Results tagged ‘ Toledo Mud Hens ’
Jacob Turner MLB debut vs. the California Angels
Jacob Turner made his Major League debut this afternoon, just one season away from pitching in Single-A with the Whitecaps, and two seasons out of high school. Turner is the 15th ranked prospect in all of baseball right now, so this shouldn’t be too much of a suprise to those who’ve been following his career. He didn’t disappoint, either, only giving up two runs against the talented Angels over 5 1/3 innings. He gave up three hits, walked three, and struck out six. Unfortunately, he took the loss, thanks to the efforts of Tigers relief pitcher Phil
Joke Coke. Turner recieved a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Comerica Park for his efforts.
“Once they started cheering, I don’t even know how to describe it,” Turner stated. “My body felt like it went numb. That was probably the highlight of my day, to be honest.”
The 20-year-old right-hander also impressed his manager as well as the Tiger fans in attendance and watching him on TV on Fox’s Game of the Week.
“I thought he’d do well,” manager Jim Leyland stated. “I wasn’t sure he’d do quite as well as he did, to be honest with you. But I thought he’d do well.
Turner gave the Tigers a chance to win the game, but the thanks to the anemic offense and the struggling bullpen, he took the loss. He didn’t stay with the Whitecaps too long last season, so we didn’t get a chance to see him pitch down there. He was 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA, and 50 strikeouts with West Michigan in 2010. I look forward to seeing him on the mound in Detroit in the future.
Formers Whitecaps Wells and Furbush traded to Mariners
The Detroit Tigers traded Charlie Furbush, Casper Wells, Francisco Martinez, and a player to be named later to the Seattle Mariners for starting pitcher Doug Fister and relief pitcher David Pauley. Martinez is the Tigers 4th ranked prospect, but thought to be expendable due to Nick Castellanos’ progress in West Michigan. The move gives the Tigers a solid number five starter and beefs up the bullpen at bit. It also give Furbush and Wells a chance to be Major League players in Seattle. So far this season with the Tigers, Furbush is 1-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 17 appearances. With the Whitecaps in 2007, he was 4-1 with a 2.17 ERA and 46 strikeouts. Wells started the season with the Tigers, batting .257 with four home runs in 64 games before being optioned to the Toledo MudHens (Triple-A). In 2008, Casper batted .240 with ten home runs in 50 games with West Michigan. I wish them both the best with their new club. They can join former Whitecap pitcher Luke French who was traded to the Mariners in 2009 in a brilliant move that brought pitcher Jarod Washburn (who?) to Detroit.
Photos courtesy of the West Michigan Whitecaps
With the MiLB season over, it’s time to look forward to next year. I can do this with some good ol’ American plagerism-ripping of MLB Network’ Prime 9 show for a littlle countdown of my own. Narrowing the list to just nine parks wasn’t as easy as I thought, but here we go.
9) Fox Cities Stadium-Appleton, WI: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers/Class A Midwest League. Picking number nine was the hardest of all. Fox Cities Stadium barely beat out the ballparks in Dayton, Cedar Rapids, and Charleston, respectively. The stadim itself isn’t huge, with a capaicity of only 5500, but it’s a nice place to watch a game. The fans gave this ballpark the egde, with it’s spacious parking lot perfect for tailgating. And Wisconsin fans love to tailgate. The beer and the brats are always perfect for a game, before and after. The affiliation with the Milwaukee Brewers has really helped the atmosphere here, and the attendance. The park itself is basic, with no real site lines, but not a bad seat to watch baseball. The park is very easy to find, but with only one entrance and exit, there might be a wait.
8) Pilot Field-Buffalo, NY: Buffalo Bisons/Triple A International League. Now called Coca-Cola Field, Buffalo is a major league city with a nice minor league park. At a capacity of almost 21,000 it’s a good sized ballpark to watch a game. There are still no bad seats in the house, though, and the sightlines of the city are pretty awesome. We always got there by train, so I’m not too sure about the parking situation. The concessions are good and there is a resteraunt in the right field area. The Bisons draw a good crowd, which is probably even better now that they’re affiliated with the Mets. I was able to watch the Bisons play here in 1993 along with some of the World University Games matchups. If I can ever find my pictures I took back then, I’ll scan them and get one put up. Until then you can check it out here. This is probably as close as you can come to a major league feel for the minor league price.
