When compiling any list, it is essential to keep in mind these things tend to be very subjective, especially in the world of prospects. A prospect’s status can fluctuate as quickly as the stock market, depending on injury or a multitude of other factors. I have compiled this list based upon several things, including; scouting reports, contacts, statistics, and of course seeing the players in person.
I just want to say ranking 50 players is no easy task. I’m not looking for credit for it, that’s not why I say that. I say it because I am bound to be wrong on several players here. Last season, myself and ex MCB contributor James Chipman compiled the list together, and for the most part, I am pleased with our rankings. I tend to lean towards players with a higher ceiling, however, the Tigers system is one of the more difficult ones to rank. Please keep in mind that the difference between number 26 and 44 is relatively small, and in some cases you could argue that they could be easily switched. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
But lastly, prospect talk is meant to be fun, as is the rankings. Let’s generate some discussion on these guys.
Without further delay…
40. Jose Valdez- Relief Pitcher
Valdez is a pitcher from the Dominican Republic that made his stateside debut with the GCL Tigers in 2012. At 22 years old, Valdez was a little old for the league, and will likely get an assignment to start 2013 either in West Michigan, or even potentially Lakeland. His fastball/slider combination works well. His fastball is heavy and operates in the low 90′s, touching mid 90′s. His slider has good sharp break, and works as a nice swing and miss offering. Watch for Valdez in 2013 to potentially move quickly.
39. Kyle Ryan- Starting Pitcher
Ryan has been a resident on the top 50 prospects list for the past couple years now. He has moved up and down, but manages to find himself on my list consistently. This time around, he has seen a drop however. I’m still waiting for Ryan to come around. His control is good, but his secondary pitches aren’t sharp enough at this point, and the velocity I believed would show up, hasn’t. In 2012, he repeated the low A level in West Michigan and didn’t really improve in any statistical facet, but didn’t really drop off either. There is still hope, Ryan just turned 21 in September, and with his 6’5″ frame, there could be more juice in the tank. The hope is fading for that quickly though.
38. Jordan John- Swing Pitcher
John was a 2012 draftee out of Oklahoma who barely pitched for the Tigers this past season. Mostly due to the workload he had in college. John is a command lefty who at this point relies mainly on two pitches, a fastball that can touch into the low 90′s and a curve ball that shows good depth at times. John is used to starting games, and if he continues to do so for the Tigers, he is going to have to develop his change up to be a better pitch. He could, however, maybe gain a tick on the fastball and turn into a good loogy out of the pen as well. We might see John start the season in West Michigan.
37. Hernan Perez- Second Base
Perez is looking more and more like a utility player someday. That isn’t a knock at all, those types of players are needed, but Perez doesn’t look like he will have the type of bat to be an every day guy. Perez lacks plate discipline, and while he doesn’t strike out a ton, he is way too aggressive in and out of the zone. There isn’t much more than doubles power in the bat, but Perez does run pretty well. Defensively, there are some issues with focus and footwork, but the range is solid and he is able to play SS and 2B at an adequate and sometimes better than average level.
36. Bryan Holaday- Catcher
It looks as if though Holaday might get his chance to make the Tigers roster coming out of spring training in 2013. Holaday isn’t very good with a bat in his hands, though he does have the potential to occasionally run into one. I don’t see more than a .230 type hitter at the big league level. In other words, the bad Gerald Laird at the plate. Defensively however is another story. Holaday is a quality receiver, has a solid arm, but scores well in calling a game and providing leadership from the position. He has quality intangibles and has a knack for helping his team win. His ceiling is that of a back up that plays once or twice a week.