A few of the names the Detroit Tigers signed to minor league deals are familiar faces that will fill the ranks among the Tigers’ affiliates and bad news for one Tigers outfielder.
The Detroit Tigers kicked off 2021 with the signing of five pitchers to minor league deals. Right-handers, A.J. Ladwig, Zac Shepherd, Isrreal De La Cruz, Henry Martinez, and left-hander Locke St John. For prospect fans out there, a few of these names should sound familiar to you. Also in today’s minor league report, bad news for Daz Cameron and Issac Paredes has added a nice piece of hardware.
RHP A.J. Ladwig
Ladwig was drafted by the Tigers in the 11th round in the 2014 draft out of Wichita State. Ladwig last pitched between Erie and Toledo in 2018. He sat out the entire 2019 season due to having Tommy John surgery. Ladwig is primary a starter, a quick worker on the mound, 3/4 arm angle with a fastball, curve, and what appears to be a cut fastball. He throws in the high 80’s, low 90’s. He has thrown 595 innings for the Tigers in five seasons between all of their minor league levels.
RHP Zac Shepherd
The former infield, who the Tigers signed out of Australia also back in 2014, was converted into a pitcher back in 2019. He posted a 2.70 ERA in Connecticut before he got the call up at West Michigan towards the end of the season. He features a fastball that is in the low-90’s, a curve, and according to Dan Hasty, who had a chance to watch pitch at West Michigan, is working on a slider. He pitches exclusively from the stretch.
Currently, Shepherd is playing winter ball with the Sydney Blue Sox, where he has appeared in just one game. The Blue Sox by the way, who also feature two Tigers minor league outfielders in Cam Gibson and Jacob Robson, are set to restart their schedule on January 8.
RHP Isrrael De La Cruz
De La Cruz is another former infielder who converted to a pitcher in 2019. He last pitched for the Gulf Coast Tigers West team in 12 games out of the bullpen in 2019. He will be turning 24 in June. As we find more intel, we will report it accordingly.
RHP Henry Martinez
Originally signed as an international free agent in 2013 by Cleveland, Martinez is a reliever. According to Justin Lada of Indiansbaseballinsider.com, he throws a fastball, slider, and a changeup and can hit up to 97-98 with his fastball. When you watch him pitch and did not occur to me until Lada pointed it out, he throws similar to Fernando Rodney.
If the Tigers can fix his command issues, which set him back in 2019, he could be a good arm to call up.
LHP Locke St. John
Originally drafted by the Tigers in the 32nd round in the 2014 draft, the lefty was picked up by Texas in the Rule 5 draft in 2017 and made his way through the Rangers minor league system.
He never pitched above Lakeland in his time in Detroit but he pitched in 2019 with the Rangers. He was also throwing with Texas in spring training in 2020 before the shutdown. St. John once was a starter in the minors and threw over the top before switching to a sidearm reliever at West Michigan.
Here he is at Connecticut before, when was starting.
After, as a reliever at West Michigan. He crouches down similar to John Schreiber, just coming from the left side.
St John could be a lefty Detroit could call up if he pitches well in the minors.
Bad news for Daz Cameron
As reported today by Freep.com and Detnews.com, Detroit Tigers outfielder Daz Cameron went down with an arm injury. The statement from the team goes as follows:
“Daz experienced arm discomfort while working out with his winter league team,” the Tigers’ statement reads. “He has returned to the United States for further evaluation and to prepare for spring training.”
Cameron was playing winter ball in Puerto Rico. It is yet to be known how severe the injury is.
Isaac Paredes wins batting crown
Congrats to Isaac Paredes, who won the Arco Mexican Pacific League winter league batting crown in dominating fashion. He batted .379 (55-for-145) and the next closest player finished 26 points behind him. While he is happy about the award, his goal was to reach the playoffs for the Venados de Mazatlá. His teammate Eduardo Vera (former Pirates prospect) won the ERA title. His quote about his performance this season was translated from Spanish.
“I came to contribute to the team, to join in and of course to connect quickly with my teammates, we left the individual aside, what I wanted was to reach the Playoffs and here we are, we feel capable for what is to come, “
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