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2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #25 – #21


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.

2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects: #25 – #21

25. Brian Flynn

Position: Left-handed Pitcher

Age: 21-years-old

Height: 6’8″

Weight: 239 

2011 Team: Class-A West Michigan

2011 Stats: 67 2/3 IP  7-2  3.46 ERA  1.20 WHIP  7.7 H/9  3.1 BB/9  7.6 K/9  0.4 HR/9

2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland


The Detroit Tigers selected Brian Flynn in the 7th round of the 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Wichita State University. In his final season, Flynn posted a 6-4 record and 4.63 ERA over 86 2/3 innings for the Shockers. After quickly signing, Flynn was assigned to Class-A West Michigan where he posted a 3.46 ERA, and a 7-2 record over 86 2/3 innings.

Why He’s This High/Low:

I’m probably a bit higher on Flynn than most, but as I’m sure you’re aware of by now, I’m a big fan of tall pitching prospects. I’m curious to see what pitching coach Mike Maroth can do with him next season. He has the potential to become a fast riser in the system if he can iron a few things out. I’m looking forward to watching his progress from the cheap seats in Advanced-A Lakeland next season.

Naturally there are concerns about his mechanics because of his size. Scouts also have concerns about his velocity and control problems that occasionally arise when he throws from the stretch. He reminds me a lot of former Tigers prospect Cole Nelson who had similar problems because of his size. Regardless, his situational reliever or swingman floor should be easily obtainable. Flynn still has plenty of time to iron these issues out, so I’m willing to rank him a bit higher than most folks.

24. Kevin Eichhorn 
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Age: 21-years-old
Height: 6’
Weight: 175
2011 Team: Class-A West Michigan
2011 Stats: 152 IP  11-5   3.61 ERA  1.19 WHIP  8.8 H/9   2.0 BB/9   6.5 K/9   0.6 HR/9
2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland 

Kevin Eichhorn was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 3rd round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Aptos High School in California. As a senior, the right-handed starter went 10-1 with a 0.78 ERA, recording 120 strikeouts and 16 walks in 67-plus innings.

Pitching runs in Eichhorn family, as his father Mark pitched for 11 seasons at the major league level with Toronto, Atlanta, California and Baltimore.

Eichhorn was acquired by the Detroit Tigers with left-hander Ryan Robowski from the Arizona Diamondbacks for pitcher Armando Galarraga on Jan. 24, 2011. Prior to the trade, Eichhorn compiled a 5-8 record, 4.80 ERA and 108 strikeouts in 105 innings. Now 21-years-old, Eichhorn began his first season as a Tiger in Class-A West Michigan.

Eichhorn logged 152 innings for the ‘Caps last season. He also pitched complete games in two of his 25 starts. On the negative side, he surrendered nearly a hit per inning. He did a pretty good job limiting walks though, allowing just 33 in 152 innings. Eichhorn is not really a big strikeout guy but he did manage to rack up 109 last season.

Why He’s This High/Low:
Eichhorn has great work ethic and a good understanding of the game. None of his pitches appear to be plus offerings right now but I believe that he has the ability and drive to sharpen up his skills. His ceiling appears limited as a back of the rotation guy which is likely why most have him ranked a bit lower. It seems easily obtainable to me though so I’ll roll the dice.

At 6′ 175, Eichhorn lacks the ideal pitchers frame. Obviously he needs to bulk up a bit and strengthen his core.

It’s difficult envisioning him in the bullpen because he fails to really offer anything overpowering. Nonetheless, his 2011 campaign was very solid. I look forward to getting a closer look at him next season in Lakeland.

23. Kyle Ryan
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Age: 20-years-old
Height: 6’5″
Weight: 210
2011 Team: Class-A West Michigan
2011 Stats: 137 IP 6-10 3.15 ERA  1.28 WHIP   9.5 H/9 2.0 BB/9  6.5 K/9  0.2 HR/9
2012 Projected Team: Advanced-A Lakeland 

The Detroit Tigers selected Kyle Ryan in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Auburndale High School in Florida. Ryan posted a 6-3 record with a 2.05 ERA over 68 1/3 innings his senior year. The lanky lefty also racked up 86 strikeouts for the Bloundhounds. Helping his own cause, Ryan batted .451driving in 29 runs.

After quickly signing, Ryan reported to the GCL where he started 12 games for the Tigers. As an 18-year-old, he posted a serviceable 4.17 ERA and 1.31 ERA over 54 innings. Ryan accumulated 46 strikeouts and 13 walks over that span.

