Prospect Profiles: #50-46
By John Verburg
As James Chipman mentioned in his opening article, all of our prospect lists are going to be followed by myself doing mini-scouting reports on all of the prospects on the list. Most of these scouting reports are compiled from various sources of information including; scouting reports, sources around baseball, first-hand reports, statistical data, video review and most importantly James and myself actually seeing a majority of these players. I feel by incorporating all of these things together, we can give you some of the most accurate Tigers prospect information out there.
I am by no means a professional scout, but will say I have been following Tigers prospects, and prospects in general for over 10 years now, and have picked up enough information along the way to have an informed opinion.
Anyway, myself and James hope you all enjoy the series and the information……..
#50 Brayan Villareal–Relief Pitcher
Tigers fans should be pretty familiar with Villareal’s stuff, however his stint with the Tigers was rather brief, so I will go over it again. Villareal owns a 3 pitch repertoire, a fastball, slider, and change up. The fastball goes from 92-96 on most days, and as a reliever he can sit 94-96. As a starter he works in the lower 90’s, and as games go along, he does tend to wear down and lose a little velocity due to his smallish stature. The pitch offers very little to no movement, though in general he throws strikes with it. His slider is a solid secondary offering and has average major league potential. Villareal can throw the slider for strikes, and has pretty good movement down and in (2 plane movement) on left-handed hitters. Lastly, he throws a change as well, which he tends to use sparingly. Villareal doesn’t throw his change a ton, as it is pedestrian at best, and Tigers fans aren’t likely to see it much when he is a reliever.
Outlook: Villareal ultimately is a reliever, and one that could end up as a 6th/7th inning type, or a mop up guy. I don’t want to let his small sample in 2011 sway me much, but while he has a strong arm, his fastball/slider combination along with his just average command within the zone don’t have me believing Villareal will go beyond that.
#49 Dean Green– Designated Hitter
The first thing you want to talk about with Green when you see him is his size. He is a big dude at 6’4″ and over 250lbs. I haven’t seen Green live yet, but have seen video of him and really like his swing. He is short and quick to the ball, generates good bat speed, and has the ability to adjust the barrel with strong hands. Green could stand to get in better physical shape, as his body is soft, and could wear down and be susceptible to injury over the course of a long season. Body aside, the hitting ability is real. Green uses the whole field, taking the pitch where it is thrown, and often times with power. He can hit all types of pitches and has good strike zone awareness. Defensively, he is essentially not useful. He lacks the mobility even to be a 1st baseman and isn’t natural enough around the bag.
Outlook: Green being a DH only type is going to hurt him, hence the ranking. With his bat having to carry him, we will have to see what he does as he moves up the latter. I suspect he will hit for average and power, and could eventually carve himself out a big league career if he does some body work so to speak. I see Matt Stairs type potential here.
#48 Dan Bennett– Relief Pitcher
Bennett is a big, right-handed pitcher that the Tigers drafted in 2011. Despite his immediate success statistic wise, reports I have gotten are that his stuff doesn’t match what you would expect from the frame. He throws from a low 3/4 arm slot to side-arm, cutting down his velocity a little bit to sit mostly in the 85-87 range. What Bennett lacks in velocity, he makes up for in movement, generating a ton of ground balls. His best secondary is a slider, and it has shown improvement, getting good break down and away from righties, and acting as a strike out pitch against the younger batters he faced in 2011. Bennett commands his stuff well, though he tends to live on the outer half of the plate, and may have to come inside more often to keep advanced hitters from diving out.
Outlook: The success is hard to ignore, but so is the stuff. Bennett is going to have to prove it at every level, given that he doesn’t even have a major league average fastball, despite his movement helping it play up. I am skeptical at this point, we will see if he can prove it more in 2012. He turns 23 in December, so he will have to be a fast mover to get to the level of competition he should be.
#47 Jesus Uztaris– 3rd Baseman
Uztaris is a youngster that is still operating for the Tigers in Venezuela, though it looks like he is going to get a trip stateside this next season. At just 18 years old, Uztaris has two years in the VSL under his belt, and he has shown that he can hit. His profile offensively appears to be much like that of another one-time Tigers 3B prospect, and that is Francisco Martinez. A right-handed hitter like Francisco, Uztaris is similar physically at this point, though he is less athletic than Martinez, and may see even more of a decrease in that department as he fills out even more. Uztaris does show good strike zone awareness and has some power potential to watch. Defensively, after starting out as a 2nd baseman, he has been moved to 3rd where he will probably have to stay. He appears to have solid hands, and a good enough arm, however, range may be an issue.
Outlook: We will probably learn a lot about Uztaris over the next couple of years. Will his plate discipline hold up? And will his potential power turn into real power? Can he hold down 3rd base well enough to stick there as a defender? Still too early to call on Uztaris, and I would like to see him for myself before I make a judgment. The profile was intriguing enough for us to put him on this list however.
#46 Edgar De La Rosa– Starting Pitcher
At 6’6″, De La Rosa is what they like to call in the scouting world highly projectable. This big right-hander turns 21 in a week and a half, and this past season in the GCL served notice that he would be a guy worth following. His fastball already sits in the low 90’s, with hopefully more to come down the road. De La Rosa also owns a curve ball and a change up as well. He shows an ability to spin a plus curve ball on occasion, but like many youngsters, the command and consistency of the pitch lag behind. I have heard that he still has quite a ways to go in that department, but there is potential. The change is pretty good right now, and I think could at least be average or maybe slightly above down the road. Just needs repetition with the pitch. De La Rosa shows good control with his repertoire, which is a good sign with his big frame, but he still lives in the zone too much with his fastball, and becomes more hittable than he should be.
Outlook: This is the type of guy that I have to be careful with when relaying information about. His projection and frame suggest a top of the rotation candidate. However, there is a lot of boom or bust with guys like this. Projection is a “if all goes right” scenario. De La Rosa could shoot way up this list next year, or he could fall off of it. We shall see.
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