Here is a look at the 2013 Top 20 Prospects List for the Detroit Tigers. This is a review of the PRE-SEASON list! It is NOT a new list! These are the pre-season grades.
This list was originally published on November 19, 2012
1) Nick Castellanos, OF-3B, Grade B+: Has cooled off after a hot start, currently hitting .279/.348./.449 for Triple-A Toledo. Showing more home run power and patience this year, though at the expense of batting average.
2) Avisail Garcia, OF, Grade B: Crushing Triple-A, .413/.432/.579 in 27 games, but poor strike zone judgment hurt him in the majors, .241/.273/.373 in 83 at-bats with 21 strikeouts and four walks. None of that is a surprise.
3) Bruce Rondon, RHP, Grade B: Borderline B-: 1.52 ERA with 14 saves, 40/13 K/BB in 30 innings for Toledo; 5.25 ERA with 11/4 K/BB in 12 major league innings. None of that is really a surprise either.
4) Jake Thompson, RHP, Grade B-: 2012 second-rounder, 3.21 ERA with 47/14 K/BB in 42 innings over nine starts for Low-A West Michigan after being activated from extended spring training. So far, so good for 19-year-old Texan.
5) Danry Vasquez, OF, Grade B-: Age 19, from Venezuela, hitting .288/.340/.399 with 30 walks, 53 strikeouts in 358 at-bats in Low-A. Showing good contact hitting skills, not much power yet but that may come in time.
6) Eugenio Suarez, SS, Grade B-: Hit .311/.410/.437 in 25 games for High-A Lakeland, but found the going more difficult in Double-A at .238/.320/.383. Fairly good defensively, just turned 22 this month, from Venezuela.
7) Tyler Collins, OF, Grade B-: Hitting .231/.324/.444 with 16 homers, 41 walks, 84 strikeouts in 324 at-bats for Double-A Erie. More home run power this year, but at the expense of batting average and OBP.
8) Casey Crosby, LHP, Grade B-: 4.84 ERA with 61/40 K/BB in 58 innings for Toledo; currently on the disabled list with a shoulder injury. Control problems and injuries are the story of Crosby's career.
9) Austin Schotts, OF, Grade C+: Borderline B-. Speedy and athletic and looked good in rookie ball last year, but he's been terrible in 2013, .192/.248/.249 in 59 games in Low-A, followed by .218/.293/.318 in 32 games in the New York-Penn League. Has stolen 18 bases but so far he's been undone by poor strike zone judgment.
10) Adam Wilk, LHP, Grade C+: Pitching in Korea.
11) Brenny Paulino, RHP, Grade C+: Still recovering from shoulder problems.
12) Joe Rogers, LHP, Grade C: Limited to 12 innings in A-ball by injuries.
13) Devon Travis, 2B, Grade C: Florida State infielder could be steal in 13th round. Not a big guy, but a solid defender with a good hitting track record so far in college and pro ball, polished approach with gap power. Sleeper to track. This sleeper woke up: .363/.435/.496 with 17 steals combined between Low-A and High-A. Not a toolsy sort but an effective contact hitter so far, with solid defense at second base as well.
14) Ramon Cabrera, C, Grade C: Hit .242/.311/.336 in 39 games for Toledo, .295/.366/.393 in 44 games for Erie. Good defensive reputation.
15) Dean Green, 1B, Grade C: Older prospect at age 24, has been hurt most of the season but has hit well when healthy, .323/.394/.490 in 25 games between High-A and brief GCL rehab. Back in action now for Lakeland.
16) Drew VerHagen, RHP, Grade C: Sinker guy, 2.67 ERA with a 55/37 K/BB in 104 innings between High-A and Double-A, 74 hits, 1.95 GO/AO, just two homers. K-rate is very low, but he keeps the ball down and usually throws strikes.
17) Daniel Fields, OF, Grade C: Showing some improvement this year, hitting .282/.357/.446 with seven homers, 16 steals in 79 games for Erie. Still strikes out a lot (89 whiffs), fairly young at 22, kills right-handed pitching (.304/.374/.486) but can't solve lefties (.231/.317/.352).
18) Michael Morrison, RHP, Grade C: 7.71 ERA with 24/28 K/BB in 35 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 39 hits allowed. That will kill your prospect status right quick, especially at age 25.
19) Harold Castro, 2B, Grade C: Hit .208/.234/.277 in 36 games combined between Low-A and High-A. Looks hopeless with the bat at the moment, but only 19.
20) Logan Ehlers, LHP, Grade C: Battling injuries and command problems; 3.82 ERA with 26/24 K/BB in 38 innings between Low-A and NY-P.
OTHERS: Endrys Briceno, RHP; Will Clinard, RHP; Thomas Collier, RHP; Edgar De La Rosa, RHP; Julio Felix, RHP; Charles Gillies, RHP; Bryan Holaday, C; Dixon Machado, SS; James McCann, C; Jeff McVaney, OF; Melvin Mercedes, RHP; Steve Moya, OF; Jose Ortega, RHP; Hernan Perez, 2B; Luke Putkonen, RHP; Hudson Randall, RHP; Montreal Robertson, RHP; Jake Stewart, OF; Josh Turley, LHP.
The average age on the Tigers major league roster is 30.3, and there isn't a lot on the farm ready to help. Castellanos was having a strong year before his recent slump, Garcia and Rondon will get more chances in the majors, but other than that there is a lot of disappointment on the list.
On the positive side, Luke Putkonen and Jose Alvarez are Grade C prospects who have contributed in the majors. Lefty Kyle Lobstein, who was selected in the Rule 5 draft from the Rays after this list was written and then kept in exchange for catcher Curt Casali, has been effective in Double-A and Triple-A and now ranks among Detroit's better prospects.
Another pre-season Grade C type, infielder Hernan Perez, is hitting .300 with 24 steals in Double-A and has also leapfrogged up the list. Catcher James McCann has played well defensively and improved a bit with the bat this year. Closer Melvin Mercedes has a sub-1.00 ERA and 15 saves between High-A and Double-A. An 18-year-old Venezuelan shortstop named Javier Betancourt is currently tearing up the Gulf Coast League and bears watching.
The Detroit system currently looks thin overall, although some components of the big league roster like Drew Smyly, Rick Porcello, and Andy Dirks are products of the organization.