As James mentioned, all of our prospect lists are going to be followed by myself doing mini-scouting reports on all of the prospects on the list. Most of these scouting reports are compiled from various sources of information including; scouting reports, sources around baseball, first-hand reports, statistical data, and most importantly James and myself actually seeing a majority of the players. I feel by incorporating all of these things together, we can give you some of the most accurate Tigers prospect information out there.
I am by no means a professional scout, but will say I have been following Tigers prospects, and prospects in general for over 10 years now, and have picked up enough information along the way to have an informed opinion.
Anyway, myself and James hope you all enjoy the series and the information……..
#20- Jay Voss
Voss is a tall, lanky, left-handed pitcher that the Tigers acquired straight up for Nate Robertson a couple of years ago. In my opinion, Voss actually profiles similar to the guy he was traded for. Voss owns a 3 pitch mix, but really only has 2 pitches which are major league caliber at this point. His 3rd best offering, the change, is just a show me pitch, and isn’t something he uses to get outs regularly. At one point, Voss was a reliever, and in 2011, started full-time for the Tigers organization. His fastball/slider combination helped him to a strong 2011 season and we could see Voss as an option in 2012 at some point. His fastball typically sits 88-91, and he can touch 93. Despite his tall frame, Voss doesn’t generate good downward plane or sink on his fastball, living up in the zone more often than not. He has developed better command of his fastball in the past year or so, and shows a willingness to come inside. His slider is his 2nd best pitch, and this has also developed nicely for him. His slider shows good break, and bores down and in on right-handed hitters with some efficiency, generating some swings and misses. Voss has come on strong, and to me he looks like a guy that could be a 5th starter, or a lefty that can pump 93mph fastballs out of the pen.
#19- Adelin Santa
One of the most difficult things to project in the scouting business, is what you think a 16 year old kid is going to be in 5 years. One of the issues is with body. Trying to project where a kid ends up physically is tough. Right now, Santa is soft bodied youngster who does project to hit for average and some power down the road. There has been mentioned already some comparisons to Adrian Beltre out there. I should caution Tigers fans, the likelihood he becomes a player as good as Beltre is quite minute. The comp is meant to suggest that Santa, especially offensively, has the potential to produce Beltre like offensive numbers if all goes well,. Santa isn’t athletic, nor does he run well right now. He does have the ability to drive the baseball, especially to the pull side, and will need lots of work on pitch recognition going forward. Defensively, he does have a strong arm, and could be plus down the road, which lends to a little bit of Beltre talk as well. If he sculpts his body and doesn’t slow down too much, Santa should be capable of sticking at 3B. Obviously, with some data to look at in 2012, we might have a little better idea of the skills that Santa possesses. But within the Tigers system, the scouting reports alone got him ranked where he is.
#18- Aaron Westlake
Westlake is one of those prospects that is difficult for me personally to assess objectively, so I will come clean. I am not much of a fan. He is ranked this high because of his power projection mostly. Westlake is a big strong 1B prospect, who could hit 25 homers a year or so. That is definitely a good thing. There are quite a few people out there that believe in his ability to hit for average as well. I personally don’t. Westlake generates his power from extending long arms, and using his physicality to muscle baseballs out of the ball park. I see a guy who doesn’t generate plus bat speed, often getting out on his front foot and not staying back. He can chase balls out of the zone, and with his swing, I can see him getting busted inside with good fastballs. Now, let me state, there are others who will completely disagree with that assessment, but there it is, my opinion. I don’t think Westlake hits for average, despite some scouts believing in his ability to control a strike zone. He struck out 23 times in 106 at-bats in short-season ball. Defensively, Westlake isn’t going to move off of 1B, where he is pretty good. He moves pretty well around the bag for a big guy and has good instincts and hands. He isn’t the most athletic individual, but he isn’t a sloth when it comes to athleticism either. I don’t see him being able to move to a corner OF spot like some have suggested, but I would think that is what the Tigers had in mind when they drafted him. At age 23, Westlake is going to have to move quickly.
#17- Jason King
King was a late addition to our prospect list, as we substituted him out for Gustavo Nunez. Though that doesn’t make him a guy that can’t legitimately fit in this spot as he is someone we frankly kind of overlooked.
King is a switch-hitting 3B that doesn’t have any standout tools. However, he does a lot of things well, and is known for a hard nosed approach to the game that helps him excel on the field. King tends to be a more natural hitter from the left hand side, and has ability use the whole field more comfortably from that side. King has good power from both sides, and could develop into a 20 home run per year type player, getting good backspin on the ball with his swing. King also has enough athleticism to leg out some doubles and triples. As a base runner, he is max effort but has pretty good instincts, and could steal 10 bags per year. King isn’t the most patient of hitters, though he isn’t bad in that regard by any means. He does chase breaking balls out of the zone on occasion, and could struggle as he faces pitchers with advanced breaking balls as he goes forward. King can also get a little power happy from time to time and try and pull everything.
Defensively, King is a solid to a little bit above average at 3rd base. It sounds like after the Tommy John he should be just fine with arm strength, and he has solid range to both sides. He needs to work on being a more “natural” 3rd baseman however. He can struggle with making things look easy and plays himself into bad hops from time to time. He could also work on accuracy as well.
#16- Eugenio Suarez
Suarez really burst onto the scene for the Tigers in 2011. A middle infield prospect, Suarez isn’t your typical glove first SS/2B in the mold of another Tigers prospect Dixon Machado. He has a little more of an ability to hit, and has shown some pop that you wouldn’t expect from a guy his size. Offensively, I don’t think Suarez will ever be plus, and his ability to hit for average is going to depend on his development hitting the breaking ball. He does show some ability to barrel up fastballs with some authority, and can drive the ball into gaps. His patience could use some work, as he is typically an aggressive hitter, but that is the story with a lot of young hitters. If he shows some ability to develop a better idea of the strike zone, his good hand-eye coordination and contact ability could work for him.
Defensively, Suarez works well at SS from all reports. He has an above average arm, moves well to both sides, and has good hands. There are some kinks to work out, like developing a sense with his footwork of when to charge baseballs, and how to manipulate runners around the bag. That type of thing can easily come with experience, and the Tigers have already moved Suarez around a bit. I think they would do well to keep Suarez at SS, given that he does have a little more potential with the bat than some of their other guys. If not, he should have the skill and athleticism to play multiple positions including 2B and CF.