No. 15 prospect Flores promoted to Double-A

May 17th, 2022

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Flores promoted to Double-A, Hill to Triple-A (May 17)
After dominating High-A hitters for the past six weeks, No. 15 prospect Wilmer Flores will get his next test against Double-A competition. The Tigers promoted the hard-throwing right-hander to Erie, where he’s expected to make his Double-A debut Thursday night against New Hampshire at UPMC Park.

The promotion comes after the 21-year-old posted a 35-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 1.83 ERA over 19 2/3 innings at West Michigan. He tossed five scoreless innings on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in his last start May 13 against Beloit.

Thursday will mark Flores’ 21st career Minor League appearance and his fourth different level since the Tigers signed him as a non-drafted free agent last summer. He made 14 appearances last summer between the Florida Complex League and Low-A Lakeland before heading to the Arizona Fall League. He has been a high-strikeout hurler at every stop, but this season has shown a dramatic drop in his walk rate so far. The advanced hitters in the Eastern League should give him a better test.

Flores will fill the rotation spot of No. 26 prospect Garrett Hill, who is headed to Triple-A Toledo after posting a 2-0 record and 2.25 ERA in seven starts for the SeaWolves, including four innings of one-run ball with nine strikeouts Tuesday against New Hampshire. The 26-year-old has 52 strikeouts and 10 walks over 32 innings, during which he has allowed just 19 hits. -- Jason Beck

Olson racks up 10 K's in five innings (May 15)
In his seventh start of the season, Reese Olson hit a new gear.

Detroit's No. 17 prospect turned in his most dominant outing of the season, racking up 10 strikeouts over five one-hit innings to lead Double-A Erie to a 9-0 win in the opener of a doubleheader at Akron.

Olson was a perfect through four innings, retiring the first 12 batters he faced, seven via strikeouts. Already carving through Akron's lineup, the right-hander responded quickly to the only base traffic he faced. After yielding a leadoff double to the RubberDucks' Will Brennan in the fifth, Olson uncorked a wild pitch that moved Brennan to third. Then, the SeaWolves hurler bore down to strike out the side for the final three outs of his day.

The 22-year-old needed just 70 pitches to record his first double-digit strikeout day since Aug. 14 of last year for High-A West Michigan at Lake County. The effort also served as a strong rebound performance for Olson, who lasted just three innings in his last start a week ago against Altoona, giving up three runs on five hits. It was also his first scoreless outing since his first start of the season, which featured seven K's over four frames on April 8, also against the RubberDucks. -- Tyler Maun

Greene nearing clearance for baseball activities (May 13)
Riley Greene, MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 overall prospect, began running on the field at the Tigers’ Spring Training facility after receiving clearance from doctors to ramp up baseball activities. It’s his first full on-field work since he fractured a bone in his right foot on a foul ball late in Spring Training. He had been running in a pool and on a treadmill.

“He started his initial running program on the ground, which is exciting for us,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s been hitting a little bit and throwing, doing some defense, very controlled. Now we can ramp him up as we normally would in a rehab program with not a lot of concern about the foot other than we have to treat symptoms. So he’ll start to be a little bit more aggressive in his normal routine of getting back up to being a baseball player again.”

Hinch did not have a clear timetable for when the Tigers expect he could return.

“There’s some murky, gray, maybe/maybe-not things,” Hinch said. “We’ve just got to get him on the bases, get him live fungo, live BP. There’s a lot that has to happen before he gets into games. His initial games would start in Lakeland, [Fla], like we do with everybody, and ultimately bump him up levels as we feel like he’s physically ready.” -- Jason Beck

Kreidler ahead of schedule after hand surgery (May 12)
Ryan Kreidler, who underwent surgery earlier this month for a fractured right hand, is already doing strengthening activities and throwing. The Tigers’ No. 7 prospect is progressing sooner than Tigers officials expected when tests showed a fractured bone in his hand after he was hit by a pitch while playing for Triple-A Toledo last month. -- Jason Beck

Hill earns second win with five strong innings (May 11)
Tigers No. 26 prospect Garrett Hill continued his solid start for Double-A Erie with five innings of one-run ball, earning his second win of the year in an 11-8 win at Akron.

