2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #45 - #41

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The Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates seasons are officially in the books and the off-season is in full swing. With another season completed, the time has come for John Verburg and I to announce our 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List. Over the last month John and I have combined our lists to form a final product for our readers. Each players production, ceiling, floor and positional value ultimately determined their overall ranking. The finalized prospect list will be rolled out five at a time on my end covering each players background and a description on why they’re ranked that high and/or low. John will follow with a more detailed scouting report on each of the prospects.

Be sure to check back frequently and join the discussion as we work our way through the 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List.

#45  Robbie Weinhardt
Right-handed relief pitcher
Age: 25-years-old
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205

2011 TEAMS: Detroit, AAA-Toledo & AA-Erie
2011 MiLB STATS:  61 1/3 IP   2-5   5.43 ERA   1.47 WHIP   9.5 H/9   3.7 BB/9   7.9 K/9   6 HR
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo

Background:
Robbie Weinhardt was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Oklahoma State University. You should already be familiar with Weinhardt as he’s seen a cup of coffee with the big league club in each of the last two seasons.  He’ll always be remembered by me though for his amazing 2009 season in Advanced-A Lakeland. Weinhardt began the season with an amazing 20-plus-inning scoreless streak. The anchor of the Flying Tigers ‘pen left Lakeland with an 0.85 ERA 11.37 K/9 ratio that season. He’s bounced between levels since then and last season was definitely a season to forget. Robbie Weinhardt still has a lot to offer the Tigers though, he’s still a very solid prospect.

Why He’s This High:
We all have our favorites, Weinhardt is one of mine. He has the stuff to be successful in a sixth or seventh inning role. His ability to miss bats, induce ground balls and keep the ball in the yard make him a member of the Top 50.
Nonetheless, Weinhardt must put together an impressive spring to gain some faith back from the fans and more importantly the Tigers brass.

Why He’s This Low: 
Unfortunately last season saw a regression nearly across the board for Weinhardt. He surrendered a great deal of hits, thanks to a wicked high BABIP. He also gave up an uncharacteristic 6 home runs and suffered a severe drop in strikeouts. When you factor in his age, it’s no secret why prospect tag is starting to slip away. The 2012 season is essentially a make or break season for Robbie.

 

#44 Justin Henry
Position: OF/IF
Age: 26-years-old
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

2011 TEAM: AA-Erie & AAA-Toledo
2011 STATS: 395 AB, .314 AVG  .414 OB%  26 doubles, 6 triples, 47  RBI, 23 SB, 65 BB and 54 SO
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo

Background:
Justin Henry was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the ninth round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Mississippi. Henry came into the 2011season in a utility role for the SeaWolves. In fact last season he played every position except catcher and pitcher. Henry posted solid numbers but was once again a tad old for his level. Regardless, his performance with the SeaWolves last season earned him Mid-Season All-Star Honors.

Why He’s This High:
Henry continues to post solid numbers, walk more than he strikes out and play solid defense. His versatility and ability to play pretty much anywhere is his meal ticket down the road.

Why He’s This Low:
Henry, who enters next season 27-years-old, continues to bounce from AA-Erie to AAA-Toledo. At this point I believe that the Tigers see him as more of an org player. He will continue to succeed in the minors but at the end of the day I believe he’s more of a AAAA guy.

#43 Tony Plagman
Position: First Baseman / DH
Age: 24-years-old
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 211 
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

2011 TEAM: Advanced-A Lakeland 
2011 STATS: 526 AB, .257 AVG  .331 OB%  32 doubles, 4 triples, 18 home runs, 97 RBI, 50 BB and 94 SO
2012 Projected Team: AA-Erie

BACKGROUND:
Tony Plagman was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft. The 6’2″, 211 pound left-handed batter attended Georgia Tech University. After quickly signing, his pro career began in Class-A West Michigan. In 243 at-bats, Plagman hit .272 with a .337 on-base-percentage for the ‘Caps that season. Plagman spent the entire 2011 with the Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers. Plagman led the FSL in runs batted in with 97. His 32 doubles and 18 home runs were also eighth best in the FSL last season. His performance last season earned him Mid-Season All-Star Honors and a trip to the Home Run Derby.

