Lakeland Flying Tigers
Lakeland posted a 4-3 mark for the week, bringing their season record to 35-31. The Flying Tigers have now climbed into second place in the Florida State League North.
Alex Faedo took a no-decision in his lone start this week, his sixth in 12 starts. Last year’s first rounder worked four and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits, with six strikeouts and a pair of walks.
Although he struggled a little more than usual with his control, the strikeouts are a good sign. Faedo hasn’t posted big strikeout numbers thus far, relying more on inducing weak contact.
The righty has done a tremendous job of limiting walks, with nearly a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. It’s also noteworthy that Faedo has held opponents to a .217 average, and yielded just one homer since giving up a pair in his first start.
More Flying Tigers Earn All-Star Nods
Last week, we noted Daz Cameron and Isaac Paredes were named to the upcoming Florida State League All-Star Game. That duo will be joined by a trio of pitchers, Alfred Gutierrez, Eduardo Jimenez, and Spenser Watkins.
Gutierrez turned in one of the best pitching performances in the Detroit Tigers system this week. On Saturday, he tossed five scoreless frames without allowing a hit. Burris Warner and Jimenez worked the final four innings to complete the shutout.
Featuring as both a starter and reliever at times, Gutierrez has been effective in both roles this season. In 17 appearances, he’s posted a 2.76 ERA, 10.7 K/9, and a 4.7:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Jimenez has been Lakeland’s closer for the majority of the year. Across 21 outings, he owns a 4.01 ERA, and has fanned nearly a batter per inning. Jimenez also leads the Florida State League with 11 saves in 12 opportunities.
Like Gutierrez, Watkins has spent time in the rotation and bullpen for the Flying Tigers. He made a pair of quality starts this week, allowing four runs in 13.0 innings over his two outings. This year with Lakeland, he owns a 1.59 ERA, and has held opponents to a .218 average. Watkins also made a pair of spot starts for Toledo earlier in the year.
Catcher Austin Athmann was named an All-Star as well, but will miss the game due to injury. The 2018 Florida State League All-Star Game is Saturday in Tampa.
Going the Wrong Way
It has been a tough season at the plate thus far for outfielder Troy Montgomery. Acquired in the Ian Kinsler trade over the winter, Montgomery began his campaign with Erie. Through 48 games, he was hitting .227 and slugging .287. That led to a demotion to High-A Lakeland
Despite his struggles in the average department, Montgomery continued to get on base, thanks to a high walk rate. He drew 27 free passes, which trailed only Jake Robson for the team lead, and helped him post a .346 on-base percentage. This is not new for Montgomery, who put up double-digit walk rates in each of his first two pro seasons.
This move was somewhat of a head scratcher. If the Tigers demoted Montgomery to promote Daz Cameron or Derek Hill, that would have been understandable, but having him join the already crowded Lakeland outfield is puzzling.