Tigers Place 3 in MLB.com's 2012 Top 100 Prospects List


Yesterday MLB.com released their annual top prospect list, expanding to the top 100 this year. The Detroit Tigers placed three players in the top 100 for the 2012 season list. Draft and prospect expert Jonathan Mayo tabbed Jacob Turner 15th best, Nick Castellanos 51st and Drew Smyly 82nd overall in this seasons list. To be honest, I anticipated Turner as a no brainer in the top fifteen with Castellanos potentially cracking their top 100. It was refreshing to see both Castellanos and Smyly crack the list though. All three are certainly well deserving of the distinguished honor.

I encourage you to follow the above link and check out the entire Top 100 List. If you’re short on time though, and looking for a Cliff’s Notes view of what Mayo had to say about the Tigers prospects, follow the jump….

So, what did Mayo have to say about the Tigers future front-line starter Jacob Turner?

Turner has quickly become a fairly polished all-around pitcher, impressive given that he won’t turn 21 until May. He can crank his sinking fastball up to the mid-90s, generating many groundouts. Both his curve and changeup aren’t as consistent as his fastball, but they’ve improved vastly since he came out of high school. They both have the chance to be above-average offerings, at least, and he showed more willingness to go to them over the course of 2011. With a good feel for pitching that belies his years, he’s just about ready to help out in the Tigers’ rotation.


Castellanos may be a couple years away from Motown but Mayo seems equally impressed with his progress and potential.

Castellanos will play at age 20 in 2012, looking to build on what was a very strong first season of pro ball. He’s a good natural hitter who should continue to hit for average, especially as he gains better pitch recognition/plate discipline, something he did as he surged in the second half of 2011. He has good raw power and many of last year’s 36 doubles will become home runs as he matures. He played shortstop in high school but has moved over to third, where he’ll be more comfortable long term.


I was excited to see Drew Smyly get some well deserved credit from MLB.com. Mayo had this to say about the southpaw starter,

Smyly is the prototypical advanced college lefty, one who relies on pitchability more than pure stuff. He has a four-pitch mix — fastball, cutter, curve and changeup — all of which are at least Major League average. He throws a lot of strikes and has a good amount of deception, keeping hitters off-balance well. If he can stay healthy — he has some injury history — he’s a fast-tracker who should be ready sooner rather than later.

He doesn’t have the ceiling of some prospects, but with his command and polish, he should be ready for the life of a No. 4-type starter soon.



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Tags: Down On The Farm Drew Smyly Jacob Turner Nick Castellanos

  • MCBjohnverburg

    I find a ranking of a 4th starter ceiling odd at 82. I hope that this doesn’t raise Tigers fans expectations even more. I guess its a nice recognition of the year the kid had though.


      @MCBjohnverburg Idk, four or five is always what I’ve had him pegged as. There’s honestly not much of a difference. It does seem off that Smyly beat out other teams potential “ACEs” of the future. Meh, oh well though.

      He honestly might be Detroits fourth best starter in April if Porcello continues to struggle and they decide to season Turner a bit in Toledo.

      • valordesign

        @JAYRC_MCB@MCBjohnverburg You guys are closer to the prospects than I am, but I get the feeling Smyly is going to surprise alot of people next year. I am really looking forward to seeing the type of year he has as well if Crosby can stay healthy what year he’ll have. I know Crosby is a huge questionable, but If those two can proove themselves as solid back of the rotation starters, with all the other pieces in place, the Tigers will be blessed with good pitching for a long time.

  • ChrisHannum

    I have a hard time trusting these ‘ceilings’ that prospect experts (like the folks at BA) give out based on third-hand reports about a guy’s stuff and stuff alone. What about command and pitching ability? I remember someone a long time ago saying that Sabathia’s ceiling was as a number 3. I have the feeling that when you come down to it everyone that pitches like Randy Johnson gets tabbed as a potential ace and everyone that pitches like Greg Maddux gets pegged as a potential number 5 or long reliever. If you’re reliably throwing in the mid-90s and missing your spots, you wind up a number 5 or long reliever if you’re barely scraping 90 as you barely scrape the corners you wind up a very valuable member of a staff.

    • MCBjohnverburg

      @ChrisHannum This is true. However, I do think that BA and others do take into account command. For instance, when I look at guys, or rank them, you have to take into account stuff (ceiliing) and ability to pitch (command, sequencing). It’s often difficult to tell which guy will ultimately be better, but thats when you take into account, mechanics, athleticism, etc…

      I know you know all this Chris, but I do think what people don’t understand in general is players rarely ever live up to their 100% ceiling. It’s almost more useful in talking about what they are likely to be if they get 2/3 of the way to their ceiling. But then that wouldn’t get people as excited about their prospects.

      I always think it is useful to talk about what prospects could become. I mean roster decisions are made on what scouts are projecting or seeing. Projecting a player’s skills is why people in baseball get payed the big bucks, or get canned.

      Personally, I tend to think of the business of talking prospects as more fun than anything. It’s certainly not an exact science, and there is different ways to approach things. For instance, John Sickels is much more numbers oriented than BA, who tends to be more tools oriented. Who’s right? I don’t know, maybe someone will do a study on peoples rankings and see who is most right sometime.

      • ChrisHannum

        @MCBjohnverburg@ChrisHannum When I see this stuff approached ‘statistically’ what you get is something along the lines of the players WAR ceiling and the likelihood that he’ll reach that WAR ceiling (as opposed to failing utterly). It seems like the whole framework is wrong, and it starts with the concept of the ceiling. So the idea is that Smyly’s ceiling is only about 2 WAR but the likelihood that he’ll make it there is 70% and we use that to compare him to a guy with a ceiling of 4 WAR but only a 20% chance of hitting it. That gives someone a false impression.