Detroit Tigers: Kyle Funkhouser dominates and other MiLB notes

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat and glove are seen during warm ups against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06: A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat and glove are seen during warm ups against the New York Yankees during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers
DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 18: A detail of a Detroit Tigers hat with an official postseason logo is seen on the bat rack in the udgout againstthe New York Yankees during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

West Michigan Whitecaps

The Whitecaps lost three straight, then followed that up with a three-game winning streak. West Michigan’s 31-28 record has them sitting in third in the Midwest League Eastern Division.

Pair Headed to All-Star Game

The Midwest League All-Star Game comes to Lansing on June 19. The league announced the rosters for the game this week, and the Whitecaps will have two representatives.

Unsurprisingly to frequent readers of the Minor League Report, shortstop Cole Peterson was named to the Eastern Division’s team. One of the few consistent hitters for the Whitecaps in 2018, Peterson leads the club in hits (63), runs (34), triples (five), total bases (79), and steals (11). Put all that with a .290 average and a strong glove and he was very deserving of the selection.

The other Whitecaps player to earn a spot was right-hander Brandyn Sittinger. Sittinger has been a strikeout machine out of the West Michigan bullpen. In his most recent outing on Wednesday, he celebrated his 24th birthday with five strikeouts in three scoreless frames of work.

For the season, Sittinger has struck out 36 in 27.0 innings, a rate of 12.0 per nine innings. His ERA sits at 5.00, largely due to giving up four runs in back-to-back appearances in late May. Take out those two outings and his ERA drops to 2.74. Sittinger has been an innings-eater as well, working at least two frames in 10 of his 12 appearances. Like Paredes, one number doesn’t tell the whole story with Sittinger.

Manning Struggles

Matt Manning struggling is not something we’ve had to say very often this year. The former first rounder did have a tough outing Sunday, giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits over five innings.

On the bright side, he did fan eight, while walking two. Like we mentioned with Funkhouser, Manning also struggles from time to time with free passes. The righty walked five in his last start prior to Sunday, the second time he’d done that this year.

What Manning hasn’t done often is give up many hits. The seven knocks surrendered on Sunday tied his career-high, set earlier this year. Opponents are hitting .229 off of Manning this year, but that number could be even lower, as the BABIP against him is .373. If he can keep the walks down and strikeouts up (14.1/9), he won’t be in West Michigan much longer.

The New Kid in Town

Finally, 19-year old outfielder Ulrich Bojarski made his 2018 debut for the Whitecaps Wednesday. He promptly went 2-for-4, and has driven in a run in each of his first two games.

Born in South Africa, Bojarski signed with the Detroit Tigers in the summer of 2016 after having played for the Perth Heat in Australia. He hit .225 in 38 games for the GCL Tigers West last season, his first affiliated experience. Following the season he returned to Australia, slashing .307/.367/.553 in 33 games for Perth.

The Tigers have been trying to strengthen their position player depth, as evidenced by the selections that followed Casey Mize in this week’s draft. Bojarski is another young, raw player with the potential to get his name into the mix for the future. Detroit is amassing as many of these guys as they can, in the hopes that a few will work out.

Next: What can the Tigers expect from the No. 1 pick?

That’ll do it for another week of the Detroit Tigers Minor League Report. Make sure to check back each Friday for the latest news and updates from around the system.

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