Playing south of the border in Mexico, infielder Max Leon has picked up his pace a bit. After nearly earning a demotion to the bench with Culiacan, Leon has hit .300 over his last ten games, and now has his season line up to .228/.343/.342. Though his contact rates and slugging remain on the low side, he’s still continuing to work counts and get on base at a reasonable clip. This has proven a trend with Max during the offseason, and I’d feel comfortable assuming his average will perk up once stateside again for the minor league season in 2009.
Moving eastward to the Dominican Winter League, the Tigers activity there has cooled considerably. Brent Clevlen has not played since November 16th, instead heading home for the remainder of the offseason. Heading into a season in which he is out of options and in dire need of a strong spring training impression, Brent ended his winter league experience with a less than inspiring .260/.373/.300 line, with just two doubles as his only extra-base hits.
Freddy Dolsi has begun to see additional action, appearing in eight games spanning 6 2/3 innings of work. Though he has given up five earned runs and sports a 6.75 ERA over that time, his two walks and eight strikeouts are a positive sign heading into 2009.
Both right-hander Alfredo Figaro and third baseman Santo De Leon have played a miniscule amount in the DWL. De Leon has made one game appearance for Azucareros in which he went 1-for-3 with a run scored. Figaro on the other hand has appeared in two games while yielding three hits and a run in 1 1/3 innings. Neither player is expected to see much additional time with their respective clubs this winter, but the experience of practicing regularly with these teams will prove beneficial as both are expected to get their first full taste of Double-A ball in 2009.
The activity among Tiger prospects in Venezuela has been even less in the upper level leagues, with Lester Oliveros and Alexis Espinoza having yet to see time on the field for Caribes. Players like Carlos Guillen, Armando Galarraga, and Miguel Cabrera also have yet to play, but could see action as the Caribbean World Series gets underway after the New Year.
Rounding things out on the international front, catcher Dusty Ryan has ended his rough stint in the Puerto Rican Winter League. After heading into the offseason with fans hoping he could become the Tigers’ catcher of the future, Ryan has since seen two catchers signed ahead of him and appears destined for more developmental time in Toledo. In 49 at-bats for Ponce, Ryan managed to whiff in twenty of them, while finishing the fall with a .163/.268/.286 line.