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.
20. Jay Voss
Voss barely pitched in 2012, he got lit up early but then went under the knife having season ending Tommy John surgery. Given that there is a high success rate for the surgery, Voss should have a chance to bounce back and by mid 2013, we should be able to see how he is doing.
19. Adelin Santa
Santa had his contract voided by the Tigers before ever playing with the club. Not sure why. Don’t think I care.
18. Aaron Westlake
I think if we are honest about the Tigers 2011 draft, it was uninspiring. Westlake is a big part of that in my opinion. Westlake is a guy who is supposed to be advanced with the bat, but at age 23 in low A this season he hit only .249 with an OPS of .711. His 2nd half was better than the first, he hit .311 with an OPS of .828. If he can do that for a full season in AA next year, then I could say that he has regained some status as a legitimate prospect.
17. Jason King
King is one of those guys that does a lot of things well but doesn’t have a standout tool. Hitting for average is probably never going to be his thing, but he does have 20 homer kind of potential. He gives max effort. King hit just .253 with the Whitecaps this season, and posted an OPS of .707. He is going to have to do more damage than that with the bat going forward.
16. Eugenio Suarez
Suarez is a guy that isn’t a tool shed, but his instincts for the game help his skills play up. His 2012 was very encouraging and he was clearly the best player on West Michigan this past season. Suarez hit .288 on the season, but spent most of the season above .300. He could have tired a little bit as it was his first full year, there was things to be encouraged about with Suarez. Suarez showed good gap power, pounding 34 doubles this year. He also was known to be one of the better defensive SS in the league as well.
15. Bruce Rondon
Rondon arguably had the best season of any Tigers minor leaguer this season. He jumped a couple levels from Lakeland to Toledo by the end of the year, and showed an ability to harness his outstanding stuff. His ERA was 1.53 across the three levels, and his walk rate saw a substantial decrease down to 4.5 per 9 innings from 8 per 9 innings the previous year. Rondon has future closer potential, and might be a candidate for the bullpen out of spring training next season.
14. Daniel Fields
Stock: Slightly Up
Fields is a tough guy to wrap your head around as a prospect follower. He has the type of athleticism scouts like, has some pop, and isn’t completely lost when it comes to patience at the plate. I was excited for him as the year began after a strong spring. However, he began the season by repeating Lakeland for a 3rd time and not impressing. He did get what some thought was an undeserved promotion to Erie, and performed pretty well. His .266 average was his highest of his career to this point, but for what the Tigers paid for him in the draft, I think they are still looking for more.
13. Tyler Gibson
I know some are going to be shocked that I have Gibson’s stock as neutral at this point, but that is a function of expectations more than anything. Gibson is a raw talent,and is going to take some time to develop, and despite struggling in rookie ball this year, he did flash some of that high level talent we know he has in him. He hit just .167, but also showed a willingness to walk, and stole 18 bags as well. Patience is required with Gibson, and we probably won’t know much about him until he turns 21 or 22.
12. Alex Burgos
Burgos had pretty much a disastrous season. I really liked him when I saw him in person a couple times last season, but it sounds like he wasn’t near the pitcher in Lakeland this season. His command all but left him this season, and he Burgos ended up walking more batters than he struck out. Not good. He turns 22 in December so it is way too early to give up on him, and if he didn’t walk so many his year would’ve looked drastically different. I look for him to bounce back a bit next season.
11. James McCann
This is one guy I wish we wouldn’t have ranked as highly as we did, but given the state of the Tigers system I guess we had to. That being said, McCann didn’t have a terrible season. He hit well enough in Lakeland to earn himself a promotion, and the advanced level exposed McCann’s lack of ability with the bat. That’s not say it can’t ever get better, but McCann hit just .200 with Erie. He is reportedly a strong defender, and looks to be a backup catcher type at the big league level.