Detroit Tigers Minor League Baseball Commentary and Analysis
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Toledo Mud Hens – 67-77, 21 games back of the first place Columbus Clippers in the International League West
Erie SeaWolves – 67-75, 13 games back of the first place Harrisburg Senators in the Eastern League Western Division
Lakeland Flying Tigers – 28-40 in the second half, eleven games back of the first place Dunedin Blue Jays in the Florida State League South
West Michigan White Caps – 38-32 in the second half, ten games back of the Dayton Dragons in the Midwest League West
Connecticut Tigers – 39-35, tied for first place in the New York-Penn League
GCL Tigers – 29-31, eight games back of the first place GCL Yankees
Here’s a look at when each of the Tigers four full season minor league affiliates kick off their season:
Toledo Mud Hens – April 7 at Louisville
Erie SeaWolves – April 7 at home against the Curve
Lakeland Flying Tigers – April 7 at home against Tampa
West Michigan White Caps – April 7 at Lansing (although they also have an exhibition game against Grand Valley at home the night before.
The prospect lists are making their way and while I plan on doing my composite top ten, John Sickels recently produced his top twenty Tigers prospect list. It’s still looking like a thin system but we all know that. Jacob Turner gets an A- but he’s still a year away from making much of an impact. After that it gets kind of spotty. You’ve got Nick Castellanos and Andy Oliver at B’s but you get quite a few B-’s pretty quickly (including Dan Schlereth, who I like.
One surprise was Casper Wells all the way down at number ten. I guess he is old but outside of maybe Andy Oliver, he has the best chance of making an impact for the Tigers in 2011. Ryan Strieby almost fell off the list because of his age and Danny Worth is an honorable mention.
This isn’t too far off from what Baseball America put out which isn’t a surprise in a thin system. You have pretty much locks up near the top, then several interchangeable parts once you get past the blue chips.
The Tigers announced that Larry Parrish will return as the Mud Hens manager in 2008 after missing the 2007 season after he had ankle surgery. Mike Rojas took over the team in 2007 and for his efforts in guiding the Mud Hens to the playoffs in 2007, he was made the Tigers Minor League field coordinator. It was also announced that A.J. Sager will be the Hens new pitching coach while Ray Burris will take over the vacancy left by Sager as the Seawolves pitching coach. Anyway, it’s a nice column by Jason Beck going through who will be coaching where through the Tigers’ farm system.
Jeff Sackman, who’s the developer of the excellent website Minor League Splits, recently ranked the organizations. He did it for one of the books he wrote in so the column is light on details (as far as why the Tigers rank how they do, he does a nice job of explaining his methodology), but the Tigers fared much better on this list. While they didn’t make the top five in either pitching or hitting, their composite put them at seventh overall. They’re just behind the Twins and just ahead of the Mets. The Indians come out at number two so the AL Central is pretty well represented.
Kevin Goldstein recently took a high level look at all of the minor league systems in baseball and the Tigers came in at the middle of the pack. They barely made the top half with a 15th ranking. They finished tenth in position players and 21st in pitching.
No major surprise here. Once you get past Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin, things thin out pretty quick. The Tigers do have some interesting guys out there besides those guys like Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens, but not a lot of potential studs.
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