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.
30. Brandon Douglas
Douglas began the 2012 season as a fringe prospect at best, but one that was known for his ability with the bat. There has always been some gap power, and Douglas had shown an ability to hit around .300. 2012 saw Douglas hit just .263 for the AA Erie Seawolves after hitting .281 the year before. It’s never a good thing when you repeat a level and do worse at 27 years old.
29. Matt Hoffman
Hoffman is one of those guys that is likely to continue to get a long leash. He was decently impressive in spring training this season before being sent down to Toledo where he spent the entire year. I think it does say something that he wasn’t brought up once all season, but then again, he struggled early. Hoffman has solid stuff with a fastball that sits low 90′s and can touch a bit higher. Overall, he posted a 3.69 ERA for the Mud Hens, but that number was 2.45 after the All Star break.
28. Duane Below
Below is kind of a mystery to me. He seemed to be having a pretty good season with the Tigers before being demoted in one of the mid-season bullpen shuffles, and was never heard from again, even as rosters expanded. He did go down to Toledo and pitch like a guy whose demotion affected him, posting an ERA of 6.23. But who could blame him after posting an ERA of 3.88 and keeping the Tigers in some games earlier this season. I am sure he will get a shot with the Tigers in spring again next year.
27. Dixon Machado
Machado has always been an interesting guy to me. He has an idea at the plate, as he controls the strike zone, but he is just too physically weak to get anything behind the ball when he puts the bat on it. He walked 51 times while striking out 61. But Machado hit just .195. His defense projects to be outstanding, so the Tigers aren’t going to give up on him, but he is going to have to hit more.
26. Hernan Perez
Perez is the other part of the double play combination for the Lakeland team this year. Playing with Machado, that team had some strong up the middle defense. Perez is a solid defender, though not at the same level as Machado, but he can hit a bit more though. Perez hit .261 on the season, but improved in the 2nd half, when he hit .276, and posted an OPS of .697. That doesn’t sound like much, but an improvement is a good thing. At this point, he looks like an utility player, as he can play SS as well, but he has some time at age 21.
25. Brian Flynn
Brian Flynn was having a solid year for the Lakeland Flying Tigers and was part of the deal that brought the Tigers Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. I’ve never been a huge fan, but some do think he has a shot at the majors.
24. Kevin Eichhorn
Eichhorn was pitching pretty much as expected, making 8 starts for the Flying Tigers and posting an ERA of 4.00. He wasn’t striking a bunch of guys out, and was giving up some hits, but that is expected with his kind of stuff. Eichhorn commands his average arsenal well, but I had to ding him because of his injury. Eichhorn missed the rest of the season after his 8 starts, and if he loses any more stuff, it could be difficult for him.
23. Kyle Ryan
Stock: Slightly Down
Ryan repeated West Michigan this season, and was a little bit disappointing. His K rates and BB rates remained relatively static, but he remains too easy to hit, as opposing batters hit .285 against him. It might be that he is throwing too many good strikes and might need to stay out of the zone more than he does. His stuff hasn’t seen the jump that the Tigers expected might come given his 6’5″ frame. It still could happen though as Ryan is still just 21 and he will likely get a shot in Lakeland next season.
22. Luis Marte
Stock: Slightly Down
I like Marte. Not sure why he didn’t get more of an opportunity this season with the Tigers, especially considering that Luke Putkonen got multiple shots. Marte is easily the better pitcher of the two despite not having the same type of stuff. Major league hitters hit just .236 against Marte with an ERA of 3.32, so I don’t know what the Tigers are looking at there, but I guess Tigers know best. Anyway, I am sure he will get more chances somewhere.
21. Austin Wood
Stock: Down and out
Austin Wood no longer exists in the Tigers system after retiring. So I guess not much point discussing his season.