Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Brennan Boesch (26) and shortstop Hernan Perez (18) misplay a fly ball in the outfield during the game against the New York Mets at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tigers Minor League All-Star Team


With the major league All-Star break quickly approaching, I thought it fitting to take a look at the Tigers minor league system and recognize the players who are having an All-Star season down on the farm. This isn’t a look at the top prospects, but rather just a recognition of sorts for guys having good years. If I were choosing a Tigers farm system All Star team, here is how it would look.

Catcher

James McCann- McCann is having a real good season at AA Erie, and while he has been bolstered by a healthy BABIP, he has been over .300 with the batting average most of the year. McCann’s calling card is going to be his defense, but he is hitting .287 currently, with an OPS of .700 as well. His overall package is what gives him the slight nod over the runner up.

Runner Up: Ramon Cabrera

First Base

Jordan Lennerton- Lennerton is having the best season of his career at 27 years old. He isn’t a prospect really, but at least has put himself into the conversation as a guy who could come up for a couple of weeks if needed in a pinch. Offensively, his calling card is patience and moderate pop. Defensively, Lennerton is really strong with the glove. He is hitting .303 in AAA with an OPS of .871.

Runner Up: James Robbins

Second Base

Devon Travis- Travis is having about as good a year as a player can have. He hit .352 in the first half with West Michigan, and after a promotion is doing the same thing in a small sample size in Lakeland at .346. Travis is patient at the plate, has the ability to hit all types of pitches, and contributes defensively as well.

Runner Up: Hernan Perez

Third Base

Wade Gaynor- By default. Not even going to put up the numbers because they aren’t All-Star worthy in the least.

Runner Up: None

Shortstop

Eugenio Suarez- Suarez played well in Lakeland and earned himself a promotion to Erie where he has been just average or a little bit below.  However, on the season he is hitting .265 with an OPS of .763 between both levels, and is probably having the best season of any SS in the Tigers system.

Runner Up: David Gonzalez

Outfield

Nick Castellanos- This one is one of the biggest no-brainers on this entire list. Castellanos definitely still needs work on his defense, but his bat has been good since a slow start in April. He is hitting .286 with an OPS of .818 as a 21 year old in Toledo, and is knocking on the door to the big leagues.

Daniel Fields- Fields is a guy that is having a good season production wise despite a large number of strikeouts. While batting .271, he has produced an OPS of .811 for Erie, while stealing 11 bases as well. Currently on the DL, Fields can play a  little defense as well.

Danry Vasquez- While Vasquez is just 19, he has more than held his own in West Michigan this year. Currently the teenager is batting .287 with an OPS of .732 in a league that is known to be pitcher friendly. He like most teenagers has some things to work on, but the Tigers can afford to be patient with the talented youngster.

Runner Up: Avisail Garcia- Pure numbers wise, Garcia would be at the top of this list, but he has split time between the minors and majors, so his sample size got taken into consideration.

Starting Pitching

Jose Alvarez- Alvarez has dominated Triple A all season, posting an ERA of 2.83 while averaging a strikeout per inning. It earned him a couple of starts in the majors while Anibal Sanchez was on the disabled list.

Kyle Ryan- Ryan has quietly put together a good season in Lakeland for the Tigers organization. While he isn’t piling up strikeouts, the 21 year old lefty has posted a very respectable 3.18 ERA on the season, and held opponents to a .236 batting average against him.

Drew Verhagen- Verhagen doesn’t strike out many guys due to a lack of secondary pitches, however, he hasn’t really needed them up to this point. All he does is record outs. After pitching well in Lakeland, Verhagen has continued that trend in AA Erie, posting an ERA of 2.47 between both levels this season.

Closer

Melvin Mercedes- With Bruce Rondon in the majors right now, I took him off the list, making Merceds the top closer in the Tigers organization right now. After a strong start in Lakeland, Mercedes is now in AA Erie, where combined between the two levels, he has posted a 1.06 ERA in 30 games this season.

Runner Up: Jose Valdez

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  • louwhitaker

    Yup…nothing resembling a third baseman on the farm. And our major league third baseman has to play every day with a bad back, and will certainly need to move to first base within a year or two. A logjam in the outfield in the minors, and we aren’t bringing up Castellanos anyway…why isn’t he learning how to play third base?

    • John Verburg

      I didn’t understand the rush to take him off the position. I know there was a bunch of mixed reviews on his D at 3rd, and even the good ones were that he could be satisfactory, but I’ve heard even worse reports about his play in the outfield. He should be a really good hitter, so his offense could be good enough to make up for subpar defense wherever that is, but I am with you on this one. I would’ve left him at third.

      Just my opinion, but it seems to me that if a guy is a priority prospect, I would allow him to do what is most comfortable to him, at least until he absolutely is forced to change positions.

      All that being said, it isn’t hurting the Tigers if Castellanos spends all of 2013 in the minors as long as Victor Martinez keeps hitting.

      • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

        I’d even add that there’s no reason to feel like you have to bring him up full time at any point in 2014. I’d strongly consider having him play 3B at AAA all season next year in anticipation of a ’15 starting job in Detroit once V-Mart is gone and Miggy shifts off of 3B.