Rob Zastryzny (above) and Jake Walsh are the newest additions to the Tigers in the minors.
June 20, 2013
By Daniel Tappana, Strategic Communications Assistant
COLUMBIA, Mo. - After completing their inaugural season in the SEC and spreading across the country to play summer ball, it is time to look at what former Tiger standouts are doing in the minor leagues. Currently, there are four former Tigers on big league rosters with a fifth - Kyle Gibson -lingering close to being called up to join the Minnesota Twins as arguably the top pitching prospect in the Twins organization. A couple of former Tigers, Brett Nicholas and Matt Stites are dominating in AA and it won't be too long before you see those two playing in big league stadiums. Some other Tigers standouts - Brock Bond, Evan Frey, and Doug Mathis - are hovering in AAA and can expect a call up any day. There are also a couple of fresh additions to pro ball in the form of Jake Walsh and Rob Zastryzny. Take a look at how the guys are doing below.
Brock Bond - San Jose Giants - San Francisco Giants A+
The former Tiger is starting to heat up for the San Jose Giants. In his last three games before the All-Star break, Bond had five hits in 16 at bats. Bond also hit a dramatic walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning on June 12th. The home run was his first of the season and San Jose's first walk-off home run of the season as well. Expect Bonds' hot streak to continue in the second half of the season as he climbs back up to AAA and possibly earn a September call-up.
Blake Brown - Rome Braves - Atlanta Braves A
Since getting benched on June 11th,>Blake Brown was one of the hottest hitters for the Rome Braves heading into the All-Star break. In the five games before the break, Brown had five hits in 15 at bats, including three doubles, while scoring four runs. The All-Star break and Brown's performance leading up to the break will give him a lot of confidence to put up huge second half numbers and prove that he has the tools to be successful.
Tyler Clark - Erie SeaWolves - Detroit Tigers AA
The hard-throwing righty has pitched sporadically throughout the season as he sorts through his command issues. Since our last update, however,>Tyler Clark has appeared in two games, racking up 3.2 inning while striking out six and only walking two and giving up one run. Look for Clark to improve his season statistics as he continues to sort through his control problems.
Evan Frey - Reno Aces - Arizona Diamondbacks AAA
The former Tiger continues to perform consistently for the Reno Aces. Despite hitting .287 on the season, Frey has been coming off the bench for the Aces in his last four games. Although mostly pinch hitting, Frey has collected three hits in ten at bats, including a two hit performance on June 19th. Whether it's starting or pinch hitting, you can expect Frey to keep fighting and put up consistent numbers.
Eric Garcia - Rome Braves - Atlanta Braves A
Tip of the cap to>Eric Garcia on earning a trip to Jersey Shore for the 2013 South Atlantic All-Star Game! His first half numbers were outstanding as he hit .304, scored 16 runs, collected 11 RBIs, and posted a 17/9 K/BB ratio. Garcia also showed flashes of extra base power with five doubles and two home runs. Garcia also flashed the leather, posting a .967 fielding percentage at three different positions (second, third, and short). You can expect Garcia to do good things for the Braves organization as he progresses up the ladder.
Blake Holovach - Clinton LumberKings - Seattle Mariners A
Heading into the All-Star break, since the last post, Holovach has only appeared in one game for the Clinton LumberKings, striking out one and walking two in two scoreless innings while allowing no hits. You can expect the big lefty to continue developing his secondary offerings as the season progresses.
Ryan Lollis - Richmond Flying Squirrels - San Francisco Giants AA
The former Mizzou outfielder has struggled at the place in his last ten games, posting a .207 batting average and collecting six hits in 29 at bats. Although struggling during that stretch, Lollis did post a two hit performance, including a triple and a RBI single, on June 15th. On an interesting note, Lollis has a .292 batting average with runners on base compared to a .259 clip with the bases empty. You can expect Lollis to continue getting hits with runners on base throughout the season.
Doug Mathis - New Orleans Zephyrs - Miami Marlins AAA
The former Mizzou ace has struggled in the month of June, posting a 7.47 ERA in 15.2 innings spanning over three starts. He has also allowed batters to hit .303 off of him. Despite the struggles as of late, has posted some interesting statistics this season. Mathis has allowed 7 home runs and a 5.03 ERA against righties, yet has held them to a .226 batting average. Mathis has also been lights out when the sun is up, posting a 2.88 ERA in five starts during the day, compared to a 4.50 ERA in seven night starts. Look for the journeyman pitcher to continue posting whacky stats as he fights his way back to The Show.
Phil McCormick - Richmond Flying Squirrels - San Francisco Giants AA
The mustache'd McCormick continues to dominate lefty hitters with his funky submarine delivery. In 17 innings against them, McCormick has posted a 2.12 ERA, while striking out 26 and holding them to a .153 batting average. As the value of the LOOGY (Lefty One-Out GuY) has increased over the years, you can expect Phil to continue to get opportunities while he dominates lefties.
Brett Nicholas - Frisco RoughRiders - Texas Rangers AA
After hitting .340 in May, Brett Nicholas has begun to slow down in June. In his last ten games, Nicholas has a .263 batting average and has only collected two extra base hits in 38 at bats. Despite the June struggles, Nicholas has posted seven multi-hit games on the month. Expect Nicholas to fight through struggles as he makes his way to the Majors.
Aaron Senne - Jupiter Hammerheads - Miami Marlins A+
The former Tiger hitter-extraordinaire is in the midst of an injury-plagued season for the Jupiter Hammerheads and has been on the disabled list since April 15th. He has a .080 batting on the season.
Matt Stites - San Antonio Missions - San Diego Padres AA
Former Mizzou pitcher Matt Stites was rewarded for his first half performance with his selection to the roster for the Texas League All-Star Game. So far on the season, Stites has been dominant against Texas League hitters, boasting a 1.64 ERA and has 37 strikeouts to seven walks in 35 innings. With his performance so far on the season, a promotion to AAA is near and a strong second half performance could result in a September call-up.
Ben Turner - Augusta Greenjackets - San Francisco Giants A
The former Tiger is enjoying a productive season while splitting time at catcher and first base. So far on the season, Turner has posted a .263 batting average, with 13 doubles, one home run, 15 RBIs, and 22 runs scores. In his last 10 games, Turner has caught fire, posting a .368 batting average, including a three for three performance on June 11th. With the hot bat leading into the All-Star break, you can expect Turner to put up a strong second half.
Let's welcome the two newest members to turn pro!
Jake Walsh - Washington Nationals - 34th round
Two years removed from getting cut from the team and playing club baseball, Jake Walsh continues to live his Cinderella story. After getting drafted by the Washington Nationals on the last day (34th round, 1,036th overall), Walsh signed and will bring his talents down to Viera Beach, home of the Washington Nationals spring training facilities. Expect Walsh to continue to surprise people, because no obstacle seems too big for this lefty to overcome.
Rob Zastryzny - Chicago Cubs - 2nd round
Sorry Tigers-Cardinals fans, but this Tiger is now a Cub! Undrafted out of high school, the big lefty was picked up on the first day by the Chicago Cubs (2nd round, 41st overall). The former Tiger heads down to Cubs extended spring training in Arizona. With a big chip on his shoulder (40 of them to be exact), look for Rob to continue dominating hitters and prove that his name isn't as hard as it looks to pronounce.
For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.
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