Since we don't have our minor league coverage any more, it's great to see someone step up to the plate and do a nice job. Please enjoy! -- Kurt
If there's interest and/or some positive feedback, I'm very willing to turn this into a series. I'll cover the four full-season teams (but don't expect much from Erie - I'm not too excited about those guys!) and provide updates every few weeks. In the past, several editors have done something similar to this. Please let me know if I'm stealing anyone's thunder and I'll leave it to the pros.
My definition of a "Person of Interest" is really just my own interest. Mostly, I'm interested in guys that have been viewed favorably as prospects by your major outlets. However, when it comes to Toledo they might not be prospects, but could have a role with the big league team at some point. I'll also give an occasional nod to some of those guys that might be tearing up the minors, but you won't find them on too many prospect lists because the scouts don't much care for their tools.
As for stats, I'll provide the following for offense: I'll show AB's so we can get an idea of the sample size we're viewing. Since wOBA hasn't exactly taken off yet around here, I'll use the slash line of AVG / OBP / SLG (Figure out OPS on your own if that's your stat of choice.) K/BB ratio will be mentioned as well so we can gauge plate discipline. I'll typically stay away from counting stats unless something screams at me. For pitchers, It's the same logic. I'll be using IP for sample size reference. Then we'll go with ERA and WHIP along with K/BB ratio. Once again, unless a counting stat screams at me, I won't mention it.
So, with all that out of the way, here we go.
Toledo Mud Hens (12-6)
Ryan Strieby - Strieby doesn't really have any foreseeable role in Detroit unless there's a significant injury. Just about every AB he has is really just an audition for another team. Even with a good season, his age, injury history, and defensive position (or lack thereof) will limit his trade value. I'm not completely sure why he's even of interest to me, but there aren't too many interesting players in Toledo and I guess I just have a hard time quitting our former top prospects.
Strieby has hit pretty well so far in 2012. In 72 AB's he's slashing .278 / .381 / .528 and has a K/BB ratio of 18/11. He's batting in the middle of Toledo's lineup, with another AAAA sort of guy, Brad Eldred, so there should be some opportunity for biggish counting numbers, and so far he's got 13R and 17RBI.
Speaking of Eldred, the dude has AAAA written all over him, but he's raking nonetheless. .375 / .432 / .903 with a K/BB of 16/6. He's got 9 homers and 27 RBI (both of which lead the league, along with his SLG and OPS...wow). You'd have to consider him for a role in Detroit if we needed help at 1B or DH for any reason.
Quintin Berry - Berry is interesting to me because I think he might very well get a call if there's an injury to any of our starting OF. He's got a speed / defense / OBP combination not seen very often in Detroit lately. Personally, I think he's the sort of guy that would be really nice to have on a post-season roster instead of the redundancy I think we currently have with our bench.
Berry is leading off and playing CF for the Hens. His line is .269 / .380 / .373 through 67 AB's. I think that .753 OPS is pretty decent for a guy who hits under .300 and doesn't have much extra base power beyond a handful of doubles. His K/BB ratio is 21/12 and he's 8 - 8 in SB attempts.
Danny Worth - Most of us know the sad tale of Danny Worth. I bet if you got his mom on the phone, she'd have nothing but glowing things to say about the Tiger's organization. Worth has major league skills, and we'll probably see them back and forth between Toledo and Detroit a lot this year when injuries hit just about anywhere in the infield.
On days when Worth isn't too busy pushing pins through his Brandon Inge voodoo doll, Worth has been manning SS and the #5 spot in the order for Toledo. Since his demotion, Worth has hit reasonably well. He's slashing .279 / .367 /.535 with a K/BB of 12/6.
Andy Oliver - For a week or two this spring, Oliver may have been the leader for a spot in Detroit's rotation. Since then, his control has been terrible and he's been leapfrogged by three or more guys on the depth chart. I think our hope as fans should be to just see fewer walks on a more consistent basis from Oliver in 2012.
His first few starts were between terrible and awful. Recently, he's been a bit better. It seems he's either missing bats or missing the strike zone on just about every pitch. Overall, 20.1 IP, 22/21 K/BB. 5.31 ERA / 1.72 WHIP. Yuck on everything except that K%.
Casey Crosby - Last year was mostly healthy but control issues were present. This season, Crosby is on the list of guys with major league stuff, but minor league control that needs to improve before he sees Detroit in any capacity. His first three starts have been similar to Oliver's; too many runners. With Crosby, however, he's giving less free passes, but has been a little easier to hit. Overall, 12.0 IP, 14 H, 12/8 K/BB. 6.00 ERA / 1.83 WHIP.
Finally, there are a few relievers that might get the call this season. It's been interesting because the guys on 40-man roster have been largely ineffective while a couple of the NRI style guys have been solid.
- Chris Bootcheck, RH - 12.0 IP, 6H, 11/3 K/BB - Solid season so far
- Austin Wood, LH - 9.2 IP, 15H, 14/7 K/BB - Lots of K potential here
- Luke Putkonen, RH - 10.0 IP, 6H, 9/5 K/BB - Former starter having better luck in the 'pen
- Jose Ortega, RH - 9.1 IP, 13H, 13/11 K/BB - He's on the 40-man roster, but not good so far
- Brayan Villarreal, RH - 8.1 IP, 3H, 12/4 K/BB - Impressive!
- Matt Hoffman, LH - 6.2 IP, 14H, 4/2 K/BB - Also on the 40-man. Lots of trouble.
- Darin Downs, LH - 4.0 IP, 3H, 5/0 K/BB - Very good in very limited time thus far.