2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #20 - #16

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.

2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #20 – #16

#20 Jay Voss
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Age: 24-years-old
Height: 6’4″
Weight: 195
2011 Teams: Advanced-A Lakeland & AA-Erie
2011 Combined Stats: 149 IP 12-7 3.56 ERA  1.16 WHIP   7.8 H/9  2.7 BB/9  7.9 K/9  0.7 HR/9
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo

Background:
The Florida Marlins selected Jay Voss in the 8th round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Kaskaskia Junior College in Illinois.

Voss came to the Detroit Tigers on March 30th, 2010 when the Marlins traded for southpaw Nate Robertson. Prior to the trade, Voss compiled a 5.66 ERA over three seasons–167 innings–with the Marlins. To be fair though, the bulk of the damage actually occurred in his first two seasons. Voss accumulated a 2.72 ERA over 49 2/3 innings between Advanced-A Jupiter and AA-Jacksonville as a reliever in 2009. The Tigers received a pretty good return for a pitcher that fans were  basically chasing out of Detroit with pitchforks and torches.

In 2010, his first season as a Tiger, Voss bounced between Advanced-A Lakeland and AA-Erie posting a combined 4.54 ERA. His career statistics and overall makeup caused many–including myself–to wonder if he was more of a career Minor Leaguer. Last season Voss took a bit of a step forward though when the organization returned him to the rotation. Voss earned a promotion to AA-Erie after recording a 3-0 record and 3.21 ERA over 33 2/3 innings in Advanced-A Lakeland. He handled the promotion well, accumulating a 9-7 record and a 3.67 ERA for the SeaWolves over 115 1/3 innings.

Why He’s This High/Low:
Voss does a good job inducing ground balls and missing bats. The majority of last seasons 11home runs happened in Jerry Uht Park, which isn’t exactly pitcher friendly. Regardless, you’d like to see the home run ratio come down a bit moving forward. He has the ideal pitchers frame and is noted as a hard worker with solid mechanics.

Voss may not have a ceiling that screams top twenty prospect but his stuff is impressive nonetheless. You might find him lower on others lists and that’s okay. Our list isn’t necessarily gospel. He impressed me last season in Lakeland and I believe he’s a much better fit in the rotation. Next season will be a bit of a make or break year for him though as he’ll turn 25-years-old at the beginning of the season. A fast start in AAA-Toledo and a couple injuries to the big league club and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him in Motown near the end of the season.

19. Adelin Santa
Position: 3B
Age: 16-years-old
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
2012 Projected Team: DSL Tigers

Background:
The Detroit Tigers signed Adelin Santa in July of 2011. The 16-year-old Dominican received a reported $750,000 signing bonus.

Why He’s This High/Low:
To be fair, his ranking is entirely based upon the hype surrounding him. In many circles, Santa has drawn comparisons to Adrian Beltre. I haven’t seen him play and the reports on him are limited. You gotta figure that he’s something special though if the Tigers were willing to shell out 3/4 of a million dollars to acquire him.

So, what can I tell you about Santa? Well, the third base prospect has a strong hit tool that features projectable power and the ability to hit for a high average. Santa projects as a plus defender, featuring projectable range, arm strength and footwork.

He should begin his Tigers career in the DSL next season. I can’t realistically coming stateside any sooner than 2013. I suppose it’s possible to see him in the GCL and/or short season ball by the time he’s seventeen at the end of next season though.

18. Aaron Westlake
Position: 1B
Age: 22-years-old
Height: 6’4
Weight: 235
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
2011 Team: SS Connecticut Tigers
2011 Stats: 124 AB .250 AVG  .316 OB%  5 doubles 1 triple 3 home runs 19 RBI  12 BB  29 SO
2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland

Background:
The Detroit Tigers selected Aaron Westlake in the 3rd round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Vanderbilt University.

Westlake hit .344 in 250 at-bats for the Commodores in 2011. He also accumulated 18 doubles, 1 triple, 18 home runs and 56 RBI. He’s probably know best though for launching three two-run home runs in the Super Regional game against Oregon State in the 2011 College World Series.

After signing, Westlake was assigned to short-season ball in Connecticut. As you can see from the stats above, his small sample size of at-bats provided mediocre results.

