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Take a look at those minor league numbers, now five years old, and it becomes clearer why the Tigers cannot ignore, forget, or for a moment take lightly the bat of Dean Green.

He arrived this spring at Lakeland, Florida, hoping to make the Triple A Toledo roster after finishing fourth in hitting in the Eastern League in 2014, where he batted .311 for Double A Erie.

That .311 average was exactly his score after four seasons in the Tigers system: .311. This season for the SeaWolves he's hitting .341 in 38 games, with a hefty OPS of .962.

When you hit line drives to all fields, when you have seven home runs, and when you are a 6-foot-4, 255-pound left-handed batter, teams take note, particularly when a certain team in Detroit is as needy of hitters of any flavor, particularly the left-handed genre.

That's even more true, perhaps, if one of those guys can fill in at first base, or as a designated hitter, or, yes, as a regular bench option.

"I don't want to jump the gun on him, given the opportunities to yet play at Triple A, or at some point at the big league level, but I don't think he would disappoint people," said Erie manager Lance Parrish, speaking of potential roster roles for a batter of Green's style. "He's a solid enough hitter."

Bruce Fields, the Tigers' roving minor league batting instructor, was on hand for Sunday's game featuring the SeaWolves at Akron, where rain had made a mess of a weekend series.

Fields agrees: Dean, 25, and an Oklahoma native, has a brand of bat that could in time make him a handy big league option in any niche.

"I would say, yes, I can foresee it, all because he has a low-maintenance swing," Fields said, speaking specifically of even a bench role when Green's natural position, first base, is filled by a man named Miguel Cabrera, and when a DH slot for the next four seasons is in the custody of Victor Martinez.

"It's not like there are a lot of moving parts that would be issues with timing. He has a low-maintenance swing that he can repeat, without having to play every day. That's what makes him intriguing to me."

Green is Parrish's primary DH, a spot best-suited to a man who isn't as skilled, defensively, as the SeaWolves' regular first baseman, James Robbins.

His heavyweight on-base percentage (.419) is another plus, Parrish and Fields agree, all because Green knows the strike zone. It was one of the traits the Tigers liked when they made him an 11th-round pick in 2011 after a stint at Barry University, in Miami Shores, Fla.

"He's a big guy who's got a pretty good idea about hitting — he knows how to get the barrel of the bat on the ball," said Parrish, who managed Green in 113 games last season at Erie. "I only had him last year, but if you look at his record, he's hit pretty well everywhere he's been.

"Now he's starting to get some lift on the ball. He's got seven home runs right now, but what you see is that he's just a good hitter who uses the whole field. He's got a pretty good idea at the plate every time he's up there. He can hit any pitch, he studies pitchers and tries to figure out how they're going to work him, how he's got to set up at the plate.

"For a big man, he runs pretty well. And he plays decent at first base. Not a Gold Glove, but he catches everything and fields everything. I have no issues putting him over there."

Parrish also appreciates Green's personality. Green had hoped to play this season at Toledo. But the Tigers wanted Jordan Lennerton there and believed Green wouldn't suffer from a repeat season at Double A.

Parrish said Green's response was laudable.

"He said you won't hear a peep out of me," Parrish recalled. "I'll tell you, he's just a great person, a quality guy."

Fields said the next step for Green will be to become even more aggressive in select situations.

"We want him to hunt pitches, especially in hitters' counts, that he can drive," Fields said, "instead of settling for a line drive to left. Hey, let's be even more productive. Let's get into some pitches, especially when the opportunity presents itself. And that's what he's doing a better job of doing."

lynn.henning@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/Lynn_Henning

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