whitecaps center fielder Derek Hill returned to action this past week after being on the disabled list with concussion problems. He is just hitting .222 on the season, but the 19-year old will continue to grow and develop as he plays on a consistent basis and stays healthy. He has three hits in his last three games.

Pitching prospects are at a premium right now down in the minor league system of the Detroit Tigers, but another 2014 draftee has been pitching well so far this season. Trent Szkutnik is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA in three starts with West Michigan, and has given up only seven hits, two earned runs, and two walks in his last eleven innings of work.

Whitecaps first baseman Will Maddox, who is leading the team with a .395 batting average, is on the disabled list and did not play all last week.

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