Hill’s lone earned run was a third-inning homer from Guardians No. 9 prospect Jose Tena. He struck out the side in order in the second inning and didn’t allow another runner into scoring position. He left after an error put Tena on base again to lead off the sixth.

Hill’s four strikeouts pushed his season total to 43 over 28 innings. He hasn’t walked a batter in his last two starts, covering 10 innings. -- Jason Beck

Wentz to make MLB debut in start for Detroit (May 10)
Joey Wentz was in Toledo on Sunday when Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon told him he’d be starting on Wednesday for the Tigers, making his Major League debut at Comerica Park. Since it was Mother’s Day, however, McClendon included Wentz’s parents in delivering the news.

“Lloyd called my parents with me in his office, which was really cool on Mother’s Day,” Wentz said. “I’m not an overly emotional person, but I had a moment to myself and it was really cool.”

Wentz will get the callup just over two years after Tommy John surgery halted his rise up the Tigers system after his arrival in July 2019 as part of the Shane Greene trade with Atlanta. The Tigers’ No. 12 prospect is 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA in five starts for the Mud Hens this season, but he has racked up 26 strikeouts over 19 2/3 innings while allowing 11 hits and 10 walks. He also has added a cutter to what was already a four-pitch arsenal, highlighted by a fastball that has topped out at 97 mph since surgery.

“Joey [when he’s] inside the zone [is] very effective,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He can pitch at any level. When he sprays the ball, he gets himself in a little bit of trouble. Early in the season, he was [running up a] pretty high pitch count per inning.” -- Jason Beck

No. 26 prospect fans 10 across five innings (May 5)
Garrett Hill was firing on all cylinders in his five innings of work in Double-A Erie’s 2-1 win over Altoona. The No. 26 prospect struck out 10, including a streak of five in a row, while allowing three hits and giving up a run.

The righty opened up the night by striking out the first two batters he faced, and he worked around a single and a steal in the second by striking out the last two batters of the inning. He allowed a single and an RBI double to open up the third, but that was when he began his K streak. Hill got Pirates No. 6 prospect Liover Peguero looking and got the next four batters swinging. He induced a pop-up on his final batter of the night to close his outing.

The 26-year-old fired 45 of his 66 pitches for strikes as he lowered his ERA to 2.35 with 39 punchouts and a .160 BAA in 23 innings. -- Stephanie Sheehan

Kreidler to have surgery on fractured right hand (May 4)
Shortstop prospect Ryan Kreidler will undergo surgery to repair his fractured right hand, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch announced. The procedure is likely to keep the Tigers’ No. 7 prospect out of action until at least later this summer, though the team hopes he’ll return this season with enough time to further his development.

“He’ll be out of commission for a significant amount of time,” Hinch said.

Kreidler suffered a fractured bone in his hand on a hit-by-pitch last week while playing for Triple-A Toledo. He was batting .246 (16-for-65) with an .808 OPS for the Mud Hens, and was in line for consideration for a potential callup to Detroit. -- Jason Beck

Clemens clubs two HRs, including 456-foot blast (May 1)
Kody Clemens
has recorded a hit in all but two of the 22 games he’s played this season, and he’s now homered in four of the last six. The No. 18 prospect launched two long balls for Triple-A Toledo in its 7-4 loss to Omaha.

Clemens got the scoring started with a solo jack in the first that traveled a whopping 456 feet over the wall in right field. As if that wasn’t enough, he sent a 3-1 pitch to the same spot in the eighth inning for his fifth dinger in six games and first multihomer game since September of last year. The 25-year-old is hitting .299/.327/.557 with 12 extra-base hits and 15 RBIs.
--Stephanie Sheehan

Greene progressing slowly from foot injury (April 30)
Outfielder Riley Greene, MLB Pipeline’s No. 5 prospect, continues to make progress in rehabbing his fractured right foot as the Tigers move cautiously with their top outfield prospect.

