Archive for the ‘Tigers in EST’ category

Tigers in EST: Londell Taylor

June 16, 2010

Photo courtesy of Roger DeWitt

Londell Taylor was a multi-sport star at Vian High School in Oklahoma and had signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Oklahoma, when he was selected by the Tigers in the 13th round of the 2007 MLB draft.

Instead of honoring his commitment to Oklahoma, Taylor chose to sign with the Tigers and begin a professional baseball career.

“Baseball has always been my favorite sport and it’s now my total focus,” Taylor told the Muskogee Phoenix in 2007.

After signing, Taylor was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Tigers, but his season was cut short by a broken ankle.  He returned to the GCL the following season and struggled, hitting only .205 in 112 at bats.  Taylor reported to the GCL for the third straight year in 2009 and performed even worse than he had the previous season, hitting only .139 while striking out 47 times in 45 games.

This season, Taylor appears headed for Connecticut.  Perhaps the change in scenery will help revitalize his career, which can only be characterized as a disappointment at this stage.  Taylor has always had exciting raw tools including speed, power and arm strength.  If he starts hitting, he should be an exciting player to watch.

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Tigers in EST: Luis Angel Sanz

June 2, 2010

Luis Angel Sanz joined the Tigers organization after signing a free agent contract in 2005.  After spending two seasons in the Venezuelan Summer League, Sanz was promoted stateside to the Gulf Coast League Tigers in 2008.

Photo courtesy of Roger DeWitt

Sanz pitched well in his stateside debut, recording a 3.66 ERA with 48 strikeouts and 19 walks in 51.2 innings pitched.  His GCL performance earned him a spot in the Whitecaps bullpen in 2009, but he was sent down to Oneonta after struggling with the assignment.

Sanz handled the adversity well by becoming a stalwart of the Oneonta rotation.  He made 14 starts for the O-Tigers and recorded a 3.27 ERA in 82.2 innings pitched.  His strikeout rate was 6.6 SO/9.

On the heels of a successful New York-Penn League campaign in 2009, Sanz was assigned to the West Michigan Whitecaps to begin the 2010 season.  He pitched 25.1 innings out of the Whitecaps bullpen, while posting a 4.97 ERA and 7.1 SO/9.  While those numbers are not horrible, the Tigers decided to demote Sanz to extended spring training, where he awaits an assignment to the Connecticut Tigers.

The scouting report on Sanz’s TigsTown.com profile says he throws a 90-92 mph fastball, a sharp curveball and a fringy change-up.  He projects as a reliever long-term if his change-up does not improve, but he could be used as a starter for Connecticut this season considering his success as a starter in Oneonta last year.

Name: Luis Angel Sanz

DOB: Nov. 19, 1987

Birthplace: Guatire, Venezuela

Bats-Throws: Right-Right

Tigers in EST: Melvin Mercedes

June 1, 2010

Melvin Mercedes shot up Tigers prospect lists this offseason after leading the Gulf Coast League with 16 saves in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Roger DeWitt

He began his professional career in 2008, spending one season in the Dominican Summer League before arriving stateside in 2009.  He had a successful season as the GCL Tigers closer a year ago, posting a 1.82 ERA in 25.0 innings pitched, while recording 20 strikeouts.

Mercedes opened the 2010 season with the West Michigan Whitecaps, but was demoted to extended spring training after allowing 11 earned runs in 19.2 innings pitched.  The main reason for Mercedes’ struggles with the Whitecaps was poor command, as he was allowing 8.7 walks per nine innings.

Throwing strikes has never been easy for Mercedes, who also had fairly high walk rates in the DSL and GCL.  If he can harness his command, he projects as a power reliever with closer potential.  The scouting report on his TigsTown.com profile says he throws a 93-94 mph fastball with “explosive late life” and a potentially above-average curveball.

Mercedes will be assigned to Connecticut when the New York-Penn League season begins.  He is a strong candidate to serve as the closer for the Connecticut Tigers.

Name: Melvin Mercedes

DOB: Nov. 2, 1990

Birthplace: El Seibo, Dominican Republic

Bats-Throws: Right-Right

Tigers in EST: Sean Finefrock

May 25, 2010

After nearly a year and a half absence from professional baseball, Sean Finefrock has returned to the Tigers to resume his career.  According to TigsTown.com, the 23-year-old right-hander is attempting a comeback after having retired from baseball in 2008.  Prior to his retirement, Finefrock spent two seasons in the Tigers minor league system.

Finefrock was drafted by the Tigers in the 35th round of the 2007 MLB draft out of Butler Community College.  TigsTown.com’s Jason Avery wrote on draft day that Finefrock had a 90-91 mph fastball and a good slider.

