Tigers minor league report: Krol pitching for return

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News


17-25, 4th Place, International League West

Who's hot …

Ian Krol, LH reliever: Krol soon should be reinforcing the Tigers bullpen. He hasn't allowed a run in nine games spanning 10.1innings. The breakdown: three hits, 11 strikeouts, five walks, 0.77 WHIP, .094 opposing batting average. Krol earlier this month turned 24.

Buck Farmer, RH starter: He was the obvious choice to replace Justin Verlander's rotation fill-in, Kyle Lobstein, when Lobstein went on the disabled list Sunday. Farmer probably has the best developed three-pitch package of any Tigers starting prospect. He is averaging almost a strikeout per inning (50 in 51.1), has allowed 41 hits and has walked 19. He is 6-4, 225, and was a fifth-round pick in 2013 (Georgia Tech).

And who's not …

Xavier Avery, OF: He was carrying much of the Mud Hens offense for a spell, but is batting .171 in his last 10 games. Avery, 25, was signed as a minor-league free agent in November after a long haul with the Orioles.


16-26, 6th place Eastern League West

Who's hot …

Dean Green, DH/1B: Green is looking more serious by the week. He's batting .308 in his last 10 games, .353 on the season, with four home runs, six doubles, and a .932 OPS (.428 on-base percentage, 17 walks in 32 games). He is 6-4, 255, and was an 11th-round pick in 2011 (Barry University).

Wynton Bernard, OF: Another guy you can't dismiss. Bernard, 24, and a right-handed batter, is hitting .395 in his last 10 games and .314 for the year. He is 6-2, 195, and was signed as a minor-league free agent in March of 2014. Had a previous life in the Padres organization.

And who's not …

Edgar De La Rosa, RH reliever: It was supposed to have been a breakout season for De La Rosa, 24, who is a whopper of a mound presence at 6-8, 235. But he has been going south, way south: 15 unintentional walks in 16.2 innings to go with 21 hits, which is how you end up with a 7.56 ERA and 2.34 WHIP.


21-22, 4th Place Florida State League North

Who's hot …

Javier Betancourt, 2B: Beginning to happen for a 20-year-old (May 8) who is playing at a level above the chronological norm. Betancourt, who is batting .306 in his last 10 games, bats right-handed, stands 6-foot, weighs 180, and was signed out of Venezuela in 2011.

Curt Powell, 2B: .314 in his last 10 games and .318 for the year, with an .810 OPS. Powell is 24, bats right-handed, and was a 21st-round pick (Georgia) in 2013.

Dominic Ficociello, 1B: Making progress a couple of years after the Tigers drafted him in the 12th round (Arkansas). He's a switch-hitter, 23, and is knocking the ball at a .310 clip in his last 10 games, .306 for the season.

Paul Voelker, RH RP: Really a good spring for Voelker, 22, a 10th-round pick last June from Dallas Baptist. Has worked 15 games (23 innings) at West Michigan and Lakeland, to where he was promoted earlier this month. Has this to show: 1.96 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 12 hits, 31 strikeouts, five walks. He's on the slighter side: 5-10, 185.

And who's not …

Jonathan Maciel, RH starter: Eight starts and a 5.53 ERA, mostly due to 55 hits in 40.2 innings, with 19 strikeouts and 10 walks. He was an 18th-round pick in 2013 (Long Beach State).


22-22, 5th Place Midwest League Eastern

Who's hot …

Zac Shepherd, OF: Shepherd is only 19 and Tigers have liked his upside — a lot. In last 10 games, Shepherd, who is 6-3, 185, and bats right-handed, is hitting .382. On the season, is batting .276, with a .735 OPS. He's a native of Sydney, Australia, signed in 2012.

Gabe Speier, LH reliever: Tigers got him as part of the Rick Porcello trade with the Red Sox and he quietly has been doing nice work at West Michigan, spanning 12 games and 16 innings: 14 hits, 18 strikeouts, six walks. Speier turned 20 in April and was a 19th-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2013.

And who's not …

Josh Heddinger, RH reliever: Uncomfortable spring for Heddinger, a 14th-round pick in 2014 (Georgia Tech): 7.76 ERA in 11 games, with a menacing 2.21 WHIP, all due to 39 hits and 20 walks in 26.2 innings.

Pitcher Ian Krol was sent to Triple A Toledo April 23.