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Detroit Tigers 2011 Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

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Jacob Turner of the Detroit Tigers in his MLB debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Comerica Park on July 30, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Jacob Turner of the Detroit Tigers in his MLB debut against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Comerica Park on July 30, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
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Detroit Tigers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

I am reviewing my PRE-SEASON list of Top 20 prospects for 2011 for each organization, continuing today with the Detroit Tigers. This list was originally published December 22, 2010. We will look at the Atlanta Braves on Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday, the Washington Nationals on Wednesday, the San Diego Padres on Thursday, and the New York Yankees on Friday.

This is a review of the 2011 Pre-Season Top 20 list. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.

The 2012 list and new grades won't be ready until the season is over and I start writing the book.

1) Jacob Turner, RHP, Grade A-: Just made his major league debut. Before promotion, had a 3.48 ERA with a 90/32 K/BB and 1.22 GO/AO in 114 innings for Double-A Erie, 102 hits allowed. All systems look go.

2) Nick Castellanos, 3B, Grade B: Got off to a slow start but has been hot since early May. Currently hitting .303/.348/.438 with 26 doubles, 26 walks, 96 strikeouts in 370 at-bats for Low-A West Michigan.

3) Andy Oliver, LHP, Grade B:   4.64 ERA with 102/52 K/BB in 107 innings for Triple-A Toledo, 105 hits. Walked eight and allowed 11 hits and seven runs in two major league starts. Upside remains high.

4) Dan Schlereth, LHP, Grade B-:   0.77 ERA with 18/5 K/BB in 12 Triple-A innings. 4.50 ERA with 26/20 K/BB in 28 innings for the Tigers, 23 hits. Command still wobbly.

5) Daniel Fields, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .221/.305/.338 with 34 walks, 109 strikeouts in 331 at-bats for High-A Lakeland. Disappointing, especially since he's repeating the league.

6) Casey Crosby, LHP, Grade B-:   4.19 ERA with 79/63 K/BB in 92 innings for Erie, 88 hits, 2.12 GO/AO. Command remains the big issue here.

7) Chance Ruffin, RHP, Grade B-:  2.09 ERA with 55/20 K/BB in 43 innings between Erie and Toledo, 17 saves, 32 hits. Reached majors a year after being drafted, should be a long-term relief asset.

8) Brayan Villarreal, RHP, Grade B-: 4.85 ERA with 32/24 K/BB in 56 innings for Toledo, 50 hits. 6.75 ERA with 14/10 K/BB in 16 innings for the Tigers, 21 hits. I felt he was capable of better.

9) Drew Smyly, LHP, Grade B-:   2.58 ERA with 77/21 K/BB in 80 innings for Lakeland, 71 hits. Impressive command, could move up to Double-A at any time.

10) Casper Wells, OF, Grade C+: .257/.323/.451 for the Tigers, just traded to Seattle in Doug Fister deal.

11) Francisco Martinez, 3B, Grade C+:   .282/.319/.405 for Erie, 19 walks, 80 strikeouts in 348 at-bats. Good tools, skills still sketchy, just 20 years old. Traded to Mariners in Fister deal.

12) Lester Oliveros, RHP, Grade C+:  0.56 ERA with 27/4 K/BB in 16 innings for Erie, 4.81 ERA with 22/14 K/BB in 24 innings for Toleo, 5.63 ERA with 4/4 K/BB in eight innings for Detroit. Live arm, can be useful reliever if command sharpens up.

13) Jose Ortega, RHP, Grade C+:   6.07 ERA with 27/17 K/BB in 30 innings for Toledo, 38 hits. Hasn't done much this year, command troublesome.

14) Bruce Rondon, RHP, Grade C+:   2.03 ERA with 61/34 K/BB in 40 innings for West Michigan, 22 hits, 19 saves. Outstanding K/IP and H/IP ratios, will need to lower walk rate as he moves up

15) Robbie Weinhart, RHP, Grade C+: 7.40 ERA with 18/7 K/BB in 24 innings for Toledo, 3.32 ERA with 11/7 K/BB in 19 innings for Erie. Gave up four hits and two runs in 1.2 major league innings. I felt he was capable of better but it isn't happening this year.

16) Adam Wilk, LHP, Grade C:   3.47 ERA with 48/8 K/BB in 70 innings for Toledo, 76 hits. 5.40 ERA with 10/3 K/BB in 13 innings for the Tigers, 14 hits. Outstanding control is obvious, but his strikeout rate is low and he gives up a ton of homers, 13 at Toledo and three in the majors.

17) Charlie Furbush, LHP, Grade C:   3.17 ERA with 61/16 K/BB in 54 innings for Toledo, 3.62 ERA with 26/14 K/BB in 32 innings for Detroit. Traded to Mariners in Fister deal. Could be an inning-eating starter or a sound relief asset.

18) Danry Vasquez, OF, Grade C: 17-year-old tools guy from Venezuela cost $1.2 million.  .270/.309/.330 with five walks, 23 strikeouts in 115 at-bats for GCL Tigers. Not much performance yet but he's very young.

19) Ryan Strieby, 1B-OF, Grade C: Hitting .262/.339/.457 with 17 homers, 42 walks, 128 strikeouts in 381 at-bats for Toledo. Impressive power but strikes out way too much and turns 26 this week.

20) Avisail Garcia, Of, Grade C:  .265/.301/.355 with 14 walks, 101 strikeouts, 14 steals in 366 at-bats for Lakeland. 19 years old, tools are here but very raw plate approach must be addressed.

Quite a bit of interesting pitching here, but thin in hitting, with tools guys that never seem to do much with the bat.