After signing a professional contract, Finefrock was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Tigers.  He made two starts with the GCL Tigers before being promoted to the New York-Penn League and inserted into the Oneonta rotation.  Finefrock would go on to pitch 52.2 innings for Oneonta in 2007, posting a 5.98 ERA to go with 30 strikeouts and 21 walks.

Finefrock was sent back to Oneonta in 2008, but he appeared in only 6 games, pitching 9.0 innings out of the bullpen.  After the season, he announced his retirement and remained out of baseball until this spring when he joined the Tigers in extended spring training.

Finefrock will probably be assigned to Connecticut when the New York-Penn League season begins, though a short stint in the Gulf Coast League would not be surprising considering his time away from the game.

Name: Sean Finefrock

DOB: Feb. 11, 1987

Bats-Throws: Right-Right

Drafted: 35th round, 2007

School: Butler Community College

Tigers in EST: Josue Carreno

May 22, 2010

Josue Carreno began his professional career in 2008 in the Venezuelan Summer League after signing a free agent contract with the Tigers the previous fall.  The 6-foot-1 right-hander had a successful debut season, making 12 starts for the VSL Tigers and posting a 2.82 ERA in 54.1 innings pitched.  He struck out 6.5 batters per nine innings and allowed 2.5 walks per nine innings.

Carreno repeated the VSL in 2009 and showed significant improvement.  He posted a 2.36 ERA in 45.2 innings pitched, while increasing his strikeout rate to 8.5 SO/9 and reducing his walk rate to 1.2 BB/9.

Carreno was very difficult to hit a home run off of during his two seasons in the VSL, allowing 0.3 home runs per nine innings.  This probably indicates that he has good sink on his fastball.

Listed as 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Carreno has a projectable frame, so he has the capacity to add velocity to his fastball, which presently sits at 88-89 mph according to the scouting report on his TigsTown.com profile.  TigsTown says he also throws an “average change-up with good arm speed, and a below-average curveball that shows some potential.”

It will not be shocking if the Tigers send Carreno to Connecticut in 2010 for his stateside debut.  The organization has shown a willingness to have Venezuelan pitchers skip the Gulf Coast League as Michael Torrealba, Clemente Mendoza and Jose Ortega all made similar jumps last season.  Carreno has a chance to be a quality pitcher if he refines his secondary pitches and adds velocity to his sinking fastball.

Name: Josue Carreno

DOB: June 26, 1991

Birthplace: Porlamar, Venezuala

Bats-Throws: Right-Right

Tigers in EST: Edgar Corcino

May 12, 2010

Photo courtesy of Roger DeWitt

Edgar Corcino joined the Tigers organization after being selected in the 26th round of the 2009 MLB draft.  He only appeared in 8 professional games last season, all with the GCL Tigers, because he did not sign until late summer.

Corcino played third base in the Gulf Coast League, but was moved to catcher in instructional league, where he has a chance to be a plus defender thanks to his arm strength and athletic ability.

Corcino’s bat is his biggest question mark.  Baseball America says he has “some juice in his bat, as well as holes in his swing.”

Andy Seiler of mlbbonusbaby.com is also skeptical of Corcino’s hitting ability.  “I don’t expect him to ever hit enough to start, but he might be a backup option at some point,” Seiler wrote in a post recapping the Tigers 2009 draft.

Connecticut Tigers fans will probably have to wait to see Corcino, as he seems ticketed for the Gulf Coast League in 2010.  He does not turn 18 until June 7, so he has plenty of time to develop.

Name: Edgar Corcino

DOB: June 7, 1992

Bats-Throws: Switch-Right

Drafted: 26th round, 2009

School: Adolfina Irizarry De Puig High School, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

Tigers in EST: Luis Castillo

May 11, 2010

Photo courtesy of Roger DeWitt

Luis Castillo signed a free agent contract with the Tigers as a 17-year-old in 2007.  The speedy center fielder made his professional debut that summer in the Venezuelan Summer League, but did not experience much success, posting a .232/.316/.311 slash line in 278 plate appearances.

Castillo was moved to the Dominican Summer League the following season, but did not perform much better, hitting .245 in 245 plate appearances.

Despite not hitting well in his first two professional seasons, Castillo was promoted stateside to the Gulf Coast League in 2009, where he continued to struggle at the plate, posting a .218/.271/.266 slash line.

Throughout his career, Castillo has shown very little ability to hit for power or average.  The scouting report on his TigsTown.com profile says he has good speed, but he has not had much success as a base-stealer, stealing 29 bases in three seasons while being caught 12 times.

Defense appears to be the strength of Castillo’s game.  TigsTown says he is a good defender who “gets good jumps and routes in the outfield.”

Considering his lack of offensive success, Castillo projects as a backup outfielder who could be useful as a defensive replacement.  He could be assigned to either Connecticut or the GCL in June.

Name: Luis Castillo

DOB: May 15, 1989

Birthplace: Aguadulce, Panama

Bats-Throws: Right-Right