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Detroit Tigers Top 20 prospects for 2017: Mid-season review

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How did the Tigers pre-season prospect list turn out?

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Fall Stars Game
Christin Stewart
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our mid-season organization reviews with a look at the Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects from the beginning of 2017. The index for other team reviews can be found here.




This list was originally published January 18th, 2017.

1) Matt Manning, RHP, Grade B+: Age 19, first round pick in 2016 from high school in California; opened in New York-Penn League in June, with 1.89 ERA in 33 innings, 36/14 K/BB; promoted to Low-A in August and hit hard in first two starts, eight runs in 2.1 innings; reports from NY-P were quite positive.

2) Christin Stewart, OF, Grade B: Age 23, first round pick in 2015 from University of Tennessee; nice power year on the surface in Double-A, .255/.338/.508 with 25 homers, 50 walks, 122 whiffs in 419 at-bats; very sharp home/road split with Erie, however, with 1.011 OPS at home and just .689 on the road.

3) Beau Burrows, RHP, Grade B-: Age 20, first round pick in 2015 from high school in Texas; excellent in High-A (1.23 ERA in 59 innings, 62/11 K/BB), still promising but a bit erratic in Double-A (4.38 ERA, 64/27 K/BB in 62 innings); reports are positive.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers
Joe Jimenez
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

4) Joe Jimenez, RHP, Grade B-: Age 22, signed out of Puerto Rico as undrafted free agent in 2013; excellent in Triple-A (1.44 ERA in 25 innings, 36/12 K/BB) but hit hard in major leagues (15 his, 15 runs in 10 innings); small sample and more chances will come.

5) Tyler Alexander, LHP, Grade B-: Age 23, second round pick out of Texas Christian in 2015; 4.98 ERA in 116 innings in Double-A, 99/21 K/BB, 151 hits; finesse lefty having difficult transition to Double-A but still has time to make adjustments.

6) Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Grade B-: Age 23, fourth round pick in 2016 as a senior from Louisville, having turned down the Dodgers 35th overall in ’15; strong opening to 2017 with 2.44 ERA in 63 innings in Low-A/High-A, 83/19 K/BB; went on disabled list in mid-June with elbow injury.

7) Michael Gerber, OF, Grade C+: Age 25, 15th round pick in 2014 out of Creighton University; missed a month with a strained oblique but has hit well when healthy, .303/.378/.471 in 314 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; older prospect but has always hit well.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates
Dixon Machado
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

8) Dixon Machado, INF, Grade C+: Age 25, from Venezuela, serving well as utility infielder in the majors, hitting .293/.333/.354 in 99 at-bats, with steady and versatile glove.

9) JaCoby Jones, OF-INF, Grade C+: Age 25, third round pick out of LSU by Pirates in 2013, traded to Tigers in ’15, still teases with his tools, hitting .243/.313/.387 in 346 at-bats in Triple-A, .137/.228/.255 in 51 major league at-bats; still has intriguing power/speed combo but skills are problematic.

10) Steven Moya, OF, Grade C+: Age 26, just under the 130 at-bat limit for rookies; hitting combined .195/.259/.403 with 17 homers, 27 walks, 108 strikeouts in 313 at-bats in Double-A/Triple-A; enormous power from the left side with enormous strikeout problems showing no signs of change.

11) Myles Jaye, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, originally drafted by Blue Jays in 17th round in 2010; 4.04 ERA in 128 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 107/40 K/BB, 135 hits; fifth starter/long relief type.

12) Jose Azocar, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Venezuela in 2012; very athletic but with very questionable bat, hitting .226/.251/.303 with 13 walks, 110 strikeouts in 393 at-bats in High-A.

13) Derek Hill, OF, Grade C+: Age 21, first round pick in 2014; hitting combined .250/.346/.389 in 180 at-bats between Low-A and rookie ball injury rehab, 18 steals; still stands out for defense, speed, athleticism, but has been in the Midwest League for three years now.

14) Gerson Moreno, RHP, Grade C+: Age 21, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2012; fastball reliably clocked at 97-100 MPH; excellent in High-A (2.01 ERA, 30/8 K/BB in 22 innings) but not so much in Double-A (6.17 ERA in 23 innings, 31/13 K/BB), just placed on disabled list with undisclosed injury.

15) Sandy Baez, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, signed out of Dominican Republic in 2011; 3.86 ERA in 89 innings in High-A, 92/24 K/BB, 88 hits; not a bad year at all but we need to see him at higher levels; another hard-thrower.

16) Drew Smith, RHP, Grade C+: Age 23, third round pick in 2015 out of Dallas Baptist; traded to Tampa Bay Rays in April, then traded to New York Mets in July; at five minor league stops this year he has a combined 1.58 ERA in 51 innings, 43/11 K/BB, 36 hits; intriguing bullpen prospect now for the Mets.

17) Grayson Greiner, C, Grade C+: Age 24, third round pick in 2014 from South Carolina; hitting .241/.323/.444 in Double-A with 13 homers, 35 walks, 65 strikeouts in 295 at-bats; 36% of runners caught with good receiving numbers as well.

18) Spencer Turnbull, RHP, Grade C+: Age 24, second round pick in 2014 from University of Alabama; 3.56 ERA in 96 innings between High-A and Double-A, 82/32 K/BB; four/five starter projection but could be better if used in bullpen.

19) Bryan Garcia, RHP, Grade C+: Age 22, sixth round pick in 2016 from University of Miami Hurricanes; another lively bullpen arm in Tigers tradition, has advanced quickly with 1.88 ERA in 48 innings, 75/20 K/BB, 17 saves, between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.

20) Artie Lewicki, RHP, Grade C+: Age 25, eighth round pick in 2014 from University of Virginia; 3.67 ERA in 128 innings, 108/29 K/BB, 128 hits between Double-A and Triple-A; ready for a trial soon; can start or relieve.

Mark Ecker, RHP: 3.16 ERA in 51 innings in High-A/Double-A, 68/21 K/BB.
Matt Hall, LHP: 2.72 ERA in 119 innings in High-A/Double-A, 129/47 K/BB, sleeper prospect.
Zac Houston, RHP: 2.36 ERA in 53 innings in Low-A/High-A, 82/26 K/BB.
Hector Martinez, 2B: Hitting .244/.275/.319 in the NY-P.

Daniel Pinero, SS: Hitting .273/.364/.385 in Low-A.
Wladimir Pinto, RHP: Threw 10 shutout innings with 18/0 K/BB in NY-P and Low-A before going on disabled list with undisclosed injury.
A.J. Simcox, SS: Hitting .247/.291/.368 in Double-A.
Arvicent Perez, C: Hitting .227/.263/.307 in High-A; 50% of runners caught.
Adam Ravenelle, RHP: 3.89 ERA in 44 innings in Double-A, 40/18 K/BB.

I’m trying to finish the review series as rapidly as possible.