As with any ranking system, this list is subjective to the author. I will say that my rankings tend to lean more towards the ceiling on a player, but I do also take into account the floor of a player, and the likelihood the players can reach their ceiling. Numbers are nice, but when looking at prospect rankings, numbers can sometimes mean very little. For example, is it fair to judge a 20 year old in high A the same as a 23 year old in West Michigan? Of course not. Some numbers are good indicators but nothing beats seeing players in person, or talking to people who watch them. I have done both recently, and am going to watch even more in a couple weeks.
This list is different from the beginning of the year of course, and could easily change once again before next season.
Here we go…
10. Jake Thompson (SP) GCL Tigers
Thompson, as many of you know, was the first pick for the Tigers in the 2012 draft. He was a 2nd rounder, but as a big framed high school pitcher, many believe that there is some upside in Thompson. Thompson’s ultimate ceiling is going to likely depend on the quality of his secondary pitches, as his body is pretty developed already, and most don’t think he will add much velocity to his low 90’s fastball. A mid-rotation innings eater isn’t a terrible thing, and if all goes well, we could see some #2 starter potential here.
So far in 2012, Thompson has started well for the GCL Tigers. In 3 starts, he has posted an ERA of 2.25 while striking out 13 batters in 12 innings.
9. Eugenio Suarez (SS) West Michigan
Suarez popped up on many people’s radar last season after a strong season in short-season ball. After a slow start to his season in West Michigan, Suarez has been the best performer overall in West Michigan. He doesn’t have any particular standout tool, but they all are solid, and Suarez is very instinctual on the diamond. He isn’t the biggest guy around, but he does have some pop in his bat to go with good athleticism. His 28 doubles in West Michigan suggest a guy who is a gap line drive hitter, though he can put the ball out of the park on occasion. He does strike out a little too much, but also draws walks as well. Suarez also runs well, and shows good instincts on the base paths.
So far on the season for West Michigan, Suarez has a BA of .308, while posting an OPS of .859.
8. Danry Vasquez (OF) Connecticut
Don’t be fazed for a moment of the demotion that Vasquez received from West Michigan this season. He is still a top prospect in this system, and I might be ranking him a little too lightly. Despite hitting just .162 for West Michigan, his K rate was very respectable for an 18 year old at the low A level. It was below 20%. Since the Connecticut season has started up, Vasquez has been tearing the cover off the ball. Vasquez projects to be a prototypical offensive right fielder down the road. Most believe he can hit for average and should grow into power as well. Defensively he has a good arm, but isn’t going to be known for top notch athleticism. I don’t see him being much more than an average runner. Probably slightly below.
With Connecticut so far, Vasquez is hitting .397 and posting an impressive .953 OPS.
7. Avisail Garcia (OF) Erie Seawolves
Garcia is easily one of the most exciting prospects in the Tigers system, and while that is true, he still has quite a ways to go to be a quality big league player. He is a true 5 tool talent that is still working on things that he is going to need to be successful. Mainly that is being selective at the plate, finding his pitch, and then not missing it. At just 21 years old still and with a recent promotion to AA, he is clearly well thought of. What is most impressive about Garcia might be his defensive ability. He has a very strong arm, and runs well enough to cover plenty of ground out there.
Garcia is just 2 for 11 in his at-bats so far in Erie, but one of those was a home run. Don’t get discouraged by his results there this year. I believe he is going to struggle, but it should give him a taste of the level he should start at in 2013.
Casey Crosby(SP) Toledo Mud Hens
We all got a sneak preview of Crosby this season in Detroit. If you get by the lack of command, what you do see is a big lefty with big stuff. His fastball has really good movement, and his breaking ball, while inconsistent has some swing and miss at times. Since being sent down, it seems Crosby has learned a little bit, as he done well in his starts with Toledo since being sent back down.
Not much to say, other than we all know the stuff is there, and Crosby is likely to get another shot.