Dingler's 6th dinger highlights 3-hit day

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Dingler adds homer in three-hit day (June 29)
Tally up another dinger for Dillon Dingler.

The third-ranked Tigers prospect brought Double-A Erie to within a run in the ninth inning on his sixth home run of the season, though it ultimately wasn't enough to top Akron, which held on for a 5-4 win.

Trailing by a three with a runner on first, Dingler unloaded for his first home run since June 11. He had already singled in the second and brought home a run on a double in the fourth.

The Detroit catching prospect is hitting .237/.326/.388 though 62 games. -- Jacob Resnick

Carpenter promoted to Triple-A Toledo (June 25)
Baseball’s surprise Minor League home run leader is one step closer to the Majors. The Tigers on Saturday promoted outfielder Kerry Carpenter from Double-A Erie to Toledo, where he kept his hitting tear going in his Triple-A debut with a home run, double and stolen base in a Mud Hens win.

The former 19th-round pick has 23 home runs in 64 games between the two levels. He entered the season with 24 home runs over 159 career Minor League games. The 24-year-old discussed his swing change recently with the intended goal of more power.

“You can certainly change your station in the game of baseball by going out and performing extremely well. That’s what Kerry has done,” Tigers vice president of player development Ryan Garko said last week. “You look at all the top 10 lists in Double-A, not just the Eastern League but across all the leagues, and power is not as easy to find as it was even just three or four years ago. All the power numbers that teams value, Kerry is dominating those. Obviously when I talk to [general manager] Al [Avila] now, he’s one of the guys we talk about, when to get him to Triple-A and see how he does there. He’s put himself in those conversations.”

Carpenter nearly homered in his first Triple-A at-bat, sending a second-inning drive to deep center field for an RBI double. An inning later, Carpenter had the extra distance he needed, crushing a drive to right-center. He later walked and stole second base. 

Carpenter actually spent a couple days with the Mud Hens last month, but did not appear in a game. Saturday’s promotion coincides with the SeaWolves being eliminated from the Eastern League’s Southwest Division race for the first half, denying them a spot in the league’s end-of-season playoffs. It also follows Trayce Thompson's departure from Toledo this week after the Tigers traded him to the Dodgers for cash considerations. -- Jason Beck

Keith won’t need surgery for shoulder injury (June 14)
High-A West Michigan infielder Colt Keith, the Tigers’ No. 12 prospect, was on a midseason tear when he injured his right shoulder sliding into first base on a pickoff play in a Whitecaps game last week. While the injury was serious, he won’t need surgery, Tigers vice president of player development Ryan Garko said Tuesday.

“He’s going to miss some time,” Garko said, “but I think some of the worst fears we had -- that it might be surgery, might be a much longer rehab -- looks like that’s not going to happen. He’ll be on the IL and in Lakeland rehabbing for the foreseeable future. He’s just got to attack that rehab and hopefully get back on the field this year. That’s the goal.”

Keith is hitting .301 (58-for-193) with 14 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 31 RBIs and a .914 OPS for West Michigan this year. If he can’t return by the end of the Whitecaps’ season, he could get some at-bats in the Arizona Fall League, according to Garko. -- Jason Beck

Wentz dealing with stinger-type injury to shoulder (June 14)
Tigers No. 11 prospect Joey Wentz, who hasn’t pitched since leaving his spot start in Detroit on May 31 with a neck issue, is currently rehabbing in Lakeland, Fla., in hopes of starting a throwing program soon.

“It’s a pinch, almost like a football injury, like a stinger in the front of the shoulder,” Tigers vice president of player development Ryan Garko said Tuesday. “He’s progressing nicely down in Lakeland. It could’ve been much, much worse. He’ll start throwing again and we’ll work through his progression.” -- Jason Beck

Franklin Perez begins rehab assignment in Florida (June 14)
Franklin Perez, the former Tigers top prospect who has dealt with a series of injuries ever since joining Detroit’s farm system as part of the Justin Verlander trade in 2017, is pitching again. The big right-hander tossed 2 1/3 innings in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League on June 10, walking four and striking out three.

It marked Perez’s first game work since undergoing shoulder surgery in May 2021. His fastball velocity is in the low 90s, but there’s hope that will bump up.

