Top Ten Detroit Tigers Prospects

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Detroit Tigers Top Ten Best Prospects 2013

Top 10 Detroit Tigers Prospects 2013
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

As demonstrated in last year’s late season push to make the 2012 MLB Playoffs, the Detroit Tigers are in win now mode. The team has traded away several top picks and promising prospects to focus on making the playoffs down the stretch.

In 2012, the Tigers traded away pitching prospects Jacob Turner and Brian Flynn, along with key catching prospect Rob Brantly. These three players were part of a deal with the Miami Marlins that gave Detroit the much needed second base help (Omar Infante) and starting pitching help (Anibal Sanchez). The move did hurt the depth of the Tigers prospects, as Turner and Brantly were considered the best at their positions in the Tigers minors depth chart.

The move last year to trade away top ten pick Turner paid off with a trip to the playoffs and a second straight AL Central title. The Tigers lost in the World Series to the San Francisco Giants.

The loss of Turner marked another top ten pick that will not pan out in a Tigers uniform. Since 2000, the Tigers have gotten strong contributions from Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello. Otherwise, the Tigers have seen many first round picks fail to live up to their potential. Several times, top picks have been traded away, as was the case with Cameron Maybin.

Despite the win now mode, the Tigers have a strong depth of position players and pitchers that could see time in the majors this season or in the next five. Here is a look at the top ten prospects of the Tigers heading into the 2013 season.

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10. Danry Vasquez

Danry Vasquez, Detroit Tigers, OF
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Danry Vasquez

Age: 18

Outfield

2012 Played: A- Connecticut, A West Michigan

2013 Likely: A West Michigan

Despite just turning 18 in January, Venezuelan born prospect Vasquez already has played in 155 minor league games. In 2012, the Tigers young prospect split time with A- Connecicut and A West Michigan. Vasquez’s batting average took a hit from .311 to .162 when he was promoted to the West Michigan WhiteCaps. Vasquez will have several seasons to spend in single A or double A to hit his stride. Look for Vasquez to rebound in 2013 and put up strong offensive numbers.

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9. Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins, Detroit Tigers, OF
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Collins

Age: 22

Outfield

Drafted: 6th Round 2011 MLB Draft (Detroit Tigers)

2012 Played: A+ Lakeland

2013 Likely: A+ Lakeland, AA Erie

Collins is a strong prospect of the Tigers. In 2012, Collins spent the season with A+ affiliate Lakeland Flying Tigers. While in Lakeland, Collins had a batting average of .290 with 66 RBIs and 137 hits. Collins also stole 20 bases on 23 attempts. Prior to his A+ call-up, Collins hit .305 in three separate leagues during the 2011 season. Collins has several prospects ahead of him so his road could be long or could be traded down the road.

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8. James McCann

James McCann, Detroit Tigers, C
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

James McCann

Age: 22

Catcher

Drafted: 2nd Round 2011 MLB Draft

2012 Played: A+ Lakeland, AA Erie

2013 Likely: AA Erie, AAA Toledo

The Tigers catching depth continues to struggle after trading away Rob Brantly. The team failed to sign Gerald Laird and recently acquired Brayan Pena to serve as Alex Avila’s backup. Drafted in 2011, McCann has quickly rose up the depth chart and is considered by many to be the Tigers top catching prospect. McCann struggled offensively in 2012, batting only .200 with AA Erie SeaWolves. However, McCann posted a strong .989 fielding percentage in 2012, including a near perfect .994 with Erie. McCann also has thrown out 40% of attempted base runners in the last two years in the minors. I would love to see McCann add the offensive side to his game and he could replace Pena next year as Avila’s backup.

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7. Eugenio Suarez

Eugenio Suarez, Detroit Tigers, SS
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Eugenio Suarez

Age: 21

Shortstop

2012 Played: A West Michigan

2013 Likely: A West Michigan, AA Erie

Venezuelan born Suarez was signed by the Tigers in 2008. The shortstop prospect spent two more years in his native country before playing American minor league baseball for the GCL Tigers in 2011. In 2012, Suarez was a star for the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Tigers single-A affiliate. Suarez had a batting average of .288 and an on-base percentage of .380. Suarez had 21 stolen bases in 30 attempts and also ended the season with five triples, showing he has great speed that will hopefully help him compete for the starting shortstop role soon.

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6. Adam Wilk

Adam Wilk, Detroit Tigers, SP
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Wilk

Age: 25

Starting Pitcher

Drafted: 11th Round 2009 MLB Draft (Detroit Tigers)

2012 Played: AAA Toledo, Detroit Tigers

2012 Likely: AAA Toledo

In the 2012 season, Wilk spent most of his time with AAA Toldeo Mudhens, where he posted a 7-11 record. Wilk did have relatively impressive era (2.77) and whip marks (1.01). Wilk has four years of minor league experience and holds a career 30-23 record in the minor leagues. The 2012 season also marked Wilk’s first major league starts. In 2012, Wilk pitched in three Tiger games, but unfortunately came away with a 0-3 record. With the Tigers rotation almost set, Wilk does not appear to be headed to the Tigers with a starting role. Wilk could see another call up with an injury, but otherwise will spend time with the Mudhens once again.

