The Tigers announced this week that the following 18 players were invited to participate in spring training camp this February. Some names you’ll recognize and some you won’t. Some names you should learn, and some names you should forget. glowbass.com breaks down the 18 invitees and predicts where they’ll start the season off in 2011.
John Bale – 36, Bats: L / Throws: L, pitched for the Kansas City Royals from 2007-2009 as a relief pitcher. Was in Japan last year, pitching for Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – He’ll be fighting alongside Ni and Schlereth for a Detroit bullpen spot. I can’t see him beating out any of those two though. He could earn a call-up during the season if he pitches well enough.
Enrique Gonzalez – 28, Bats: R / Throws: R, pitched for Toledo (AAA) last season, called up after Ryan Perry went on disabled list. Previously had major league appearances with Diamondbacks and Padres.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – I personally wasn’t impressed with him last year. But he hasn’t played in AA ball since 2005, so I’m sure he’s a Mud Hen in 2011. But a call-up is unlikely to me, too many young hot shots around him now.
Fu-Te Ni – 28, Bats: L / Throws: L, pitched for Tigers from 2009-2010. Struggled last season with command, especially against lefties. Could have strong spring training and make team though.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Med Hens – All these pitchers are fighting for one spot that seems to be open in the bullpen. With Brad Thomas being the only lefty in Tigers bullpen, Ni could have a strong spring and make that slot. But if he struggles like he did last season, he’ll end up in Toledo or somewhere else.
Chris Oxspring – 33, Bats: L / Throws: R, pitched for Australia in 2004 Olympics. Last seen pitching for LG Twins in Korean Baseball Organization from 2007-2009. Did not pitch in 2010 due to injury.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – This is a tough one because it’s hard to tell the extent of his injury and he hasn’t pitched in an MLB farm team since 2007. I see it as Toledo or bust.
Adam Wilk – 23, Bats: L / Throws: L, drafted by Tigers in 11thround of 2009 draft. Pitched in Single A Lakeland and Double A Erie. Had 2-0 record in 1.14 ERA for Erie last season.
glowbass.com Prediction: Erie SeaWolves – He has some great numbers, as you can see his Erie numbers above, his Lakeland numbers aren’t too bad either (9-5, 3.01 ERA, 100 SO). Its tough to be a pitcher in the Tigers organization right now, there’s a long line to the majors. But Wilk could have a shot at being in Detroit this season because he’s a lefty.
Brendan Wise – 25, Bats: L / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 8thround of 2005 draft. Pitched for Australia in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Split time last year for Erie (AA) and Toledo (AAA).
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – A solid relief pitcher, he’ll likely spend the whole year in Toledo. But who knows? If he’s having good numbers we could see him in Tigers uniform.
Rob Brantly – 21, Bats: L / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 3rdround of 2010 draft. Drafted by Nationals in 46thround of 2008 draft but decided not to sign. Strong throwing arm and has some power potential. Played for Whitecaps (A) last year.
glowbass.com Prediction: Lakeland Flying Tigers – Not much to know about this young kid, I put him in Lakeland to backup Murrian. He’ll have a chance once Murrian moves up the farm system.
Bryan Holaday – 23, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 6thround of 2010 draft. Won Johnny Bench Award in 2010, the top collegiate catcher in college baseball. Played for Lakeland (A) in 2010.
glowbass.com Prediction: Erie SeaWolves – I expect big things out of Holaday, starting with spring training. Out of him, Brantly, and Murrian, I like him the most. Lets hope for a good spring or he’ll end up in Lakeland with Murrian.
Patrick Leyland – 19, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 8thround of 2010 draft. Played for GCL Tigers (Rookie) in 2010. Oh yeah, he’s Jim Leyland’s son too.
glowbass.com Prediction: Detroit Tigers – Ok, I’m just kidding. GCL Tigers is where he’ll be again. Too young to be anywhere else no matter whom his father is.
John Murrian – 22, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 9thround of 2009 draft. Had strong year in Lakeland (A) before being called up to Erie (AA) at end of season last year.
glowbass.com Prediction: Lakeland Flying Tigers – Played well for them last year but didn’t do that well while in Erie. If he has a strong spring he could start in Erie, but I see him starting in Lakeland and likely in Erie by midseason.
Omir Santos – 29, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Yankees in 21stround of 2001 draft. Made major league debut on September 5, 2008 for Baltimore Orioles. Hit first major league homerun on April 27th, 2009 as a member of the New York Mets, a grand slam and the first homerun at the new Citi Field.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens –He’ll need to have a good spring and earn his spot in Toledo. If not, there may be some room in Erie or somewhere else.