7) Fifth-Third Field-Toledo, OH: Toledo Mud Hens/Triple A International League. Opening in 2002, this ballpark is great all round. It’s carved into the downtown, and even has and area of seating in right field called the ‘Roost’ which is attached to a neigboring building. These have been dubbed the best seats in Minor League Baseball. The sightlines of the downtown area arn’t quite as good as Buffalo, but are more than enough of an eyefull. The seating is great, and the prices are very reasonalbe. We paid $8 and sat behind the dugout. You can’t really beat that. Parking is tough because it’s right downtown, so get to the park early, and even eat at Tony Paco’s accross the street, who you’ve might have seen Klinger on MASH talk about. Of all the the stadiums, this is one I’d love to visit more often. Throw in the fact that the Hens are the Tigers affiliate, and it’s a winner in my book.
6) Baseball Grounds-Jacksonville, FL: Jacksonville Suns/Double A Southern League. The Baseball Grounds was like my second home in the summer of 2005 when I was training in southern Georgia for over four months.Being at the ballpark was about the only thing that could take my mind off the fact that I was missing my wife and kids hundreds of miles north in Michigan. Add to the fact that it’s a great ballpark and the Suns won the Southern League in 2005, and this could easily be moved up on the list. The park holds about 11,000 and is nestled next to the Jaguars Alltel football stadium and Jacksonville’s indoor arena. It’s located right on the river and has great seating. Solid promotions and cold beer make this one of my favorites also. This is another parks I wish I could find my pictures of, but here are some good pics of it.
5) Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Louisville Bats/Triple A International League. The front of the stadium is unique, as it’s built into an old train depot, which they also built two resteraunts into. The seats are great on right on the field where fans like them to be. It sports a large concourse and a huge party area in the outfield for all of the drinking crowd. The kids park is really put together nicely, too, with a carosel and all. Not much for sightlines, other than the bridge over the Ohio River. With the Louisville Slugger Museum/Factory down the street, this is a baseball experience every fan should take part in.
4) Modern Woodman Park-Davenport, IA: Quad Cities River Bandits/Class A Midwest League. USA Today billed this as the best Minor League ballpark in the country. It’s easy to get to and has one of the best views of probably any ballpark in the country with the brige over the Mississippi in right field. The concourse is set up so you can walk all the way around, which I like, and get a good view of the river and riverfront. The baseball atmosphere wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, which is why it didn’t make the top three. This is a must see for any baseball fan.
3) Victory Field-Indianapolis, IN: Indianapolis Indians/Triple A International League. I really enjoyed the games here in Indy. The whole town is sports nuts and the atmosphere is great. The entrance to the stadium is in the outfield, which makes it unique from other parks. There are also some kids games going on in the concourse which makes it very kid friendly. The whole park is set up with the family in mind, and it seems to be working. The sightlines downtown are great, but there was a lot of construction going on at the time that was a little distracting. The seats in the upper deck are some of the best I’ve had and are the perfect spot to watch the game. The wost part is there is a very small parking lot, so you have to find a parking garage downtown. The best part is there is a parking garage right accross from Hooters…
2) Fifth-Third Ballpark-Comstock Park, MI: West Michigan Whitecaps/Class A Midwest League. Yeah, I’m a bit of a homer here, but this is the list of my favorite ballparks. With a seating capacity of 10,000 it makes it pretty large for a Class A stadium, competitive with some Triple A and Double A stadium. It’s run and taken care of like a big stadium, too, with lots of unique concessions. The Fifth-Thid Burger was even featured on Man vs. Food last season. Located just north of Grand Rapids, there is a great atmosphere for baseball. The Whitecaps being a Tigers affiliate helps with that. All the memories of my kids and I here easily puts this ballpark toward the top of the list.
1) Grayson Stadium-Savannah, GA: Savannah Sand Gnats/Class A South Atlantic League. The reason historic Grayson is at the top of my list is quite simple. I just really really like it there. In truth, I have a love affair with the whole city of Savannah. I got a taste of it while down there training in 2005, then last summer I was actually stationed there for a week. Luckily the Gnats were in town, and I couldn’t get enough. The horrible pics I took with a disposable camera can not do this ballpark justice. It’s small and cozy, and as a baseball fan you just feel at home. You can actually feel the history of the sport sputter though you’re vains while watching a game here. It’s like actually taking a step back in time and seeing the game in it’s pure form. The brick exterior is classic baseball, while the weeping trees make it classic south. Nothing really fancty about the park, other than pure baseball. Savannah offers so much to look at, but catching a game here would be worth it.This is defiately a place I’d like to bring my kids down to someday.
So, there you have it. Again, it was very difficult choosing just nine, but truth be told I have never been to a ballpark I didn’t like. Everyone is unique and meeting the great fans everywhere makes every team worth checking out. So that’s my Prime 9. What’s yours?
Photos property of M.I.B.
