Exactly two months to the day that Michael Gerber and his West Michigan teammates captured the Midwest League Championship, Gerber again found himself hunting for hardware. He and four other Detroit Tigers prospects took the field with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League championship game.
Starting alongside corner infielder Dominic Ficociello, Gerber and the rest of the Eastern Division Champion Scorpions faced off with the Surprise Saguaros for the Arizona Fall League Championship on Saturday. Ficociello grabbed the spotlight, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, a double and an RBI at the plate. Gerber chipped in a single of his own, along with some flashy defense.
Recent 40-man roster addition Montreal Robertson (2-1, 1.84 ERA) saw action in relief for Scottsdale, allowing one run off one hit, striking out one and walking one in an inning of work.
Gerber used his final game in Arizona to show that he has the ability to do more than just hit.
Despite a combined seven errors between the two clubs, nine hits out of the Scottsdale offense proved enough to lift the Scorpions to a 6-4 victory, capturing their third Arizona Fall League Title, their first since 2010.
Australian Baseball League
Despite sitting in fifth place with the Sydney Blue Sox (7-11), Calvin Drummond (1-1, 3.38 ERA) has maintained a consistency that any team would hope for in their closing man. Through eight games with the Blue Sox, the Tigers' 2013 sixth-round pick has notched three of four save opportunities, allowing six runs (three earned) off six hits, and striking out nine through eight innings of work. The 26-year-old righty is currently expected to remain with Sydney until January 2016.
The latest face to surface at Sydney's practices comes in the form of infielder Zach Shepherd. The youngster contributed a key role at third base for Low-A West Michigan in their run to the Midwest League Championship. During the 2015 regular season, Shepherd hit .245/.347/.339 with five home runs and 51 RBI in 114 games, before being sidelined with an injury.
Shepherd is running fielding and hitting practice with the rest of the Blue Sox, though not currently listed on the active roster. Shepherd's activation will require the removal of a player on the active roster, which is expected to take place later in December.
The six-game hit streak for infielder Aaron Sayers was brought to a screeching halt, following a game time injury to his left hand, placing him on reserve for the first place Canberra Cavalry. Sayers is focusing on returning to full strength, and a return date has yet to be confirmed on when he will rejoin the Calvary.
The sixth round of Australian League play begins on November 26.
Caracas Leones - Caracas Venezuela
The Leones and their Tigers prospects saw plenty of activity last week with a plethora of adjustments within the organization. Shortstop Dixon Machado was pulled from the roster after contracting bronchitis, bringing his winter league season to an end. The 23-year-old matched his Triple-A regular season total of four home runs, hitting .295/.403/.486 with 31 hits, eight doubles and 14 RBI in his 29 games with Cacaras.
The Tigers also parted ways with 20-year-old infielder Javier Betancourt as a piece of the trade that brought Francisco Rodriguez to Detroit. The Leones also rotated catcher Franklin Navarro, a native to Miranda Venezuela and free agent outfielder Trayvon Robinson. In 2015, Navarro hit .166/.206/.201 split between Short-Season Connecticut and Low-A West Michigan. Robinson signed a minor league deal with Detroit in July, receiving assignment to Triple-A Toledo where he hit .211/.322/.263 with 32 hits, five doubles and nine RBI in 49 games with Toledo.
The absence of offense was evident on Sunday as the Leones were shut out 12-0, finishing the day 7-for-34 at the plate in the loss.
Additional Winter League Mentions
Surfacing with Detroit as a summer acquisition and the latest addition to the Tigers 40-man roster, Jairo Labourt (0-1, 6.00 ERA) is working as a member of the Gigantes del Cibao pitching staff in the Dominican League. The 6'4 southpaw has seen limited activity, working nine innings through eight games with the Gigantes. Labourt has allowed seven runs (six earned) off 15 hits, striking out seven.
With the Gigantes del Carolina, Joe Jimenez (0-1, 2.84 ERA) has been working his normal closer role. In his eight appearances, Jimenez has fanned seven, allowing a pair of earned runs off three hits with a pair of saves.