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Detroit Tigers Farm Report: Erie Seawolves to Know for 2024

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Those who closely follow baseball, particularly minor league baseball, know that Double A is less than a hop, skip, and a jump away from the major leagues. The Detroit Tigers figure to roster a team at Double A Erie, that will feature a lot of players the Tigers expect to impact their major league roster.

Here are a few names to know and keep an eye on during the upcoming season.

On the mound, the Tigers have a pair of starters who bare close watching Jackson Jobe and Brant Hurter. Jobe is back to being fully healthy and is looking the part of one of the most dominant right-handed starters in all of minor league baseball. He is ranked by MLB.com as the second-best right-hander, behind first overall selection Paul Skenes, and boasts four plus pitches. Jobe was only able to throw 64 innings last year coming off surgery, but he dominated, posting a WHIP under 0.999 and 84 strike outs against only 6 walks. Hurter throws from the left side and posted a 3.28 ERA across 118 innings with 133 strike outs and 33 walks, he will probably start the year again in AA, but he will probably move to AAA sooner than later in 2024. Troy Melton and Dylan Smith are two additional starers to keep an eye on in 2023. Melton pitched well in his first full season of pro ball posting a .274 ERA in 92 innings between Lakeland and West Michigan. Melton has a plus fastball and above average slider and change which he is able to effectively use with his plus command. On the relief side, Zech Hess was highly regarded coming out of LSU, but has struggled with injury and ineffectiveness. This is a critical year for Hess to reestablish his trajectory towards the major leagues. Last season was Hess’ first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in January of 2022. Command and feel are often slow to return for a pitcher coming back from surgery, but Hess was only able to throw 10 innings in 2023 and will need to show he is both healthy and has regained the plus fastball/slider combo that made him a seventh round pick in 2019.

On the offensive side the Sea Wolves will have a pair of catchers of interest. Eliezer Alfonzo and Josh Crouch have both seen time on various top 30 prospects lists. Both are solid defenders, and, in both cases, power has been slow to come. Currently, they both project as back up catchers if the bat comes together. Around the rest of the infield the names to know and watch are Luke Gold and Hao-Yu Lee. In the outfield Brady Allen, Trei Cruz, and Seth Stephenson are bats with promise. Stephenson has plus plus speed and stole a combined 70 bags in 2023. Cruz has shifted into a full utility role and has shown in ability to play good defense regardless of where he lines up. This will be a make-or-break year for Daniel Cabrera, he has struggled to live up to his billing come out of LSU in 2020. Cabrera was supposed to be an advanced bat, but thus far as hit just .235 with 22 home runs across more than 1100 minor league at bats.

The real excitement for the Sea Wolves will be seeing who will be coming to Erie during the season as promotions should bring a wave of exciting talent to the roster.

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