Sodders, Burrows provide solace for Tigers
This offseason, MiLB.com will be honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organizations. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League Baseball.It was a rough year at the Major League level for
This offseason, MiLB.com will be honoring the players -- regardless of age or prospect status -- who had the best seasons in their organizations. We're taking a look at each team to determine the outstanding seasons in Minor League Baseball.
It was a rough year at the Major League level for Detroit as the 64-98 Tigers said farewell to longtime ace Justin Verlander, bringing back 19-year-old right-hander
At the Minor League level, Triple-A Toledo finished a game under .500 at 70-71 and missed the playoffs, as did Double-A Erie (65-75), Class A Advanced Lakeland (62-66), Class A Short Season Connecticut (37-35) and the Rookie-level GCL Tigers (East went 14-45 and the West squad finished 29-28). Class A West Michigan lost in the first round of the Midwest League playoffs to Dayton.
Tigers Organization All-Stars
"Doc is a tremendous leader. He's a guy who can lead a pitching staff," said Dave Owen, the Tigers' director of player development. "On top of that, he had a nice year offensively. He's just did a great job for us. A solid baseball player, a guy you love having on your staff. Pitchers like throwing to him, and he goes out and does a really nice job."
First baseman --
"Blaise did a very nice job between two levels. He had a solid performance," said Owen. "He's a guy that's just a good teammate, he plays the game the right way, plays it hard, shows up every day -- a very professional young man."
Second baseman --
"Chad did a very nice job for us," said Owen. "First full year, just kind of came into it as a guy who can swing it. He can play third and short and he's got a lot of time at second. He even got a few games in the outfield, so he's able to play multiple positions and he had a very nice year swinging the bat. He showed a little power."
Honorable mention: Other second baseman worth noting include
"He's a very athletic shortstop, obviously a kid that can stay at short," Owen said. "He's out there in Arizona now and had a good game this week -- couple hits, hit the ball hard four times. So he's a kid that's had a lot of growth. We're expecting good things out of A.J."
Third baseman --
"I like them both, obviously, and Kody is also out in the Fall League. But Josh had a nice year -- his stats say it all," said Owen. "And Josh is able to play third and first and we can swing him around to both those places. Josh did a nice job getting himself in shape, and his performance showed it, so he had a nice developmental year. We look forward to seeing what happens as he continues."
"No doubt about it, he had some swing and miss, but his power is undeniable," Owen said. "Back-to-back years with 20-plus home runs -- he can generate some pop. Power to all fields, and he continues to develop as a defensive player. Offense is his calling card, and we continue to work with Stew and expect really good things."
"Very versatile athlete, he can play all outfield positions. He's solid at all three but probably more of a natural corner guy," Owen said. "He's able to play center, he runs well, can swing the bat and had a very solid year again. He's a good all-around player."
"Gibby had a good developmental year also -- he started out in West Michigan and ended up in Lakeland and he's in the AFL for us again," Owen said. "It's a matter of continuing forward with Gibby as he develops as a hitter. A lot of talent there, and we're looking forward to watching him develop."
"He's a power, power bat. This guy can really swing," said Owen. "He has swing and miss in him, but he can bring the bat through the zone. Big pop. We're going to continue to work on his defense as he gets comfortable at first and third, but the bat's gonna tell where this guy plays. He can really swing it. We'd like him at first base, but we're working him at third. He's a great kid, a hard-working young man."
Right-handed starting pitcher --
"Beau has made some really nice strides," Owen said. "We got him in Double-A as a 20-year-old, he's on the rise and doing some good things. He's a baseball player -- he's smart. He has a power fastball, throws all four -- a curve, slider and change -- and his curveball really looks good. He's got a good changeup, so we may settle in with those three. He's a bulldog on the mound, and you hear that a lot, but he really competes and it was nice to see him being that pitcher and at that level."
Left-handed starting pitcher --
"Austin does a very nice job. He continues to improve his curveball, has a good changeup and he's got the mix and he's got the wherewithal to know how to pitch," Owen said. "He's got some deception in his delivery, which is a bonus, but this guy, he's a sharp guy and we're going to keep challenging and see how it goes."
"He started at [Class] A and ended at Triple-A -- pretty good year," Owen said. "Very professional, he comes to work, he's a businessman. He has his fun but he's business. He's got a really good fastball he can locate, a hard slider, changeup, movement -- he really looks like he'll be an exciting kid to watch. He'll probably start at Triple-A and obviously the state of the big league team will determine who goes up, but Bryan will give himself a chance. He knows what he's doing on the mound."
Danny Wild is an editor for MiLB.com. Follow his MLBlog column, Minoring in Twitter.