Why He’s This High/Low:
The majority of lists will likely have Westlake in the top ten. I’m taking a bit of a wait and see approach though. His power is legit and he has shown the ability to routinely hammer baseballs from pole to pole. I’m curious to see how he handles advanced pitching though. I have no doubt that he’ll hit home runs. I question the strikeouts and batting average though. I hope I’m wrong but I see him as another Ryan Strieby type of player. Similar to Strieby, there’s whispers of a potential shift to a corner outfield spot. The arm doesn’t appear to be a problem but his speed, route running skills and athleticism in general don’t appear to be up to par. Beyond that, he’s actually a pretty solid first-baseman, so why make the move? Well, he’s obviously blocked by Miguel Cabrera so he’s essentially a bench bat or a trade chip of everything pans out at first-base.

17. Jason King
Position: 3B
Age: 22-years-old
Height: 6′
Weight: 215
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
2011 Team: SS Connecticut Tigers
2011 Stats: 195 AB .251 AVG  .341 OB%  6 doubles 4 triples 6 home runs 31 RBI  20 BB  39 SO
2012 Projected Team: Class-A West Michigan 

Background:
The Detroit Tigers selected Jason King in the 4th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Kansas State University.

After missing the entire 2010 season to Tommy John surgery, King returned stronger than ever. King posted a .326 average with 19 doubles, 6 triples, 10 home runs and 59 RBI.

After quickly signing, King was assigned to short-season ball with the Connecticut Tigers. Beyond his pedestrian .251 average was some solid defense and projectable power. Picking up right where he left off in college, King flashed both gap and over the fence power which was encouraging.

Why He’s This High/Low:
At the plate, King has the raw power and present skill-set that should realistically produce twenty-plus home runs with a decent average and on-base percentage. Defensively he’s listed as a solid defender with a strong arm, plus range and decent footwork. Scouts rave about his strong work ethic which makes me believe that he’ll have a decent shot at contributing in the show. I haven’t read anything that really stands out as a negative about him. I look forward to getting a better look at him in spring training on the B-Fields.

16. Eugenio Suarez
Position: SS
Age: 20-years-old
Height: 5′ 11″
Weight: 160
Bats: Switch
Throws: Right
2011 Teams: GCL Tigers & Connecticut 
2011 Stats: 248 AB .266 AVG  .338 OB%  18 doubles 5 triples 7 home runs 33 RBI  11 SB  21 BB 47 SO
2012 Projected Team: Class-A West Michigan

Background: 
The Detroit Tigers signed Venezuelan prospect Eugenio Suarez as a 17-year-old in October of 2008.

Suarez made his Tigers debut the following summer in the Venezuelan Summer League. In just over 200 at-bats, he posted a solid .262 average and .360 on-base percentage. Defensively Suarez spent the bulk of his time at third base. However, he also saw time at both second base and shortstop.

Suarez returned to the VSL in his sophomore season for the Tigers. 2010 brought improvements across the board statistically. Suarez posted a .311 average and a .389 on-base percentage over 225 at-bats. Flashing a bit more power he hit 12 doubles, 2 triples and a home run while driving in 18 runs. Suarez spent the bulk of the season between left-field and shortstop. He also saw action in center-field, second-base and third-base.

Last season the Tigers brought Suarez stateside where he split time between the GCL and short season Connecticut. Suarez excelled in GCL action, batting .341, posting a .408 on-base percentage. His performance earned him an aggressive promotion to Connecticut where he was one of the youngest guys in the NYPL. The average dipped a bit, as Suarez perhaps struggled with some of the advanced pitching. On a positive note, he continued to flash extra base power, accumulating 11 doubles, 5 triples and 5 home runs. At both stops last season Suarez was used exclusively at shortstop. This will likely become his home on the diamond long term. His versatility around the diamond definitely gives him value moving forward though.

Why He’s This High/Low:
In the field Suarez gets rave reviews defensively. The grades vary but the consensus remain the same; Suarez looks like a lock to be a solid average to a plus defender. His versatility and ability to field multiple positions well are obviously an added bonus.

It’s not necessarily that I question the hit tool, I guess I’d just like to see more data before he cracks the top ten. Now that he’s on my radar I should be able to get a firsthand look at him this spring on the B-fields in Lakeland. While he’s noted to be a contact hitter he obviously must struggle a bit with pitch recognition. You’d obviously like to see the strikeouts come down and the walks go up. He doesn’t exactly project to be a power hitter but he has flashed some sneaky power so far in his young career. There’s definitely a lot to be excited about when you look at his overall body of work. 2012 should define his prospect status a bit more.

 

2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects

#50 – #46

#45 – #41

#40 – #36

#35 – #31

#30 – #26

#25 – #21

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Tags: 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects Aaron Westlake Adelin Santa Connecticut Tigers Down On The Farm Erie SeaWolves Eugenio Suarez GCL Tigers Jason King Jay Voss Lakeland Flying Tigers

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