His mother, Julie, wanted him to take that University of Michigan scholarship. His dad, Bruce, having gone the high school-to-big leagues route, decided an 18-year-old athlete with a dream as well as his life in front of him, had to make his own decision.

Daniel Fields opted for the Tigers and the $1.6 million bonus they offered him in 2009 as their sixth-round draft pick.

Four years later, and with his share of injuries and frustrations on file, Fields could be moving closer to Detroit, or at the very least to a big-league job. Fields, who was a second-team All-American at University of Detroit Jesuit High, is batting .281 on the season and .342 in his last 10 games.

His OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) during those same stretches: .892 and 1.155, which would suggest an upper-tier prospect is beginning to figure things out.

"That's a good way to put it," said Chris Cron, the manager at Double A Erie, where Fields has been playing center field and batting third. "It's nice to see the steady progression, and pretty much in all aspects."

Fields is 6 feet, 2 inches, 215 pounds, and bats left-handed. Size and skill projections were why the Tigers bit, and why he and his family were torn in 2009, when a Wolverines scholarship was on the table along with the Tigers' hefty offer.

It looked during his first full season, 2010, that Detroit had been everyone's best choice. Fields was assigned to Single A Lakeland, an uncommonly high post for a 19-year-old. He batted .240 with a .714 OPS and was named Lakeland's player of the year.

But he slipped in 2011, batting just .220 at Lakeland. That season and the next were all about injuries, including an abdominal strain that held him to 48 games in 2012.

This year has been a happier story. In 48 games, Fields has six home runs, 17 doubles, three triples, and 11 stolen bases in 49 games.