Friday, February 15, 2013

2013 Top 20 Detroit Tigers Prospects

First of all, I’m not an expert on prospects.  Therefore, I have to rely on scouting reports and other lists to come up with my own list.  So below I’m going to link to the lists that I’m using for reference and then I’ll make sort of a compilation list while also adding my own gut feeling. 


           1.    Nick Castellanos, OF/3B
2012 stats:
(A+) - 234 PA | .405/.461/.553/1.014 | 3 HR | 3 SB | 17.3% K% | 9.1% BB% | .459 wOBA | 188 wRC+
(AA) – 341 PA | .264/.296/.382/.678 | 7 HR | 5 SB | 22.3% K% | 4.1% BB% | .305 wOBA | 84 wRC+

The unanimous selection for the Tigers #1 prospect, Castellanos busted out in High-A, but cooled off in AA.  He hasn’t shown much HR power, but as he develops, his doubles should turn into homers.  The big news is the move to the OF.  While he’s not horrible at 3B, he can potentially reach the majors sooner by being an outfielder.  He should start the year again in AA, but going straight to AAA isn’t out of the question. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            2.    Bruce Rondon, RP
2012 stats:
(A+) - 23 1/3 IP | 1.93 ERA | 0.94 WHIP | 37.0% K% | 10.9% BB% | 2.26 FIP
(AA) – 21 2/3 IP | 0.83 ERA | 1.11 WHIP | 25.6% K% | 10.0 BB% | 3.48 FIP
(AAA) – 8 IP | 2.25 ERA | 1.50 WHIP | 24.3% K% | 18.9% BB% | 5.20 FIP

As of right now, Rondon is the Tigers closer.  The Tigers organization thinks that highly of him, even though he has never thrown a pitch at the big league level.  He routinely hits triple digits with his fastball with good command.  His slider has also improved to the point that it’s now considered an above average pitch.  The only issue is with control, which results in a high walk rate.  Better coaching and development could help with that, though.  Even if he doesn’t win the closer’s job, he’s likely to make the team out of ST as a late inning reliever.

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            3.    Avisail Garcia, OF
2012 stats:
(A+) - 287 PA | .289/.324/.447/.771 | 8 HR | 14 SB | 19.9% K% | 3.8% BB% | .348 wOBA | 115 wRC+
(AA) – 226 PA | .312/.345/.465/.810 | 6 HR | 9 SB | 16.8% K% | 3.1% BB% | .364 wOBA | 124 wRC+
(MLB) – 51 PA | .319/.373/.319/.692 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 19.6% K% | 5.9% BB% | .307 wOBA | 91 wRC+

This is where my opinion differs with the experts.  Most ‘perts have Garcia at #2 and Rondon as #3.  My reasoning for switching them has mostly to do with Major League readiness.  Despite spending some time at the major league level in 2012, including the post-season roster, most people would agree that Garcia is not ready to contribute full-time for the Tigers, like Rondon is. Even though he only had 1 ML extra-base hit for the Tigers (a double in the playoffs), Garcia is expected to develop some power as he matures.  His patience is also worrisome with the low walk rate.  Time in the minors will help in both areas.  He has surprisingly good base stealing numbers and is above average defensively.  Garcia is expected to start the year in AAA, but will be the first one called up in case of an injury to the outfield.

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           4.    Jake Thompson, SP
2012 stats:
(R) – 28 1/3 IP | 1.91 ERA | 0.85 WHIP | 29.3% K% | 9.4% BB% | 2.64 FIP

The Tigers top draft pick of 2012 (91ST overall), Thompson has a low 90s fastball that’s expected to be an above average pitch.  His slider is also projected to be above average and could end up being his best pitch.  He also has a work-in-process changeup.  He’s projected to be a #2 or #3 starting pitcher in the future.  Thompson is expected to start the year in West Michigan.
            5.    Danry Vasquez, OF
2012 stats:
(A-) – 310 PA | .311/.341/.401/.742 | 2 HR | 6 SB | 14.5% K% | 4.2% BB% | .347 wOBA | 120 wRC+
            (A)  – 112 PA | .162/.218/.222/.440 | 1 HR | 0 SB | 17.9% K% | 6.3% BB% | .204 wOBA | 22 wRC+

Most experts agree that his promotion to West Michigan was premature, given his young age (soon to be 19) and was promptly demoted to Low-A where his tools finally translated into production.  He’s often described as a “toolsy” player, making solid contact but lacking plate discipline.  Like Garcia, he’s expected to gain some power as he matures, but probably not as much.  He’s expected to contribute at the big league level in some capacity someday, but is likely 3-4 years away.  Vasquez is expected to spend a full season at West Michigan in 2013.

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.
    
