Detroit Tigers Minor League Report: Week 5

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KANSAS CITY, MO – MAY 6: Grayson Greiner #17 of the Detroit Tigers stands behind the plate as he waits to catch against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium on May 6, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. Greiner made his Major League debut in the game. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

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.

With injuries piling up for the Detroit Tigers, there was a lot of movement all throughout the organization. Let’s get to it.

Toledo Mud Hens

Although their roster has been in flux over the last week, the Mud Hens continue to play good baseball. They’ve won five straight, and at 21-11, they’re comfortably leading the International League West.

The Moves

Due to injuries, the Detroit Tigers had to do a lot of shuffling this week, meaning the Mud Hens had to provide reinforcements. One of the more notable moves was Miguel Cabrera landing on the disabled list. As a result, John Hicks slid over to first, and Grayson Greiner was called up to make his MLB debut and back up James McCann.

Leonys Martin also hit the shelf this week, with Mikie Mahtook returning to take his place. The last time we checked in on Mahtook, he was really scuffling. He was seemingly finally coming out of his season-long slump, notching three hits in his final game before the promotion. In his return to the Detroit lineup on Wednesday, Mahtook went 1-for-4 with an RBI.

The pitching staff wasn’t immune, as Alex Wilson and Jordan Zimmermann hit the DL, too. Those spots were filled by righty Zac Reininger and utility man Pete Kozma.

Reininger had a strong first month with the Mud Hens, posting a 2.63 ERA and 9.9 K/9. He has not pitched since his recall, but will be looking to improve on the 7.45 ERA he put up last year with Detroit.

Kozma started 2018 hitting .200 without a homer in 26 games for Toledo. So, of course, in his Tigers debut Wednesday, he homered in his first at-bat and went 2-for-3. Baseball is a strange game.

Dominant Pitching Performances

Despite all the shuffling, Toledo’s pitching staff had a great week, including back-to-back shutouts against Columbus (Cleveland). On Tuesday, Drew VerHagen got it started, retiring all 12 he faced with eight strikeouts.

In two starts since he was designated for assignment, VerHagen has been lights out. In seven innings, he has not yielded a hit, issued one walk, and struck out 12. It’s a small sample size, but VerHagen getting himself straightened out would really help the Tigers bullpen down the road.

The second shutout was started by knuckleballer Josh Turley. The lefty gave up just two hits and three walks over eight innings. After the start, John Wagner of the Toledo Blade interviewed Turley about the different grips he uses for his knuckler.

It wasn’t a shutout, but Ryan Carpenter continued to rack up the K’s in his lone outing of the week. The southpaw fanned 10 in his seven innings of one-run ball. Carpenter has struck out 42, the most in the Detroit Tigers organization this year.

Greiner’s Replacement

With Grayson Greiner at least temporarily with the Tigers, a catching spot opened up in Toledo. Detroit promoted Kade Scivicque from Erie to share the backstop duties with Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Scivicque was a fourth round pick of the Tigers in 2015. In 2016, he and Mike Aviles were traded to Atlanta for Erick Aybar. Detroit re-signed Scivicque a few weeks ago, after the Braves released him.

The former LSU Tiger reported to Erie after signing, splitting time with Tigers top catching prospect Jake Rogers. With Rogers continuing to struggle at the plate, Scivicque got the call to Toledo. He’s 3-for-9 since the promotion, including his first homer of 2018.

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