IL notes: Hens' Lennerton breaking out

Tigers first base prospect among league leaders with .443 OBP

By John Wagner / Special to | June 10, 2013 6:00 AM ET

When the 2013 season began, Jordan Lennerton wasn't considered one of Detroit's top prospects.

But the 27-year-old first baseman has put together some eye-popping numbers that have improved his stock -- both inside and outside the Tigers organization.

Lennerton begins the week ranked fifth in the International League with a .339 batting average. He hit in 18 straight games through May 29, a streak that's tied for the longest in the IL this season.

What's more, Lennerton isn't just collecting hits, he's hitting with power. He has 11 home runs and 34 RBIs to rank among the team leaders in both categories and has a .536 slugging percentage.

"I'm seeing [the ball] well and I feel very comfortable," Lennerton said. "I've spent time with 'Bull' [Toledo hitting coach Leon Durham] in the batting cage and I'm happy where everything is.

"We worked more on my rhythm than mechanics. He wants to make sure I'm moving in the right direction and at the right time."

Lennerton also is third in the league with 44 walks, a key reason he has a .443 on-base percentage.

"He's hitting in the .340s because he's taking his walks and not swinging at bad pitches," Durham said. "That's the sign of a guy who has a plan and is not going away from his plan, trying to force something."

The walks also have helped Lennerton craft a string of 40 games in which he's reached base, the longest streak in the IL this season. It's also the longest in organized baseball, regardless of level.

"He's been doing it since April," Durham said. "When he has a 'bad' day, it seems like it's a 1-for-3 with two other quality at-bats.

"He really hasn't had a point where he has struggled. He's keeping it simple. He's not pressing to get hits and he's not pressing to hit home runs."

The best example of Lennerton's approach came in an at-bat against Syracuse's Ross Ohlendorf on May 19. With a runner on third base and one out, he fought through a 12-pitch at-bat that ended with him slamming a two-run homer to straightaway center.

"He threw me a couple of fastballs in earlier at-bats and I felt I was on them," Lennerton said of Ohlendorf. "When the count was 2-2, he threw the breaking ball down and I just kept fighting.

"He kept challenging me and challenging me. He threw a couple of good fastballs up in the zone, but I managed to put good swings on them and foul them off. Then he threw me a changeup that I was able to stay on and drive."

In brief

McDade gets McMoving: Mike McDade began the season with Columbus, batting .230 with no homers and seven RBIs in 21 games. Since his move to Charlotte in early May, his bat has perked up. McDade is hitting .289 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 26 games with the Knights and begins the week with a 10-game hitting streak.

Super Nova: While RHP Ivan Nova may have struggled with the Yankees this season, he had no problems in his first start for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on June 5. Nova, who was 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA in six appearances for New York, allowed two hits and two walks while striking out six over six shutout innings in the RailRiders' 8-0 win over Syracuse.

He said it: "I remember [it was in 2004] because I went 5-for-5 [for Double-A Frisco]. I called my mom and she told me, 'Good job, but [Alfonso] Soriano went 6-for-6. So keep swinging it.'" -- Bulls OF Jason Bourgeois to the Durham Herald-Sun on June 3 when asked if he remembered the last time he had five hits in a game. Bourgeois went 5-for-6 with a homer, two RBIs and three runs scored in a 15-2 win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

He said it, part II: "[Phillippe Aumont] is a work in progress, that's the best way I can put it. If he was throwing strikes and commanding the baseball, he wouldn't be here and we wouldn't be going through these stages. The best remedy and the best recipe for him is, we're going to continue running him out there and eventually he's going to get it, because he got it before." -- IronPigs manager Dave Brundage to the (Allentown) Morning Call. Aumont, assigned to Lehigh Valley in late May, walked 12 over his first 4 2/3 innings with the IronPigs and had a 11.57 ERA before a good effort against Charlotte on June 8. In that game, he retired all five hitters he faced, striking out four, to lower his ERA to 8.53 in seven games.

John Wagner is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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