Detroit Tigers Minor League Report: Week 2
By Rob Low
The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. “Future Friday” is a segment where we examine the bevy of prospects in Detroit and their future impact in the Motor City.
The first two weeks of the minor league season are in the books for the Detroit Tigers affiliates. While some players are off to hot starts, others are trying to work their way back to Detroit. We’ll start with a first place team that has won four straight.
Toledo Mud Hens
Pitching has been carrying the Mud Hens to their 9-3 start. During their four-game winning streak, the starting pitcher has not allowed more than one run.
The trend started Saturday night, with A.J. Ladwig, Johnny Barbato, and Mark Montgomery combining on a three-hit shutout.
After inclement weather postponed Sunday’s game, Warwick Saupold worked three scoreless innings on Monday. On Tuesday, Ryan Carpenter allowed one run over six innings with nine strikeouts. Wednesday, Blaine Hardy went five innings, giving up a run on two hits to complete a Toledo sweep of Durham (Tampa Bay).
Detroit Tigers fans have seen Saupold, Carpenter, and Hardy before, two of them already this year. Saupold started the season with the Tigers, but was sent down when Mike Fiers was activated from the disabled list.
Carpenter made his MLB debut in a spot start back on April 1 against Pittsburgh. Hardy hasn’t been with the Tigers this year, but was a contender for a bullpen spot this spring before he was slowed by injury. Expect all three to contribute again in Detroit sooner rather than later.
It was a quieter week offensively for Toledo. Dawel Lugo’s season-opening nine-game hitting streak was snapped, but he’s hitting .321 with hits in 11 of 12 games.
Lugo has played exclusively at second base, despite most of his minor league experience coming at shortstop or third base. That seems to suggest he’s being groomed to be the second baseman of the future.
The question then becomes, will Lugo be replacing Dixon Machado? Or will Jose Iglesias be traded and Machado moved to shortstop to make room for Lugo? It’ll be interesting to see how the middle infield situation develops throughout the season.
Prior to the season, our Andy Patton made a list of prospects entering make-or-break seasons. One of the quartet he mentioned was catcher Grayson Greiner.
Greiner was slow out of the gates, going just 4-for-28 to start the season. Hopefully that’s now behind him, as the former third round pick went 4-for-4 on Wednesday night.
Finally, there’s Mikie Mahtook, who started the season in left field for Detroit. Mahtook was sent down last week after a 4-for-31 start. The change of scenery has not helped, as Mahtook is 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts.
Mike Gerber getting the call-up to be the 26th man for today’s doubleheader is telling. It’s a message from management that Mahtook must turn things around in Toledo before getting a chance to reclaim the left field job with the Tigers.