Weather Doesn't Dampen Tigers' Intructional League
McVaney, Vasquez stand out to Detroit personnel
DETROIT—While the major league club was busy earning its third consecutive playoff berth, a new batch of Tigers took another step in their climb up the ladder to the majors by taking part in the organization's instructional league.
Things haven't been completely smooth at their minor league complex in Lakeland, Fla.
"We've had a tough time because the weather has given us a fight," said Dave Owen, Detroit's director of player development—but Owen said he likes what he has seen from a number of Tigers prospects there.
The 43-man instructional league roster has 22 pitchers, including 13 the Tigers selected in the 2012 draft. Righthander Jake Thompson, a second-round selection who was Detroit's first pick this year, was not on the roster because he was shut down to limit his innings, but the team's next seven draft picks were in Lakeland, as were 20 other picks from last June's draft.
Jeff McVaney, Detroit's eighth-round pick this past June, continued to work in the outfield. He split time between the outfield and the mound as a lefthander while at Texas State, but was used exclusively in the outfield at short-season Connecticut. He hit .288/.413/.346 in just 15 games to earn a promotion to low Class A West Michigan, where he batted .250/.298/.400 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 56 contests.
"He's a very mature hitter," Owen said of McVaney. "He's also a strong kid, and he does a lot of good things swinging the bat."
Also on the roster is one of the Tigers' most intriguing prospects, outfielder Danry Vasquez. The 18-year-old Venezuelan, one of the youngest players in Lakeland, struggled at West Michigan to start the season, batting .162/.218/.222 in 29 games.
But in a restart at Connecticut he batted .311/.341/.401 and led the league in hits despite being one of the youngest players.
• Bill Dancy was named the Tigers' new field coordinator. He replaced Kevin Bradshaw, who will serve as Detroit's infield defense coordinator.
• Larry Parrish, who managed the Tigers in 1998-99, will replace Ernie Young as manager at West Michigan in 2013. Parrish is a veteran of the organization who also has served as a minor league manager, coach and instructor before becoming Atlanta's hitting coach in 2011. He was fired by the Braves after one season and was out of baseball this past year.