“All signs keep pointing positive,” Tigers vice president of player development Ryan Garko said. “I think once we can get him to four or five innings, then we’ll make a decision on sending him out. He’s gone through a lot and continues to work really hard.”

Once his rehab assignment ends, Garko said Perez would likely move up to Single-A Lakeland to stay on the safe side. -- Jason Beck

Madden tosses six, one-hit frames for Whitecaps (June 10)
Ty Madden continued his stingy run with High-A West Michigan, pacing the Whitecaps to a 6-1 victory over Lansing.

The fifth-ranked Tigers prospect yielded one hit and no walks over six scoreless frames while fanning three. The right-hander faced the minimum 18 after being helped by a 6-4-3 double play in the third following a leadoff single. He tossed 48 of his 72 pitches for strikes.

The 22-year-old has allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his 11 starts this season, including a pair of scoreless outings. -- Rob Terranova

Madden fans seven in strong outing (June 3)
Ty Madden has found his groove again.

The Tigers’ No. 5 prospect is coming off a rough May where he had a 6.64 ERA in five starts, which saw him give up 15 earned runs in those outings. The righty locked in and delivered a season-best seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and one run over six innings in High-A West Michigan’s 2-1 loss to Lake County.

After giving up a home run to lead off the second inning, Madden retired eight of the next nine batters, with the only one to reach coming on a dropped third strike. The righty gave up a single in the fourth and a double in the fifth, but no more damage was done in his strong outing.

The 22-year-old threw 71 pitches -- 51 for strikes -- and lowered his ERA to 4.06. He brought his strikeout total to 48 over 44 1/3 innings. -- Edwin Perez

Keith homers twice on career night (June 2)
Colt Keith posted a lot of firsts in his latest outing.

Detroit's No. 12 prospect notched his first professional multihomer game while recording a career-high four hits in High-A West Michigan's 16-8 win over Lake County.

The 20-year-old helped kick off the scoring with a solo shot to right-center field in the first inning. Keith roped his 13th double of the season to center in the fifth, followed by his second long ball of the night (and eighth of the year) to right-center in the sixth. He singled to left in the ninth to fall a triple shy of the cycle.

After a slow start to his second pro season, the fifth-round pick (132nd overall) in 2020 has turned his offense around. He has not hit below .270 since April 20. -- Ethan Sands

Smith fans seven in six scoreless (May 27)
Make that three consecutive starts without an earned run for Dylan Smith.

The No. 8 prospect tied his season high with seven strikeouts across six frames of one-hit ball in High-A West Michigan’s 3-0 loss to Dayton. After allowing a one-out triple in the very first frame, Smith retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced, with the one blemish being a leadoff walk in the third that was quickly erased by a double play. The 2021 third-rounder worked efficiently, firing 46 of his 64 pitches for strikes while generating 15 swings-and-misses.

The 22-year-old has held opposing batters to a .186 average and owns a 2.54 ERA through 39 innings. -- Stephanie Sheehan

Greene begins rehab assignment at Single-A Lakeland (May 27)
Eight weeks after Riley Greene’s road to Detroit hit a detour with a fractured bone in his right foot, the Tigers’ top prospect returned to action Friday night with a rehab assignment at Single-A Lakeland. He went 0-for-3 with a lineout to shortstop and two groundouts.

Greene is expected to get up to speed with game action in Lakeland, them move to Triple-A Toledo, where he spent the final two months of last season. There, the Tigers are expected to run through at-bats and games simulating an abbreviated Spring Training experience to get him ready to take his place in the Tigers outfield. Since Greene isn’t yet on Detroit’s 40-man roster, the Tigers have some flexibility with his timetable if they need it.

Greene was on a path in the regular Spring Training in March to open the season in center field at Comerica Park, batting 9-for-21 with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and four RBIs. Miguel Cabrera called him the team’s best hitter in Spring Training.

The only thing that could delay Greene’s arrival to Detroit was injury, and it did. Greene fractured a bone near the bottom of his right foot when he fouled a Gerrit Cole pitch off of it on April 1. Greene tripled on the next pitch, but felt discomfort his foot rounding the bases and left the game at the end of that inning.

