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Jeff Larish

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Jeffrey David Larish

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[edit] Biographical Information

Jeff Larish was the Tigers Minor League Player of the 2007. He made his big league debut the next year.

Larish was a 32nd-round pick of the Chicago Cubs in the 2001 amateur draft out of high school. He hit .328/.447/.477 as a freshman in college. As a sophomore in 2003, he batted .372/.528/.697 with 80 runs, 78 walks, 18 homers and 95 RBI in 65 games. He led the Pacific-10 Conference in RBI and split first-team All-Conference honors with Conor Jackson at first base. He led NCAA Division I in walks, 15 ahead of anyone else and was second in RBI. He was third in OBP behind only Rickie Weeks and Conor Jackson. Baseball America named him as a second-team All-American, behind only Michael Aubrey at first base. He joined Team USA for the summer and hit .255 with a team-leading 8 home runs and 23 RBI. He scored the US's only run in the Gold Medal game of the 2003 Pan American Games, which they lost 3-1 to Cuba; Larish worked control specialist Norge Vera for a walk, advanced on a Seth Smith single and scored on a Brent Lillibridge sacrifice fly. In 2004, Jeff batted .308/.396/.468 for a junior slump. The Los Angeles Dodgers took him in the 13th round of the 2004 amateur draft; out to prove that 2004 had been a fluke, Larish returned for a senior year.

Larish hit .324/.457/.680 in 2005 with 72 runs, 23 home runs, 58 walks and 67 RBI in 67 games. He led the Pac-10 Conference in home runs and was one of four players to split All-Conference honors at first; John Mayberry Jr. was one of the others in the mix. He tied for 4th in NCAA Division I in circuit clouts. In the 2005 College World Series, Jeff scored 7 runs in 5 games, drew six walks and hit 3 home runs while batting .438 (slugging 1.111). He made the CWS All-Tournament team at first base. All three home runs came in one game against Nebraska, tying J.D. Drew and Edmund Muth for the single game CWS record. The Detroit Tigers took him in the 5th round of the 2005 amateur draft and was signed by scout Brian Reid.

Larish made his pro debut with the GCL Tigers, going 4 for 18 with 4 walks and a double. Moving up to the Oneonta Tigers, he homered in his first three games and finished with a .297/.430/.625 line in 18 games with 16 runs and 6 homers. Baseball America rated him Detroit's #9 prospect.

In 2006, Jeff hit .258/.379/.460 for the Lakeland Tigers. His 34 doubles tied Ryan Ludwick for the lead among Detroit farmhands, while his 81 walks tied Kurt Airoso for the most in the system. He also hit 18 home runs. He led the Florida State League's first basemen in putouts (1,245), assits (92) and double plays (128) and was third in the league in walks. Baseball America again ranked him as the #9 Tigers prospect.

Larish was even better in 2007, hitting .267/.390/.515 for the Erie SeaWolves. He homered 28 times and drove in 101 while leading the Detroit minors with 87 walks. He led the Eastern League in home runs and RBI and was one walk behind leader Jeff Natale. He also led EL first basemen in fielding percentage (.994), putouts (1,113) and double plays (94). Baseball America rated him as the EL's 16th-best prospect (between Chuck Lofgren and Brian Barton), the EL's top power hitting prospect and the #6 Tigers prospect. Jordan Brown beat him for honors as the EL All-Star first baseman. Larish was named the Tigers Minor League Player of the Year.

Larish was off to an excellent start in 2008; near the end of May, his 16 homers were third in the US-based minors behind Mike Hessman and Brad Eldred. He was hitting .277/.372/.592 with 43 RBI in 53 games. He was then promoted to the majors when Gary Sheffield went on the Disabled List. He debuted hitting 7th and playing DH. He was 1 for 5 in the game, taking part in a 7-run first-inning that give the Tigers a 7-4 win. With a 3-0 lead, one out and two on against Carlos Silva, Larish grounded back to the mound for a force at second; Marcus Thames scored from third on the play. After an Edgar Renteria single, Brandon Inge tripled in Larish.

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