Last November, myself and ex-Motor City Bengals contributor James Chipman, provided everyone with a top 50 prospects list. Well, since the season is almost over, I would like to review how we did. Myself and James collaborated on the list, and like any other, there are going to be some hits and misses. Probably mostly misses simply due to the volatility of prospects. Let’s check it out.
40. Thomas Collier
Collier isn’t a big time prospect by any stretch, but he had himself quite a good year, and will likely move up on the next list when I put one together. Collier’s ERA was a good 2.74 for the Whitecaps this season, but his stuff is more of a back end starter. The fact that we even had him in the top 40 before 2012 shows we did our homework. 2012 was Collier’s first full season.
39. Marcelo Carreno
Here is a guy that repeated West Michigan and improved his stock quite a bit. We had him at 39 to begin the year, but I had him in the teens mid-season. Carreno essentially improved across the board as was probably the Whitecaps most impressive starter by season’s end. He finished with an ERA of 3.23, only allowed 5 homers all season, and had a four to one K/BB rate. Carreno will start 2013 as a 21 year old.
38. Jose Ortega
Ortega really stagnated in 2012, and is one of those relievers that could have things just click for him. Heck, he could be next years version of Brayan Villarreal. His numbers don’t reflect his stuff. His fastball goes mid to upper 90′s, and he has a good slider to go with it. His trouble has been command, and his fastball is rather straight. The ranking itself is pretty solid, maybe a touch high.
37. Tyler Stohr
Stohr was a guy that the Tigers really seemed to like when spring training rolled around in 2012. He really has to fix his control problems though. The good news is that he was difficult to hit, holding batters to just over a .200 batting average. The bad news is that he walked 24 batters in the same amount of innings. Stohr isn’t a premium velocity guy, so he is going to have to command his stuff better if he is going to succeed.
36. Brandon Loy
This is another ranking representative of the Tigers farm system. In my personal opinion, Loy has no business being in the top 40, but he does have some defensive ability and positional flexibility. Loy isn’t much of a hitter, and I don’t think he ever will be. I’m not sure where I would rank him at this point, but I could see a little bit of a fall.
35. Kenny Faulk
Faulk is another bullpen arm that made our top 40. A two pitch lefty, Faulk is one of those guys that goes right after hitters even if the stuff isn’t the most impressive. He does possess a low 90′s fastball and has a solid change up, so he could have some big league utility at some point. His K numbers were strong in AA this season, but he had an ERA of 4.53. Still a guy to watch a little bit, and I think this ranking turned out pretty accurate.
34. Ramon Lebron
Lebron got the nod because of arm strength. At one point it looked like he was starting to command a little bit better. Or at least not walk as many, but he has continually battled injury and inconsistency. He started in West Michigan, got demoted, and of course showed some strong outings, but more poor ones. This ranking was probably too aggressive, and I would suspect he wouldn’t be in the top 50 next time around.
33. Wilsen Palacios
Palacios has a good pitchers frame, and has some pretty good performances this season as a starter for West Michigan. Palacios throws strikes, and typically sits in the low 90′s with his fastball. He is still working on his secondaries, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up as a swing man type. This ranking might have been a little aggressive as well, as his stuff hasn’t improved to the point that I thought it would.
Torrealba has produced quality numbers two straight years at West Michigan. The fact that he has been there two straight years with his kind of numbers should tell us what the Tigers think however. I liked Torrealba when I saw him, but he is a small guy and he doesn’t have premium stuff. He does get outs though. It will be interesting to see what the Tigers do with him come 2013.
31. Javier Azcona
Azcona is a physically gifted kid. However, he didn’t play in 2012, and it wasn’t because of injury that I know of. It is believed to have been a behavioral thing, and I am not sure he is even with the organization anymore. Frankly, I just haven’t followed up on it. Obviously, Azcona wouldn’t be in a top 50 at this point.