On August 31st the Detroit Tigers traded veteran anchor starter Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros for three prospects: outfielder Daz Cameron, right-handed pitcher Franklin Perez, and catching prospect Jake Rogers. Here’s a quick take on this injection of talent into the Tigers system.
Daz Cameron, OF: The son of former major league outfielder Mike Cameron, Daz was drafted by the Astros in the compensation round of the 2015 draft from high school in McDonough, Georgia. After a shaky and injury plagued 2016 season, he’s performed well in 2017 with a .271/.349/.466 line in Low-A, contributing 29 doubles, 14 homers, 32 steals, and a 45/108 BB/K ratio in 446 at-bats for Quad Cities.
Cameron is a right-handed hitter, age 20, listed at 6-2, 190. His best physical tool is 60-grade speed; he also has an average-but-accurate arm, impressive defensive instincts, and at least average power potential. He probably won’t hit for high averages, but Daz could end up being a multi-category contributor much like his father.
Franklin Perez, RHP: The Astros signed Perez for $1,000,000 out of Venezuela in 2014. He’s moved remarkably quickly, pitching in Low-A at age 18 in 2016 with sharp results (2.84 ERA in 67 innings, 75/19 K/BB) and consolidating with another strong season in 2017 (3.02 ERA in 86 innings between High-A and Double-A, 78/27 K/BB) at age 19.
Perez is a 6-3, 197 pounder born December 6th, 1997. His fastball can hit 95-96 but is more commonly 92-94; he locates the heat effectively and it plays up. He has a full arsenal with a curveball, slider, and change-up at his disposal, all three pitches showing plus at their best. His pitching instincts and mound presence are quite advanced for his age.
Although often projected as a future number three starter, Perez could end up being even better than that if his velocity picks up a bit more.
Jake Rogers, C: The Astros drafted Rogers in the third round in 2016 out of Tulane University. He’s had a very productive 2017 season, hitting a combined .263/.352/.472 between Low-A and High-A with 18 homers, 14 steals, 53 walks, and 100 strikeouts in 415 at-bats for Quad Cities and Buies Creek.
Rogers is listed at 6-1, 190, a right-handed hitter born April 18th, 1995. The 22-year-old was overshadowed by other players in the deep Astros system but offers a complete package of skills for a catcher, including above-average power and excellent defense. He’s thrown out 47% of runners this year with very low passed ball and error rates while maintaining his reputation as a leader on the field.
There’s some concern about how his batting average and OBP will look at higher levels but the combination of defense and power would make him an excellent backup at the least, with a chance at being a regular under the right circumstances.