The Toledo Mud Hens have started off the season with two wins over Durham - 3-2 on Thursday and 9-2 tonight. In last night's game, Virgil Vazquez had 8 strikeouts and allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings and catcher Dane Sardinha had a solo homer to lead the Mud Hens. Tonight, Armando Galarraga pitched 5 scoreless innings and Jeff Larish hit a three run homer.
Jeff Larish is one of the interesting prospects to watch at Toledo this year. Larish finished strong at AA Erie last year and batted .267/.390/.515 overall. The 25 year old left-handed batter has tremendous power leading the Eastern League with 28 homers last year. He has a lot of patience accumulating 168 walks over the last two years. His defense at first base is solid. He is blocked from the majors by Carlos Guillen but should get a September call-up if he continues to slug.
Outfielder Matt Joyce had a horrible start last year batting under .200 in the first two months. However, the 23 year old left-handed batter hit .293 with 13 homers over the last three months. An excellent defender, he was voted the best defensive outfielder in the Eastern League by Baseball America. He has pretty good gap power (53 extra base hits last year) but needs to cut down his strikeouts (127 in 456 at bats last year) and improve his batting average (.257 over the last two years).
Other players to follow are pitchers Virgil Vasquez and currently disabled Jordan Tata (broken hand). Position players of interest include outfielder Brent Clevlen and infielder Michael Hollimon who is on the disabled list with a dislocated shoulder. The complete roster is listed below. For more news and discussion of the Mud Hens, check out the following sites:
Mud Hens official site
Tigers Minor League Baseball Blog
Take 75 North
Toledo Mud Hens Opening Day Roster
Ian Ostlund (DL)
Michael Hollimon (DL)