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TRIPLE A TOLEDO

Who’s hot …

Ronny Rodriguez, 3B: Who else but Rodriguez? He’s batting a crisp .439 in his last 10 games, which puts a bit more luster on his sizzling season numbers at Toledo: .333 in 61 games, with a .904 OPS. The Tigers rescued Rodriguez from the Indians where, because of their mounds of talent, he had become a minor-league free agent. He is only 26 and already has had a stint with the Tigers. He can play the infield or outfield. It’s that right-handed stick that could yet make him a handyman in the big leagues.

Victor Alcantara, RH reliever: One wonders how long before Alcantara, who was in Detroit for a taste of Tigers life in 2017, returns. In his last 10 games, he has an 0.64 ERA, thanks to having allowed a lone earned run. He is 25, and arrived by way of a trade with that sent Cameron Maybin to the Angels.

Zac Houston, RH reliever: Not a single run allowed in his last 10 games for the Mud Hens, which is especially impressive given that he’s pitched in all of 11 games since he was brought aboard from Double A Erie. Houston was a 2016 pick, 11th round, from Mississippi State. During those past 10 games, Houston has struck out 17 in 11 innings. He has been nicked for four hits.

And who’s not …

Mike Gerber, OF: This hasn’t gone quite as Gerber and the Tigers anticipated. He’s batting only .212 on the year, with a .661 OPS. He’s been hurt and has played in 45 games, so there remains time to make amends. But this hasn’t been the kind of doorstep-to-Detroit season that was anticipated.

More: Daz Cameron and his hot bat among Tiger farm’s top developments

More: Tigers expected to be 'aggressive' in signing international talent

DOUBLE A ERIE

Who’s hot …

Daz Cameron, OF: He was hitless Saturday, which classified as a news bulletin, given that Cameron is batting .375 in the 12 games since being pushed to Erie from Single A Lakeland. Cameron is 21, bats right-handed, and of course was one of the star prospects in last August’s trade that made Justin Verlander an Astros celebrity.

Harold Castro, SS: He’s only 24, so you can keep chronology in mind in not writing off Castro, who is hitting .368 in his last 10 games. Castro, however, gets only a rare extra-base hit, and bear in mind he played 30 games at Toledo this year, where he batted .295, before being returned to the SeaWolves.

Kyle Funkhouser, RH starter: Really a comfortable pitcher these days, which is good news for the Tigers and for an upper-tier prospect. He has a 2.70 ERA in his last 10 starts, and is averaging just over a strikeout per inning.

Matt Hall, LH reliever: That curveball is fierce – and it could yet be his corridor to the big leagues. Hall, 24, has an 0.75 ERA in his last 10 games. The Tigers moved him to a relief niche and it has been working for all parties. He was a sixth-round draft pick in 2015 after pitching at Missouri State. Hall has 58 strikeouts in 44.2 innings. He has allowed 27 hits.

And who’s not …

A.J. Simcox, SS: Tough times for Simcox, who last week was moved to Single A Lakeland. It’s what happens when you’re batting .211 at Double A, with a .536 OPS.

SINGLE A LAKELAND

Who’s hot …

Isaac Paredes, SS: This is news the Tigers, and Paredes fans, can mutually appreciate. He is only 19 and ranks as one of the Tigers’ more luminous position prospects. Now the bat is beginning to warm: .424 in his last 10 games. Paredes is a right-handed hitter and, along with Jeimer Candelario, was part of the Tigers’ return when they sent Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Cubs.

Troy Montgomery, OF: The good news: Montgomery is batting .412 in his last 10 games for the Flying Tigers. The bad news: He hit only .227 at Double A before the Tigers decided a couple of weeks ago that Montgomery needed retooling at Lakeland. He was part of the trade package that sent Ian Kinsler to the Angels.

