Tigers minor-league report: Christin Stewart mashing
The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning with his weekly look around the Tigers’ minor-league outposts:
WHO’S HOT ...
Ronny Rodriguez, 3B: A potential Swiss Army Knife of a player, with lots of position versatility, who could weave his way to Comerica Park in 2018. Rodriguez is batting .333 in his last 10 games. A right-handed batter, he is 26 and was signed last December as a minor-league free agent after he had stalled in the Indians system. Rodriguez is 6-foot, 170 pounds, and was signed out of Santiago, Dominican Republic.
Christin Stewart, LF: Nothing changes, week to week. Stewart cracked his ninth homer of the season Saturday, and had two more Sunday, which leads the International League. He’s batting .304 on the year with a 1.026 OPS. He will continue to fine-tune his work in left field, and attempt to master Triple-A junk-ballers, during his Toledo apprenticeship. He’s 24, bats left-handed, and was a first-round pick by the Tigers out of the University of Tennessee.
Phillippe Aumont, LH reliever: He’s a former first-round pick by the Mariners who was another of those minor-league free agents who hooked on with Detroit during the offseason. Aumont is 29, is a mighty 6-7, 240, has 46 games of big-league experience, and has been throwing lovely baseball for the Mud Hens: 1.56 in nine games and 17.1 innings, with an 0.81 WHIP and a .155 enemy batting average. He has been tapped for nine hits, has struck out 17, and walked five. Aumont is from Gatineau, Quebec.
A.J. Ladwig, RH starter: Don’t be shocked if Ladwig is the guy summoned for one of those fill-in starts in which the Tigers these days specialize. He won’t knock you out with his stuff, but in terms of growing into a pitcher, he might have made as much progress this spring as any starter in the system. He has a 1.83 ERA in four games (three starts) and a 1.07 WHIP. Ladwig is 6-5, 180, and was an 11th-round grab by the Tigers in 2014 out of Wichita State.
Kevin Comer, RH reliever: Another one-time early-round pick (Blue Jays, 2011) who is only 25 and who came to the Tigers as part of their offseason, minor-league free-agent splurge. Comer in his last 10 games has an 0.63 ERA, with 19 strikeouts in 141/3 innings, and only nine hits yielded. He is 6-3, 201, and was signed out of Seneca High in Tabernacle, N.J.
More: Henning: Beau Burrows getting ‘better and better,’ but not ready for big stage
WHO’S HOT ...
Danny Woodrow, OF: He was on the disabled list during April and has since decided to get revenge. Woodrow in five games for the SeaWolves is batting .381 with an .838 OPS. He’s a left-handed stick, 5-10, 160, and was a 12th-round choice in 2016 out of Creighton.
Jacob Robson, OF: He could be playing his way into the Tigers’ long-term picture, as at least a spare outfielder, with his early work at Double A. Robson, 23, and an eighth-round pick in 2016 out of Mississippi State, is hitting .306 in his last 10 games and .272 on the year, with a .368 on-base percentage. He’s a left-handed hitter, a burner on the basepaths, and only 5-10, 175. He was born in London, Ontario, and otherwise dwells in Windsor.
Sergio Alcantara, SS: Having a nice spring: .290 in his last 10, .303 on the year, with a .342 on-base average. He’s a switch-hitter, 5-9, 168, and came to the Tigers last July as one of three prospects from the Diamondbacks in the J.D. Martinez deal.
Tyler Alexander, LH starter: He was good enough to have won second-round status from the Tigers in 2015 when they snagged him out of Texas Christian. Had a relatively lousy 2017 and decided a bit of rededication and alterations might restore some of his earlier luster. He’s not a fire-thrower, but he can pitch, as that 3-0 record and 2.70 ERA might connote. Still gives up a few too many hits and walks, but that’s why there’s Double A.
Mark Ecker, RH reliever: He’ll be in Detroit, so prepare thyself for the story of a fifth-rounder from Texas A&M (2016) arriving at Comerica Park with a very good strikeout ratio (20 in 18.2 innings) and solid hits-and-walks distribution. He’s 22, is 6-foot, 180.
... AND WHO’S NOT
Jake Rogers, C: Hasn’t yet been a breakthrough for Rogers, who all spring has been hanging in the .150-.170 range. He’s known more for his defense and has not been a big hitter in past minor-league seasons, but he’s better than this. Rogers turned 23 last month and was a third-round pick by the Astros (Tulane) in 2016.
More: Your daily recap of the Tigers’ minor leagues
WHO’S HOT ...
Chad Sedio, 2B: Granted, he’s 24, so keep age in mind as he rips into Single-A pitching. Sedio, though, is only two years out of college (Miami, Ohio). He’s batting .325 in his last 10 games, .308 on the season. He’s 6-3, 200, bats left-handed, and was a 27th-round investment by the Tigers.
Trent Szkutnik, LH reliever: Always nice when a left-hander is pitching with pizzazz, and Szkutnik definitely is: 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP in nine games and 15 innings. He hasn’t unintentionally walked a batter, while striking out nine. Szkutnik is from Jackson and pitched at the University of Michigan. The Tigers made him a 20th-round pick in 2014.
Joe Navilhon, RH reliever: 0.75 ERA in his last 10 games, with 18 strikeouts and one walk in 12 innings. Navilhon pitched at Southern Cal. The Tigers bagged him in the 21st round in 2016.
... AND WHO’S NOT
Cam Gibson, OF: Cold snap for Gibson: .133 in his last 10 games. He was a fifth-round pick out of Michigan State in 2015.
Single-A West Michigan
WHO’S HOT ...
Wladimir Pinto, RH reliever: One of the Tigers’ hotshot prospects, Pinto, who in February turned 20, has been destroying hitters: 20 strikeouts in 111/3 innings, with three hits allowed. Ah, the walks (11) must lighten. But this youngster has an arm, which is why the Tigers signed him out of Maracay, Venezuela.
Brady Policelli, C: He was a 13th-round choice out of Towson in 2016 and has had a crowd-pleasing spring: .333 in his last 10, .295 on the year, with a heavy .925 OPS, thanks to six extra-base hits and a .380 on-base percentage. Policelli bats right-handed, is 5-11, 195.
Reynaldo Rivera, 1B: No serious cool-down yet for Rivera, who has an .868 OPS, three home runs, and seven doubles in 17 games for the Whitecaps. He is last year’s second-round pick and can not be ignored on a baseball field. He’s 6-6, 250, bats left-handed, and won’t turn 21 until next month.
Cole Peterson, SS: He was still playing college ball a year ago at St. Bonaventure. The Tigers filched him in last June’s 13th round and have been buoyed by his spring: .302 in his last 10, .285 on the year. He’s a left-handed batter, 5-11, 160.
Eudis Idrogo, LH starter: A man’s 0.49 ERA and 0.86 WHIP suggests life these days is pleasing for Idrogo, 22, who has allowed only 24 hits in 37 innings while striking out 34 and walking eight. He’s 6-1, 198, and was signed by the Tigers out of Anzoategui, Venezuela.
Garett King, RH starter: Solid work by King in his first full season of professional baseball after the Tigers made him an 11th-round pick last June (Dallas Baptist). He’s made five starts, has a 3.76 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. Needs to chop down on the homers. Six of his 24 hits allowed have left the ballpark.
Burris Warner, RH reliever: He grew up not far from the Tigertown complex in Lakeland, Fla., then pitched at Marshall from which the Tigers made him a 22nd-round pick in 2016. He has a 1.37 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 10 games.