Tigers Mini Prospect Profiles: #25-21
By John Verburg
As James mentioned, 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, and most importantly James and myself actually seeing a majority of the 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……..
#25- Brian Flynn
Flynn is a tall lefty that the Tigers drafted in 2011. At 6’8″, Flynn is an imposing figure with a 3 pitch mix. Despite starting off in West Michigan after being drafted, there is a lot of work to do with Flynn. Because of his height, there are some difficulties repeating mechanics, which of course can lead to command issues. Flynn mainly sticks with a low 90’s fastball, who could get a little more out of it with some development. Despite his height, he doesn’t exactly get good downward plane on his ball, and it lacks a little movement. He can throw strikes with his fastball, but doesn’t command it within the zone well, which he will have to improve as he moves forward. There isn’t any other way to say this. His curve and his change up need drastic improvement at this point. Neither is considered an average pitch at this point, and the development of these two, tie directly into his future success. His frame works against him, because Flynn lacks athleticism, but because there is potential to pump mid 90’s fastballs in there, at the very least he could be a high leverage reliever. If he can improve his secondaries to an average level, there is some mid-rotation ceiling here.
#24- Kevin Eichhorn
Eichhorn is one of the guys the Tigers acquired for Armando Galarraga. Son a major leaguer Mark Eichhorn, Kevin defines a crafty right handed pitcher. His fastball doesn’t impress much, sitting mostly 87-91, but he commands it well, and shows an ability to use it on both sides of the plate. Eichhorn backs up his average fastball with two other average pitches, his curve and his change up. His curve has decent bite on it, and he is able to throw the pitch for strikes as well. The curve has been Eichhorn’s biggest development in the past year or so, and could even rate as a tick above average in the future. His change up is usable, and that is more than you can say for a lot of 21 year olds. It has some arm-side run, with a touch of sink. The reason Eichhorn gets a ranking this high in our list is simple. He may not be as high ceiling as others, but his potential to reach that ceiling is a little more likely. His profile nicely fits into the back of a rotation in the future. I suspect that Eichhorn is one of those guys that as he advances, he is going to be able to add and subtract on his pitches, learn to cut and move his fastball, and pitch backwards. Not a guy you get overly excited about, but one I wouldn’t be surprised to see on a big league roster.
#23- Kyle Ryan
Ryan is currently working on a 3 pitch mix, and with a variation on his fastball could have 4 in the future. His fastball typically sits in the high 80’s, and has good downward plane on it, coming from a high 3/4 angle. His fastball doesn’t have ton of movement on it, but reports have Ryan working on a cutter. He does generate ground balls with the pitch however. Ryan does show some ability to throw strikes with his fastball, however, he still lacks command within the strike zone. He often catches the fat part of the plate, and has to learn to paint the corners with more effectiveness.
His second best pitch is his curve ball. Ryan has the potential for an above average curve, and although it doesn’t have incredibly sharp break, its pretty good. He has also shown an ability to throw the pitch for strikes on occasion, which will serve him well going forward if he can throw it early in counts. Much like many younger pitchers, he struggles with consistency, and doesn’t repeat the quality of his curve often enough yet, but that can come with time.
Lastly, Ryan also throws a change-up. The pitch is improving already, although it is still a work in progress. He does throw the pitch with some good arm speed but isn’t getting much fade, and acts more like a batting practice fastball at this point. He simply needs to get more comfortable with the pitch.
At 6’5″, Ryan is really projectable. He is still young, so the Tigers and people like myself are still kind of waiting on a little more velocity to come out of Ryan. Operating regularly in the low 90’s could make Ryan a better prospect even yet. He finished 2011 strong, so 2012 is going to be a big year for Ryan to continue his momentum.
#22- Luis Marte
Marte is a 25 year old righty that has been kicking around Detroit’s system for a few years now. At one point, Marte was considered one of the top prospects in the Tigers system, and for good reason. Despite not being overly tall for a right hander, Marte is a sturdy looking pitcher, but has struggled with injury. A starter for a good portion of his career, Marte possesses 4 pitches, but mainly lives with 3 of them. Marte features a fastball that sits 88-91 on most nights, and in the past has been a little better. It appears arm troubles have sapped a little of the juice off the fastball, but his decent life helps make up for it. Marte misses bats, and that is in large part due to an above average curve ball and a slider. At one point, Marte had one of, if not the best slider in the Tigers organization in my opinion. He has developed the curve ball, which gets good depth, and is becoming his go-to secondary pitch. I don’t think we are going to see much more than a 7th inning type out of Marte, but he could have a decently long career for a team that doesn’t care about lighting up radar guns.
#21- Austin Wood
Wood possesses a 3 pitch mix for a reliever, a fastball, a change up and a slider. Wood’s fastball velocity is good, but is by no means plus. Most of the time Wood is in the high 80’s, sitting 87-89 but can reach 90-91. He delivers the ball from a low 3/4 delivery, almost sidearm, giving him some good arm-side run on the pitch. Wood commands his fastball well, and shows a good ability to move the ball in and out on the corners. Wood also will elevate it when needed and can get strikeouts against lefties with the pitch as it gets on top of them quickly because of the arm angle.
Wood’s 2nd best pitch is his change, which flashes as plus and should be an above average offering going forward. He throws his change with good arm speed, and like his fastball gets good arm-side fade on the pitch. Its an effective offering against right handed hitters, and actually may give Wood a reverse split going forward, where he might be more effective against righties than lefties. He gets decent speed differential on the pitch and mostly throws it in the low 80’s/high 70’s.
Wood also throws a slider as well, though the pitch lacks bite and is often too flat and easy to square up. I don’t see Wood really using it much in the future, except to show it to batters to keep them from looking for just one pitch. It would help Wood to get his slider to the point where it is usable in game action, especially considering he may need it for left handed hitters.
Wood doesn’t really fit as a loogy type for me because of the lack of a good breaking pitch. His fastball/change combo could help him in becoming a multi-inning long man in the majors.