Top 20 Detroit Tigers Prospects for 2010
All grades are EXTREMELY PRELIMINARY and subject to change. Don't get too worried about exact rankings at this point, especially once you get beyond the Top 10. Grade C+/C guys are pretty interchangeable depending on what you want to emphasize. Complete reports on these and over 1,000 other players will be in the 2010 Baseball Prospect Book, now available for pre-order, shipping on February 2nd!
1) Casey Crosby, LHP, Grade B+: Has some of the best southpaw stuff in the minors and seems fully recovered from Tommy John. Further command refinements in 2010 would move him into the A- and maybe a pure A category.
2) Jacob Turner, RHP, Grade B+: Outstanding high school pitcher, but I want to see some pro numbers before giving him a higher grade. Even a B+ is aggressive in my grading scheme, but I like him a lot. Like Crosby, he has A-/A potential if all goes well.
3) Austin Jackson, OF, Grade B: I like him more than the numbers say I should.
4) Alex Avila, C, Grade B: Won't slug .590 in a full season, but I expect him to have a long and solid career. I was thinking B+ earlier but am backing off that now. . .a B is still a strong grade remember.
5) Dan Schlereth, LHP, Grade B: Excellent relief prospect, needs to sharpen command but was rushed by Arizona.
6) Scott Sizemore, 2B, Grade B: Like Avila, I don't think he's going to be a star, but he should be a solid regular, will be a Rookie of the Year candidate assuming he's healthy in spring training.
7) Ryan Strieby, 1B-OF, Grade B-: Love the power bat, but I don't think he'll repeat the .303 average and .427 OBP. Can he really handle left field?
8) Andy Oliver, LHP, Grade B-: We need to see some professional data aside from the Arizona Fall League, but he seems like the kind of pitcher who could be more effective in the pros than in college. Big upside arm.
9) Casper Wells, OF, Grade C+: Scouts are starting to warm to him. He's produced in Double-A and in the Arizona Fall League, but there will always be skeptics until he hits in the Show. Personally I like the guy.
10) Wilkin Ramirez, OF, Grade C+: Hard to grade...excellent tools are still here, but performance remains spotty with no clear indication that will change.
11) Daniel Fields, SS, Grade C+: Excellent tools with local Detroit ties, but how raw is he and where does he fit with the glove? Need pro data before ranking higher.
12) Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Grade C+: Part of large collection of potential bullpen arms that could be ready soon.
13) Robbie Weinhardt, RHP, Grade C+: Another relief arm who could help quickly.
14) Brayan Villareal, RHP, Grade C+: Sleeper prospect, could rank as high as 10th depending on what you want to emphasize. Need some higher level data but he was great at West Michigan.
15) Alfredo Figaro, RHP, Grade C: Looks more like a reliever to me than a starter. They have a lot of good material for a pen here.
16) Luis Marte, RHP, Grade C: Not as effective in Double-A as some expected, but live arm will get him plenty of chances.
17) Gustavo Nunez, SS, Grade C: hit .315 with 45 steals in the Midwest League, but the scouting reports I have emphasize his rawness.
18) Melvin Mercedes, RHP, Grade C: Another hard-throwing relief arm, but needs to show he can throw strikes.
19) Ramon Lebron, RHP, Grade C: Another high-ceiling arm from rookie ball with command issues.
20) Cale Iorg, SS, Grade C: Frankly I think this is generous. I don't think he'll ever hit enough to be a regular, but the glove and major league bloodlines will get him to the majors.
Others (all Grade C): Brennan Boesch, OF; Audy Ciriaco, SS: Brandon Douglas, 2B; Casey Fien, RHP; Charles Furbush, LHP, Jared Gayhart, RHP; Scott Green, RHP; Brett Jensen, RHP; Jamie Johnson, OF; John Murrian, C; Billy Nowlin, OF; Luke Putkonen, RHP; James Robbins, 1B; Jay Sborz, RHP; Zach Simons, RHP; Adam Wilk, LHP; Austin Wood, LHP.
The Tigers seem to like drafting college pitchers with names that would make Beavis and Butt-head chuckle. This system was looking a bit thin at the top aside from Turner and Casey, but the trade acquisitions of Jackson and Schlereth provide some depth.
On the pitching side, both Crosby and Turner have number one starter potential, and both could be A-/A types a year from now. The pitching thins out after that, but there is a large group of relief arms on the way up, with Schlereth the most advanced but quite a bit behind him. Mercedes and Lebron bear close watching in 2010; both have the potential to take large steps forward.
There are no sure-fire stars on the hitting side, but Jackson, Avila, and Sizemore all look like solid regulars to me. I like Jackson more than the numbers say I should, but sometimes you have to go with your gut. Strieby and Wells also have the potential to play regularly, although I'd like to see some Triple-A data for both. Wilkin Ramirez is the toolsiest of the bunch but also the least refined. Daniel Fields has a huge ceiling but we need some solid performance data about him.
Overall, this system has a lot going for it, but they could use more depth in position players. They love the high ceiling high school arms, and it will be interesting to see if they keep that focus on the '10 draft.