- RHP Jacob Turner missed the start of the year after being placed on the disabled list, essentially losing out on a rotation spot in Detroit that LHP Drew Smyly took advantage of. Turner is working his way back and has quietly put up some solid numbers in Triple-A. Over 10 starts for the Toledo Mud Hens, Turner is 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA and .229 OPP AVG. He isn't missing as many bats as people would like, although he's never been a pure strikeout pitcher. He had his best performance last time out against the Lousville Bats, throwing a three hit shutout while striking out six batters. The Tigers rotation is pretty set right now with RHP Justin Verlander, RHP Doug Fister, RHP Max Scherzer, RHP Rick Porcello and LHP Drew Smyly, so it makes you wonder if Detroit might try to use Turner in a trade to acquire an impact outfield bat for their playoff push.
VIDEO: Turner warming up on the mound for the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens:
- 3B Nick Castellanos was recently named the MVP of the Futures Game, and he started in the outfield for the first time in his pro career, so the Tigers may be considering him as a potential solution to their corner outfield problems. The 20-year-old hit an oustanding .405/.461/.553 in the Class-A+ Florida State League before being promoted to the Double-A Eastern League. In 28 games for the Erie SeaWolves, Castellanos is batting .311/.315/.479 and has already hit more home runs (four) than he did in 55 games in the FSL (three). His power may slowly be starting to come around, as he did hit a big three run home run to dead centre field during the Futures Game. His plate discipline with Erie has to be a bit of a concern as he's walked just twice compared to 28 strikeouts. However, if he is indeed promoted to the Major League roster down the stretch, he has the kind of special bat that could make an impact. The Tigers are certainly a team that promotes their minor leaguers aggressively.
- RHP Bruce Rondon also appeared in the Futures Game, showing off his heavy 102 MPH fastball on several occasions. The big right-hander has been absolutely domininant this year, posting a 1.30 ERA and .148 OPP AVG over 34.2 innings split between Class-A+ Lakeland and Double-A Erie. He's struck out more batters (47) than he's allowed baserunners (17 hits and 15 walks), and he's yet to a allow a run in 11 appearances for Erie.
- LHP Casey Crosby made his Major League debut earlier this season, filling a temporary hole in the Tigers rotation. He struggles however, posting a 9.49 ERA in three starts. He's been quite good for Triple-A Toledo though, posting a 6-2 record over 12 starts with a 3.18 ERA. In 70.2 Triple-A innings, he's struck out 70 batters while walking 36. That marks an improvement in his K/BB rate from 1.57 in Double-A last year to 1.94 in Triple-A so far. He had injury problems early in his career but he's been healthy the past two seasons, and at this point his command is the main thing holding him back.
VIDEO: Crosby warming up on the mound for the Tigers during spring training 2012:
- C Rob Brantly was yet another Tigers' prospect who participated in the All-Star Futures Game. He's been on a steady rise through the minor league system, going from Class-A West Michigan at the beginning of the 2011 season, all the way to up Triple-A Toledo. He's performed much better during the first stop of each season, performing well in Class-A, before struggling in Class-A+ last season. The same thing has been true so far in 2012 as he put up a strong .311/359/.461 line with Double-A Erie but is batting just .268/.317/.299 so far with Triple-A Toledo. A bat first catcher, Brantly hit 10 home runs last season but has just three so far this year. He's still waiting for that first Triple-A dinger, but with incumbent Tigers C Alex Avila not exactly hitting the lights out, he could push for a big league opportunity in the next 6-12 months.