In an aggressive move, the Tigers promoted Ryan to Class-A West Michigan in 2011. Despite being just 19-years-old, Ryan more than held his own. He posted a 3.15 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 137 innings of work. He continued to avoid walks (2.0 BB/9) and keep the ball in the yard (3HR), while striking out 6.5 batters per nine.

Why He’s This High/Low:
To be completely honest, it’s pretty much all projection and a hunch at this point. At 6’5″, Ryan has a solid frame and his left-handedness doesn’t hurt his cause. I’ve read nothing but rave reviews about his work ethic, athleticism and ability to follow instructions. His middle to back of the rotation ceiling seems achievable when you consider his approach and understanding of the game.

Ryan will likely take several years to develop. Because of this, I’ll take a wait and see approach before he sniffs the top twenty.

At this point in his young career he fails to really offer any plus pitches. Any increase in velocity (currently 88-92 MPH) would likely help his pedestrian strikeout ratio.

22. Luis Marte
Position: Right-handed Reliever
Age: 25-years-old
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 205
2011 Team: AAA-Toledo & Detroit 
2011 MiLB Stats: 62 1/3 IP   2-5 3.18 ERA  1.33 WHIP   8.7 H/9   3.3 BB/9  6.6 K/9  0.4 HR/9
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo / Detroit

The Detroit Tigers signed Luis Marte as a 19-year-old from the Dominican Republic in 2005. The Tigers brought Marte stateside in 2007 where he split time between the GCL and Class-A West Michigan. He posted a 2.30 ERA while striking out over a batter per inning in 47 innings of work. Marte split time between the GCL, Advanced-A Lakeland and AA-Erie in 2008. He accumulated a 3.76 ERA and 1.24 WHIP over 103 innings. Marte returned to AA-Erie in 2009, posting 4.02 ERA over 105 1/3 innings. In 2010 Marte split time between AA-Erie and AAA-Toledo, struggling a bit, compiling a 4.96 ERA over 46 innings. Marte re-established himself as a solid relief prospect in 2011 though. After accumulating a 1.92 ERA between AA-Erie and AAA-Toledo, Marte earned himself a brief stint with the Tigers at the end of the 2011 season.

Why He’s This High/Low:

His age and injury plagued history will cause some folks to rank Marte a tad lower. The Tigers have something in Marte though. The former starter has the ability to throw his entire four pitch repertoire with confidence and success. He’s shown the ability to miss bats (8.9 K/9) and limit base-runners at the minor league levels. I have no doubt that Marte will see time in the Tigers bullpen again at some point next season.

21. Austin Wood
Position: Left-handed Reliever 
Age: 25-years-old
Height: 6’2″
Weight: 195
2011 Team: AA-Erie SeaWolves
2011 Stats: 62 2/3 IP  5-5  3.16 ERA 1.36 WHIP  8.2 H/9 4.0 BB/9 8.8 K/9   0.7 HR/9
2012 Projected Team: AAA-Toledo

The Detroit Tigers selected Austin Wood in the 5th round of the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Texas.

Wood is predominantly known for his 169 pitch, 14 strikeout relief effort in the ’09 College World Series. Unfortunately, prior to last season, Wood had logged just 7 1/3 innings of professional baseball-likely because of the abuse his arm took in college.

Fresh off of minor shoulder surgery, Wood began his first full season of pro-ball in AA-Erie last season. Wood was able to strikeout nearly a batter an inning over 62 2/3 frames for the SeaWolves last season. A simple glance at his walk and hit ratios and I’m sure you’re not very impressed. A year on the shelf with shoulder issues may have had something to do with the command issues though. If the hits and walks become a trend then yes I’ll re-evaluate. As of right now, I think Wood could see Motown as soon as next season.

Why He’s This High/Low:
Although nothing he offers is completely overpowering, Wood has the stuff to be a solid, high-leverage reliever. Knocking off the rust and remaining healthy will likely be his largest obstacles.

Now 25-years-old, Wood isn’t exactly a spring chicken. Next season will likely tell us a lot more about how the Tigers organization feels about Woods future in Motown. He must do a better job of limiting the walks and keeping the ball in the yard if he expects to earn a spot on the roster. Any success in those areas should result in a promotion to Detroit sometime next season.

2012 MCB Detroit Tigers Top 50 Prospects

#50 – #46

#45 – #41

#40 – #36

#35 – #31

#30 – #26


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