“We know it’s a slow heal,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s doing some activity outside the boot, which is important, but he hasn’t started running or doing anything substantial.”

Greene had a follow-up exam recently, which came back without issue, and he’ll have another exam in a few weeks.

The Tigers have not publicly released a timetable on Greene’s potential return, though reports suggested a potential six- to eight-week timetable for his type of foot injury, a fractured bone in the lower half of the foot. The team is wary of rushing a return and turning the foot into a lingering issue for the 21-year-old. At this point, a June return to baseball action is looking like the best realistic outcome. -- Jason Beck

Kreidler suffers broken right hand (April 29)
Tigers No. 7 prospect Ryan Kreidler is expected to miss a significant amount of time after sustaining a fractured right hand on a hit-by-pitch during Triple-A Toledo’s win at Omaha on Tuesday.

“He’s going to be out for a while,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said Friday. “He’s got to go see a specialist. My understanding is it’s not a simple break, so he’s got to talk to some experts, and he’s going to be out of action for a good bit.”

Kreidler hit his fourth home run of the season in the same game. He’s batting .246 (16-for-65) with an .808 OPS for the Mud Hens. The 24-year-old had been playing primarily at shortstop, his natural position, but had seen time at second and third base, as well, to prepare himself as a potential fill-in option around the infield for Detroit. The Tigers called up Willi Castro earlier this month when Javier Báez went on the 10-day injured list, but Kreidler -- who isn’t on the 40-man roster -- would have been a better option had Báez suffered a longer-term injury. -- Jason Beck

Faedo fires zeros in first taste of Triple-A (April 27)
It all started up the middle for the Mud Hens en route to their commanding 14-0 victory over the Storm Chasers with shortstop Zack Short and right-handed pitcher Alex Faedo paving the way.

Faedo, the club’s No. 16 prospect per MLB Pipeline, spun five scoreless frames in his first taste of Triple-A. Taken with the 18th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft from the University of Florida, it’s been a rocky road to the doorstep of the big leagues, but Faedo’s first impression saw him strike out eight and fire 49 of his 69 pitches for strikes.

Once heralded among Detroit’s pitching prospect crop which included Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Tarik Skubal, Faedo, 26, has developed at his own pace. After beginning the year with 12 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings with Single-A Lakeland -- where he compiled a 2.53 ERA -- the righty excelled against his toughest competition yet.

The biggest offensive boost came from the leadoff spot, which was manned by Short. After opening the game with a walk and getting plunked his next time up, the 26-year-old proceeded to go on a home run binge.

Short cranked a grand slam to left field in the fourth, before plating another run with a sac fly in the sixth. He amassed a career-best seventh RBI after hammering his fourth homer of the season -- a two-run shot -- in the eighth. In one fell swoop, the infielder surpassed his previous RBI total for the month of April (six, in 18 games). -- Jesse Borek

Parker Meadows promoted to Double-A Erie (April 25)
Parker Meadows said in Spring Training that one of his goals was to advance out of High-A West Michigan and to get to Double-A Erie. On Monday, the Tigers’ No. 19 prospect bid farewell to the Whitecaps and joined the SeaWolves. The younger brother of Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows will make his Double-A debut Tuesday at Binghamton, N.Y.

Thanks to West Michigan’s promotion from Single-A to High-A last year, Meadows played 234 games over parts of three seasons with the Whitecaps since 2019. The Tigers’ second-round pick from the 2018 Draft encountered some injuries and a lost Minor League season in 2020 due to the pandemic, but reported to Tigers camp this spring with a revamped swing, more bat speed and more muscle onto his 6-foot-5 frame.

“The main thing for me is just my timing,” Meadows said in February. “My timing has never been fully consistent. My swing has always felt good, but timing is huge in this game, so I’m really cracking down on that.”

The work paid off with a strong Spring Training that included several hard-hit line drives. He returned to West Michigan to begin the season, but started the season on a tear with four home runs over his first six games. He cooled off over the past week with a .230 average, but scored 16 runs over 14 games. Nine of his 14 hits went for extra bases.

