After finishing up my farm system rankings just an hour or so ago, I wanted to turn the focus back to the Tigers system. When I began detailing the top 15 farm systems, I put a section in those articles that picked out a couple of that organizations sleepers. I would like to attempt to do so with the Tigers at this point. There is some difficulty attached with that however.
The issue with finding sleepers in the Tigers system is that the lack of depth means that we have probably at some point talked about these guys at one point or another. In other words, what might be a sleeper in the Rangers system, is probably a top 20 guy in the Tigers system, and therefore we have probably talked about them. A guy like Josue Carreno would definitely be a sleeper in another system. In the Tigers, he is just one of their more promising young pitching prospects.
I’m not going to let the lack of depth stop me however, and I am going to forge ahead and try and pick out some guys for you all to be a little excited about.
Follow through to take a look…….
If you are going to find some deep sleepers in the Tigers system, you have to go a little international, and in this case a couple of the names are going to come from the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues. The first is a name that you might recognize, but only because his relative is a little more famous than he is right now. At least to Tigers fans.
David Paulino (P)
David is the younger brother of Tigers top 10 prospect Brenny Paulino. Brenny is known for having a high octane arm, and can get his fastball into the upper 90’s here and there. David can’t quite do that at this point, but neither could Brenny at the age of 17. David doesn’t turn 18 until Feb. 6th of this year, but there is hope that he reaches the same kind of high octane stuff that his brother has. Why? Well, David’s frame would suggest that he is going to get stronger. He is already 6’5″, but only 180 lbs. As he fills out, he could very well gain the strength and stamina to develop a fastball that gets into the mid 90’s. The present stuff is in the upper 80’s, and David is incredibly raw. The Tigers only pitched David in the DSL 15 innings, but he struck out 14, and didn’t allow a run.
Paulino might have a tremendously long way to go, but he is a sleeper to keep an eye on for sure.
Alwin Delgado (SS)
Delgado was signed out of the Domincan Republic as a 6 figure bonus guy on July 2nd of 2009. Considered a more defensive SS, Delgado was thought to have some potential with the bat as well. In 2010, his first professional year, he looked pretty atrocious with a bat in his hand, posting an OPS of .486 as an 18 year old. 2011 was much better, with Delgado hitting .272, and posting an OPS of .698. The intriguing thing about Delgado is he has a frame that looks like there could be some added power potential in the future, and he clearly improved from one year to the next. I don’t know if he is in the plans to come stateside this season at this point, but he certainly could be considered a sleeper to watch going forward.
Jack Duffey (SP)
Duffey is a left handed pitcher that the Tigers drafted out of high school in 2010. They got him in the 28th round, but he wasn’t a big over the slot guy. At 6’2″ and 190lbs, Duffey has a pretty ideal frame, and one that you would think is capable of projecting a little bit of power. That hasn’t been the case at this point, as Duffey’s fastball is reportedly a mid to upper 80’s fastball. Duffey mixes and commands well right now, but is going to have to get stronger and find a little more fastball in order to become more of a prospect. Still, Duffey could be a guy that could take a little leap forward into the stream of consciousness.
Patrick Cooper (RP)
Cooper isn’t widely talked about in the Tigers system, but he does have a chance to progress up the ladder a ways. Cooper is a sturdily built right-hander that can gets his fastball up around 92-93, and possesses a quality slider as well. He also throws a change, and has started games as well. There isn’t anything special here as far as his arm goes, but it’s the type of repertoire that a swingman might own. At this point Cooper is 22 years old and is probably slated to be in the Lakeland and/or Erie bullpen at some point in 2012.
One guy that has an intriguing combination of solid arm strength and quality frame is Jeff Ferrell. Part of the issue with Farrell is he suffered the dreaded Tommy John after a strong start for West Michigan last season. A guy like Tyler White has a pretty good fastball as a reliever and posted good numbers in Lakeland last season.
Another sleeper is a guy that was a high pick and had a horrible 2011, and that is Wade Gaynor. Gaynor still has some quality tools and could experience a bounce back. He has a tremendous amount of swing and miss in his game though, and until that is rectified, he is going to struggle to emerge like the Tigers believed he could when they drafted him.
There you have a few guys to watch out for that qualify as sleepers we don’t talk much about. The likelihood any of them make it is pretty slim, but hey, we can’t talk about Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos every time can we?