Tigers' Suarez Staying Consistent

Shortstop finds his groove in low Class A





DETROIT—Low Class A West Michigan manager Ernie Young didn't hesitate when he was asked for the word that best describes shortstop Eugenio Suarez:

"Consistent," Young said of the switch-hitting Venezuelan.

That consistency has manifested itself on offense, where Suarez was among the Midwest League leaders with 129 hits, and on defense, where his .978 fielding percentage was tops among the league's shortstops.

Suarez, 21, signed with the Tigers in 2008 and made his U.S. debut last season, hitting .341/.408/.636 in 44 at-bats in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and .250/.323/.426 in 204 at-bats for short-season Connecticut.

But that was merely a prelude to his breakout 2012 campaign, when he has excelled at the plate and in the field. Suarez was hitting .297/.390/.433 in 418 at-bats and had only recent fallen from the ranks of the six Midwest League players hitting .300 or better. He also ranked among the league leaders in on-base percentage, doubles (32) and runs (75).

"From day one he has been hitting at or close to .300, and he's been good offensively—especially for a young player in his first full pro season," Young said. "He and our hitting coach, Scott Dwyer, have worked on staying up the middle with his approach, and he has hit well to all fields."

Suarez had made just 11 errors in 93 games at shortstop and was so solid that teammate Brandon Loy, a defensive whiz at shortstop in college at Texas, has seen more action at second base.

"Eugenio has played remarkable defense," Young said. "He has good range, and he has an above-average arm. He also has played second base, and I think he can fill a need at either position in the future."

Young said he also likes how Suarez has handled his first full pro season.

"A full season is a grind that has a lot of ups and downs," Young said. "How you get through the low parts of the season define the kind of success you have for the whole year."

TIGER TALES

• Righthander Bruce Rondon was promoted to Triple-A Toledo from Double-A Erie after compiling a 0.83 ERA with 12 saves, striking out 23 and walking nine in 22 innings.

• Outfielder Daniel Fields was promoted to Erie after hitting .266/.318/.357 in 62 games in his third season at high Class A Lakeland.