With the Detroit Tigers pitching staff getting roughed up this season on a regular basis, we as fans must look to the minors for the future arms of the franchise.
In West Michigan, LHP Jon Kibler was named the Midwest League Pitcher of the Week for May 12-18. The southpaw from Freeland, MD went 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in 16.0 innings last week and is 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA and 40 strikeouts to nine walks this season. The Tigers selected Kibler in the 30th round of the 2007 draft. This is the third consecutive week that a Whitecaps pitcher has won the MWL award. RHP Alfredo Figaro won the award on May 5 and LHP Ramon Garcia won the award on May 12.
Figaro has been red hot for the Whitecaps all season long. The 23-year-old from the Dominican Republic posts a 1.09 ERA, which is third best in the league. His record so far is 6-1. 'Caps skipper Joe DePastino has been pleased by the progress of Figaro. "He's been making great progress with his offspeed stuff from day one this season," DePastino said. "When his offspeed stuff is on, he's lights-out." Figaro was signed by the Tigers as a Minor League free agent in 2005.
Down in Lakeland, the Flying Tigers Jonah Nickerson is the reigning Florida State League Pitcher of the Week. On the 23rd, he pitched a three-hit, 10-strikeout game against the Jupiter Hammerheads. He did not walk any of the 23 batters he faced in the game. "It was a little of everything", stated Nickerson, who relied on a devestating curveball for strikeouts. "I've basically been controlling my fastball the couple of games, trying to get ahead and trying to get them to swing when I'm ahead with my curveball. It's been working the last couple of games." Nickerson was a Midwest League All-Star last season for the Whitecaps and was Detroit's 7th round pick in 2006.