            6.    Casey Crosby, SP
2012 stats:
(AAA) – 125 2/3 IP | 4.01 ERA | 1.41 WHIP | 20.8% K% | 12.1% BB% | 4.21 FIP
(MLB) – 12 1/3 IP | 9.49 ERA | 2.11 WHIP | 15.3 K% | 18.6% BB% | 6.42 FIP | 5.50 xFIP

Crosby has a low 90s fastball, a curveball and a changeup that can all potentially be above average.  The big issue with Crosby is his control, which leads to a high walk rate and WHIP.  Being 24 years old, time is running out for Crosby to put everything together.  His ceiling is a #3 or #4 starter, but he may have to settle in a relief role in order to stick in the majors.  The Tigers lack starting pitching depth, so Crosby will remain in the rotation in AAA for the time being and be the first one called up in case of an injury. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            7.    Austin Schotts, OF
2012 stats:
(R) – 177 PA | .310/.360/.452/.812 | 3 HR | 15 SB | 23.2% K% | 6.8% BB% | .381 wOBA | 141 wRC+
(A+) – 4 PA | .333/.333/.333/.667 | 0 HR | 1 SB | 25.0% K% | 0.0% BB% | .310 wOA | 90 wRC+

Originally a shortstop, the Tigers moved Schotts to CF because of his poor arm.  His above average speed will likely help him be an above average defender.  He’s another one that’s described as “toolsy” when it comes to his bat.  He’s projected to hit for a high average and could potentially gain some power.  He has all the tools to be a leadoff hitter.  Schotts will likely spend the entire 2013 season in West Michigan. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            8.    Eugenio Suarez, SS
2012 stats:
            (A)  – 603 PA | .288/.380/.409/.789 | 6 HR | 21 SB | 19.2% K% | 10.8% BB% | .364 wOBA | 126 wRC+

A personal favorite of mine, Suarez is a rare middle infielder in the Tigers organization that has shown both offense and defense skills.  He has a nice approach at the plate and can hit for average and get on base.  Main issues are, he doesn’t hit for a lot of power (but has shown gap power) and has a high strikeout rate.  He’s projected to be a major league utility player.  He’ll likely start the year in Lakeland.  

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            9.    Tyler Collins, OF
2012 stats:
(A+) – 542 PA | .290/.371/.429/.800 | 7 HR | 20 SB | 11.8% K% | 10.7% BB% | .368 wOBA | 129 wRC+

Collins is one of the prospects that doesn’t get the “toolsy” label, but all he’s done is produce.  He hits for average, gets on base and can even steal a little.  His main weakness is his defense, so that makes LF the best fit for him.  However, he isn’t projected to hit well enough to play there everyday at the major league level, making him a 4th OF at best.  Collins is expected to start the year at AA. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           10.  Jeff Kobernus, 2B
2012 stats:
(AA) – 366 PA | .279/.322/.330/.652 | 1 HR | 41 SB | 15.6% K% | 5.2% BB% | .301 wOBA | 81 wRC+

There’s question whether or not Kobernus even qualifies as a prospect given his rule 5 status.  However, I consider him a prospect since he still has rookie eligibility and is currently in the Tigers system.  I went over Kobernus in depth in this post.

Bless You Boys Player Preview.

            11.  Brenny Paulino, SP
2011 stats:
(R) – 45 2/3 IP | 2.36 ERA | 1.14 WHIP | 23.6% K% | 9.4% BB% | 2.96 FIP
(A+) – 5 1/3 IP | 21.94 ERA | 3.38 WHIP | 18.4% K% | 23.7% BB% | 7.33 FIP

Paulino missed the entire 2012 season due to injury but experts still view him as a decent prospect due to his natural raw talent.  He has good movement on his fastball but still needs work on his secondary pitches.  He’s still only 19 years old, so he has plenty of time to figure it out.  He’ll likely start the year in rookie ball. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           12.  Steven Moya, OF
2012 stats:
            (A)  – 258 PA | .288/.319/.481/.801 | 9 HR | 5 SB | 22.9% K% | 4.3% BB% | .356 wOBA | 120 wRC+

Moya has been an injury risk (last year he had Tommy John surgery), but when he’s healthy he has shown improvement over the last 3 seasons, but plate discipline is still an issue.  He stands at 6’7”, so most experts project him to hit for lots of power.  Some say he has all-star potential.  Moya could either start at West Michigan or move to Lakeland to start 2013.

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           13.  Harold Castro, 2B
2012 stats:
(R) – 216 PA | .311/.343/.420/.763 | 1 HR | 15 SB | 11.6% K% | 4.6% BB% | .356 wOBA | 125 wRC+

Castro has done nothing but hit since the Tigers signed him.  He’s projected to hit for average, have doubles power and can even steal some bases.  He doesn’t strike out, but doesn’t walk either.  Defensively he has shown above average range at 2B, but only an average arm.  Bless You Boys think that he can be good enough to play regularly at 2B at the major league level.  Castro is expected to start the year in West Michigan in 2013. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            14.  Joe Rogers, RP/SP
2012 stats:
(A-) – 22 2/3 IP | 2.38 ERA | 1.37 WHIP | 26.0% K% | 11.0% BB% | 2.49 FIP

