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…
10. Austin Schotts- Outfielder
Schotts was the Tigers third round pick in the 2012 draft. A shortstop in high school, the Tigers drafted Schotts with the intention of turning him into a CF. Schotts is a plus runner, and once he learns the nuances of playing center field, should be able to be an above average defender in the outfield. His arm isn’t ever going to be above average, but for a CF, it doesn’t really have to be. Offensively there is some good potential. Schotts shows some good pop, but will need to work on making his swing more compact. There is some swing and miss in his game now, and that might be the result of aggressiveness. With a little more plate discipline Schotts projects to hit for average and moderate power. He also should be a threat on the base paths going forward.
9. Steven Moya- Outfield
Moya is now one of the most intriguing Tigers prospects out there. Unfortunately for Moya and the Tigers, his season in 2012 got cut short by Tommy John surgery. Since recovery doesn’t take as long for position players, he should be back early in 2013. Moya was having somewhat of a breakout season before the injury though, drastically decreasing his K rate, improving his walk rate slightly, and beginning to show a better understanding of the game in general. Moya is a physical specimen at 6’7″ and has tremendous raw power. Moya could be a 30-40 home run type guy in the future. For a big kid, he doesn’t lack athleticism either, but that should be expected to decline some as he gets a little older. He should be able to stick in RF unless he slows down too much. If Moya can continue to develop his patience at the dish, there is a vast amount of potential to tap into there.
8. Tyler Collins- Outfield
Collins is probably the Tigers prospect that I would feel most comfortable in saying that he will have a long career in the big leagues, though I don’t know if it is going to be as an every day player. Collins is one of those guys that doesn’t particularly do anything great, but does most everything well. His issue is going to come from his positional limitations, as he doesn’t really fit as a fourth outfielder per se, and might end up more as a platoon left fielder. Still, Collins can hit. He uses the whole field, and has the potential to be a doubles machine. I don’t see much more than 15 home run a year pop, and maybe 10-15 steals per year either, but couple that with a .280 hitter, and you have pretty valuable player. Defensively he isn’t going to scare runners from going 2nd to home, but is athletic enough to get to some balls other left fielders won’t get to. At one point, there was a Brian Giles comp on Collins. I think that is probably a bit too lofty, but maybe he could be the poor man’s version.
7. Eugenio Suarez- Shortstop
Suarez is a big mover in the Tigers system in the past year or so. While pretty much everyone who seems him seems to like him, there is a dark cloud of pessimism that seems to follow Suarez around. It’s simply because he doesn’t have any loud tools that makes scouts drool. Taken as a whole, however, and Suarez begins to look more and more like a potential big league regular. Suarez isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but he does have some thunder in his bat. Suarez frequently barrels up balls and drives them into the gaps for doubles. He does have enough pop where I think he could put up Omar Infante type power numbers. He isn’t the fastest of guys either, but he should be able to steal some bags as well. Suarez will have to work on cutting down on the strikeouts, but he does display patience and is willing to take a walk. Defensively Suarez is a plus shortstop, and gets to balls using positioning and anticipation as weapons. His arm is strong enough to stick at shortstop as well. 2013 is a big year for Suarez. If he can maintain his offensive prowess in either high A or AA, he should garner a bit of attention.
6. Casey Crosby- Starting Pitcher
By now, Tigers fans should know plenty about Casey Crosby. Like Andy Oliver before him, Crosby’s main issue is his command of his pitches. I believe in Crosby a little bit more obviously, mainly because I like his secondary pitches just a little bit better. Crosby at least shows a good quality breaking ball, and I believe is a little bit more diverse in his repertoire. 2013 is a huge year for Crosby, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some starts for the big club once again this year.