Keith Law, ESPN’s prospect/draft expert, unveiled his organizational top ten prospect lists for the American League Central yesterday. It’s an ESPN insider piece, so you’ll need a subscription to read the entire writeup, but here’s the list:
"1. N. Castellanos, RF/3B2. Avisail Garcia, RF3. Bruce Rondon, RHP4. Tyler Collins, OF5. Danry Vasquez, OF6. Eugenio Suarez, SS7. Austin Schotts, CF8. Jake Thompson, RHP9. Casey Crosby, LHP10. Montreal Robertson, RHP"
It’s pretty much the same names we’ve seen over and over again with the noted exception of starting pitcher Montreal Robertson checking in at number ten. Law calls him a “sleeper prospect” noting his “athletic delivery” and mid-to-upper 90’s fastball. Robertson, a 2011 draftee, pitched last year for the Connecticut Tigers of the New York-Penn League (short season) and posted a 4.69 ERA while making nine starts. He was ranked #22 in John Verburg’s Motor City Bengals Tigers Top 50 prospect list.
July 8, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; USA infielder Nick Castellanos hits a single during the sixth inning of the 2012 All Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Castellanos was the only Tigers’ prospect to make Law’s overall Top 100 list, checking in at 38. That’s a lower ranking than he’s typically been listed at, but Law clearly isn’t in love with the move from third base to the outfield (and neither am I).
"[Castellanos] should hit for average and power but has to improve his approach, especially recognition of borderline balls and strikes, to be able to get to the contact and the power. He’ll still be an above-average regular, but at third he had a chance to be a star."
I still hold out hope that Castellanos’ long-term future with the Tigers will be at third base, but Victor Martinez is still signed for two more seasons which means Miguel Cabrera will be blocking him at the hot corner for a couple more years. Castellanos could be ready to break into the big leagues as soon as this season – thus the move to the outfield where he could possibly contribute – but I just hope his development as a third baseman defensively hasn’t been hampered to the point where he couldn’t take over the position in the big leagues starting in 2015.