I started out this morning looking to see if Inge had improved on his woeful batting average at Toledo but ended up marveling at the future of the Tigers at Lakeland.
As it is for Inge, he's still batting poorly at .111 in Toledo, however as much as I am not an Inge apologist, I must admit I'd rather have his defense and poor average over the poor average and poor defense we are getting from Raburn (.105 avg) or the no hit and comparable defense we get from Santiago (batting a .000 so far). Oh, and throw in Danny Worth's (.200) as well. I guess I will be forced to accept the fact that Inge will be back and playing.
As for my title, Lakeland Flying Tigers, I have been watching the box scores since the beginning of the year because this is the future of the Tigers. You have Tyler Collins, Nick Castellonos, Avisail Garcia, Daniel Fields, and Dixon Machado playing the field and Alex Burgos and Brian Flynn pitching. All of these guys are under 22 years of age and all should be 1-3 years away from hitting the majors. Here's a breakdown on these guys:
Tyler Collins- I had this kid very high on my rankings last year. He is the all around ball player. I think he'll thrive in the MLB. Right now he has an on base percentage of .563 which is amazing. He's going to get to the majors first out of this group, IMO.
Nick Castellanos- He is the highest rated of all the players on this roster but I still think he's out of position. Given our fact that we have NO ONE at 2B in our system or at the MLB level, he needs to be switched there NOW. We have two really good young 3B prospects about to explode down in our rookie leagues (Adelin Santa, Jesus Ustariz) so move Nick to 2B so he can get to the show faster. He needs to watch his K's but otherwise he's on pace to be with the Tigers in 2 years if not sooner.
Avisail Garcia- Huge body, great speed but strikes out at a horrible pace. Seems to have harness it a bit this year and actually has a walk already this year. His power will come and then he will rise even quicker. Wouldn't suprise me at all to see him in the OF in 2014.
Daniel Fields- I have been real down on this guy because he just couldn't hit for average, struck out alot, and didn't steal bases. His speed he has to steal bases. This year he seems to have figured that out as he has 3 SB's already and he's hitting. If he keeps it up the sky's the limit.
Dixon Machado- the eventual replacement when Peralta's contract ends. This kid has a ton of potential but it's all on if he can get extra base hits (only one so far even though he's hitting .333). He doesn't strike out much and gets on base. He'll be very good in 2014 when Jhonny is done.
Brian Flynn- I really like this 22 year old. He's huge (6'8" 240lbs) and is not a power pitcher but an all around pitcher. As he grows and his knowledge of the game improves he'll be lights out.
Alex Burgos- The complete opposite of Flynn, which I find amusing since they are the 1-2 punch of the rotation. He's only 5' 11" but he's a strike out guy. Both being lefty's does help their cause. Seems as if we have a ton of good lefties in our system.
Anyway, keep and eye on how this young group does because I think your seeing a glimps into our future.