DETROIT -- Christin Stewart and Joe Jimenez have some of the most impressive power in the Tigers' farm system -- Stewart with his bat, Jimenez with his arm. They'll both bring it to San Diego in two weeks as Detroit's representatives in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
It marks the fifth time in six years the Tigers have had two representatives. It also marks the return of Jimenez, the Tigers' lone representative in last year's Futures Game and the Tigers' eighth-ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com.
Jimenez was closing at Class A West Michigan when he received the Futures Game nod last summer, pitching two-thirds of an inning with a strikeout for the World Team. He has jumped two levels since then, and his stock has risen in turn. The 21-year-old right-hander with the upper-90s fastball pitched 26 1/3 scoreless innings between Class A Advanced Lakeland and Double-A Erie before finally giving up his first run of the season last Saturday. He owns a 0.33 ERA to go with a .122 opponents' batting average, having yielded 11 hits over 27 1/3 innings, with seven walks and 46 strikeouts.
"I think Joe Jimenez has a chance to be a good Major League pitcher," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said last week. "He certainly has a plus fastball."
Tigers officials, including Ausmus, have downplayed the chances of Jimenez's rise taking him to the big leagues quite yet, though the chances of a stretch run in the Majors seem to be improving by the day. A strong inning against top hitting prospects, even in a brief appearances, can help his statement.
Stewart, the Tigers' third-ranked prospect, was just beginning his pro career at this point last year, a supplemental first-round pick by the Tigers out of the University of Tennessee in last year's Draft. After playing at three different levels down the stretch last summer, the outfielder has hit the Florida State League with authority this year with Lakeland, slugging a league-best 18 home runs and 17 doubles as part of a .248 average and league-high .918 OPS in 74 games.
Stewart scored the lone run in the Florida State League's All-Star Game a couple of weeks ago, earning MVP honors. Now he'll get his chance against stars from all different levels. He's one of just seven players between the two 25-man rosters to be selected out of Class A ball.
The Futures Game takes place on Sunday, July 10, at 7 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast live on MLB Network and streamed at MLB.com.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.