The Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. “Future Friday” is a segment where we examine the bevy of prospects in the organization and their future impact in the Motor City.
Another week is in the books for the Detroit Tigers and their affiliates. This week saw a pair of rehabbers in Toledo, an MLB debut, and All-Star announcements for Lakeland and West Michigan. Let’s get to it.
Toledo Mud Hens
Toledo had another solid week, going 4-2. The Mud Hens are 37-20 for the year, good for a seven-game lead in the International League West.
Zimmerman worked four and a third innings, giving up one run on three hits. The right-hander also added five strikeouts, while walking a pair. He threw 72 pitches, nearly twice as many as his first rehab outing. According to Detroit Tigers beat reporter Jason Beck, Zimmermann is hoping to return soon.
Alex Wilson also made a rehab appearance for the Mud Hens this week. The righty worked a scoreless inning and a third, striking out two and walking one. Wilson’s performance was enough for the Tigers to activate him off of the disabled list Thursday. He came in to that night’s game against Boston and retired both batters he faced.
To make room for Wilson, infielder Ronny Rodriguez was optioned back to Toledo. Rodriguez had hits in his first two MLB at-bats last Thursday, but had been 0-for-17 since.
Despite his struggles in the majors, Rodriguez had a fantastic May. The infielder hit .383 for Toledo in May, earning him the International League Player of the Month award.
Detroit called former second rounder Tyler Alexander up to Toledo for the first time this week. The southpaw had been enjoying a solid season at Erie, where he was 3-2 with a 3.75 ERA through nine starts.
Alexander struggled in his Mud Hens debut on Saturday. He surrendered six runs on 10 hits over five innings, although Toledo’s offense staked him to a 7-0 lead, so he earned the win.
The lefty lacks top-notch stuff, leaving him susceptible at times to getting knocked around. Alexander’s best attribute is his command, having never posted a walk rate above 1.5 per nine innings in any of his full seasons in the minors. As he continues to progress, his command will be even more important to make up for the lack of overpowering stuff.
Hello, Old Friend
One of the best trades in Tigers history was the acquisition of Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante near the 2012 trade deadline. At the time, the big prize Detroit sent to Miami in the deal was former first rounder Jacob Turner.
The ninth overall selection in 2009, Turner made six starts for Detroit between the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The righty pitched well for the Marlins for the remainder of the 2012 campaign and in 2013, but hit a rough patch in 2014.
Miami traded him to the Cubs in 2014, and he’s bounced around the league ever since. Turner landed back with the Marlins this year, working five and two-thirds innings out of their bullpen. He also made 11 relief appearances for Triple-A New Orleans before he was released earlier this week. Detroit signed Turner to a minor league deal Wednesday, sending him to Toledo.
Turner is far from the prospect he once was. He can still get his fastball into the mid-90s, and throws a hard slider. At 27, there’s still a chance he develops into a decent bullpen arm. At worst, he can provide some organizational depth for a team that has suffered its share of injuries in 2018.