Why He’s This High:
Plagman features enough raw power and statistics (at least to this point) to keep him on my radar. He was an RBI machine that kept my interest on an otherwise pedestrian Flying Tigers team (offensively speaking). He will continue to face an upward battle of removing his name from the dreaded org player tag though.

Why He’s This Low:
At 24-years-old he certainly wasn’t young for the Florida State League last season. Despite being a polished college hitter, his hit tool will likely suffer as the levels increase. Although he’s made strides defensively, he’s limited to first-base defensively, where he’s only average at best.  His ceiling is limited at a MLB pinch hitting lefty/bench role and to obtain that nearly everything has to click. A much more reasonable projection is a very solid minor league first-baseman/designated hitter with a MiLB/AAAA  career resembling guys like Jeff Larish, Mike Hessman and Ryan Steieby.

#42 Michael Morrison
Right-handed relief pitcher
Age: 23-years-old
Height: 6’1″
Weight: 210

2011 TEAM: Advanced-A Lakeland 
2011 STATS:  46 1/3 IP   2-0   2.72 ERA   1.08 WHIP   5.1 H/9   4.7 BB/9    9.7 K/9   1 HR

Background:
The Detroit Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Michael Morrison in the 29th round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Cal State Fullerton University. Morrison quickly signed and made his Tigers debut in 2009 with Oneonta Tigers in the NYPL. He posted a 3.26 ERA 1.35 WHIP and an impressive 12.1 K/9 ratio over 19 1/3 innings. Unfortunately Morrison appeared in just three games for Advanced-A Lakeland in 2010 as he was forced to undergo the dreaded Tommy John surgery. He responded very well from the surgery though and was a solid arm out of the Flying Tigers ‘pen last season.

Why He’s This High:
Morrison posted impressive numbers and he features solid stuff. His ability to miss bats and keep the ball in the yard has him easily on our Top 50 list.

Why He’s This Low:
Even if everything clicks, scouts only profile Morrison as a sixth or seventh inning guy down the road. There’s ultimately concerns wether or not his stuff will continue to be effective as the levels advance too.

#41 Jamie Johnson
Position: OF
Age: 24-years-old
Height: 5’9″
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

2011 TEAM: AA-Erie
2011 STATS: 534 AB, .275 AVG  .376 OB%  33 doubles, 5 triples, 4 home runs, 51 RBI, 14 SB, 84 BB and 92 SO
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo

Background:
Jamie Johnson was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the seventh round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Oklahoma. His first full season of pro ball began in 2010 when he joined the Class-A West Michigan Whitecaps. In 443 at-bats, Johnson hit .283 with a .413 on-base-percentage for the Whitecaps that season. Johnson skipped Advanced-A Lakeland and was assigned to the AA-Erie last season. Statically last season showed great promise for Johnson. He wasn’t particularly young for AA but he still handled the aggressive promotion quite well. Last season Johnson posted career highs in doubles, home runs, RBI and stolen bases. He also continued to take lots of walks and play solid defense.

Why He’s This High:
Johnson features all the skills of a quality leadoff man with speed, defense and a history of getting on-base at a high clip.  He handled the aggressive promotion very well and is beginning to become more of a prospect and less of an org player to me.

Why He’s This Low:
Though he has speed, defense and on-base ability, scouts worry that only his defense projects to be a fully-utilized skill down the road. Johnson’s numbers in AA-Erie were definitely a step in the right direction. However, next seasons challenges in AAA-Toledo will likely paint a much clearer picture of what we should expect from Johnson in the future.

 

2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects

#50 – #46

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Tags: 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects Down On The Farm Jamie Johnson Justin Henry Michael Morrison Robbie Weinhardt Tony Plagman

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