As I just did with the Connecticut Tigers, I wanted to preview the Tigers rookie-league Gulf Coast team as well. This team is usually made up of high school draftees, as well as guys that have come over from the Latin leagues that have been playing in extended spring training all year. Also, there are a few college draftees sprinkled in as well.
Let’s take a look at the roster so far, as I am sure there will be more to join as guys sign.
There are some interesting arms on this roster. First and foremost is the Tigers 2nd round pick Jake Thompson. Thompson could take some development time, but he does have a strong arm and frame. He isn’t the only pitcher of interest here though.
David Paulino, brother of Brenny, has a bunch of projection in his own right, and showed well in the DSL last season. Julio Felix, a 2012 draftee, has a good fastball/slider combo and should get some late inning work in the pen. Joining Felix in late innings is likely to be Jose Valdez, a 22 year old that has been doing well in that role in the DSL the last two years. Yorfrank Lopez, Fernando Perez, and Gregorio Solano all offer quality frames and future potential above average fastballs.
Another interesting guy to watch is Chad Smith. Smith was a power pitcher at USC that the Tigers drafted last season, even though he had Tommy John. He probably would have gone much higher if not for the arm troubles, and he could potentially be a steal down the road.
There isn’t any catchers currently listed on the GCL roster, though I think there is a good chance that ends up being Gabriel Purroy, who is currently in West Michigan.
The infielders currently on the roster are interesting and have good skill sets, but none of them particularly have real high ceilings. The best of the bunch is probably Harold Castro. Castro does a fantastic job of handling the bat, and could eventually hit for plus average. Athletically he is alright, but 2B is where he is likely to stay. Also playing 2nd for the GCL Tigers is Luis Cortez. Cortez got a cup of coffee with the GCL team last season and showed well. He has a good glove, and has a little pop in his bat.
SS should be manned by two guys in particular, David Gonzalez and Alwin Delgado. Delgado is probably the better prospect of the two, and has a bigger frame for a SS. He is known as a good defender, and the hope is that he develops as a power hitting middle infielder. Gonzalez does everything well, but doesn’t really stand out in any area, and likely is going to end up as a platoon type.
The outfield should be a fun thing to watch. Tigers 3rd round pick Austin Schotts is going to be playing the outfield for the first time in his life, and he will be doing it with another Tigers priority prospect in Tyler Gibson. Gibson is still very raw, but there is some five tool potential there. Joining these two will be ultra fast Ismael Salgado, so there is some athleticism in this outfield. That isn’t even including Miguel Paulino and Rashad Brown, who are both expected to sign. Paulino may have actually signed already, and he is also a good athlete who plays quality defense already. Brown is an athlete that brings some raw tools to the table.
Hopefully we see two other guys in 3B Dylan Lavalle and SP Logan Ehlers joining this squad as well, though they may be difficult to sign.