Detroit Tigers Player Profile: Wynton Bernard

kris10bentley
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers designator hitter Cameron Maybin (4) gets hit by a pitch against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers designator hitter Cameron Maybin (4) gets hit by a pitch against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

The Detroit Tigers outfield prospect Wynton Bernard is showing off his skills – especially his speed on the bases – in spring training.

Wynton Bernard is a 25-year-old outfielder from San Diego, California. He attended Riverside Community College in California, then Niagara University in Lewiston, New York. In 2012, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 35th round.

He played in the Padres farm system until 2014, when he was released and picked up by the Detroit Tigers farm system in Grand Rapids with the Single-A Whitecaps. When Bernard was with the Padres system, his bat was quiet hitting nothing higher than .251 with single home runs and very few stolen bases. But something happened when he was added to the Tigers system. He got good.

While in Grand Rapids, he batted .323/.394/.442 with 6 home runs and 47 RBIs. He also stole a remarkable 45 stolen bases. In 2015, he spent the entire year with the Double-A Erie Seawolves. There he hit a respectable .301/.352/.408. He hit four home runs and stole 43 bases.

As a prospect, his scouting numbers look good. At the plate, he is considered an average hitter; but once he gets on base, he has the speed to be a top producer – possibly as the fastest runner on the team. He is also an above-average prospect when it comes to performing in his favorite spot in centerfield.

When the September call-ups occurred in 2015, Bernard was not on the list. This came as a surprise because Bernard was the Midwest League MVP in 2014 and he was an asset to the Seawolves in 2015 where he was named an All-Star in the Eastern League. 

More from Detroit Tigers News

Now that Bernard is on the Detroit Tigers 40-man roster, he gets to show the coaches and the fans what he can do. At the plate, he has hit below average: .200/.273/.200 with a .473 OPS. He has had 11 at-bats with two strikeouts, one walk, and 1 run. This might not sound impressive, but when he got on base in the game against the Washington Nationals on March 5 and against the Tampa Bay Rays on March 8 – his baserunning earned him serious respect.

George Sipple with the Detroit Free Press reported that Brad Ausmus said about Bernard: “A lot of guys have speed, but you have to know how to use your speed, and he’s still learning. That’s part of the development. Everybody thinks you’ve gotta develop as a hitter. … You gotta develop as a baserunner and as a defender.”

It is clear that Bernard has the talent that is worth developing.

With Cameron Maybin‘s injury, Bernard’s name has popped up as a potential replacement for the first few weeks of the regular season. In the aforementioned Detroit Free Press article, Ausmus commented that Bernard could help with the platoon spot, but he will most likely be playing in the minors on a daily basis. At this point in Bernard’s career, the benefits of daily minor league experience outweigh the occasional experience at Comerica Park.

This next week could play a huge role in determining what happens to the speedy Bernard. During the play-by-play of the game on March 8, Kirk Gibson announced that he will be coaching the Tigers on baserunning techniques. But, it is still early in spring training, so expectations for Wynton Bernard have not yet been made.

Next: Impemba - Dickerson Broadcasting Flip Analysis

His skills on the basepath are worth watching if you can get to a minor league park when the regular season starts. Check out more at Motor City Bengals.

facebooktwitterreddit