“It was awesome,” Meadows told Whitecaps radio play-by-play broadcaster Dan Hasty for the Road to Detroit podcast. “I was working on a lot of stuff in the offseason and it carried over into Spring Training, and the next step was to carry that over to the season, which isn't easy. I was able to do that the first week. This week I struggled a little bit, and I know that's the game, I understand that. But there's going to be a lot of ups and downs. I enjoy both the ups and the downs. I look at the downs as a learning process.”

This is clearly an up for him. In addition to the challenge of a new level, he’s also one step closer to potentially joining his older brother in Detroit one day.

“I'm excited for what the future holds,” he told Hasty. “Obviously with Austin being up there, I think that's a little extra motivation.” -- Jason Beck

Brieske impresses in debut (April 23)
While the Tigers were celebrating Miguel Cabrera’s 3,000th career hit, right-hander Beau Brieske was getting ready for his first career start. It was a nervous time for both.

“The advice that I got was to get out there early and to soak it all in, to look at everything and recognize what I had to do to get here and appreciate it, instead of going out there and trying to deal with that all at once,” Brieske said after the Tigers’ 3-2 loss to the Rockies in the nightcap of a doubleheader. “And really, I felt like I did a good job of dealing with all that and making it about baseball when it needed to be about baseball.”

Brieske was a 27th-round Draft pick in 2019 who cracked the Tigers prospect list on the strength of a standout 2021 season that began at High-A West Michigan. With former top pick Matt Manning on the injured list, Saturday was Brieske’s chance after just 10 starts above A ball.

The 24-year-old held his own and showed the solid mix of pitches that fueled his rapid rise, from a 96 mph fastball that fanned C.J. Cron to 80 mph changeups that struck out Sam Hilliard and Ryan McMahon.

Brieske paid for two home runs. After Brieske’s first big league pitch was a 95 mph fastball for a strike, Connor Joe jumped on a hanging slider for a leadoff homer. Two innings later, Charlie Blackmon turned on a first-pitch curveball down and in for a two-run shot down the line.

“You've got to know that a guy like that, if you get it into his sweet spot with the way he swings the bat, you know he's going to hit it,” Brieske said. “So I think I need to be just a little bit more fine with that. But I did feel like both of the pitches were the right pitch, just lack of execution.”

Brieske will get another chance when the Tigers visit the Dodgers next weekend. Though Manning resumed throwing Saturday, he’s still a ways off from returning.

“I was very, very happy with his composure. Stuff was really good,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “His recovery after the first hitter he faced in the big leagues went deep, I’m very proud of him, very happy for him.” -- Jason Beck

Faedo promoted to Triple-A Toledo (April 23)
The Tigers announced they’ve transferred No. 16 prospect Alex Faedo from Single-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo, essentially completing his path back from Tommy John surgery.

Faedo, Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2017 Draft, opened the season in Lakeland in what essentially amounted to a rehab assignment in his first regular-season game work since 2019 at Double-A Erie. He allowed three runs on six hits over 10 2/3 innings in three appearances, walking three and striking out 12. He tossed four scoreless innings on one hit in his last outing April 21, walking two and striking out five. His fastball and sinker both averaged just over 93 mph and topped out at 95, according to Statcast.

The Tigers would like to put Faedo in position to make his Major League debut in Detroit this season, either as a starter or in relief. -- Jason Beck

Keith and Madden shine for Whitecaps in victory (April 22)
After climbing three levels of the Tigers' system during his rookie campaign last season, Colt Keith is off to another strong start this year. The No. 13 Tigers prospect put together a perfect showing at the plate for High-A West Michigan, going 4-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs in five plate appearances. The 20-year-old notched a two-RBI double and a trio of base knocks. Keith is sporting a .277/.333/.447 slash line with six extra-base hits, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored over 11 games this season.

On the hill, Ty Madden continued his hot start to his pro career. The 32nd overall pick in the 2021 Draft posted his third straight outing allowing two runs or fewer. The 22-year-old right-hander yielded one run on a pair of hits without issuing a walk and fanned five over five frames. The sixth-ranked Tigers prospect sports a 2.77 ERA, a 0.69 WHIP and a .133 average against over 13 innings. -- Rob Terranova

Hill strikes out 10 for SeaWolves (April 21)
Garrett Hill continues to outdo himself to start the season for Erie.