Max St. Pierre – 30, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 26thround of 1997 draft. Played in Tigers farm system for all but one year, 2007 Milwaukee’s AA team. After 14 straight seasons in the minors, he made his MLB debut on September 4, 2010 with Tigers.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – This is where he’ll be for the rest of his career most likely. He’s been a great mentor to the young catchers that have come and gone past him. If Victor Martinez or Alex Avila gets injured, he may get a call-up again.
Argenis Diaz – 23, Bats: R / Throws: R, signed as amateur free agent by Boston Red Sox in 2003 as shortstop. Made MLB debut as a Pittsburgh Pirate on April 21, 2010. Played in 22 games with a .242 average.
glowbass.com Prediction: Erie SeaWolves – This is a long shot and depends on a lot. Unfortunately for Diaz, Tigers are full at shortstop with Worth, Iorg, and Nunez. This is assuming Nunez stays in Lakeland for another year and Worth stays in Toledo. I see Diaz in Erie with Iorg or Iorg in Toledo. There’s not much room anywhere. Diaz and Iorg both struggle with bat, but both are great defensively. Maybe with Diaz here, it’ll get Iorg going.
Brandon Douglas – 25, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 11thround of 2008 draft. Originally drafted by Cincinnati Reds in 2007 but didn’t sign. Playing mostly as a second baseman, he’s also a talented shortstop and third baseman. Split time in Lakeland (A) and Erie (AA) last year. A great contact hitter, he held a .359 average for Erie in 35 games. I’d get to know this name if I were you.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – This will depend on where Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore end up. Douglas is primarily a 2ndbaseman, I expect Rhymes to play in Detroit and Sizemore in Toledo. Tigers need Douglas to start to develop his talent. Erie may only have spot for him everyday, but he belongs in Toledo.
Scott Thorman – 29, Bats: L / Throws: R, drafted in 1stround of 2000 draft by Atlanta Braves as first baseman. Made MLB debut on June 18th, 2006 for the Braves, holds a MLB career .222 average with 16 homeruns and 50 RBIs. From 2008-2010, he played in AAA for Texas and Kansas City.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – There’s no room in Detroit for a first baseman and there won’t be for a while. He’ll either end up in Toledo or not anywhere.
Andy Dirks – 24, Bats: L / Throws: L, drafted by Tigers in 8thround of 2008 draft. Played in Erie (AA) for most of 2010 carrying a .278 average with 11 homers and 46 RBIs. Called up to Toledo (AAA) towards end of season playing in 22 games with .375 average with 4 homeruns and 17 RBIs. Primarily a left fielder, however, his speed allows him to play any outfield position.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – He played too well for the Mud Hens last season. His defense alone makes him a great 4thoutfielder anywhere. If for some reason he starts 2011 at Erie, I’m sure he’ll finish up in Toledo.
Avisail Garcia – 19, Bats: R / Throws: R, undrafted, signed by Tigers in 2007 at age 16. Ranked 9thbest prospect in Tigers farm system. Has great speed and great throwing arm, potentially great power that will develop as he matures. Look out for him in spring training in 2011, should be huge.
glowbass.com Prediction: West Michigan Whitecaps – He’s too young and has too many things to learn, but I’d expect him to fly up the farm system throughout 2011 and 2012.
Ben Guez – 23, Bats: R / Throws: R, drafted by Tigers in 19thround of 2008 draft. Was thrown around through Tigers farm system throughout 2010. Playing mainly in Toledo (AAA) and finishing with .251 average and 32 RBIs, needs some work with contact hitting.
glowbass.com Prediction: Toledo Mud Hens – This is a tough one since he’s played well for everyone. This will all come down to his spring training stats, but should play well enough and earn his spot in Toledo. He’ll probably shift around though. I wouldn’t expect to see him in a Tigers uniform just yet though.
Along with Willie Horton and Al Kaline, the Tigers have announced the following staff members will be in uniform as well: Kevin Bradshaw, Ray Burris, George Carlo, Manny Crespo, Chris Cron, Joe DePastino, Leon “Bull” Durham, Toby Harrah, Jerry Martin, Jon Matlack, Phil Nevin, Dave Owen, Brian Peterson, Scott Pickens, Mike Rojas, Gene Roof and A.J. Sager.
Don’t forget, pitchers and catchers report on February 14th, followed by everyone else on February 19th.
The Tigers will open their exhibition season in Lakeland against Florida Southern University on February 25th.