I started this series earlier this week with Toledo. If you want, please feel free to read the primer. Otherwise, I’ll continue with my look at players on Erie’s team that I find to be interesting to the parent club’s future.
Erie SeaWolves (7-10)
Don’t expect much on Erie’s list; there just aren't too many legitimate prospects at this level. The bullpen actually features a few guys that could see promotions to Toledo this year or next and eventually play into Detroit’s bullpen mix, but I just can get excited about that. They’re mostly fringe guys that got drafted late, turned into relievers, and have featured good ratios so far.
Erie’s positional roster features a bunch of organizational style guys in their mid to upper 20’s. Chances are good that there’s a better option in Toledo or that a kid from Lakeland is way past them on the radar. The rotation is similar; most of the starters are pretty old and their window of opportunity is open in the technical sense much more than the realistic sense.
That being said – there are a couple of guys that are worth noting.
Rob Brantley - He’s in the top 10 of many Tiger prospect lists and he’s the regular catcher for Erie, but gets plenty of rest with John Murrian taking about a third of the games and AB’s. Brantly’s certainly helping his stock this year with a line of .392 / .418 / .647 in 51 AB’s. He’s got a 7K/3BB ratio.
If he continues to hit well, and Avila continues his solid play in Detroit, the Tigers could find themselves in the enviable position of having legit catching depth in the system. Brantly could certainly be an interesting player to other organizations. It’s tempting to consider him as a potential backup in Detroit in the near future. However, I’m not sure the Tigers would be interested in using Brantly to compliment Avila since Brantly also bats LH and I think the organization prefers to have a RH catcher on the bench known more for glove than bat. Brantly is opposite in both respects. My guess is that he might very well be gone at the trade deadline.
Kelvin De La Cruz – De La Cruz is the lone starting pitcher that holds any promise. The Tigers picked him up through waivers from the Indians and added him to the 40-man roster. He’s a hard throwing lefty that has shown the ability to strike batters out. Despite 6+ years in the minors between rookie leagues and AA, he’s only 22. So far, in 14.1 IP, he’s sporting a 12K/5BB ratio and has given up 10H. He has a 3.14 ERA and WHIP of 1.05. I’m not sure if the Tigers see him as a legit candidate to start or if the bullpen might be in his future with our depth at SP. I’d be surprised to see him this season, but he’s on the 40-man, so there’s certainly reason to believe the organization likes him.
Tyler Stohr – He’s also on the 40-man and a member of our 2008 draft class. During steady advancement through the minors, he’s shown an ability to strike out nearly a batter per inning, but control has been suspect at times. In 8 innings of work so far, he’s got 8K/5BB and has given up only 4H. The righty has an era of 1.13 and WHIP of 1.13.
That’s it folks. Sorry, but the organization just doesn’t have much at this level . I’m not sure that too many of the guys on Erie’s roster will be in the organization at all if next season if the kids from Lakeland keep pushing the way they are now. Let me know if there's somebody in Erie that I should be watching more closely. Otherwise, expect a much more fun outlook when I examine Lakeland in the near future.