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5. Austin Schotts

Austin Schotts, Detroit Tigers, OF
Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Schotts

Age: 19

Outfield

Drafted: 3rd Round 2012 MLB Draft (Detroit Tigers)

2012 Played: Gulf GCL Tigers, A+ Lakeland

2013 Likely: A West Michigan, A+ Lakeland

Schotts is a relative new Tigers prospect, after being taken in the third round of the 2012 MLB Draft. However, analysts are already high on Schotts, projecting him to one day occupy the center field position for the Tigers, currently held by Austin Jackson. Schotts posted a batting average of .310 for the GCL Tigers. Schotts had 48 hits, 31 runs and 21 RBIs while a member of GCL. Schotts is also one of the Tigers speedier prospects, something they desperately need in the majors. Schotts stole 15 bases for GCL Tigers and also one for A+ affiliate Lakeland. Schotts could crack the top three next year with a strong showing in A or A+ next year.

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4. Casey Crosby

Casey Crosby, Detroit Tigers, SP
Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Casey Crosby

Age: 24

Starting Pitcher

Drafted: 5th Round 2007 MLB Draft (Detroit Tigers)

2012 Played: AAA Toledo, Detroit Tigers

2013 Likely: AAA Toledo

In 2012, Casey Crosby got his first taste of the majors. The 2007 draftee pitched in three games for the Tigers, posting a 1-1 record. Crosby had an era of 9.49 and struggled with control. The Tigers prospect gave up 11 walks in 12.1 innings, while only throwing nine strikeouts. In AAA Toldeo, Crosby posted a 2012 record of 7-9 with a 4.01 era. In his minor league career, Crosby has a 26-21 record with an era of 3.70. The Tigers are hoping Crosby can fix his control issues and get back to the numbers he was putting up for single A West Michigan Whitecaps in 2009. During the 2009 season, Crosby had a 10-4 record, a 2.41 era, and 117 strikeouts in 104.2 innings pitched.

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3. Avisail Garcia

Avisail Garcia, Detroit Tigers, OF
Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Avisail Garcia

Age: 21

Outfield

2012 Played: A+ Lakeland, AA Erie, Detroit Tigers

2013 Likely: AAA Toledo

In two different minor leagues, Garcia hit with an average of .299. The Tigers slugger had 144 hits in 122 games during the 2012 season. After hitting .312 for AA Erie SeaWolves, Garcia became a late call up by the Detroit Tigers. Garcia’s stellar play and hitting led to him being part of the 2012 MLB Playoffs roster for the Tigers. In 23 regular season Tigers games, Garcia posted a batting average of .319. In the postseason, Garcia had a batting average of .261, but lacked consistency. Garcia posted a huge .455 batting average in four ALCS games, but hit for less than .200 in the ALDS and World Series. In 2013, Garcia will be fighting for a spot in the Tigers opening day lineup. If Garcia does not land the starting left field position, he will likely be sent down to the Toledo MudHens to get more experience.

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2. Bruce Rondon

Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers, RP
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Rondon

Age: 25

Relief Pitcher

2012 Played: A+ Lakeland, AA Erie, AAA Toledo

2013 Likely: Detroit Tigers

The Tigers prized relief pitcher could have the opportunity of a lifetime in the 2013 MLB season. Rondon is expected to earn the closing pitcher role, after the departure of closer Jose Valverde. The Tigers are still talking to possible free agents like Rafael Soriano, but believe in Rondon as well. Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski had this to say about Bruce, “rare talent that I feel has a chance to close for us.” Rondon is a hard throwing pitcher who reaches triple digits on his fastball. In 2012, the pitcher spent time in three different leagues posting a 2-1 record with 29 saves in 52 games pitched. Rondon had an era of 1.53 and a whip of 1.09, along with 66 strikeouts.

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1. Nick Castellanos

Nick Castellanos, Detroit Tigers, 3B/OF
H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Castellanos

Age: 20

Third Base/Outfield

Drafted: 44th Overall 2010 MLB Draft (Detroit Tigers)

2012 Played: A+ Lakeland, AA Erie

2013 Likely: AAA Toledo

Castellanos is considered the prized possession of the Tigers minor league rosters. The young Tigers prospect was drafted straight out of high school. The Tigers got a steal with their pick of Castellanos, as his draft stock fell after he verbally committed to the University of Miami. The Tigers paid Castellanos a record signing bonus of $3.45 million, which was the highest paid to a non first round draft pick at the time. In 2012, Castellanos had a stellar season in A+ with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Castellanos had a batting average of .461 over 55 games. Nick also played in the 2012 All-Star Future Game, where he earned MVP honors after a great showcase game. Castellanos also spent 79 games with AA Erie SeaWolves, where he hit .264 with a .296 on-base percentage. Once blocked at third base by Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers have now shifted Castellanos to the outfield to accelerate his path to the big leagues.

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