Tigers Prospects: Paul Skenes vs Jace Jung had an unlikely winner

Erie SeaWolves infielder Jace Jung made a nice diving play to force an out against the Harrisburg
Erie SeaWolves infielder Jace Jung made a nice diving play to force an out against the Harrisburg / GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS / USA

If there is one thing is common occurrence in Major League Baseball is that they do not know how to promote their stars better. After all, it's a team sport with a roster of 26 players. But on Friday night in Erie, the home of the Double-A affiliate of the Tigers, the headlines read 2023 No. 1 overall pick Paul Skenes vs. Tigers 2022 first-round pick Jace Jung. Jung won the battle, with a single up the middle in the first.

The headline is pretty cut and dry. The Detroit Tigers top pick from 2022 versus a potential franchise changing pitcher in Skenes. A pretty simple marketing concept called Attention marketing was put into promote two of perhaps the most well known players on each roster.

Per the website HubSpot, Attention marketing is defined as the concept that marketing is all about capturing and engaging your audience's attention. This is usually done through non-invasive means, like social media. With attention marketing, you'll focus on how to capture someone's limited attention.

But what was perhaps the most compelling angle about the game on Friday night in front of a packed, standing room only crowd of 6,767 at UMPC Park did not involve either Skenes or Jung, it was the way that the SeaWolves were able to manage the attention.

The drama began pre-game when Lael Lockhart, the Friday night starter set to face Skenes, received a last-minute call-up to Triple-A Toledo. Spencer Turnbull, the scheduled starter for Toledo, was sidelined due to a cracked toenail. SeaWolves manager Gabe Alvarez pivoted, tapping reliever Tyler Mattison as the team's opener. Amidst these shifts, there was a palpable sense that Turnbull's tenure in a Tigers uniform could be nearing its end.

But fans may of quickly forgotten about Turnbull after the game as Justice Bigbie turned in his 28th mulit-hit game and his third four-hit game in a SeaWolves uniform. In the series against Altoona this week he is 9-for-17 at the plate (.529/.579/.647). For the month of August, he hit .349 with six home runs and an OPS of .949.

Thanks to the hitting prowess of Jung, Bigbie, and the rest of the Erie offense, the SeaWolves have maintained their first-place standing as they aim for both first and second half division titles. Erie excelled in promoting the matchup, and although Altoona ultimately staged a comeback win, the team gave fans a compelling reason to stay engaged.

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