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…
25. Adam Wilk- Starting Pitcher
Wow! I have seen two separate lists in which Adam Wilk is number 10 on the Tigers prospect lists. With all due respect to those well thought of sites and individuals, they must be sniffing glue. Wilk is the epitome of a high floor guy, but with a low ceiling. It’s just tough for him to succeed with his lack of stuff. His mid to upper 80′s fastball is commanded well, and he has a good change up to go with it, so he could get outs at the big league level, but not with any consistency as a starter in my opinion. His breaking ball isn’t good enough to be a loogy, so where does that leave him? Well, he can spot start, and potentially be a long relief candidate, so that gets him on the Tigers list.
24. Tyler Gibson- Outfielder
Gibson is one of the toughest Tigers prospects to rank. By all statistical measures, I probably shouldn’t even have him in the top 50, but I am an upside whore, and therefore he checks in at 24. Gibson is a tooled up athlete that still has a long ways to go before he becomes a good baseball player. Some positives: He is strong, so there is power projection, he runs well, so he can steal a few bags, and he throws well also. He is even willing to take a walk. Pitch recognition is an issue and contact is an issue. These things can get better, and will go a long way to determine whether or not Gibson even makes it out of A ball, or becomes a potential big league regular.
23. Joe Rogers- Pitcher
Rogers was a 2012 draft choice by the Tigers out of Central Florida. At first glance, it looks like the Tigers just drafted another reliever. That may very well be the case. Rogers can touch 93 out of the pen as a lefty, and has a good curve to go with it. However, some believe that he is going to be able to start in the future, so it will be interesting to see where Rogers begins in 2013 with Detroit. Obviously, if Rogers can improve his change and sit in the low 90′s with his fastball as a starter, his value goes up. If not, they should have themselves a potential 7th inning reliever in the mold of Phil Coke on their hands.
22. Montreal Robertson- Starting Pitcher
Robertson is one of those rare guys that looked like a back end of the bullpen guy all the way to me, that has now been turned into a starter by the Tigers. I think it is a good experiment. At the very least he can always go back to the pen if it doesn’t work out, and he will have thrown a ton more pitches and be better for it. Anyway, Robertson has a real good arm, and has a fastball that has touched as high as 98. He doesn’t live there, more so in the 92 area, but it’s a good heavy fastball that generates ground balls. His breaking ball and change both show promise. For now, it’s all about developing starters stamina for Robertson and sharpening his secondaries.
21. James McCann- Catcher
Yeah, I am probably going to be one of the few who would rank McCann this low in the Tigers system. Truth be told, if the Tigers system was even a little bit better, he could easily be around 30 in my opinion. McCann was definitely challenged by the Tigers in 2012. His first season ended in Erie, and it was clearly too much for him, at least offensively. Offense was the concern when McCann was drafted, and it will continue to be the concern going forward. He hit for average in Lakelan but absolutely no power at either stop in 2012. He has continued his lack of pop in the Arizona Fall League this past month as well. Still, he ranks so relatively high on this list simply because his defensive skills warrant a spot on a big league roster at some point, and catchers are hard to come by. If he can develop at all with the bat, he could be a starter for someone.