Castellanos' Bat Speeds Development

Third baseman promoted to Double-A at 20 years old





Best Player: Unlike last season, when it took a little time before third baseman Nick Castellanos started hitting, the 20-year-old began 2012 with a 10-game hitting streak and never slowed down.

The supplemental first-round pick in 2010 out of Archbishop McCarthy in Southwest Ranches, Fla., batted .405/.461/.553 in 215 at-bats with high Class A Lakeland, leading the Florida State League in all three categories and earning an early June promotion to Double-A Erie. And Castellanos just kept hitting in the Eastern League, collecting two hits in each of his first two games with the SeaWolves and batting .308/.305/.500 in 78 at-bats.

Biggest Leap Forward: Last season, outfielder Steven Moya struggled in an 86-game trial at low Class A West Michigan, hitting just .204/.234/.362 while striking out 127 times in 323 at-bats. This year the 20-year-old returned to the Whitecaps, and Midwest League pitchers have struggled to get him out. He was hitting .284/.313/.475 and was leading West Michigan in home runs (nine) and RBIs (44).

Biggest Disappointment: Control issues have cropped up for two of the Tigers' better young pitching prospects. Lefthander Alex Burgos had struggled in his first taste of the Florida State League, surrendering 53 walks (to go with 45 strikeouts) in 68 innings to post a 4-8, 5.66 record in 14 starts for Lakeland. Meanwhile righthander Ramon Lebron, who had a 1.83 ERA in 22 relief appearances with West Michigan a year ago, had struggled in his return to the Whitecaps. Lebron, whom the Tigers signed out of the Dominican Republic after the 2006 season, had a 5.75 ERA with 30 walks and 24 strikeouts in 19 appearances.

TIGER TALES

• Two Detroit minor leaguers announced their retirement in June. Lefthander Austin Wood, best known for his 121⁄3 no-hit innings for Texas in the 2009 college postseason, retired while at Triple-A Toledo. Righthander Zach Samuels  called it quits after going 3-1, 5.04 in 16 Double-A relief appearances.

• The Tigers' first two picks in this year's draft have made an immediate impact in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Righthander Jake Thompson, the Tigers' first overall selection, threw four shutout innings in his pro debut. He yielded only one hit, struck out six and walked one. Shortstop Austin Schotts, a third-round pick, was hitting .387/.459/.548 with eight RBIs in nine games.