Tigers Load Lakeland With Prospects

Several players land on high Class A roster





DETROIT—The Tigers have made some interesting decisions regarding the shape of their minor league rosters.

For example, many of the organization's top pitching prospects have congregated in Triple-A Toledo to form the Mud Hens' rotation. Three of Detroit's top five prospects—lefthanders Drew Smyly, Casey Crosby and Andy Oliver—will make starts for Toledo, and lefty Adam Wilk drew Toledo's Opening Day assignment.

When Phil Nevin was asked if he worried about the youth of his rotation—-24-year-olds Wilk and Oliver are the oldest prospects in that rotation—the Mud Hens manager simply smiled.

"I'm not big on worrying about stuff like that," he said. "If you can pitch, you can pitch. And these guys all can pitch."

Smyly will be promoted to Detroit to become the Tigers' fifth starter, but eventually he will be replaced by the organization's top prospect, righthander Jacob Turner. Turner was slowed in spring training by arm problems but is expected to be ready quickly.

Turner headlines a prospect-studded roster at high Class A Lakeland. He and lethander Alex Burgos will headline the Flying Tigers' rotation, while righthander Bruce Rondon will probably close.

Many of Detroit's top prospects will be on display around Lakeland's diamond, a group led by third baseman Nick Castellanos. He will be joined by shortstop Dixon Machado and second baseman Hernan Perez, while the outfield includes Avisail Garcia, Tyler Collins and Daniel Fields.

TIGER TALES

• There are some famous names on the low Class A West Michigan roster, including Colin Kaline, grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline; Marcus Lemon, whose father Chet played for Detroit from 1982-90; and Patrick Leyland, whose father Jim manages the Tigers.

• Outfielder P.J. Polk was among the Tigers' final roster cuts. Polk stole 29 bases in for short-season Connecticut in 2010 but was limited to 72 games in 2011 because of injuries.