2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #50 – #46


The Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates seasons are officially in the books and the off-season is in full swing. With another season completed, the time has come for John Verburg and I to announce our 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List. Over the last month John and I have combined our lists to form a final product for our readers. Each players production, ceiling, floor and positional value ultimately determined their overall ranking. The finalized prospect list will be rolled out five at a time on my end covering each players background and a description on why they’re ranked that high and/or low. John will follow with a more detailed scouting report on each of the prospects.

Be sure to check back frequently and join the discussion as we work our way through the 2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects List.

#50 Brayan Villarreal 

Right-handed Pitcher

Height: 6′

Weight: 170 

24 years old

2011 Teams: Detroit Tigers & AAA-Toledo

2011 MiLB Stats: 66 IP  3-5  5.05 ERA  1.42 WHIP  5.45 K/9  3.95 BB/9  

2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo


At just 17 years old, Brayan Villarreal was signed as a non-drafted free agent on October 25th 2005. The Tommy John surgery surviver sky rocketed the Tigers prospect rankings after an impressive 2009 campaign in Class-A West Michigan. The right-handed pitcher has served as both a starter and reliever in the Tigers Minor League System.

Why He’s This High:

Falling from the top twenty to number fifty is by no means ranking “high” on a top prospect list. However, it’s quite possible that at least some of his regression last season can be attributed to his aggressive promotion to the show. After logging just 43 2/3 innings in AA-Erie the previous season, Villarreal opened the season in Detroit posting less than stellar numbers across the board. 2012 will be likely paint a much clearer picture of what the future holds for Villarreal in the Tigers organization

Why He’s This Low:

The Tigers don’t seem to see Villarreal as a starter down the road which hurts his value in my opinion. Since his demotion to AAA-Toledo he’s virtually been a shadow of himself on the mound. As a reliever his strikeouts are down, walks and hits are up and he fails to provide the skillset necessary to be much more than a mop-up man.Villarreal will be 25-years-old next season so his window is starting to close. Nonetheless Villarreal is still a top fifty prospect worth keeping an eye on.

#49 Dean Green

First Baseman

Height: 6-4

Weight: 255

Bats: Left

Throws: Right


2011 MiLB Team: Connecticut Tigers

2011 MiLB Stats: 246 AB .341 AVG. .387 OB%

19 doubles 2 triples 7HR 44 RBI

2012 Projected Team: Class A West Michigan


The Detroit Tigers selected Dean Green in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Barry University (FL). In his lone season at Barry, Green hit .400 with 18 doubles and 19 home runs while driving in 77. After quickly signing, Green was assigned to Connecticut where he showcased his bat, leading his team in hits, average, doubles, RBI and OPS.

Why He’s This High:

Green features a plus left-handed power bat and routinely drive balls from pole to pole. His ability to grind out at-bats, hit for a high average and flash power easily put him in our top fifty.

Why He’s This Low:

Scouts rate Green as a below-average defender overall, noting his poor range and footwork. That coupled with his size and lack of athleticism leave him projected as more of a pinch hitter/DH type down the road. Green possesess a plus bat from the left side though and at 22-years-old he still has time to possibly sharpen his skills in the field.

#48 Daniel Bennett

Right-handed Pitcher

Height: 6-4

Weight: 220


2011 MiLB Teams: Connecticut & Class A West Michigan

2011 MiLB Combined Stats: 32 2/3 IP 2-1 0.83 ERA 0.80 WHIP 11 SV 10.7 K/9 1.7 BB/9

2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland


The Detroit Tigers selected Daniel Bennett in the 19th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Florida State University. The side-arming right-hander served as the ‘Noles closer in 2011 posting a 2.29 ERA and 15 saves. Bennett features a solid sinker, slider combo that generates a high strikeout ratio and a fair amount of ground balls. After quickly signing, Bennett finished out the 2011 season between Connecticut and Class-A West Michigan posting very respectable numbers.

Why He’s This High:

His ability to limit walks, produce strikeouts and keep the ball on the ground and in the yard earned him a spot on our list.

Why He’s This Low:

Despite posting solid numbers thus far, several scouts question wether or not his stuff will translate as the levels increase down the road. Because of this and his limited data, he’s been tabbed as more of a sixth or seventh inning guy down the road.

#47 Jesus Ustariz

Third Baseman

Height: 6′ 1″

Weight: 190

Bats: Right

Throws: Right


2011 MiLB Team: VSL Tigers

2011 MiLB Stats: 176 AB .324 AVG. .386 OB%  12 doubles 1 triples 3 HR 22 RBI

2012 Projected Team: GCL Tigers


The Detroit Tigers signed Jesus Ustariz as a non-drafted free agent on July 6th 2009. Ustariz made his Tigers debut at the age of 17 in the 2010 Venezuelan Summer League. That summer he hit a respectable .281/.372/.363 with 8 doubles and 2 home runs. In 2011 Ustariz returned to the VSL, posting higher marks in average, on-base percentage, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and stolen bases.

Why He’s This High:

Ustariz flashes a potential plus bat and consistently walks more than he strikes out. His instincts and skills project him as a potential average to above-average fielder at the hot corner.

Why He’s This Low:

At this point in his development, Ustariz fails to really excel in any specific area. He basically fits the mold of a guy that’s a jack of all trades, master of none. Because of this scouts wonder if a more accurate projection for him is a solid backup or platoon guy down the road. He’s only 18-years-old though so its safe to safe that he has plenty of time to polish his game.

#46 Edgar De La Rosa

Right-handed Pitcher

Height: 6-6

Weight: 215


2011 MiLB Team: GCL Tigers

2011 MiLB Stats: 67 2/3 IP 2-4 3.19 ERA 1.30 WHIP 6.7 K/9 2.4 BB/9 5 HR

2012 Projected Team: Class-A West Michigan


The Detroit Tigers signed Edgar De La Rosa as a non-drafted free agent on February 11th 2009. The Dominican native made his Tigers debut as an 18-year-old in the 2009 Dominican Summer League. He posted a 3-3 record with a 5.70 ERA and a 1.71 WHIP over 53 2/3 innings. De La Rosa returned to the DSL in 2010, lowering his walk ratio, recording a higher strikeout ratio and posting an improved 4.43 ERA. In 2011 the Tigers brought De La Rosa stateside to participate in the Gulf Coat League. He improved almost across the board, posting his lowest ERA (3.19). De La Rosa also lowered his walks and hits while logging a career high 67 2/3 innings. De La Rosa features a low nineties fastball, a 12-6 curveball that flashes above-average potential and a fringy change-up.

Why He’s This High:

When you’re young, 6’6″ tall and you already feature a decent projectable arsenal you’re bound to get attention. If he can add some velocity to his fastball and tighten up his mechanics a bit, De La Rosas’ stock could quickly rise.

Why He’s This Low:

Simply stated he’s work in progress. De La Rosa flashes potential but will likely require several years of seasoning down on the farm. The lack of progress in a third pitch makes me wonder if an eventual move to the ‘pen will take place.


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