TigsTown Roundtable: Surprise on the Farm?

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: What's been the most pleasant surprise down on the farm so far this season?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Two players to me stood out as the surprises of the young season, a pair of players that many thought may have been left for the prospect scrap heap; infielder Danny Worth and outfielder Alexis Espinoza. Worth's anemic offense in 2009 was a huge concern, and while his defense was top notch, his inability to hit for much power had many floating the notion he was a lost cause. But Worth put in extensive work in the off-season, got his offense back to adequate, continued to flash his impressive defensive abilities, and one bad week from Scott Sizemore got Worth a ticket to the bigs. Meanwhile, Alexis Espinoza wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire like many had hoped, and while he had progressed one level per year, at 21 years of age, it was time for production to emerge. And production arrived in a big way as Espinoza has been making very good contact, and continuing to put the power on display many hoped he would develop.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There has been quite a few nice stories early on in the minor league season, but I'm not sure you can identify anything better than what Alden Carrithers and Rawley Bishop are doing in Lakeland. Carrithers -- though old by prospect standards -- has been showing the talent that had some scouts believing he had a chance to be a big leaguer coming out of college. He's hitting for average, drawing walks, using his speed, and playing good defense. All-in-all, he's been electric for the Flying Tigers, and if he keeps this up, he may not be there long. Bishop on the other hand, has been pushed aggressively by the Tigers. With little standing in his way at first base in the lower levels, Bishop forced the Tigers to skip him all the way to Lakeland, and he has rewarded their faith in him; hitting at a robust clip through what is approaching the first two months of the season. In an additional twist, he is also getting some time at third base, a position he is familiar with from college; and that provides an opportunity for him to increase his value to the organization. Both players have come out guns blazing so far this season, and both players could be forcing their way into the discussion for mid-season promotions.

Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm encouraged by the way Duane Below has pitched in coming back from Tommy John surgery. I don't think anyone would've expected Below to be taking a regular turn in Erie's rotation less than a year after undergoing surgery, but not only is he pitching, his stuff has also been solid. Hopefully, he'll be able to keep building on his early success.

Have your own opinion on the issue? Ready to talk about it? State your opinion on the Detroit Tigers Open Message Board and go head to head with the experts!

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