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Situational Leftist

On May 24th and 25th I was given the opportunity to view some Tiger prospects first hand. I was able to watch the West Michigan Whitecaps play our local Cubs class A affiliate in Lansing, the Lansing Lugnuts. It was also a great opportunity because on the 25th Mark Prior had his second rehabilitation start. It would also prove to be a very difficult test for the Whitecaps hitters as Prior held them hitless with no walks and allowed one baserunner on a fielding error in 4 1/3 innings. I realize that 2 games is a very limited sampling but I was left with good impressions from three Whitecap players and their overall performance in those games.
Tony Giarrantano was very good at shortstop. He exhibited good range and a strong arm. In particular, during the 2nd inning of the May 24th game he snagged a hard hit ball in the 5 1/2 hole between second and third and threw out a baserunner at 1st going away that was very impressive. He had a double with an RBI and also reached base after being hit by a pitch in the 9 at bats I witnessed. He looked confident and was very good at working the counts. He will need to develop a little pop if he will continue to move through the system.
Vincent Blue, is a lanky centerfielder who appears to have good range and really moved to get after balls hit into the rangy centerfield of Oldsmobile Park. He did lose one line drive that was turned into a triple but otherwise performed very well. He had 4 hits in his 10 at bats in the 2 games and had a RBI. He was an aggressive base runner which lead him to being thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple. As Blue physically matures I can see him develop some more slugging potential because he is very long and thin.
Kody Kirkland performed very well in the games I saw but appears to have had a rough time at the plate to begin the season. He had 4 hits in nine at bats but also struck out 4 times. He seemed to have his best at bats versus Prior even if he was only able to get on base due to a fielding error. Kirkland who two triples very deep in right center, one of which might have been a homer if it hadn’t struck a protective railing on the outfield wall. Kirkland was sure handed at third and seemed to have a good arm. Kirkland may have the most difficult path to the majors since he will have not only his own performance to be concerned with but the fact that the organization also has a former first round draft pick in Scott Moore sitting just one level above him in the organization.

My name is Steve Butts. I went to Michigan State University and got a B.S. in Pychology. I have been a baseball fan since seeing a 1977 Detroit Tigers baseball program. The first World Series I remember viewing was the “We are Family” Pirates. I have also been at times a Cub fan thanks to cable television and a late grandfather who grew up in West Michigan and was a lifelong fan. I am also a distant relative to Toledo pitcher Andy Van Hekken on my mother’s side of the family. I am currently employed in the Music and Video Dept. of a local Barnes & Noble.

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