Ciriaco Making Stop At Third For Tigers
DETROIT—Audy Ciriaco entered this season as one of the Tigers' bright young shortstop prospects. But now that has changed slightly: Ciriaco is one of Detroit's brightest infield prospects.
A bruised wrist delayed the start of the season for the 22-year-old native of the Dominican Republic. When he joined Double-A Erie on April 20, the 6-foot-3, 195-pounder became the SeaWolves' regular third baseman.
"We have a lot of very good young athletes at shortstop," farm director Glenn Ezell said. "We want Audy to play third, but we don't want him to lose his hand at shortstop. We want guys who have a chance to play (in the majors) to get a lot of playing time."
Detroit placed Ciriaco on its 40-man roster after he hit .262/.296/.397 last season for high Class A Lakeland. But with other shortstop prospects such as Brent Dlugach at Triple-A Toledo, Cale Iorg at Erie and Gustavo Nunez at Lakeland, the switch of Ciriaco to the hot corner makes sense.
"He has a plus arm," Ezell said. "He has good hands, and he's not afraid to get in front of the ball. He just needs to get accustomed to the speed of the balls that can be hit to him at third."
Ciriaco was charged with 30 errors last season after making 41 for low Class A West Michigan the previous year.
Ezell said Ciriaco's bat isn't a concern, though he has struggled since collecting six hits in his first 14 at-bats. In his first 96 at-bats with the SeaWolves, Ciriaco hit .229/.257/.323.
"He needs to be a little more selective at the plate," Ezell said. "I think the move from high A to Double-A can be a tough transition because there are experienced pitchers and hitters see more breaking balls—especially in counts when you're not expecting the breaking ball. I think getting 400 at-bats at this level will be a good test for him."
• Righthander Jacob Turner, the Tigers' top draft pick last season, returned to the West Michigan rotation after missing time because of a forearm injury. In his first five starts with the Whitecaps, Turner had a 3.68 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 22 innings.
• All four Tigers full-season affiliates had team ERAs under 4.00: Toledo (3.41), Erie (3.91), Lakeland (2.54) and West Michigan (3.65). Texas was the only other organization that could make that claim.