Wladimir Pinto, RH reliever: He’s only 20, and he’s fresh from an upgrade after beginning the year at Single A West Michigan. Numbers explain the promotion: In his last three games, spanning 4.2 innings, Pinto has eight strikeouts, has not allowed a hit, and has walked one. He’s 5-11, 170, and was signed out of Maracay, Venezuela.

Alfred Gutierrez, RH reliever: He just turned 23, so it would behoove Gutierrez to migrate north, as rapidly as possible, which could happen if his Lakeland numbers become a pattern. Gutierrez in his last 10 games has a 1.65 ERA. He has pled guilty to all of 18 hits in 32.2 innings, while striking out 36. He is 6-1, 200, and was signed out of Nueva Esparta, Venezuela.

And who’s not …

Derek Hill, OF: One wonders if the Tigers and Hill might have some serious post-season conversations about Hill’s future. He’s batting .176 in his last 10 games. It has not happened, offensively, with anything close to promise for a past Tigers first-round draft pick.

SINGLE A WEST MICHIGAN

Who’s hot …

Reynaldo Rivera, OF/1B: Not bad at all, a .286 run the past 10 games for a man who just turned 21 and who carries an .810 OPS for the Whitecaps. He’s a long way from Tipperary, which doesn’t yet have a big-league franchise, and is just as far from Detroit. But the Tigers aren’t in any hurry with a 6-foot-6, 250-pound, left-handed hitter who is progressing. Rivera last year was the Tigers’ second-round draft pick out of a junior college in Florida’s panhandle.

Dane Myers, RH starter: Mostly because he was hurt for six weeks, it has been a quiet first professional season for Myers, who was a sixth-round grab last year out of Rice. He has a 2.91 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in eight games. And there’s some potential in Myers, for sure.

And who’s not …

Joey Morgan, C: The Tigers have a ton of young catchers, but not many are hitting. Captain Morgan’s rumpled numbers: .129 batting average in his last 10 games. Also: Cole Peterson, SS: One of the Whitecaps’ best ongoing stories in 2018 has, as was inevitable, experienced quite the dip: .086 in his last 10 games. Peterson was a 13th-round pick last year out of St. Bonaventure.

SINGLE A CONNECTICUT

Who’s hot …

Isrrael De La Cruz, SS: He’s only 21 and was signed as a teen out of the Dominican Republic. And in 10 games for manager Gerald Laird’s gang, this switch-hitter is batting .324, with a .945 OPS. He’s 6-foot, 150.

Gio Arriera, RH starter: Focus on his last start to get a sense for what might be ahead from a fourth-round draft pick (2017, Palm Beach State Junior College): 5.2 innings, three hits, no runs, eight strikeouts. Arriera, who is only 20, is 6-2, 220. And it would be worthwhile for minor-league bird dogs to keep watch.

And who’s not …

Hector Martinez, 2B: Not a lot of fun, batting .083 in your last 10 games. Martinez is counting on better summer days ahead. Martinez is 21 and resides in the Dominican Republic.

GULF COAST LEAGUE (EAST)

Who’s hot …

Sandel De La Cruz, RH reliever: Not a bad three-game start for De La Cruz: 11 strikeouts in 7.2 innings, and only five hits. He’s a bit advanced for GCL at 21, but the arm’s there for this prospect out of the Dominican Republic.

And who’s not …

Kevynn Arias, C: He was signed as a 40th-rounder out of Montreal last month and has not been acclimating instantly to professional baseball: .100 in five games.

GULF COAST LEAGUE (WEST)

Who’s hot …

Pedro Hurtado, C: He’s 19 and has started smartly: .308, with an .819 OPS in his first five games. Hurtado is a switch-hitter and was signed out of Venezuela.

And who’s not …

Bairon De La Rosa, RH starter: One game, so the De La Rosa family is not exactly conducting novenas. But this was a rocky day indeed for a 21-year-old gent who was scalded in a five-inning start during which home plate appeared to be an apparition: 13 walks, eight hits, a hit batter and, oh, the humanity.

 

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