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.
The biggest news in the Detroit Tigers system this week were the promotions of Alex Faedo and Daz Cameron to Double-A Erie. This week also featured several Lakeland and West Michigan players suiting up in their respective All-Star Games, and some terrific pro debuts. We’ll start with Toledo, where a pair of lefties began rehab assignments.
Toledo Mud Hens
The Mud Hens turned in a 3-3 week, bringing their season mark to 42-29. Toledo’s record remains the best in the International League, although their lead has slowly been shrinking recently.
As we’ve seen before, Toledo is a popular place for the Detroit Tigers to send players on rehab assignments. Two more Tigers joined the Mud Hens to begin rehab assignments this week, Francisco Liriano and Daniel Stumpf.
Liriano started Sunday’s game for the Mud Hens against Louisville (Cincinnati). The veteran southpaw worked four innings, yielding eight runs on 11 hits. Liriano also fanned seven, and did not issue a free pass.
Obviously, Tigers fans would have preferred for Liriano not to get knocked around as he did, but no walks is a good sign. In fact, Detroit’s brass was encouraged enough to pencil him in for a return this weekend.
Liriano has battled control problems on and off throughout his career, and 2018 has been no exception. Through 10 starts for Detroit, he’s walked 4.5/9, slightly higher than his career average. His strikeout rate stands at a career-low 7.0/9, making low walk numbers even more important. Here’s to hoping he continues to throw strikes and the Tigers can deal him before the trade deadline.
Stumpf made his first rehab appearance Tuesday night. He pitched an inning, allowing a run on two hits, while picking up a strikeout. Before landing on the disabled list, Stumpf endured a rough May. Things didn’t appear much different with his struggles for Toledo.
The lefty is likely to make at least one more appearance for the Mud Hens before returning to the Detroit Tigers bullpen. As he returns to full health, the Tigers will expect him to look more like the pitcher who finished April with a 1.59 ERA.
A few weeks back, the Tigers signed Junichi Tazawa to a minor league deal, following his release from the Marlins organization. The right-hander worked one inning in his debut for Toledo on Tuesday, retiring the side in order on 10 pitches.
Tazawa started his major league career with a few good years in the Red Sox bullpen, but really struggled after signing with Miami last season. Like Jacob Turner, the Tigers hope Tazawa can find some of his old form to help their bullpen down the line. If he doesn’t, it’s a deal that didn’t cost much, making it a worthwhile risk for a rebuilding club.