Tigers Final Report





Best Player: Some in the Tigers organization may have held their breath when third baseman Nick Castellanos batted just .179 in April of his first pro season. But everyone exhaled when the 19-year-old hit .303 in May—and never stopped hitting.
Castellanos finished at .312/.367/.436 for low Class A West Michigan to earn a berth on the Midwest League's postseason all-star team. The Tigers' top pick in 2010—he was chosen 44th overall and paid $3.45 million—Castellanos tied the franchise record with a league-leading 158 hits and tied for second in the league with 36 doubles.

Best Pitcher: Lefthander Drew Smyly's first season of pro ball was a smashing success, including impressive efforts for both high Class A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. Detroit's second-round pick in 2010 finished the season a combined 11-6, 2.07 with 130 strikeouts. Smyly, 22, began the season with the Flying Tigers and ran a string of 17 scoreless innings in his final days with Lakeland. With the SeaWolves, he did not allow more than two runs in any of his seven starts.

Keep An Eye On: Rob Brantly solidified his role as one of the best catching prospects in the organization. He hit .339 in April for West Michigan and finished his stint there with a solid .303/.366/.440 mark in 75 games. He earned a promotion to Lakeland in late July and batted .219/.239/.322 for the Flying Tigers. Brantly, 22, also threw out 34 percent of basestealers in West Michigan and 43 percent for Lakeland.

TIGER TALES

• Before the minor league season ended, the Tigers fired Jon Matlack, the team's pitching coordinator for the past 15 seasons, and Joe Coleman, a former Tiger pitcher who spent the past five seasons as pitching coach at Lakeland.

• The Tigers struck out when it came to sending teams to the minor league playoffs. West Michigan lost its final game of the season to miss the Midwest League playoffs for the first time since 2003. Short-season Connecticut tied Vermont for first in the New York-Penn League's Stedler Division, but the Tigers were just 3-6 against Vermont to lose the tiebreaker.