Detroit Tigers: 5 Prospects to Watch in 2016

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Mar 8, 2015; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Steven Moya (33) works out before a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Steven Moya

Steven Moya can relate to Michael Fulmer’s Double-A adulation. His 2014 season at Erie and Arizona Fall League could not have gone any better.

Moya earned multiple MVP honors (league and All-Star Game) and an appearance in the MLB All-Star Futures Game. He hit 35 homers and racked up a respectable .276 average. He also hit .375 in a limited role with the Tigers last September.

These strong performances installed him as the #1 prospect in the Tigers organization after the trade of Devon Travis to Toronto for Anthony Gose. All of this led many to think Moya had a decent shot at earning the right field spot vacated by Torii Hunter. This assumption was diminished after the December acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes, making for a crowded outfield.

Still, you had to think if Moya dazzled in Spring Training, it would be hard to keep him off the Opening Day roster, or at least one of the first call-ups. A very poor March made sure neither of those happened and injuries and inconsistency hampered Moya’s performance this year.

He finished with just 20 homers and a .240 average. Even more troubling, he struck out 162 times in 126 games with the Mud Hens.

One more season, or partial season, in Toledo for seasoning may not be the worst thing, however time is ticking for one of the best Tigers’ prospects.

If he does not improve a lot by next Spring Training, it is hard to imagine he will make the 2016 Opening Day roster, but unlike this year, the Tigers will likely give him every shot to do so.

Next: Jefry Marte