Tiger hitting prospects among the league leaders

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 04: Ryan Strieby on March 4, 2011 in Lakeland, Florida. Strieby may have to wait longer than he wanted to wear this uni again. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Every once in a while, I like to turn off the analysis to a degree and just look at who in the Tigers' system is among the league leaders. Who pops up isn't necessarily among the top prospects, but it can be an interesting and enlightening exercise nonetheless. What follows is a listing of players who are in the Top 10 for the offensive categories listed at the MiLB.com website. The only stats I excluded were games, at bats and caught stealing.

Toledo

Cale Iorg: Doubles, T-10th, (14)

I bet you didn't expect Iorg's only appearance to be positive, did you? Be that as it may, he's still suffering through a .227/.269/.355 season at the plate.

Scott Thorman: Home Runs, T-7th, (9)

Thorman is a first baseman and designated hitter playing a lot of corner outfield, probably because Nevin wants a bat that can hit bombs in a lineup that could use it. Don't expect him to come up in discussions of who presents solutions to problems in the Detroit lineup, though.

Ryan Strieby: Strikeouts, 2nd (63)

It's sad to see where Strieby is at this point. He's not hitting anywhere near where he'd have to in order to push his way onto a big league lineup considering he'd only make it as a first baseman or DH. Just 17 of 49 hits have gone for extra bases and all these strikeouts mean he won't get the hits to make up for the missing pop.

Clete Thomas: Strikeouts, 8th (50)

I'd be curious to know how many fans see this name and think, "Oh, I forgot about him." He's still in the system? That, his being among the league leaders in strikeouts, and his .222/.282/.361 line don't bode well for his future as a Tiger.

Andy Dirks: Stolen Bases, 8th (10)

So fast he made us wonder if a fly out to right field was a home run. Like I wasn't going to tie a baserunning stat to that incident.

Erie

Francisco Martinez: Runs, T-5th (33)

Ladies and gentlemen, your starting Tiger third baseman for the year 2013. Now I see why Dombrowski always says stuff like that. It's kind of exciting. He really is doing well, all kidding aside.

Jamie Johnson: Runs, T-10th (31); Hits, T-8th (56); Walks, 3rd (28); On-Base Percentage, T-10th (.380)

Looks like he's been a pretty good leadoff hitter for the SeaWolves, eh?

Ben Guez: Triples, T-3rd, 5

Triples are one of those quirky stats that don't tell you much about a player except that he's usually fast if he gets a lot of them. To be fair, though, Guez would probably show up on more Eastern League lists had he not been promoted to Toledo.

Rawley Bishop: Walks, T-7th (26); On-Base Percentage, 6th (.397)

Bishop is a valuable member of the Erie lineup, but that shouldn't cause us to think of him as a valuable prospect. His slugging percentage is pretty close to his OBP, and that usually won't cut it when you're a 25-year-old first baseman in Double A.

Justin Henry: On-Base Percentage, 2nd (.426); Average, 4th (.331)

It's been an interesting path for Henry. He was a second baseman with a putrid bat two years ago, a utilityman with an average (or so) bat last season. This season, he's trying to do his best Ben Zobrist both on the field and at the plate. At 26 and in his second go-around in Erie, he'll need to keep these kind of numbers up to get noticed.

Lakeland

Gustavo Nunez: Runs, T-4th (36); Hits, T-8th (59); Triples, 2nd (7); Total Bases, T-9th (89); Stolen Bases, T-9th (11)

These are just about the categories you'd expect for a slappy speedster, right? It's good to see him bounce back from his disaster 2010, but this just makes me impatient to see what he can do in Erie or Toledo. I'm not saying he should be promoted. Just that last season and his overall skillset have left me skeptical as to his ultimate usefulness.

Wade Gaynor: Doubles, T-10th (14)

The good news is nearly half of his hits have gone for extra bases. The bad news for his standing as a prospect is there's a kid who's three years younger than him, a level higher and hitting better due to having better tools. Nobody said getting to the majors is easy.

Tony Plagman: Home Runs, T-7th (8); RBI, T-4th (41); Total Bases, 8th (91)

This could be Plagman carving out a career as a power-hitting minor league first baseman.

Jordan Lennerton: Walks, 1st (37); Strikeouts, 10th (51)

Maybe Lennerton just doesn't like to run.

Brent Wyatt: Walks, 5th (31); On-Base Percentage, 1st (.436)

Does this mean he'll get a promotion? Well, when he had a shot at the Erie job, the Tigers decided instead to trade for Adam Calderone. Oof.

Daniel Fields: Strikeouts, 1st (64)

What is it with Tiger center fielders and strikeouts?

Avisail Garcia: Strikeouts, T-8th (53)

Raise your hand if you're surprised the two 20-year-olds in the Florida State League are among the league leaders in Ks.

West Michigan

Hernan Perez: Hits, 2nd (60); Average, 4th (.326)

Lots and lots of singles. With solid middle infield defense, though, that may turn out to be enough.

Luis Castillo: Hits, T-7th (53); Average, 5th (.325)

Do you think the other one could hit .325 in the Midwest League at this point?

Nick Castellanos: Triples, T-10th (3)

There was a while there, where it seemed like he was getting an extra base hit every game. That's since slowed, but I'm not worried about him.

James Robbins: Home Runs, 2nd (9); Total Bases, T-8th (85); Strikeouts, 1st (66)

Being near the top of the league in homers and strikeouts looks like it's going to be the promise and most likely downfall of Robbins.

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