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Alexander unhittable again for Connecticut

Tigers lefty has allowed two hits over first four scoreless career starts
July 19, 2015

If the early returns are any indication, the Detroit Tigers may have found a hidden gem in Tyler Alexander.

Detroit's second-round pick in this year's Draft hurled three hitless innings with a walk and three strikeouts Sunday as Class A Short Season Connecticut fell short against Hudson Valley, 3-2, at Sen. Thomas J. Dodd Memorial Stadium. He threw 36 pitches, 26 for strikes.

"He was able to get ahead of guys," Tigers pitching coach Carlos Chantres said. "He got ahead of eight out of the 10 hitters he faced. He worked down in the zone and pitched in with his fastball well, and he was able to get the slider over consistently. He threw a little more of the fastball … but he also used the slider and changeup very well."

Alexander, who made his professional debut on July 2, produced the second hitless outing of his brief career in setting down the last nine Renegades' batters he faced after a leadoff walk to Jake Cronenworth. In the southpaw's first four career starts, he has given up a total of two hits and is unscored upon in 13 innings with a 10-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

"You never know with these college guys," Chantres said. "All the reports we got on him were really, really good. But still, it's baseball. You don't know who you're going to get day in and day out. He's been working his butt off going into each start. He's a smart individual. He knows what to do in his routine between games and in his bullpens."

While the 21-year-old's innings have been limited -- and will continue to be -- Chantres said he already likes the confidence he is seeing from his first-year starter.

"He's going out there every game and he's tough," he said. "You see kind of a bulldog mentality from him. He's on a pitch-count type deal, but he goes out there with a good approach. He looks for early contact and then he'll go for the strikeout when he gets a chance."

The Tigers selected Alexander with the No. 65 overall pick out of Texas Christian University. Detroit had picked the 6-foot-3 lefty before, in the 23rd round of the 2013 Draft, but he did not sign with the team and pitched two season for TCU before coming around again.

The selection came as a surprise given that Alexander was not highly rated. Baseball America ranked him the 327th overall prospect prior to the Draft. His fastball velocity runs only in the high 80's to low 90's. Though the Texas native possesses outstanding command -- he walked 21 batters in 193 innings in college -- scouts have questioned whether he has the stuff to justify his Draft position.

Nevertheless, Chantres said he is confident Alexander will be able to navigate his way through Detroit's farm system.

"I do believe he can be successful," the pitching coach said. "It's been a long year for him this year. Obviously, college starts back in January for these guys. I think with the proper rest in this offseason ... with a fresh arm, he's going to gain some velocity. I really do see more from him going forward."

Connecticut third baseman Jose Zambrano went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Nic Wilson led Hudson Valley with two doubles, a single, an RBI and a run scored.

Renegades starter Benton Moss (1-0) scattered four hits over five scoreless innings, striking out three, to earn the win.

Andres Tejada (1-1) gave up two runs on five hits over three innings after taking over for Alexander and took the loss.  

Alex Kraft is a contributor to