Wednesday was a busy day around the Detroit Tigers organization. On top of the usual game action, there were also a litany of players moved between levels of the system. There were also a few players released, and one PED suspension that will make you question the efficacy of such chemicals. We’ll cover them all after we catch you up on all the day’s minor league action. But the biggest move can’t wait.
Outfielder Riley Greene, the Tigers’ first round pick in the 2019 MLB draft, has been promoted to Single-A West Michigan. He should give the Whitecaps’ offense a little boost over the final month of the minor league season. In 125 at-bats between Gulf Coast League and New York-Penn League action, Greene has posted a combined .847 OPS with three home runs.
Buffalo Bisons 7, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (box)
The Mud Hens went with another bullpen day on Wednesday, and it didn’t go well. Frank Schwindel singled home Ronny Rodriguez in the second inning to give the Hens an early lead, and “starter” Zac Reininger held the Bisons off the board for three innings. Unfortunately, relievers Jose Fernandez and Victor Alcantara got clobbered in the middle innings, allowing a combined seven runs to put this one out of reach. Rodriguez plated Christin Stewart with a single for the Hens final run in the sixth.
Schwindel: 3-4, RBI
Rodriguez: 2-3, 2B, R, RBI, BB
Reininger: 3.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 3 SO
Coming up next: Edwin Jackson (1-2, 5.40 ERA) starts against the Bison on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Erie SeaWolves 10, Portland Sea Dogs 4 (box)
Tarik Skubal is an assassin, folks. For five more innings on Wednesday, the Tigers’ ninth round pick in the 2018 draft continued his assault on minor league hitters. Skubal allowed one hit, and punched out 10 in a scoreless, 66-pitch outing. He opened the game up with six consecutive strikeouts and didn’t allow a hit until a double with two outs in the fourth inning. That was all the Sea Dogs could manage against him.
The Tigers are clearly trying to limit Skubal’s workload at this point; he has pitched 131 2⁄3 innings this season after being lightly used in relief after the draft last year. The Tigers have been careful with the lefty as he continued to build back up from Tommy John surgery. That care has paid fantastic dividends. Don’t expect to see many more starts from him, but the 22-year-old has been the breakout star in the system, and probably among all minor league pitchers this year. He’s also on pace to finish strong. In only one of Skubal’s six starts at the Double-A level has he failed to punch out 10 or more hitters.
Unlike most of Skubal’s outings, the SeaWolves’ offense wasn’t thrown for a loop watching the suffering of so many hitters from their vantage points around the diamond. They jumped out to an early lead via RBI singles from Jose Azocar and Josh Lester in the first inning, and then blew the Sea Dogs away in the middle innings. Derek Hill had a five-hit game, while Isaac Paredes posted a four-hit game of his own. Anthony Castro was bounced back to relief again and struggled, allowing all four of the Sea Dogs’ runs in the sixth inning.
Hill: 5-6, 2B, 2 R, RBI
Paredes: 4-6, 2 R, 3 RBI
Azocar: 2-6, HR, R, 3 RBI, 2 SO
Skubal (W, 1-1): 5.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 10 SO
Coming up next: Alex Faedo (6-6, 3.99 ERA) gets the ball against the Sea Dogs at noon on Thursday.
Lakeland Flying Tigers 9, Tampa Tarpons 2 (box)
Garrett Hill one-hit the Tarpons for seven innings on Wednesday, and the offense erupted early as the Flygers cruised to victory. Kody Clemens got things started by bouncing one over the wall in center field for an RBI ground rule double in the first inning. Brady Policelli followed later in the innings with a squeeze bunt to plate Chad Sedio. The offense came back to the dish in the third and dropped seven runs on the Tarpons to bury them. Clemens and Policelli cracked RBI doubles, while a two-run triple from Reece Hampton was the biggest blow of the inning. Hill took it from there, collecting routine fly outs while striking out five to three walks issued. Max Green allowed a pair of late runs to lose the shutout.