The Detroit Tigers announced on Thursday that they will be assigning Jacob Turner, thier first round pick of the 2009 draft (9th overall), to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low A). The 18-year-old pitched for the Westminster Christian Academy High School in St. Louis last season. Whitecaps CEO and managing partner Lew Chamberlin told the Grand Rapids Press, “Turner represents the future of the Tigers, and I hope people would want to come out here and see him.” He has had an impressive spring training, and can hopefully keep it up at this level. I hope to get a chance to see him pitch before he’s moved up to Lakeland(high A) or even Erie(AA), which is a possibility.
Also, some former Whitecaps have been on the move this weekend as well. Optioned to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens were outfielders Casper Wells, Brennan Boesch, and Ryan Strieby, as well as right handed pitcher Alfredo Figaro. Infielder Audy Ciriaco was been assigned to Double-A Erie Sea Wolves, while short-stop Gustavo Nunez has been sent to Minor League camp and has not been assigned yet.
Good luck this season to Turner and the West Michigan alumi in the Tigers organization. Looks like it will be an exciting year, especially seeing how Scott Sizemore does at the MLB level in Detroit.
Top photo courtesy of Westminster Christian Academy
Bottom photo property of MIB
No, the AFL I’m refering to isn’t the spectacular Arena Football League that is currently on hiatus. It is the popular Arizona Fall League, where MLB teams send some of thier top prospects for more conditioning. One prospect the Detroit Tigers are keeping a close eye on is second baseban Scott Sizemore. Playing for the Peoria Javelinas, Sizemore has knocked in nine runs in only 15 at bats. Monday he went 3-4 and drove in four runs. The previous two games he hit three home runs. Sizemore is batting an impressive .375
“It’s been awesome,” Sizemore said of playing in Arizona. “Luckily I’ve kinda been getting the taste of it all. I take it the same way I went this season, take every at bat like it’s my last.”
This season splitting time between the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens and the Double-A Erie Seawolves, he hit a combined .308 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI’s. He also represented the Tigers at this years All-Star Futures game where he had a hit and run scored as a late-inning replacement at DH. Sizemore accomplished all of this while battling a sore left wrist after surgery in 2008.
The reason that the Tigers, specifically GM Dave Dombrowski, is so interested in Sizemore’s progress is simple: second baseman Placido Palonco is a free agent. If Detroit fails to re-sign Palanco, they’ll be losing one of the most reliable second baseman in the league. He rarely makes errors, rarely strikes out, and is one of the very few pure hitters in the Tigers line-up. I do give Dombrowski credit for pulling off the trade in 2005 to bring Palanco to Detroit for a pitcher who is currently doing time. Unfortunately, some not-so-spectacular deals and generous contract extentions have painted the Tigers into a financial corner. Too much money is tied up on players like Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson. Team owner Mike Illitch will have to dig deep into his pockets in order to re-sign Placido for next season.
Even if Palonco does return in 2010, it seems that Sizemore is the Tigers second baseman of the future.
“We think he’s ready to play, ” stated Dombrowski.
For the Tigers sake, and yours, Dave, I hope you’re right.
UPDATE: Sizemore broke his ankle on Thursday turning a double play, and will miss the rest of the AFL Season.
Photos courtesy of TigsTown
Fifth-Third Field in Toledo is home to the world famous Mud Hens. Carved into the city’s downtown area, it’s a beautiful ballpark and a great place to watch a ball game. The price is right, too, as it only cost us $8 a piece for seats right behind the dugout. That was in 2007, so I’m not sure how the prices are now, but can’t imagine they’re much more. I really enjoyed the sight lines of the city, and my only regret is not sitting in ‘The Roost’, which is a group of seats actually built into a neighboring building in right field. They’ve been called the best seats in Minor League Baseball by ESPN. The gift shop is also built into that building as well. You have to arrive fairly early to get a decent parking space, but other than that this stadium is pretty flawless. Right accross the street is Tony Paco’s which is a perfect place to eat before or after the game. Both the Mud Hens and Paco’s are mentioned on the old show M*A*S*H by Max Klinger (Jamie Farr). Do you miss Klinger? Well, he’s here, doing most of the ads and publicity on the scoreboard screen. I highly recommend this ballpark to any baseball fan. The Triple-A Mud Hens play a good brand of baseball, and the fans create a great atmoshphere.
Here are some quck facts of the stadium. Built in 2002 it has a capacity of 10,300. The stadium was named one of the best MiLB parks by Newsweek Magazine. In 2006, the Mud Hens hosted the Triple-A All Star Game there.
Photos property of MIB
The Detroit Tigers named Casey Crosby their Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Crosy went 10-4 with a 2.41 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings pitched for the West Michigan Whitecaps this season. In the second half of the season, he went 5-2 with a 0.78 ERA and 49 strikeouts in only 46 innings of work. The 21 year old hurler, had his fastball clocked at 98 mph in this, his first full pro season. Crosby only pitched three games in 2008 before having reconstructive surgery on his left elbow.
