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.
10. Andy Oliver
Oliver came into 2012 with an opportunity to crack the Tigers rotation in spring training 2012. When he didn’t do so, and Drew Smyly got the job, he still had an opportunity to separate himself from the pack in Toledo, and be the first one called up when there was an injury to Doug Fister, and later Drew Smyly. He didn’t do that either. Oliver scuffled his way through the 2012 season in Toledo, posting an ERA of 4.88. His problem of course is still command and consistency, the same things that have plagued him all along. The Tigers have now finally shifted Oliver to the bullpen, or at least they did at the end of the year, and personally, I’ve thought this is where he has belonged all along. He still has a great arm, so he will continue to get chances.
Stock: Slightly Up
Collins had one of the most consistently strong seasons in all of the Tigers minor leagues. His .290 average and .800 OPS are solid numbers for a guy in high A ball one year removed from being drafted. However, he profiles best in LF and his homer total is going to have to go up if he is going to be considered a candidate to be a regular going forward. I have hope that he could take the same sort of path current Tigers Andy Dirks has gotten. There isn’t any eye popping tools, but Collins is a good baseball player. His 20 steals and good BB/K ratio of 58/64 show a well rounded player that should be on a rather fast track in 2013.
8. Rob Brantly
Garcia along with Collins had very few dips in their performance throughout the 2012 season. Garcia if anything got better as he went along, as he continued to excel after a promotion to AA Erie. Garcia finished the two levels in the minors with a .299 average and .789 OPS, which were career highs for him after coming stateside. Garcia is clearly a physically gifted player, who has shown that the lights of the big leagues aren’t overwhelming him. That being said, I think it’s clear that Garcia would do well with some more time in the minors, as his next step will be learning on how to be more selective, and pick out pitches he can do damage with, rather than just hit.
I can’t do anything but give Paulino a stock down. He suffered some sort of shoulder injury that needed some cleaning up. These kind of things can be a problem for a hard thrower like Paulino. Hopefully it’s not a big deal, but judging by him not pitching at all in 2012. At least on any affiliated team, it probably wasn’t nothing.
5. Casey Crosby
Stock: Slightly Down
Crosby got his first taste of the big leagues in 2012, and even though it didn’t go as well as he would’ve liked, I think we all saw there is some things to like with Crosby. He clearly has enough stuff to get big league hitters out. He, like Oliver, needs to command his arsenal better on a consistent basis. In AAA this season, Crosby posted an ERA of 4.01 while striking out 8 batters per 9 innings. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Crosby passes Drew Smyly on the depth chart at this point, but he still has value, possibly in an off-season trade. Still like what he can potentially offer though.
Stock: slightly up
Vasquez started 2012 as a West Michgan Whitecap, and things went terribly to say the least. He hit just .162. But lets be fair, Vasquez had only turned 18 just three months before. And if you look deeper at the numbers, he wasn’t completely dominated, at least strike out wise. What I like about Vasquez is that he took his demotion to Connecticut and ran with it. He hit consistently well over .300 for the season, finishing at .311, but has yet to show the power that the Tigers think will come. He certainly has plenty of time to grow into that power, and looks like he could potentially be an above average hitter at the least.
3. Drew Smyly
Smyly of course made the Tigers out of spring training in 2012 after starting off as the dark horse to do so. After just one year in the minors, Smyly pitched well for the Tigers, posting an ERA of 3.99. The real good sign is that despite Smyly lacking an overpowering fastball, he struck out 94 batters in 99 big league innings, showing the stuff he possesses is plenty good enough. Going into 2013, it looks like Smyly will have somewhat of a lock on the Tigers 5th starting spot. He does need to stay away from the nagging injuries though.
Stock: Slightly Up
I know some might take umbrage with the notion that Castellanos’ stock is only slightly up, but I think we need to temper our enthusiasm at this point. First, there is the issue with his defense. While scouts seem split on whether or not Castellanos would be able to play 3rd, the Tigers have taken him in another direction at this point, and that is playing the outfield. It’s early yet, but reports haven’t been good, much like many on his 3rd base defense. It’s a concern, but if the bat is good enough, the Tigers will find a spot. The bat seems good enough. Catellanos hit .320 between two levels at the age of 20, posting an OPS of .815. The strikeout to walk rate is a concern, so there is some reason to temper enthusiasm, but he is still so young, so it’s not a major concern yet.
1. Jacob Turner
Stock: Who cares? He isn’t a Tigers anymore.