In his latest strong start, Detroit's No. 27 prospect struck out 10 while allowing one run on two hits through five innings. Hill threw 76 pitches, 47 for strikes, against Richmond en route to the SeaWolves' 3-2 victory.

The right-hander's performance through three games has him atop the Eastern League in strikeouts (25) and second overall to Rocket City's Brett Kerry (Angels) for Double-A.

Over three starts, the 26-year-old has allowed two runs on five hits. He's sporting a 1.38 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP. -- Ethan Sands

Jobe makes pro debut for Single-A Lakeland (April 17)
Tigers top pitching prospect and MLB Pipeline No.39 prospect Jackson Jobe made his pro debut Sunday for Single-A Lakeland with a one-inning start, allowing a pair of unearned runs on sacrifice flies but flashing the high-powered, high-spin arsenal that led Detroit to select him with the third overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft.

Jobe allowed an infield single and a walk but recorded three fly-ball outs in his 19-pitch inning. An error at shortstop by Tigers No. 8 prospect Izaac Pacheco resulted in the unearned runs.

Jobe’s fastball averaged 96 miles per hour and topped out at 97, according to Statcast. He threw two different sliders; the sharper, higher-spin version topped out over 3,200 rpm, just as advertised.

Jobe’s pro debut was delayed a couple weeks in part due to a flu bug that limited him in Minor League spring training, then additional work with organizational pitching director Gabe Ribas. The Tigers are ramping up his workload carefully as they introduce him to the routine of a full Minor League season. -- Jason Beck

Hill fans nine for Double-A Erie (April 15)
For the second straight start, 27th-ranked Tigers prospect Garrett Hill dominated on the bump. But this time, the right-hander outdid even himself. Hill allowed a run on two hits and a walk while striking out nine over four frames. The 26-year-old retired the final eight Patriots batters he faced -- whiffing the side in the third and fourth innings. He exited after tossing 65 pitches -- 46 for strikes.

The San Diego State product worked around a pair of walks and a hit to punch out six over four scoreless frames his last time out with the SeaWolves. Hill is sporting a 1.13 ERA and 0.75 WHIP this season. -- Rob Terranova

April 14: Jobe to debut for Single-A Lakeland
Jackson Jobe, the Tigers’ No. 3 prospect and their top pick in last year’s MLB Draft, will make his professional debut for Single-A Lakeland after being assigned to the Flying Tigers roster on Friday.

Jobe, the No. 39 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100, is not expected to debut on Friday, though the Flying Tigers had no probable starter listed as of Friday afternoon for the evening game at Bradenton.

Jobe had been in extended spring training after dealing with a flu bug last month that slowed his progress in Minor League camp. He made an impression during the Tigers’ Minor League minicamp, where he threw live batting practice against fellow Tigers Draft pick Izaac Pacheco as well as No. 5 prospect Cristian Santana and No. 14 prospect Manuel Sequera.

Whenever Jobe pitches, fans can look for his slider, a wipeout pitch with a high spin rate that helped sway the Tigers to draft him out of high school over some highly-rated shortstop prospects. -- Jason Beck

April 14: Flores fans seven in High-A debut
Wilmer Flores, the hard-throwing younger brother of the veteran Giants infielder, might be making a name for himself in the Tigers' farm system. Detroit's No. 15 prospect made his High-A debut at West Michigan on Thursday night with seven strikeouts over three perfect innings in the second game of a doubleheader against Lansing.

Flores, signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2020, got the start and overpowered Lansing’s lineup. He picked up a pair of three-pitch strikeouts in a seven-pitch opening inning, struck out two more in the second, then fanned the Lugnuts in order in a 23-pitch third. That lengthy third inning might have cost him a chance to go deeper.

Though Flores just turned 21 years old in February, he has a chance to advance quickly up the organizational ladder. At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, he already has the body frame for a big league reliever. -- Jason Beck