DETROIT -- Cam Gibson will get his opportunity to face some the best prospects in baseball when the Tigers outfielder heads off to the Arizona Fall League in October.The son of Tigers great Kirk Gibson is one of six prospects the Tigers are sending to Arizona, joining relievers Zac Reininger
DETROIT -- Cam Gibson will get his opportunity to face some the best prospects in baseball when the Tigers outfielder heads off to the Arizona Fall League in October.
The son of Tigers great Kirk Gibson is one of six prospects the Tigers are sending to Arizona, joining relievers Zac Reininger and Adam Ravenelle, starter Spencer Turnbull and infielders A.J. Simcox and Kody Eaves.
All six will be teammates on the Mesa Solar Sox, which includes players from the Astros, A's, Cubs and Nationals organizations. Former Tigers player and current Class A West Michigan hitting coach Mike Hessman will serve as one of the hitting coaches. Chris Vick will serve as a trainer.
2017 Arizona Fall League rosters
The Tigers have one more slot available on the Mesa roster, which they'll fill before the schedule begins. Reininger, who was promoted to Detroit last week and made his Major League debut on Sunday, could also be replaced depending on how much he pitches for the Tigers in September and how much rest they want him to get this offseason.
The Arizona Fall League is regarded a part finishing school, part testing ground for prospects who are on their way to competing for a spot on a Major League roster. Some teams use it as a springboard for top prospects. Other teams use it to gain extra at-bats for a player working on something specific in their game before a season ends, or highly-regarded prospects who missed time due to injury.
The league has a total of six teams, with five organizations represented on each. Every MLB team is required to send at least six players from its organization.
For Gibson, the extra at-bats could make up for lost time at Class A Advanced Lakeland, where summer storms have resulted in a slew of rainouts and postponements this season. Though Gibson was promoted from West Michigan to Class A Advanced Lakeland in mid-June, he entered Tuesday having played in just 39 games for the Flying Tigers thanks in part to weather.
Despite the limited at-bats, Gibson -- a fifth-round pick by the Tigers in 2015 out of Michigan State -- has made an impression. Combine his time at the two levels, and the 23-year-old is batting .270 with 20 doubles, 11 triples, 13 home runs, 47 RBIs, 18 stolen bases and an .825 OPS in 104 games. Defensively, he has alternated in center and left field.
Reininger has risen from Lakeland to Detroit this year in his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The lanky right-hander posted a 2.54 ERA over 42 Minor League appearances, allowing just 42 hits over 63 2/3 innings with 18 walks and 60 strikeouts. He's regarded among a crop of Tigers relief prospects that includes Joe Jimenez, Bryan Garcia, Ravenelle and Gerson Moreno, among others.
Both Ravenelle and Turnbull return to the AFL, vying to regain innings after working through injuries. Ravenelle, ranked 25th on the MLBPipeline.com rankings of Tigers prospects, took part last year and went to Major League camp in Spring Training before elbow soreness sidelined him until late April. He entered Tuesday having pitched in 50 innings over 40 games for Double-A Erie, posting a 4.50 ERA while striking out 46 batters.
The 24-year-old right-hander is a former closer at Vanderbilt and a fourth-round pick in the 2014 Draft.
Turnbull, the 27th-ranked Tigers prospect, also was an AFL participant last fall, making six starts for Salt River. The Tigers' second-round Draft pick from 2014 has made 20 starts this year between Erie, Lakeland and the Gulf Coast League, going 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA and 98 strikeouts over 108 innings.
Eaves, a 24-year-old who plays second and third base, has batted .272 with 19 doubles, 12 homers, 40 RBIs and an .808 OPS between Erie and Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers acquired him before the 2016 season from the Angels for Jefry Marte.
Simcox, Erie's primary shortstop this season, is batting .251 for the SeaWolves with 21 doubles, seven homers, 32 RBIs and a .670 OPS.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.