Yesterday in our Morning Links we discussed Keith Law ranking the Detroit Tigers’ minor league system last in the major leagues and he later went on to name his Top 100 prospects, making young Derek Hill the only Tiger on the list (#85).
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We know there is a lot of question marks for the 2015 Tigers. If everything comes together, they could win it all. It they have injury problems and inconsistency from their star players, as they have experienced in recent years, they could finish in third or fourth place in the AL Central. Yahoo Sports explores these issues in more detail.
Lastly, Brad Faber looks at James McCann. Many Tigers’ fans who are staunchly anti-Alex Avila may be putting a little too much hope into a rookie catcher providing an impact immediately and supplant Avila’s steady defense. Brad explores.
"Hill, 19, was a first-round pick (23rd overall) of the Tigers in 2014. Hill hit .208 with two home runs, 14 RBIs and 11 steals in 47 games in the Gulf Coast and New York Penn leagues. He missed a good chunk of time due to a back injury. (Warning: Links will work only for those with an ESPN Insider subscription.)Keith Law: “Hill is already a plus defender in center at age 19, a plus runner as well with an average or slightly above-average arm, but the question scouts had this spring was about his bat.”"
Pressing Questions: The Detroit Tigers – Scott Pianowski, Yahoo Sports
"Although it’s been 31 years since Detroit’s last World Series title, the Woodward faithful hasn’t had much to complain about in recent years. The Tigers are taking aim at their fifth consecutive AL Central title. The glorious run has been fueled by a mix of potent offense (no one has scored more runs since the beginning of 2013) and reliable pitching (Top 10 team ERAs for three straight campaigns). Detroit generally assembles a strong lineup and a formidable starting staff and dares teams to match it over the six-month marathon. Most opponents fall short.To be fair, there are subtle areas where the Tigers routinely struggle. They’ve been one of the worst defensive teams in the majors for several years now, and the bullpen hasn’t been good for a while. Detroit fans become anxious whenever the opponent puts the bat on the ball, and there’s a collective Eight Mile shriek whenever the bullpen door opens."
Detroit Tigers 2015 Spring Training Profile: James McCann – Brad Faber, Rant Sports
"McCann, who was rewarded with a September call-up last season after a very successful campaign in Triple-A Toledo, appears to have leapfrogged last year’s backstop, Bryan Holaday, on the team’s depth chart. It still seems that McCann will have to earn the job, but at this point, it may take a rather poor pre-season showing for him to not make the team based on everything that has been reported.It should be noted that the right-handed Holaday slashed only .151/.188/.192 with two-extra base hits against left-handed pitching in 2014. McCann, on the other hand, slashed .342/.404/.475 with 16 doubles against LHP in Toledo. Granted, those numbers might be unsustainable at the MLB level, but he should still provide more production than Holaday did against lefties nevertheless.Furthermore, Avila, who bats left-handed, has certainly encountered his fair share of struggles against LHP as well, so having another catcher who has the ability to hit lefties could actually give the team a formidable duo behind the plate."