There’s no way to analyze the Mud Hens’ potential roster for 2013 without looking at the Tigers’ roster for the coming season. So here’s a look at who might begin next season in Detroit and in Toledo …
PLAYERS LOST, DETROIT: Ryan Raburn, .171-1-12 in 66 games.
PLAYERS LOST, TOLEDO: Justin Henry, .300-1-38 in 131 games; Audy Ciriaco, .224-12-35 in 102 games.
IN DETROIT FOR SURE: While there may have been uncertainty in the off-season, with rumors flying around regarding potential changes at shortstop, the Tigers starters are basically set. … Prince Fielder will see the majority of time at first base after hitting .313-30-108 last season. … Omar Infante plugged the hole at second base after coming to Detroit in the trade deadline deal with Florida and hitting .257-4-20 in 64 games with the Tigers. … Jhonny Peralta is back at shortstop after batting .239-13-63 in 150 games for Detroit. … Miguel Cabrera was voted American League MVP after winning the Triple Crown with a .330-44-139 season. … Ramon Santiago is the chief reserve in the middle infield after hitting .206-2-17 in 93 games a year ago.
IN DETROIT OR IN TOLEDO? Two players mentioned in the outfield section also could provide infield depth as Matt Tuiasosopo played all four infield positions for Buffalo last season while Don Kelly has played every position but shortstop for the Tigers at some point in the past two seasons. … Danny Worth is a reserve option after splitting time between Detroit (.216-0-3 in 43 games) and Toledo (.264-5-24 in 60 games) last season.
OTHER TOLEDO OPTIONS: There will likely be a pair of options at first base in John Lindsey, who hit .270-15-47 in 65 games with the Mud Hens, and Danny Dorn, who in 47 contests batted .256-7-25. Dorn is the better fielder, so Lindsey probably will see more time as the DH. … Kevin Russo has experience at second base, and he also has experience in the IL with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Last season he hit .284-0-36 with SWB. … There are a variety of options at shortstop. The two most familiar ones are Argenis Diaz, who hit .253-0-32 in 111 games in Toledo last season, and Cale Iorg, who batted .157-1-6 in 47 games here. An unfamiliar one is Gustavo Nunez, who returned to the organization after spending last season injured. He was a Rule 5 pick of the Pirates in December of 2011.
POTENTIAL HELP FROM ERIE: One intriguing option is 1B Jordan Lennerton, who hit .269-21-82 in 139 games for the SeaWolves. … Nunez has never played a game above Double-A, so he may begin the season here. … The reason Nunez may be bumped to Toledo is the development of a pair of middle infielders, 2B Hernan Perez and SS Dixon Machado. Perez hit .261-5-44 with 27 steals in 124 games for Hi-A Lakeland last season, while Machado batted .195-2-37 with 23 steals in 119 games with the Flying Tigers. … Wade Gaynor will probably be the SeaWolves’ third baseman after hitting .254-14-65 in 105 games for Lakeland a year ago.
THE LAST WORD: In Detroit, the starters are set. The question is who will be the reserves, with rumors circulating that Santiago might be on the trading block. If he is traded, that opens a spot for Worth. … In Toledo, the Hens have a lot of choices at first base in Lindsey, Dorn and Lennerton. There also are options at shortstop in Diaz, Iorg and Nunez. Second and third will also have solid options, but versatility will be the watchword as a variety of players are likely to man those positions from day-to-day. … As for Erie, the SeaWolves may have an interesting double-play combination in Perez and Machado. Gaynor also bears watching as a solid hitter through much of his minor-league career.
THURSDAY, MARCH 28: A look at the starting pitching in Detroit, Toledo and Erie.
Click here to take a look at the potential outfielders for the Mud Hens this season. And click here to read an overview of the team for the coming year.