June 7, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers right fielder Avisail Garcia (34) runs towards second after he hits a double fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Tigers Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects:10-1


Well, I am back with the second half of my mid-season top 20 prospects list. Again, this is just a snapshot of the present, and and three to six months could change a lot of things, and likely will.

Anyway, these things are ultimately for fun and to get people talking about prospects.

So let’s do that.

[RELATED: Tigers Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects: 20-11]

10. Daniel Fields (OF)- One might think that this is statistically based. And part of it is. Fields is having himself a solid season in AA this year, and I’ve had the opportunity to see him a few times this year. Fields shows good patience at the plate, and this season he has shown the ability to hit for some power. He is still a very good athlete and a good defender. There is  some concern with Fields’ swing mechanics, as he tends to swing through a lot of baseballs still. His swing and miss tendencies are a very real issue, and likely will hamper his ceiling going forward.

9. Endrys Briceno (SP)- Briceno is another guy that I have had some opportunity to see on more than one occasion this year. The numbers overall aren’t pretty for Briceno, but there are some things to really like when talking about Briceno. First, he has a projectable frame. Briceno is pretty rail thin, and as he matures it’s likely he is going to pack on a bit of muscle and some pounds to help with his strength and stamina, which are issues. Second, he has an easy arm action. The ball comes out his hand without much effort and the fastball sits in low 90′s, touching more pretty regularly. Third, he throws a pretty good change already, which can be a difficult pitch for guys to develop. And last, his breaking ball has improved but still has a ways to go. Briceno does have a tendency to lose his mechanics, and he has to work on the mental aspects of pitching, but there is at least some mid rotation potential here.

8. Hernan Perez (2B)- I like Perez, but I am not sure he is even going to stick as a starter in the major leagues. I do think best case scenario, he is an Omar Infante type with potentially a bit more pop. But I do think worst case at this point, he is a better version of Ramon Santiago. Perez is having himself a nice season, and he certainly does seem more comfortable with a bat in his hands than he did a few years ago. He is also turning on baseballs more aggressively and hitting them with more authority. He lacks the kind of patience you would want from an above average hitter, but he does make up for it with really good hand-eye coordination. Defensively he has good range at 2nd, plenty enough arm, as but can also lose concentration from time to time resulting in errors.

7. Harold Castro (2B)- This just might be a case of the shiny new toy, but I am going to put Castro above Perez for right now. Castro has tremendous ability to make contact with the bat, and shows decent pop already for a 19 year old who is holding his own in high A ball. The body looks like it could grow into moderate pop, and Castro is a good athlete as well. Defensively, he still has some things to learn, but the tools are all there for him to be a good defensive second baseman. I haven’t seen Castro yet, but am hoping if Devon Travis gets a promotion, we will see Castro in West Michigan soon.

6. Bruce Rondon (RP)- There isn’t much to say to people about Rondon. Guy has a tremendous arm, can throw a fastball through a brick wall, but has little command of his repertoire, which does include a slider and change. He could be a dominant closer, or a guy who gets shuffled up and down in the vain of Brayan Villarreal. We shall see.

5. James McCann (C)- McCann has really done better than I thought he would when he was drafted out of Arkansas. But I do caution people that look at his numbers. McCann a couple of days ago had himself a .371 BABIP, and he isn’t hitting for any power whatsoever. When his BABIP normalizes, the numbers could get ugly again. Still, he has shown he can handle the bat well enough so that he isn’t over matched, and his defense and leadership have been good enough that there is a chance he could become a starting catcher. He seems really stiff to me in the batters box, and doesn’t incorporate the lower half enough, but my ranking is here to reflect I won’t let my bias get in the way.

4. Jonathon Crawford (SP)- Pure ceiling, Crawford should probably rank a spot higher on this list. However, I am skeptical of Crawford’s profile, and it’s going to take some convincing that he is going to be a starting pitcher. When all is right, Crawford will have a plus fastball in the mid to upper 90′s, a plus slider that generates swings and misses, and a usable change. He has command and mechanical issues, and the change is below average currently. His lack of college success this past season has made some think his profile is similar to that of Ryan Perry‘s.

3. Danry Vasquez (OF)- I’m not going to go into a big profile here for Vasquez, but the kid can handle the bat really well, and the reason I have him this high is that I do believe eventually we are going to see at least moderate power from him. Vasquez needs to gain some strength, is a pretty good athlete now, but that will subside as he ages. He will fit nicely in a corner outfield spot in about three or four years.

2. Nick Castellanos(OF)- Surprise! He can hit. Best bat in the system and it’s probably not all that close. He can’t do much of anything else though.

