Tigers’ Stewart Flexes His Muscle

BEST PLAYER: The Tigers knew Tennessee left fielder Christin Stewart had some pop in his bat when they selected him in the first round of the 2015 draft. But they might not have expected him to flex this much muscle this early in his minor league career.

Stewart didn’t hit for a high average in the first half of the season, his first at high Class A Lakeland, but he hit for plenty of power while showing a patient approach. Through 74 games, he had amassed 18 home runs, 17 doubles and 55 walks.

The 22-year-old Stewart was hitting .248/.394/.523, and he had struck out 25 percent of the time.

BIGGEST LEAP FORWARD: JaCoby Jones went from working out in Florida while serving a 50-game drug suspension to Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo in about 30 days. He also settled in as a center fielder after playing shortstop the previous three seasons.

When the Tigers promoted Jones to Toledo, he supplanted Anthony Gose in center field, despite the fact that Gose started the season as the everyday big league starter.

The Tigers obtained Jones at the 2015 trade deadline in the deal that sent Joakim Soria to the Pirates. The 24-year-old is only one step away from the majors, but the Tigers will let him develop.

“He is playing wonderfully in Toledo and he’s done great the whole season,” general manager Al Avila said. “We want that to continue. We hope he’s (in Toledo) all year. If he needed to come up later in the year, would he be an option? Of course. But the best thing for the organization and for JaCoby is that he stay there and helps us in the future.”

A 2013 third-round pick from Louisiana State, Jones recorded a .991 OPS at Erie but hit just .228/.279/.405 through 21 games at Toledo.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Shortstop Dixon Machado had a breakout offensive season in 2014 at Erie, but he hasn’t posted very good numbers at all at the Triple-A level.

Through 74 games this season, the 24-year-old Venezuelan, who signed in 2008, hit .256/.337/.314. Just 13 of his 71 hits went for extra bases.

The Tigers’ middle infielders have stayed healthy, and the team has two utility players in Andrew Romine and Mike Aviles, so Machado’s services haven’t been required in the big leagues.

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