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Checking out some future Tigers

John Stroba

April 14, 2010

While the Tigers are off to a very nice start in this young season (6-2) there are future Tigers that are on the way playing in their minor leagues teams. It is always a treat to see the future Tigers before they reach the majors. There really is not a need to talk about how the minor league experience is a lot different (and cheaper) than in Detroit. After all, if you are reading this more than likely you are a very much into baseball and know these things already. So let us look at the prospects at each minor league club. In this look, the Toledo Mud Hens are the feature club.

Toledo Mud Hens (AAA)

Brent Dlugach SS:
Dlugach is one of the last cuts that the Tigers did make in spring training. He is a very good defensive SS that displayed a bit of pop in his bat last year after losing two years to injury. As a result, his age (27) makes it much more likely that he is going to be a future backup IFer than a long term starter. While he does have some pop in his bat, Dlugach really struggles controlling the strike zone and so far in the young season that still seems to be the case (1bb/10 k in 26 PAs). If Everett or Santiago gets hurt, Dlugach is a very serious candidate to be called up.

Brennan Boesch OF: Another OF prospect for the Tigers. Boesch finally did show some power last year in Erie, but like many Tiger prospects he does have strike zone control issues (38:127). In the early going he does seem to have those issues as well still. One advantage that he does have is that he is a lefty bat on a team that is overloaded on the right hand side. If he does not learn to control the strike zone though he is going to have a tough time being a starter for a lot of teams.

Clete Thomas OF: Thomas is a guy that is riding the Toledo-Detroit train the last couple of seasons. Thomas can play any of the 3 OFs spots and does bat left handed something the Tigers really need. However, Thomas does have a naturally long swing and does have to fight it. If he could have a shorter swing then he could be a Mark Kotsay type of player. He is going to have to have a very good year to stay in the Tigers plan even on a fringey type of player. He does have some decent speed.

Ryan Strieby OF/1b: Strieby does have very good power, perhaps the best pure power in the Tigers system. Detroit is trying him out in the OF, because 1b is blocked for the next 5-8 years (Miguel Cabrera). Unlike Jeff Larish though who is fairly athletic, Strieby is really capable of handling LF in Comerica Park or any other position but 1b/DH. Strieby also does have a pretty good idea of how to control the strike zone (again unlike most Detroit prospects) combining that with his power makes it very likely that Strieby is going to be playing in Detroit next year most likely as at least a time share DH.

Casper Wells OF: Wells is a Lynn Henning favorite. A right handed hitter, he does have very good defensive ability (including the ability to play a very good CF). Another guy that does have some strike zone control issues but not as bad most of the Tigers prospects. He will take a walk. Decent enough power. He could be a possible every day OF candidate next year depending on what he does in Toledo and what happens with Damon and Maggs vesting option.

Alfredo Figaro SP: Figaro got 3 starts and 3 pen appearances last year. He is a bit on the small side and his wildness and lack of a 3rd pitch with consistency probably means his future in the majors is in the bullpen. Still, he could see an spot start or two if the Tigers get into a numbers crunch this year. Like many Tiger pitchers he can really bring it. He needs to work on keeping his pitch counts down this year.

Daniel Schlereth RP: Schlereth is the other part of the of the Edwin Jackson deal. Now, Schlereth is going to have to work on his control a good bit. However, we are talking about a guy that made the majors with Arizona last year so it is not like he is not far from being ready. In fact. the Tigers debated heavily between him and Ryan Perry in that draft class. A lefty that does have enough stuff to be a rare lefty closer in the majors. Should he pitch well and someone (like Brad Thomas) struggles out of the pen it would not be a surprise to see Schlereth up in Detroit this summer.

Josh Rainwater P: Rainwater is not really a prospect, but an organizational solider that pitches wherever and in what role is needed for the Tigers down on the farm. That kind of ability could be useful to Detroit if they need someone as a fresh arm. This could be especially true if Rainwater gets off to a hot start in Toledo.

Robbie Weinhardt RP: Weinhardt is among the last cuts of spring training for the Tigers. It would not be a surprise to see him up in Detroit sometime during the season. With a good season in Toledo it is going to be very hard to keep him down on the farm next season. He could also be some trade bait.

Jay Sborz RP: Sborz looks to be the closer down in Toledo. That is usually not very good, because minor league closers are guys that look to be mid relief guys at best. Sborz finally started realizing his ability last season and that proved to be enough to put him on the 40 man roster. Sborz could see some time if injuries happen in Detroit.


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