Policelli: 4-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, SO
Clemens: 2-4, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB, SO
Sedio: 4-4, 2B, 2 R, RBI, BB
Hill (W, 5-4): 7.0 IP, H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO
Coming up next: Action moves to Kissimmee on Thursday, as the Flying Tigers take on the Florida Fire Frogs at noon.
West Michigan Whitecaps 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1 (box)
Hugh Smith returned to action with a shortened rehab start, and he and Robbie Welhaf had little trouble with the Hot Rods. Smith went three innings and did allow a solo shot while walking three batters. Welhaf dominated, allowing just three hits over the final six frames while punching out five. Daniel Reyes stayed hot, singling home Andre Lipcius in the second inning, while Zach Malis launched a sacrifice fly later in the inning to plate catcher Cooper Johnson. Johnson then mashed his second homer for the ‘Caps in the fourth, giving them all the runs they’d need.
Reyes: 2-3, RBI
Johnson: 1-2, HR, 2 R, RBI
Lipcius: 1-3, R, BB, SO
Welhaf (W, 4-6): 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, BB, 5 SO
Closer look at the home run swing from tonight for #Tigers Cooper Johnson with his second professional home run of the year.— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) August 8, 2019
This is a nice stroke. @OleMissBSB pic.twitter.com/EiSgF2PkuI
Coming up next: Gio Arriera (3-8, 6.78 ERA) gets the start on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.
Connecticut Tigers 3, Aberdeen IronBirds 0 (F/5) (box)
Right-hander Keider Montero continues to impress for the Tigers. Thus far your humble prospect writer’s favorite arm for the Connecticut Tigers, Montero dominated the IronBirds before rain cut the game short after the requisite five innings. Montero punched out eight in five innings of work, allowing four hits and two walks and was effective at spotting a lively heater to both sides of the plate. It’s hard to get a great read on these guys in Connecticut, but a powerful, balanced delivery with good extension, a low-to-mid 90s fastball, and a surprisingly nasty looking hook with tilt, all have Montero creeping onto our radar.
The billed battle of top prospects between 2019 first overall pick Adley Rutschman and fifth overall pick Riley Greene came to naught as neither posted a hit in this one. Kingson Liniak led off the bottom of the first with a single, advanced to third on a Jose King double, and scored on a wild pitch. Catcher Eliezer Alfonzo continued to produce, lashing a double to right to score King, and eventually scored on a Kona Quiggle single to make it 3-0.
Alfonzo: 1-2, 2B, R, RBI
King: 1-2, 2B, R
Liniak: 1-2, R
Montero (W, 1-1): 5.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO
Coming up next: The Tigers head to Brooklyn on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. ET start with the Cyclones.
- West Michigan Whitecaps first baseman Rey Rivera has been suspended without pay for 80 games after testing positive for Trenbolone. It wasn’t helping.
- OF Riley Greene has been promoted to Single-A West Michigan.
- 3B Nick Quintana has been transferred to the Connecticut Tigers.
- RHP Spenser Watkins has been moved back to Toledo from Advanced-A Lakeland.
- OF Ulrich Bojarski has been promoted from West Michigan to Advanced-A Lakeland.
- RHP Hugh Smith reinstated off the injured list to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
- C Sam McMillan reinstated off the injured list to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
- OF Bryant Packard reinstated off the injured list to the West Michigan Whitecaps.
- LHP Austin Sodders, the Tigers seventh rounder in the 2016 draft, has been released.
- Pavin Parks, the Tigers 36th rounder in the 2019 draft out of Kent State, has been suspended 52 games after a positive test for Trenbolone. The suspension is shorter than Rivera’s, as Parks was assigned to the Gulf Coast League.
#Tigers Franklin Perez is not throwing at all right now. Told he’s currently shut down. Have not been told if he’ll try throwing at instructs as of yet.— Emily Waldon (@EmilyCWaldon) August 7, 2019