1. Avisail Garcia (OF)- I like my top prospects to do more than just one or two things, and Garcia certainly has that capability. Garcia can run, can hit for average, there are some signs that the power is coming, and he can defend and throw. Garcia might not ever reach an All Star level, but he has the ability to affect the game both offensively and defensively, and it’s for that reason he gets the nod over Castellanos in my current rankings.

*I doubt very much you will see Garcia ranked above Castellanos in other prospect sources, especially Detroit ones, and I didn’t do it for just shock value. When I looked at this ranking, I thought to myself, which player would I start a team with out of the two. Despite his potential with the bat, I would never start my team with a guy that I project to be a designated hitter. And there is the crux of my argument. I believe Castellanos winds up as a DH, and a potentially really good one. I just want my top guy to do more.

Let me know your thoughts below….

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  • FunkyTime

    You don’t even think Castellanos could hold down 1st base, let alone 3rd? That’s surprising.

    • John Verburg

      He could maybe handle first in my opinion, but he won’t. That is likely Fielder or Cabrera for the long haul. And no, I don’t think he could handle third. Cabrera is a better defender in my opinion.

  • keyser343

    I have an issue with the Casty description. You say he only offers one thing and ends up as a DH. I think you are forgetting he was handling third, not at gold glove level, but solid with a plus bat. Sounds familiar. Garcia reminds me of a larger Juan Encarnacion. 5 tool guy who never lived up to those tools due to plate discipline. I see the same future for Garcia. Garcia will always be a solid to above avg corner OF defensively, but CF is stretching it right now, and he will only slow down more. He is not a base stealing threat that will change many games. Garcia winds up as a platoon player where Casty is a starter in the OF or 3rd base.

    • John Verburg

      Ahh….the same things you criticize Garcia for can be said for Castellanos. At least defensively. Castellanos is not an athletic kid, and it’s going to get worse. He is going to slow down even further. At least Garcia is athletic now. Garcia’s arm is above average and can easily play right field down the road. And Garcia, though he won’t be a big base stealer certainly won’t clog bases. I believe Castellanos will clog bases within a few years. There were just as many scouts that thought there was no way that Castellanos could play third as there was that thought he would be just adequate. And there are plenty that think he is terrible in the outfield. I won’t debate that Castellanos will likely have a better bat, but again, it’s just my personal preference to take a guy that has more projection to play all facets of the game.

      My placement of Castellanos second isn’t meant to mean I don’t think he isn’t a good prospect. He is.

  • chrisHannum

    You are the resident expert when it comes to prospect evaluation, not me. But I think you would have to admit that Garcia has more tool than polish when it comes to outfield D.

    • John Verburg

      I think he is already solid on going and getting the ball. And his arm strength as we’ve seen already last year and this year is good. Probably could work on setting himself up on throws better, and accuracy.

      I’ve said for a couple of years that I believe Garcia is a Nelson Cruz type talent. It may take him longer than most Tigers fans want, but I think there is an above average corner outfielder in there, at least until he hits 30, then I would move on, because he is going to slow down too much and the potential plus defense will subside

  • louwhitaker

    Castellanos: “He can’t do much of anything else though.” Really? Our #2 prospect is a DH? As Richard Pryor remarked after meeting Ronald Reagan: “We in trouble!”

    • FunkyTime

      The good news is even if that’s true, it sounds like Castellanos has 2011 V-Mart potential, with some extra power to boot.

      • John Verburg

        I hope it’s not 2013 Martinez. I actually really like Castellanos, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he turns out better than Garcia, but I am trying to be realistic about his defense. It’s not good at all. I’ve heard “terrible” thrown out more than once by people who evaluate these things for a living.

    • John Verburg

      He is likely to play the field, but he is going to be a negative. If the Tigers don’t want him to cost them runs, he is better off being a DH. He can really hit though, so it might not be that bad of a thing to have happen.

  • jumpsuitjohnny

    Little late commenting, but curious. Hypothetically, if you had to fill out the playoff roster, and you could project for the remainder of the season so Casty would have a little MLB time, would you take Castellanos with his solid bat and horrible defense in left field or Dirks with a struggling bat but fairly solid defense?

    • John Verburg

      It would depend on how well he does. If he is up for all September and he hits, I would consider putting him on the playoff roster over Dirks.

  • John Beam

    It won’t surprise me if Castellanos is just like Chris Shelton or Eric Munson. He’ll try to find a spot with us, and will show flashes of promise, but in the end he won’t amount to anything. That’s how things go with this organization and its “development” of everyday players. Does anyone ever wonder why they never produce anything other than pitchers?

  • John Beam

    Bruce Rondon sounds like Franklyn German…