John Verburg does a nice job of maintaining a Detroit Tigers Top 50 prospect list here at Motor City Bengals, but multiple opinions and viewpoints are always fun to read. Marc Hulet, creator of FanGraphs’ organizational prospect rankings, posted his view on the Tigers’ Top 15.
The Tigers organization isn’t known for developing a ton of in-house talent but uses prospects well to build its big league club via the trade route. With that said, the organization features some interesting prospects with improved depth in the upper levels of the system, and even has some that are almost ready to contribute at the big league level.
You can click on the link to read his write ups on each of the players (three or four short paragraphs each), but here’s his Tigers prospect ranking in list form (with Verburg’s MCB ranking in parenthesis):
- Nick Castellanos, 3B/OF (1)
- Bruce Rondon, RP (3)
- Jake Thomson, SP (5)
- Avisail Garcia, OF (2)
- Austin Schotts, OF (10)
- Casey Crosby, SP (6)
- Tyler Collins, OF (8)
- Danry Vasquez, OF (4)
- Jeff Kobernus, 2B (NR)*
- Eugenio Suarez, SS (7)
- James McCann, C (21)
- Melvin Mercedes, RP (NR)
- Hernan Perez, 2B (37)
- Steven Moya, OF (9)
- Harold Castro, 2B (11)
* Kobernus was not in the Tigers organization at the time of John’s Motor City Bengals rankings.
Excluding Kobrenus from the discussion, there’s a fairly good consensus of who the top ten guys are. That’s not entirely surprising as the Tigers aren’t known as an incredibly deep organization, but it is nice to see actual prospects fill out most of the list instead of could-be-a-bench guys.
The two big outliers between John’s list and the FanGraphs list are Mercedes and Perez.
Mercedes didn’t find his way into the Top 50 of the Motor City Bengals list, but here we see him at #12. The Tigers obviously like him – they put him on the 40-man roster this offseason – but I’m going to agree with John here. Mercedes may turn into a big league reliever, but he’s going to need to ratchet up the strikeout rate (just 6.0 per nine innings last year) in order to achieve that. You could argue that Mercedes should be in the Top 50, and that’s fair, but he’s in no way a Top-15 guy.
Perez will probably have to prove he’s capable of playing shortstop at the big league level in order to justify a Top-15 spot as a super utility player, but, with Suarez, Dixon Machado, and Brandon Loy all competing for time at the shortstop position (and at similar levels), he might not find much opportunity. He’s also going to have to hit more than he’s shown thus far (though he’s always been given aggressive assignments).