Greene ranks second on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 list. The only player ahead of him on the list is Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman, who was called up to Baltimore last weekend. -- Jason Beck

Kreidler returns to Toledo after fractured hand (May 27)
What was expected to be a long-term injury for Ryan Kreidler ended up barely costing him a month. The Tigers’ promising young infielder and No. 6 prospect was reinstated from the injured list at Triple-A Toledo and rejoined the Mud Hens lineup Friday night. He doubled into the left-field corner on his first pitch of the game in a 1-for-4 performance.

Kreidler was batting .246 (16-for-65) with two doubles, four home runs, 12 RBIs and an .808 OPS when he was hit by two pitches in a game at Omaha on April 26. The second hit-by-pitch fractured a bone in his right hand, an injury that required surgery. The 24-year-old progressed faster than expected in rehab and rebuilt strength in his hand for his final progression.

Kreidler’s return puts him back on a path to potentially make his Major League debut in Detroit this season. Tigers officials had him moving around the infield before the injury to prepare him as a potential fill-in at various spots if needed. -- Jason Beck

Dingler gets back on track in three-hit night (May 24)
Dillon Dingler launched his fourth homer of the season and his first in May.

Detroit's No. 3 prospect got a much-needed 3-for-4 performance in a Double-A Erie's 7-1 win over Bowie.

The 23-year-old began the night by singling to left field on a 1-2 pitch in the first. He smacked a third-inning homer to left field and lined a single to center in the fifth.

Although it was Dingler's eighth multihit game of the season, the catcher has struggled at the plate. In the first month, the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder's average only got as high as .225 and dropped as low as .118. In the second, his average was as high as .284 but dropped to .241 six games later.

In Dingler's second season since being drafted No. 38 overall in 2020, the three-hit game matched his career high for hits. -- Ethan Sands

Olson sets career high with 11 strikeouts (May 20)
In his eighth outing of the year, Reese Olson continued to blow hitters away. One start after racking up 10 strikeouts over five frames, the 17th-ranked Tigers prospect outdid himself -- fanning 11 over 4 2/3 innings for Double-A Erie.

The right-hander recorded his first six outs via punchout before yielding a leadoff double in the third. A strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play ended the third, and Olson struck out the side again in the fourth. After a catcher's interference and a single in the fifth, Olson picked up his 11th whiff before recording his second out of the inning on a fly ball to left. A two-run double followed and the 22-year-old exited the game after allowing one earned run on four hits and a pair of walks.

Olson lowered his ERA to 3.60 and has amassed 54 strikeouts over 35 frames this season. -- Rob Terranova

Flores dominates in Double-A debut (May 19)
No. 15 prospect
Wilmer Flores arrived at Double-A Erie this week looking to stick with what worked so well for him at High-A West Michigan. It didn’t take long for the big right-hander to settle in against Eastern League hitting. He tossed five scoreless innings of one-hit ball on Thursday night in his Double-A debut, walking one and striking out seven to help the SeaWolves sweep a doubleheader from New Hampshire.

“First inning, I was feeling really nervous,” Flores said after the game. “So when the first inning was done, I feel like, ‘Whew!’ I was relaxed. I felt like me again.”

Flores struck out five of his first seven batters, three of them swinging at breaking balls, then settled into a groove of easy outs on contact before fanning back-to-back batters on breaking balls to close his outing. He allowed just two balls out of the infield, and retired his final 12 batters following a leadoff walk in the second inning. His lone hit allowed was a first-inning double from Rafael Lantigua. He drew 10 swings and misses, but also spotted corners with his fastball for called strikes.

“I think the key tonight was the slider,” Flores said. “I was able to throw it for strikes. It helped me to get back into counts.”

The slider has been a fast-developing breaking pitch for him, and complements his curveball. He worked on it last offseason and honed it in Spring Training, building it off of a cutter he had been throwing.

In the end, Flores was knocked out by his pitch count, not by anything the Fisher Cats hit against him.

“He was a real pro out there,” Erie manager Gabe Alvarez said. “It was like he had been here all year. He has a special arm, no doubt about it. Now he knows he can compete at this level and he can dominate at this level. …

“He’s got big-time stuff. And for being that young, he’s got great command. He’s got that curveball and slider mix that he can throw whenever he wants. He’s going to be dominant.” -- 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