“He’s a great kid with a great work ethic, working hard at everything he does,” Whitecaps manager Joe DePastino told the Grand Rapids Press. “He was willing to learn and get better, and he’s very deserving of this award.”
Crosby’s keeping up the Whitecaps tradition of this honor by the Tigers organization. The last four season’s has seen the award handed to a West Michigan pitcher. Jon Kibler won it last season, with Duane Below taking home the honor in 2007 and Burke Badenhop in 2006.
Taking home the award for the Tigers Minor League Player of the Year, is former Whitecap Scott Sizemore (2007). Splitting time between the Erie Seawolves (AA) and Toledo Mud Hens (AAA) he hit .308 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI’s.
Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Press
Today the Seattle Mariners traded left-handed pitcher Jarrod Washburn to the Detroit Tigers for former Whitecap pitchers Luke French and Mauricio Robles.
“We had an opportunity to acquire two starting left-handed pitchers under the age of 23, including one with Major League experience”, Seattle general manager Jack Zdurienecik said in a statement.
French has mostly played with Detroit’s AAA farm club Toledo Mud Hens this season, but has had five starts with the Tigers. He is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in those games for Detroit. In a game against Seattle on July 23, he limited the Mariners to just two hits in 5 1/3 innings. Playing for West Michigan in 2006 and part of 2007, he was crucial in helping the ‘Caps winning back to back Midwest League titles. He was named MWL Pitcher of the Week on 07/23/06. French was an eighth round pick of the Tigers in 2004, coming out of high school in Colorado. The 6’4″, 220 pound lefty, basically hurls three pitches. His fastball is ‘Reagan Era’ at 86-88, but can hit 90 at times. He can also toss a 76-78 mph slider and a sinking change up at around 74-76.
Robles pitched for West Michigan in 2008, and pat of this season before being promoted to High-A Lakeland. His 2008 totals are 5-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 23 games. He only gave up two home runs and struck out 79. This season in only 11 games with the ‘Caps, he was 4-4 with a 4.23 ERA, and struck out 71. Robles is a bit more of an unknown, as he didn’t focus on pitching until after he was signed by Detoit as a free agent out of Venezuela. His fast ball averages 91-94 and has peaked at 96. Unfortunately, it goes down to 89-90 from time to time. His arm noticably slows down and flattens during while throwing his curce, so that’s something he’ll have to adjust in the Minors.
Good luck to both Luke and Mauricio in this new chapter of their careers. All the best in Seattle, and we appreciate your time and efforts in the Tigers organization. Seems like ‘win-win’ for both teams on this one. Detroit’s hold on the AL Central is hanging by a string, so hopfully Washburn and keep runs off the board, as the Tigers are having trouble scoring them.
Photo courtesy of Farm1.Flickr
Pounding The Ball: ‘Caps third basebman Bryan Pounds has been on a roll the last nine games. He’s batting .361 with 15 RBI’s and seven runs scored. Pounds is getting offensive
help from the outfield as well. Left fielder Billy Nowlin is batting .389 with nine RBI’s and seven runs scored. While not patroling center field at Fifth Third Ballpark, Ben Guez is slugging .333, respectively, and has added 11 RBI’s and nine runs scored including a home run in his last ten games.
Snakebitten: The Whitecaps have had a rough time with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers this season, dropping 5 of 6 games. Last week the ‘Caps commited four errors that led to three Rattler runs in a 5-2 loss at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton. In the lone ‘Caps win, however, they won 11-2 on the back of 17 hits.
Ups and Downs: Being promoted to West Michigan from the GCL Tigers is short stop Hernan Perez. Perez was batting .255 with five RBI’s in 13 games so far in the Gulf Coast League. He replaces Gustavo Nunez who has been recently suspended. Nunez has been batting .328 with one home run, 24 RBI’s and 37 stolen bases so far this season with the ‘Caps.
Johnny B In West Michigan: This Friday is another Tiger Friday at Fifth Third Ballpark. Former Detroit Tiger fan favorite Johnny B. Wockenfuss will be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans. Wockenfuss played in Detroit from 1974-1983, being traded to Philadelphia before the Tigs won the World Series in 1984. He was a solid utiliy player who played catcher, first base, and outfield. His career BA was .262, slugging 86 home runs and 310 RBI’s. Wockenfuss also managed the Toledo Mud Hens starting in 1987. In 1989 the Mud Hens (Detroit’s AAA farm team) actually beat the Tigers with Wockenfuss himself being the winning pitcher. Had had never pitched in his Major League career. I’ll be on hand this Friday, too, to get my free bobblehead and enjoy the game.