Around the Minors

It has been a while since I last toured the minor leagues updating everyone on not only the best Tigers prospects, but also some of the most high-profile prospects around the majors. Once again, I will start with the best of those from Baseball America’s top 10 list for the Tigers that doesn’t include major leaguers Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya. Tomorrow, I’ll tour the rest of the minors and drop in on several of the best prospects from other teams.

1. Cameron Maybin, OF – West Michigan Whitecaps (A)
Maybin hit the disabled list on May 18th with a right index finger injury. Before that, he had exactly 100 at-bats in his 27 appearances. Of his 33 hits, 12 have gone for extra bases, though just one home run. He is hitting .330/.409/.510 with six stolen bases and a 2.5 K:BB ratio. With his placement being retroactive to May 16th, Wednesday will be Maybin’s 15th day on the disabled list. Hopefully he is able to come back soon and continue his torrid pace.

2. Brent Clevlen, OF – Erie Seawolves (AA)
Clevlen continues to struggle mightily. In 49 games, he is hitting a paltry .212/.311/.315 with three home runs and 18 RBIs. He has 61 strikeouts against 24 walks (2.5) and four stolen bases. A promotion does not appear to be anywhere in his near future.

3. Wilkin Ramirez, 3B – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
Ramirez has not improved much since the last update through 11 games. He is now hitting .231/.266/.399, but 15 of his 40 hits have gone for extra bases including six home runs. He hasn’t improved on his already lacking plate discipline with just eight walks to his 48 strikeouts (6.0). He has been running well with seven stolen bases. At 20 years old, he is not out of place in High-A, but if he doesn’t start putting up better numbers, he could find himself stuck in High-A and growing stale.

4. Humberto Sanchez, SP – Erie Seawolves (AA)
Since my last look at the minors, Sanchez has raised his ERA just 0.19 to 1.84 and continued his domination of his AA opponents. In 63 2/3 innings, he has struck out 77 batters and allowed just 42 hits. He holds a sparkling 3.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio as he has won five of his eight decisions. A promotion to AAA Toledo may be in his near future.

5. Jordan Tata, SP – Toledo Mudhens (AAA)
Tata started the season with the big league club in Detroit before being sent down. He has been with the Mudhens since May 10th and in that time he has made four starts. His control has been a bit of a problem with 11 walks, but he is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA. In 20 2/3 innings, he has 17 strikeouts and allowed 17 hits. If the long relief remains a problem in Detroit, the Tigers might look at bringing Tata back up.

6. Tony Giarratano, SS – Erie Seawolves (AA)
He has only slightly improved on poor numbers since the last update. He is still scuffling with just a .227/.271/.329 line for Erie. His speed has been his best asset so far with five triples and 12 stolen bases. He has a 3.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which hasn’t helped his problems at the dish.

7. Jeff Larish, 1B – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
The hard hitting Larish has continued his hot start with six home runs through 50 games. Nearly half of his hits (25-of-51) are extra-base hits including 17 doubles. His 1.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio has contributed to an impressive .276/.382/.486 line. Larish should be promoted very soon with his performance given that he is a bit old (23 years old) for High-A as it is.

8. Kevin Whelan, RP – Lakeland Tigers (High-A)
Larish’s teammate hasn’t enjoyed quite the same success. Whelan started off the season with four perfect saves, but has since come unraveled a bit. In 18 games and 16 innings of work, he has managed 10 saves, but has walked 17 batters against 19 strikeouts (1.1). He is currently carrying a 5.63 earned run average as well. He obviously needs to work on his control to get back to where he started off the season.

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