The Tigers are one of the many teams to pull out of the Venezuelan Summer League, reports Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. Political instability in the region has caused the league to collapse. GM Al Avila said the Tigers would continue to maintain their Venezuelan baseball academy and will also participate in the winter-based Parallel League. Some clubs are adding a second Dominican team to develop their Latin prospects, but Detroit is planning to open a Gulf Coast League team instead.
Here’s more from the Tigers:
- Back in August, GM Al Avila restructured the front office to create a baseball analytics department, writes James Hawkins of the Detroit News. At the club’s recent TigerFest, Avila admitted the club didn’t previously have an analytics team. He specifically referenced Statcast, a relatively new technology that tracks nearly everything that occurs on a baseball field. Technology in the game has developed to the point that no team can ignore the importance of data researchers.
- Justin Upton may have made his first impression on scouts when he was just 13, writes Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Upton happened to be hanging around a ball field where a group of college players needed a catcher. Upton had no experience behind the plate but fearless donned the tools of ignorance to catch much more physically mature pitchers. When older brother Melvin Upton hit the competitive circuit with players like Cameron Maybin, David Wright, and Ryan Zimmerman, the younger Upton tagged along.
- Second baseman Ian Kinsler has made maintaining his speed a priority, writes George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. Kinsler doesn’t want to become a bat-only player (despite rumors of 15 more DH jobs on the horizon). As such, a focus on continuing to run quickly will help him to regularly produce for the Tigers.