Tom de Blok practices at A Full Season level

In a Tweet, Detroit Tigers minor league writer Emily Waldon, showed a clip with Tom de Blok throwing pitches in a bullpen next to Jordan Zimmerman. I hear you think “Wow”. But Zimmerman was scheduled to pitch an exhibition game with the A-Advanced team of the Tigers.

After a stellar performance with team Kingdom of the Netherlands during the 2017 WBC, Tom drew the attention of the Detroit Tigers, who signed him to a contract. Tom managed to get a clause in his contract that he would start at A Full Season level. And so it happened. In the previous year after a series of friendly games between Japan and Kingdom of the Netherlands, Tom drew the attention of the Rakuten Golden Eagles, for whom he pitched a tryout. But somehow both parties never managed to hammer out a deal.

Tom had a string of very strong relief appearances but nevertheless, the Tigers sent him down to A Short Season’s Connecticut Tigers. Not because the parent club thought he wasn’t doing well. On the contrary. The Tigers saw something that apparently no one had ever seen before. They want to turn Tom into a starting pitcher.

On June 21st, Tom debuted as a starting pitcher for the Connecticut Tigers. To let his arm get accustomed to long games, they let him throw only 3.2 innings. Of the thirteen hitters he faced, he retired five on strikeouts, four on groundouts and two on flyouts. Tom gave up only one hit and one walk.

Tom de Blok during his first start (with the Connecticut Tigers)

After that start, Tom was sent back to the WhiteCaps again where he finished his season. After a couple of solid outings, he started to struggle but that was just a part of the learning process. Eventually, he straightened the ship and finished the season with a nice 2.87 ERA at A Full Season level.

Tom was scheduled to start on the A Full Season field. It doesn’t mean anything yet but it may be an indicator that he will start the season where he left the previous one: with the West Michigan WhiteCaps.


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