What went right, wrong, and otherwise during the Tigers farm teams’ first half

Henning: What went right, wrong, and otherwise during the Tigers farm teams’ first half
Full article at link.

Top position player

:arrow_forward: Kevin McGonigle, infielder, Single-A Lakeland: Expect any day now word that McGonigle is destined for those loud crowds at LMCU Ballpark and for a taste of high-Single A life at West Michigan. McGonigle pretty much has finished business at Lakeland, where he is batting .332/.408/.481/.889 and, at age 19, is the best hitter in Detroit’s minor-league realm. McGonigle was the 37th-overall pick in last July’s MLB Draft. He was seen then as perhaps the most skilled prep hitter in America. It’s a status carryover in his first full season with the Tigers. He might or might not stick at shortstop, but it’s the left-handed bat that has him on target for Detroit, possibly as early as 2026.

:arrow_forward: Runners-up: Jace Jung, third base, Triple-A Toledo. Max Clark, outfielder, West Michigan. Jung is swinging a good enough bat, now, to be of possible help in Detroit, where help definitely is needed. But he is apprenticing at third base and has work to do. Also, the Tigers can hold open a vital 40-man roster spot if they keep Jung on the farm through this year. As for Clark, 19, and last season’s first Tigers pick and third-overall grab: He has been hitting — a year out of high school — better than his numbers (.268/.370/.367/.737). His bat-to-ball skills aren’t as strong as McGonigle’s prowess there, but Clark’s bat and overall game are coming along fine.

Best young pitcher

:arrow_forward: Jackson Jobe, right-handed starter, Double-A Erie: Jobe is on sabbatical at West Michigan as he builds strength following a six-week hamstring layoff. He soon should be back in Erie’s rotation and will, as was made clear during a tune-up last week for the Whitecaps, continue with the 100-mph fastball, the vicious slider, and all the other exceptional pitching gifts a third-overall pick in 2021 steadily displays. He must build up innings, but Jobe, at some point, will be in the Tigers’ 2025 rotation.

:arrow_forward: Runner-up: Jaden Hamm, right-handed starter, West Michigan. Has been walking a few people of late, but part of that is a pitcher adjusting a year out of college (Middle Tennessee State) to professional hitters — working on pitches and quadrants designed to miss bats and elude chases. Hamm was a fifth-rounder last July and has quality stuff, with a mid-90s fastball, slider, and change-up. In his 61.2 innings of work at West Michigan, Hamm has struck out 79, walked 17 (nine in his last 15 innings), and allowed but 45 hits.

Most costly first-half injury

:arrow_forward: Josue Briceno, catcher, Lakeland: It could have been worse. No surgery was needed on the knee he sprained in May. But one of the best hitters and prospects anywhere on the Tigers farm is still out, two months later, with no estimate on a return. Briceno, 19, is 6-5, 200, bats left-handed and had these numbers going through 28 games: .306/.405/.426/.831, with 15 walks and 17 strikeouts. He torches the ball and could stick at catcher, although first base remains a part-time station with the Flying Tigers.

:arrow_forward: Second-toughest injury: Carson Rucker, 19, left-side infielder: Rucker is 6-2, 195, and a fourth-round pick last July who, on the back lots, was swinging a fierce right-handed bat before messing up a shoulder last month on a slide into second base and was lost for 2024.


Bust-out hitter on the Tigers’ upper-farm levels

:arrow_forward: Hao-Yu Lee, second base/third base, Erie: Here is a man whose big numbers (.297/.372/.518/.890, with 11 homers) and June surge are heightened by the fact he turned 21 in February. Age is everything in development, and Lee, a Taiwan native who came to the Tigers via last summer’s trade that sent Michael Lorenzen to the Phillies, has youth pairing with a hot right-handed bat to make him the biggest position-side surprise among Tigers farm hitters.

Bust-out pitcher on the Tigers’ upper-farm levels

Not any dramatic candidates here, although Garrett Burhenn has pitched well at Erie. A ninth-round pick (2021, Ohio State) who throws right-handed, there’s nothing blow-away about his stuff. But in his eight games (seven starts) for the SeaWolves, Burhenn, 24, has — per nine innings — strikeout/walks ratios of 10.4 and 2.5.

Best newcomer (hitter) on TigerTown’s back fields

:arrow_forward: Franyerber Montilla, shortstop, Florida Complex League Tigers: This is a switch-hitting, left-side infielder, only 19, who looks like one of the authentically best young players the Tigers in recent years have brought aboard, domestically or internationally. He hits and has crunch. He takes walks. He steals bases. He fields and throws well from shortstop, even if a youngster 6-foot, 185 pounds might, physically, evolve into a third baseman. This man’s talents are worth studying every game, every week.

Best newcomer (pitcher) on TigerTown’s back fields

:arrow_forward: Rayner Castillo, right-handed starter: He began in the FCL and has since joined Single-A Lakeland, where a gent who Sunday turned 20 has been throwing fastballs at 97 as part of a four-pitch mix. In five starts (24 innings) for the Flying Tigers, Castillo has a 2.25 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. Castillo is 6-3, 180, and was signed out of Montecristi, Dominican Republic.

:arrow_forward: Runner-up: Blake Dickerson, left-handed pitcher, FCL Tigers. An interesting story, the tale of Dickerson’s arrival with the Tigers, which followed a February trade that saw the Tigers send $500,000 in international bonus-money to the Padres in a bid to grab Dickerson (6-6, 210). He is 19 and was a 12th-round pick last July. Eight-game data on Dickerson: 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10 hits in 21 innings, 11 walks, 18 strikeouts.
(frm add): Dickerson was on the same summer team or something like that as Clark and McGonigle.

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can someone explain just how many levels and teams we have in the farm system? fcl, single A, flying tigers, erie, lakeland, w. michigan, toledo…makes my head spin!

First MLB owns all minor league teams, parent club, so there are actually fewer minor leage teams now than 3yrs ago.
Toledo AAA
Erie AA
W MI High A
Lakeland Low A
FCL (florida coast league) young players just drafted players mainly play on the back fields in Florida. Their games start June 1, prior to then they practice play intrasquad games.

I think there are still teams in the carribbean but don’t follow those as close.

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In the trying to be optimistic outlook regarding Harris his acquisition for Lorenzen is coming along nicely. That would be Hao-Yu Lee who Lemming has as a bustout hitter.

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Lee has been tearing the cover off the ball.

Proof that Harris knows way more than me, because I thought it was a shit trade. Lee actually has a good chance to be a big part of the Tigers’ future.

Shock the world. Sign Soto to play RF for 450m.