Joe Rogers was a relief pitcher in college but it’s rumored that the Tigers might try him as a starter.  He has a low-90s fastball, a curve and a changeup, that have all been described as above average or the potential to be above average, although not “outstanding.”  His success in relief makes me believe that’s his only path to the majors.  If he does become a starter, he’ll likely start in West Michigan, but if he stays a reliever, he’ll likely go to Lakeland. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            15.  Ramon Cabrera, C
2012 stats:
(AA) – 428 PA | .273/.340/.365/.704 | 3 HR | 0 SB | 10.3% K% | 9.1% BB% | .324 wOBA | 97 wOBA
(AAA) – 5 PA | .400/.400/.600/1.000 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 0.0% K% | 0.0% BB% | .443 wOBA | 180 wRC+

The Tigers traded Andy Oliver for Ramon Cabrera during the off-season.  Cabrera is at least an average defender that has the potential to be solid.  The switch hitter can hit for a high average, has moderate gap power, but not much HR power.  He has good plate discipline with an above average walk rate and a low strikeout rate.  Given the scarcity of good catchers in the majors, he can probably stick as at least as a backup, but he’s expected to start the year in AAA. 

            16.  Dean Green, 1B/DH
2012 stats:
(R) – 37 PA | .094/.189/.094/.283 | 0 HR | 0 SB | 13.5% K% | 10.8% BB% | .157 wOBA | -3 wRC+
(A) – 253 PA | .306/.381/.502/.883 | 9 HR | 0 SB | 15.4% K% | 9.1% BB% | .395 wOBA
 145 wRC+
(A+) – 156 PA | .348/.410/.518/.928 | 3 HR | 2 SB | 16.0% K% | 4.5% BB% | .423 wOBA | 164 wRC+

Green stands in at 6’4” and 255 lbs, but despite his physical appearance, he hasn’t hit for much power, yet.  He’s projected to hit as much as 25-30 HR.  In the two years he’s been in the Tigers organization, he’s hit in almost every level and improving as he advances.  He hits for average, has a decent strikeout rate and an above average walk rate.  Defensively, he isn’t all that athletic, so the only place he can play is 1B and some scouts don’t even think he do that, making him a long-term DH.  Currently, he’s blocked by the Tigers, so that makes him trade bait at the deadline if he continues to hit.  He’s expected to go to AA to start 2013. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           17.  Devon Travis, 2B
2012 stats:
(A-) – 107 PA | .280/.352/.441/.793 | 3 HR | 3 SB | 9.3% K% | 7.5% BB% | .372 wOBA | 136 wRC+

Devon Travis is someone that does everything well but nothing outstanding.  He’s just average, and sometimes that’s okay since he has no glaring weaknesses.  The only thing that can be described as below average is his speed.  Defensively he’s solid to above average.  Travis is expected to start the year at West Michigan but could end up in Lakeland by the end of the year.

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           18.  James McCann, C
2012 stats:
(A+) – 177 PA | .288/.345/.350/.695 | 0 HR | 3 SB | 16.4% K% | 5.6% BB% | .324 wOBA | 100 wRC+
(AA) – 230 PA | .200/.227/.282/.509 | 2 HR | 2 SB | 19.1% K% | 3.5% BB% | .232 wOBA | 34 wRC+

James McCann’s best asset is his defense.  All of his defensive skills are rated above average to great and he handles the pitching staff really well and has leadership qualities.  His ceiling is an average starting catcher, but he’ll have to improve his hitting.  He’s good defensively enough to at least be a backup at the major league level.  McCann is expected to go back to AA in 2013. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

           19.  Daniel Fields
2012 stats:
(A+) – 267 PA | .266/.318/.357/.675 | 1 HR | 14 SB | 20.6% K% | 7.1% BB% | .311 wOBA | 91 wRC+
(AA) – 122 PA | .264/.352/.358/.711 | 2 HR | 9 SB | 17.2% K% | 10.7% BB% | .331 wOBA | 102 wRC+

When Fields was drafted, scouts were amazed by his 5-tool potential.  While he has shown good defense skills, his bat has yet to translate into production and he’s fallen out of favor.  He has raw speed, but poor base running skills.  He finally showed enough promise with the bat to advance to AA in 2012, so there is some hope, but nowhere when he was first drafted.  He’s gone from an above average starter potential to a 4th OF at best.  Fields is expected to start the year in AA in 2013. 

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

            20.  Logan Ehlers, SP
2012 stats:
(R) – 16 1/3 IP | 1.10 ERA | 0.73 WHIP | 26.7% K% | 5.0% BB% | 2.16 FIP

Ehlers throws a low-90s fastball, a slider and a changeup.  All of his pitches have the potential to be above-average or better, especially his breaking ball.  His ceiling is a #3 or #4 starter, although he may have to settle as a reliever.  He’s expected to start the year in West Michigan, but could get promoted to Lakeland by the end of the year.  

Bless You Boys' Scouting Report.

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