Top prospect Franklin Perez makes 2018 debut

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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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LAKELAND, FL – MARCH 01: A view from the Tiger spring training home Joker Marchant Stadium before the game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium on March 1, 2016 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Lakeland Flying Tigers

Despite dealing with multiple rain outs, Lakeland has started off the second half hot. They’ve won six straight to open the second half, giving them the top spot in the Florida State League North. The Flying Tigers overall record sits at 42-34.

Watkins Dazzles Again

Spenser Watkins turned in another brilliant outing for Lakeland this week. The Florida State League All-Star tossed his second complete game of 2018, shutting out Charlotte (Tampa Bay) on one hit over seven innings. The righty added seven strikeouts, while walking just one.

Wednesday’s outing marked the eighth straight appearance for Watkins allowing two earned runs or fewer. Over that span, the right-hander owns a 1.42 ERA across 44.1 innings of work. For the season, his 1.55 mark leads the Florida State League.

All-Star Promoted

Following the Midwest League All-Star break, the Detroit Tigers promoted shortstop Cole Peterson to Lakeland for the first time. As mentioned here multiple times, Peterson’s bat was one of the few consistent ones for West Michigan, especially early on.

In 66 games for the Whitecaps, Peterson hit .277. His 72 hits and 13 stolen bases remain atop of the West Michigan leaderboard.

It’s been a rough first week for Peterson in Lakeland. He drove in a run in his debut, but is just 2-for-18 at the plate in his first six games.

Outfield Shuffling Continues

The Christin Stewart injury caused a ripple effect for Lakeland and West Michigan as well. Cam Gibson was promoted to Erie, while Jose Azocar returned to the Flying Tigers.

Gibson hit .240 in 66 games for Lakeland, and his 36 walks leads the club. His 16 stolen bases were second on the team behind Derek Hill’s 18. This marks the first time Gibson has reached Double-A.

Azocar returns to Lakeland after he was sent down to West Michigan in late May. After a slow start with the Whitecaps, Azocar turned it on. He hit .317 during his roughly month-long stay in the Midwest League, including a league-leading six triples. Azocar will be looking to improve upon the .214/.231/.252 slash line he posted in 30 games for Lakeland prior to the demotion.

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