Detroit Tigers: Dominic Ficociello Playing For Keeps

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Feb 28, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers player Dominic Ficociello (72) high fives Detroit Tigers third base coach Dave Clark (25) as he rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 28, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers player Dominic Ficociello (72) high fives Detroit Tigers third base coach Dave Clark (25) as he rounds the bases after hitting a three run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Detroit Tigers have already been inconsistent in the first few spring training games. They’ve won a few and lost a few.

But a handful of Detroit Tigers have been delivering consistently. One of those is minor league player Dominic Ficociello.

From outstanding plays in the field to quality at-bats, Ficociello looks like he wants to fill a roster spot.

Background Information

Feb 27, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers player Dominic Ficociello during media photo day at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 27, 2016; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers player Dominic Ficociello during media photo day at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /

Ficociello is a non-roster invitee who was drafted by the Tigers in 2013. Since then, he has spent all of his time in the minor leagues, playing for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Lakeland Flying Tigers, and the Erie Seawolves. He attended the University of Arkansas and played alongside James McCann.

During his time in the minor leagues, he has played both infield and outfield with most of his games at first base. Unfortunately for Ficociello, the first base spot is tied up by Miguel Cabrera. So, during spring training games, Ficociello has been playing third base and making it look easy.

It is highly doubtful that Ficociello will end up a spot on the 25-man roster, but he could find his way to the Toledo Mud Hens. There is no way that Ficociello will replace Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos has third base locked up for now. But, if either gets hurt, he could have a shot at regularly replacing them. Especially, if he continues what he has started in the past few games.

Big Hits in a Few Games

In the game against the New York Yankees split squad, Ficociello delivered a three-run home run that got the Tigers on the board.

Lynn Henning with The Detroit News described Ficociello’s home run:

"“Ficociello, a switch-hitting first baseman from the University of Arkansas, got the Tigers on the board in the seventh when he rocketed his three-run bomb into the right-field seats.”"

He has performed well in other games, too. On Sunday against the New York Mets, Ficociello earned a walk and scored a run off of the single that Tyler Collins hit in the eighth inning. He also had a hit in the first spring training game of the year. His batting average in six at-bats is impressive. With four hits, three runs, and one home run, he is sitting pretty with a .667 BA, .714 OBP, and 2.048 OPS.

Hunger for the Big Leagues

We all know that those numbers will even out as the games continue, but it is nice to see a hungry young player show what he’s got. Against the Atlanta Braves, he had two hits, one of which was a double. He has not recorded a strikeout.

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While his bat has been thoroughly impressive, his fielding has also been notable. He has played 12 innings at third and three at first base. The 24-year-old has made a handful of quick plays at third and he has recorded four putouts and no errors. He looks nimble and speedy at third base, which makes him fun to watch.

Ficociello is a tall 6’4 and weighs 200 pounds. Along with his flexibility to play the corners, he is a switch hitter – the Tigers’ lack of left-handed batters is a notable weakness and Ficociello could do his part to remedy it.

Next: Zimmermann & Sanchez Start Where They Left Off

As spring training keeps rolling along, Ficociello is certainly a prospect to watch. His big bat and fielding skills could get him to the big leagues sooner rather than later.

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