With the big league club pissing almost all of Detroit off, losing two of three games to the lowly Minnesota Twins, it was a pleasure to be able to turn to the minor league teams to check out how the kids on the farm did on opening day. As usual there was a mix of the good, bad, and the ugly, but we aren’t going to shy away from that. We try to tell it like it is.
Normally, I would have done a preview of the rosters for everyone, however, I think we can get to that in our recaps over time. And of course, we can discuss rosters beneath any of the minor league posts that we put up.
As always, feel free to ask any minor league questions and I, or someone else on site, will try and answer them.
Frankly, this game was all about Louisville starter Tony Cingriani. Cingriani, a Reds farmhand, pitched six innings of no-hit baseball against the Mud Hens, striking out 14. Cingriani is a guy that works in the low to mid 90′s with his fastball, but it also has good movement on it, as well as an above average change. His breaking ball needs some work, but he does have the potential to dominate, so it’s not surprising Toledo struggled. Top prospect Nick Castellanos went 0-3 with an RBI, but struck out three times. Danny Worth, really the only other mentionable offensive player, went 0-4 with three strikeouts of his own.
Pitching wise, Luis Marte took the less giving up a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to the first batter he faced. Shawn Hill got the start, and pitched alright, while Jose Ortega, pitched an inning of scoreless ball.
Erie brought it’s bats with them on opening night, and that is something they are going to have to do on a regular basis. Why? Their pitching staff in all honesty lacks talent. The one starter worth tracking a little bit went tonight, and that was Kyle Lobstein. Lobstein went five innings, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks. He did strike out six though.
Offensively, there is some talent in Erie, where guys like Daniel Fields, Tyler Collins, Hernan Perez, Dixon Machado, and James McCann are located. Machado is currently on the disabled list. The offense tonight was led by trade acquisition Ramon Cabrera, Wade Gaynor, and Daniel Fields. Cabrera and Gaynor each touched up Altoona pitching for three hits each, with Cabrera getting two doubles and driving two in. Daniel Fields also contributed two hits on the evening out of the leadoff spot, one of which was a grand slam home run. Hernan Perez also contributed two doubles from the two hole.
Lakeland lost a late 4-3 lead, giving up four runs in the bottom of the eighth to the Yankees farm club to lose on opening night. Lakeland has some solid prospects, and one of the more solid ones in Tommy Collier got the start this evening in Tampa. Collier went four innings on the night, giving up two earned runs, and struck out six, but battled traffic on the bases all night long. Defense played a big role in the loss, as five of the Flying Tigers runs allowed were unearned.
Offensively the Flying Tigers were paced on the night by Aaron Westlake who went 2-3 on the night with a home run and three RBI’s. Dean Green also recorded two hits on the night, as he continues to show his bat has quite a bit of value. Top offensive prospects on the Lakeland team include Eugenio Suarez and Steven Moya. Suarez went 0-3 on the night with a couple of walks, while Moya went 1-5 on the night.
West Michigan is quite possibly the most talented team in the farm system for the Tigers. The rotation has potentially quite a bit of upside, and we may some more guys later in the year as some of these guys like Hudson Randall move on. Tonight the Caps excited the crowd with a walk off win in the bottom of ninth on the strength of Jake Stewart‘s bat.
Stewart, who has a bunch of strong tools, had a great opening night, going 3-3 with two walks. Lance Durham, who isn’t a prospect, contributed with two hits, and Devon Travis posted two hits including a triple as well. Top five prospect Danry Vasquez in his return to West Michigan went 1-5 with an RBI. Austin Schotts made his full season debut as well going 0-4, but tallying an RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Pitching wise, Endrys Briceno is raw, but talented, and got the ball on opening day. Briceno went only 3.2 innings on the night, giving up two hits and walking three, allowing two runs. He did strike out four on the mound, but the Tigers will look for him to be more efficient in the future. Strong armed Julio Felix pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless relief, while soft tossing lefty Josh Turley went two scoreless for the win.