August 17, 2014 at 1:00 am

Tigers minor league report: James McCann still hitting ahead of September call-up

Catching prospect James McCann was a second-round pick by the Tigers in the 2011 draft. (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)

Triple A Toledo

Who’s hot …

James McCann, C: Good hitting apparently is a permanent state for McCann, at least while he works at Triple A, which won’t be for much longer. He has slammed three home runs in his last 10 games. On the season, McCann, 24, is hitting .309, with an .802 OPS. He is expected to join the Tigers during their September drive. He bats right-handed and is 6 feet, 2 inches and 210 pounds.

Hernan Perez, IF: .357 in his last 10 games, .280 on the season. Not a dazzler on offense, but is only 23, and the Tigers believe he will play big-league ball, somewhere, soon.

Jose Ortega, RH reliever: Has been with Detroit before, and might be headed back the way the Lazy Susan has spun between Toledo and Comerica Park. In his last 10 games, Ortega has a 3.38 ERA. In his last three games, Ortega, 25, has struck out seven in 413 innings. Alas, he also has walked four.

Duane Below, LH starter: Could always be a rotation replacement for a Tigers team that understands Robbie Ray requires further work at Triple A. Below, a one-time Tigers pitcher, has been sharp in his last four starts, spanning 25 innings: 1.80 ERA. Below is 28 and grew up in Britton.

And who’s not …

Mud Hens deserve a break this week — and get one.

Double A Erie

Who’s hot …

Dean Green, DH/1B: .333 in his last 10 games, even if Green has hit only one home run in that stretch and has just seven on the season. He is 6-4, 255, bats left-handed, and was an 11th-round pick in 2011 (Barry University). On the season, Green is hitting .323, with an .831 OPS.

Dixon Machado, SS: Could be batting his way back into contention as a serious prospect, which he was before last year’s hitting tumble. Machado in his last 10 games is hitting .370 and .279 on the season. He is 22, and is 6-1, 170. Machado is from San Cristobal, Venezuela.

Angel Nesbitt, RH reliever: Continues to act as if Detroit is in his 2015 plans. Nesbitt, 23, has a 2.31 ERA in his last 10 games and an opposing batting average in August of .167. He is 6-1, 237, and was signed out of Maracay, Venezuela.

And who’s not …

Steven Moya, RF: A slump was inevitable, and it has arrived: .184 in his last 10 games. Moya, 22, leads the Eastern League with 30 home runs. He is 6-6, 230, and bats left-handed.

Single A Lakeland

Who’s hot …

Harold Castro, 2B: Maintaining his revival since he was returned to everyday action following a mind-cleansing hiatus. Castro, 20, is batting .325 in his last 10 games and .327 in the 44 games he has played for the Flying Tigers. If this continues, Castro could find his way back onto the top-prospects dais. He is 6-foot, 165, and bats left-handed. He was signed out of Caracas, Venezuela.

Connor Harrell, OF: Has quietly had a nice summer at Lakeland, especially during August (.354). Harrell, 23, is batting .268 on the year after the Tigers made him a seventh-round draft pick (Vanderbilt).

And who’s not …

Kenton St. John, LH starter: He was a 32nd-round draft pick in June (University of South Alabama) and has not had a pleasant transition at Lakeland: eight starts, 5.67 ERA, 54 hits in 3923 innings, with 18 strikeouts and 15 walks.

Single A West Michigan

Who’s hot …

Wynton Bernard, OF: .325 in his last 10 games and .330 on the season for a 35th-round pick in 2012 originally signed by the Padres. He was released and signed in March by the Tigers. He is 6-2, 200, bats right-handed, and played college baseball at Niagara.

Kevin Ziomek, LH starter: Could be a huge mover in 2015 the way he has caught fire in his first full year of professional baseball. Ziomek, in 21 starts for the Whitecaps, has a 2.27 ERA and a .199 opposing batting average. During the past month opposing hitters have batted .151. He was a second-round pick in 2013 (Vanderbilt).

Zac Reininger, RH reliever: 1.45 ERA in his last 10 games alongside of a punishing season WHIP of 1.03. Reininger in his last 1823 innings has struck out 21 batters, walked five, and allowed 13 hits. He was an eighth-round pick in 2013 (Hill Junior College) and is 6-3, 170.

And who’s not …

Francisco Contreras, 3B: .152 in his last 10 games, .224 on the season (.578 OPS). Contreras, 22, bats right-handed, is listed at 6-1, 180.

Single A Connecticut

Who’s hot …

Johan Belisario, RH reliever: Absolutely destroying batters a few days after he turned 21. Belisario, in his last 10 games, has not allowed a run. On the season: 5-0 in 15 games, with a 0.65 ERA. His WHIP is .083. Opponent batting average: .172. Belisario is 5-11, 165, and was signed out of Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela.

And who’s not …

Joey Pankake, 3B: He was cooking during his early weeks at Connecticut but hasn’t been enjoying his last 10 starts: .162. On the season, Pankake, a seventh-round pick in June (University of South Carolina) is batting .299.

Gulf Coast League (Rookie)

Who’s hot …

Orvin Tovar, RF: .357 in his last 10 games, which was the result of a demotion following some not-so-happy times at Single A Connecticut (.179 in 10 games). Tovar, who earlier this month turned 21, is 5-11, 180, and bats right-handed. Another of the Tigers’ Venezuelan recruits.

Arvicent Perez, C: He is only 20, was signed out of Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and is batting .385 in his last 10 games, and .321 on the season (35 games at West Michigan and GCL). Perez is 5-10, 178, and bats right-handed.

Carlos Lara, RH starter/reliever: Another pitcher on the tender side (20), Lara in 11 games is 5-0 with a 2.87 ERA, and a 1.25 WHIP. He has 41 strikeouts in 3723 innings. Lara is 6-2, 170.

And who’s not …

Gerson Moreno, RH reliever: 1.91 WHIP and .296 opposing batting average in 11 games and 1913 innings. Moreno, who is 18, has been slapped for 24 hits, has struck out 14 and walked 13. He was signed out of Yamasa, Dominican Republic.