OF Tyler Collins, Double-A Erie SeaWolves -- 90 AB, .267/.350/.578/.927; 7 2B, 0 3B, 7 HR, 20 RBI, 10 BB, 17 K, 19 R, 0 SB
His last ten games were one of those kinds of tears that gets everyone all hot and bothered. Consider that at our first stock check, he had a .401 OPS in 25 ABs. Things change when you hit 6 homers and 4 doubles in a week. Collins' 1.463 OPS is a great way of announcing, "Hey guys, I think I'm done adjusting to this league." Also encouraging, his hot streak did not come at the cost of plate discipline (6 BB, 8 K), and it came with the kind of power that he wasn't necessarily expected to have. His 7 homers are as many as he had in all 126 games at Lakeland in 2012. Erie's park is more hitter friendly, but his power has officially become a tool to watch for this year.
OF Austin Schotts, Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps -- 81 AB, .198/.275/.284/.559; 2 RB, 1 3B, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 9 BB, 35 K, 13 R, 6 SB.
Don't let his anemic overall line fool you. He struggled mightily to adjust to the Midwest League, putting up some putrid numbers to start the year. That's starting to change, and he's now getting the ball in play with some authority. With 12 hits in 34 ABs, to go with a double, triple, and homer, Schotts put up a tidy .901 OPS. He's still raw as hell, and he has so much more work to do before anyone can talk about promotions (11 Ks and 1 BB despite the success). For now, weeks like that should keep Schotts in West Michigan and halt any talk about a demotion to short-season ball.
SP Kyle Lobstein, Double-A Erie SeaWolves -- 4-2, 2.91 ERA, 46.1 IP, 42 H, 14 BB, 43 K, .243 BAA
Lobstein pitched a complete game to give Erie the win Tuesday, capping off a brilliant three start run. To be fair, he's be solid all year, but when the Tigers traded Curt Casali to keep him, they were hoping for more than just a solid organizational soldier. In his last three, Lobstein has thrown 24 innings, with 21 K, 6 BB, and only 4 ER. May 2nd was his best start to date, a 7 inning one-hitter with only one unearned run allowed. He's starting to show the upside the Tigers saw, and he's on the verge of becoming a quality SP prospect the Tigers really need in the high minors.
SP Jose Alvarez, Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens -- 1-2, 1.29 ERA, 35 IP, 25 H, 8 BB, 30 K, .195 BAA
Minor league free agents don't typically make prospect noise, especially those with such a pedestrian history as Alvarez. But in 6 Toledo starts, Jose has not been typical. He struggled a little in his first start, ceding 7 hits, 3 runs, and striking out only 1, but he's been completely unhittable since. To be fair, lefties in the minors can pitch extremely well without having much big league projection to go with it (Adam Wilk says hello, from Korea). Nonetheless, the departure of Duane Below has left an opening for "fringe swingman LHP behind the two LHP swingmen on the Tigers." Jose Alvarez has all but filled that role, and while it's not glamorous, it might be enough to get him to the big leagues.
OF Avisail Garcia, Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens -- 16 AB, .563/.563/.563/1.126; 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 2 R, 0 SB
Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers -- 24 AB, .417/.500/.708/1.208; 0 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, 9 R, 2 SB.
Given that he started to season injured, this is a pretty great way to make up for lost time. A hitter blessed with a great hit tool, he's showing it off with a wonderful display of singles. While Dirks has started to come around as of late, continued offensive production that's even remotely at this level will make the Tigers reconsider their LF options. At some point Garcia will need to show some power. Singles are neat and all, but if Garcia is just going to hit like Polanco, it'll be a tremendous waste of his raw strength. Given the monumental gains he's made in the last year, I'd bet on the power showing up really soon.
OF Danry Vasquez, Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps -- 105 AB, .257/.304/.314/.618; 2 RB, 2 3B, 0 HR, 13 RBI, 7 BB, 14 K, 11 R, 7 SB.
Danry has had an up and down season so far, following up great stretches with some not so great. His last 10 fall into the latter category, with a paltry .229 BA in 35 ABs. But as we all know, he is very young for the level, and to his credit, he's managed strikeouts really well. So long as he shows signs of life, there's no reason to downgrade him for a bad week.
OF Daniel Fields, Double-A Erie SeaWolves -- 110 AB, .273/.357/.464/.821; 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 14 BB, 31 K, 22 R, 6 SB.
I can't go an article without mentioning Danny Fields. He's having a strong year despite some flaws, and his recent performance was no different. .310 average, 2 homers, 3 doubles, but 14 strikeouts in 42 AB. As I mentioned before, those strikeouts are really going to have to come down before I can bump him up further. In the meantime, he's continuing to hit well against quality pitching, and that's quite alright.
LHP Logan Ehlers, Single-A West Michigan Whitecaps -- 0-1, 4.70 ERA, 7.2 IP, 11 H, 9 BB, 6 K, .367 BAA
We've talked a little about his assignment to the bullpen, but it's starting to be clear why he hasn't been put in a rotation yet. Ehlers did ok in his first few games, but his last three have been dreadful. 7 hits allowed, 7 walks, and 4 runs in 4 innings won't impress anybody, and Ehlers' performances have been bad enough that a trip to Connecticut is starting to show on the horizon.
C James McCann, Double-A Erie SeaWolves -- 103 AB, .301/.345/.350/.695; 5 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 14 RBI, 8 BB, 20 K, 11 R, 0 SB
The average has been fine, but McCann has shown little else in his career. Given the high hopes placed on him, that's starting to be a problem. Singles are only worth so much, and while his command of the strike zone is decent, it's not exceptional. A .300/.345/.350 catcher has only backup value in the big leagues, and McCann isn't likely to hit .300 in The Show. His last 10 games have been particularly bad, managing only 9 singles and 2 walks in 40 PAs.
LHP Alex Burgos, Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers -- 2-1, 1.47 ERA, 18.1 IP, 13 H, 12 BB, 15 K, .213 BAA
Burgos was a revelation and a high riser after a terrific 2011 campaign in West Michigan, but he hasn't had any control since moving up to Lakeland. Burgos is filling out his body as the Tigers expected, but sometimes growth leads to a loss of command, and Burgos has yet to adjust. The strikeouts indicate the stuff is still working, but in his last 8.1 innings, he's allowed 9 hits, 4 walks, and 3 runs. The walks in particular need to fix themselves sooner than later.
1B Aaron Westlake, Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers -- 124 AB, .274/.313/.387/.700; 9 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 7 BB, 27 K, 0 SB
Westlake was drafted for his big raw power and sound take-and-rake approach. In 2012, his ISO sat at a mild .142. Not terrible for a prospect, but not where it needs to be. He was promoted to Lakeland, but his power never made the trip. His season ISO of .113 includes an anemic .095 mark in his last 10, with only 2 walks to boot. Aaron has two choices here; hit for power, or learn shortstop.