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Organizational Talent Rankings via Baseball America
2012 (22) | 2011 (25) | 2010 (27) | 2009 (28) | 2008 (27)

2012 Affiliate Records
MLB: [88-74] AL Central
AAA: [60-84] International League – Toledo
AA: [57-84] Eastern League – Erie
A+: [73-58] Florida State League – Lakeland
A: [72-68] Midwest League – West Michigan
A(ss):  [35-40] New York-Penn League — Connecticut

Arizona Fall League PlayersMesa Solar Sox
Tyler Clark (RHP); Matt Hoffman (LHP); Luke Putkonen (RHP); James McCann (C); Aaron Westlake (1B); Nick Castellanos (OF)

Graduated Prospects of Note
Jacob Turner (RHP); Drew Smyly (LHP)

The Run Down
With a stacked roster at the big league level, it’s not necessarily debilitating to have a shallow farm system beneath it.  That’s pretty much how the Tigers have managed their organization in recent years — big acquisitions in the majors, and just enough talent pouring through from the farm to fill in the gaps.  With their top two prospects being outfielders, and a vacancy in the big league outfield, however, it looked like Detroit might have room in 2013 for a homegrown product to play an impact role.  Then they signed Torii Hunter and that thought was toast.  Still, don’t sleep on this system — it’s top heavy, but the best of it should be fantasy relevant within the next year or so.

Top Ten Prospects
1.  Nick Castellanos, OF/3B:
  Castellanos opened the year at High-A Lakeland and stayed there through May, at which point Detroit player development dudes decided he was a little too advanced for Florida State League pitching.  His line of .405/.461/.553 may have, perhaps, influenced the promotion.  Once he arrived in Erie, the Tigers immediately began a defensive transition from 3B to OF for the 20-year-old.  The shift wasn’t driven by ineptitude at third — by most accounts, Castellanos profiles quite well at the hot corner — but rather by the organization’s immediate needs.  His line at Double-A (.264/.296/.382) was a considerable drop-off from the enormous figures he posted at High-A, and it’s likely he’ll return to Erie next April, but Castellanos looks like .300 hitter with 30 HR potential, and it won’t be long before he pushes through to Detroit.  ETA:  Late 2013

2.  Avisail Garcia, OF:  Speaking of guys who pushed through the system in a hurry, Garcia started 2012 at High-A along with Castellanos, and ended his year as a member of the Tigers’ World Series roster.  The 21-year-old is prone to the whiff, but he just might be good enough to overcome that flaw.  In any regard, if he can practice more patience at the plate, he could blossom into a perpetually awesome outfielder.  If not, there’ll still be fantasy value.  After the Torii Hunter signing, Garcia probably starts 2013 at Triple-A.  ETA:  Late 2013

3.  Bruce Rondon, RHP:  I usually have an aversion toward hyping minor league relief pitchers, but Rondon’s fastball is hard to ignore.  It sits in the upper-90s, and it touches 103 MPH.  It all seems very Jason Motte-ish to me.  There are still some things to work on, but expect to see Rondon in the bigs this season.  ETA:  2013

4.  Danry Vasquez, OF:  Detroit was a bit too aggressive with Vasquez out of camp last year, giving the then 18-year-old a full-season assignment at West Michigan.  He struggled versus Midwest League pitching before a being demoted to Connecticut when the short-season NYPL began play.  There, he hit .311/.341/.401.  Vasquez will likely return to West Michigan in 2013.  ETA:  2015

5. Austin Schotts, OF: In his first season of pro ball, Schotts reached High-A, which is pretty impressive for an 18-year-old.  He’ll likely return there at some point in 2013.  Outstanding athleticism gives Schoots a high ceiling, and the potential to climb the ladder quickly.  ETA:  2015

6.  Eugenio Suarez, SS:  Like Garcia, Suarez will strikeout plenty, but he brings decent upside, as he gets on base and runs well.  The 21-year-old shortstop hit .288./.380/.409 at Low-A along with 21 stolen bases.  His power stroke isn’t tremendous, but it should improve as he develops.  ETA:  2015

7. Casey Crosby, LHP:  There’s no doubt that Crosby has the arsenal to be a solid big league starter, but poor command is still holding him back.  He pitched 12+ innings over three starts with Detroit in 2012, during which he gathered 9 strikeouts and 11 walks.  If he can harness his stuff in 2013, he’ll make for a viable option if there’s a need.  ETA:  2013

8. Brenny Paulino, RHP:  Paulino missed 2012 with a shoulder injury, but his upside is better than any other arm in the organization.  At 6-4, 170, he figures to fill out considerably as he matures, and there’s plenty time for that, as he’s only 19.  His ability to stay healthy and on the field is the primary concern for now.  ETA:  2016

9.  Jake Thompson, RHP:  Thompson was Detroit’s top pick in June.  The 18-year-old was superb in instructional ball, posting a 1.91 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP.  Good frame, good stuff, but long way to go on this one.  ETA:  2016

10.  Tyler Collins, OF:  Collins is a linebacker-looking outfielder who steals bases, drives the ball to the gaps, and is yet to post an OPS below .800 at any level.  Still, scouts are projecting him as a fourth outfielder or worse.  Collins will reach Double-A in 2013, and if he continues the impressive production in the upper levels, he’ll move up this list in a hurry.  ETA:  2014

From Around The Web

  1. Buddo Chezuski says:
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    Scott, would’ve liked to see a little more in depth on Avisail. Looking at his career numbers, I don’t really get the hype. I feel like he gets even extra more attention just b/c he looks exactly like Miggy. What kind of numbers do you think he can put up at the big league level?

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Ha, yes his resemblance to Miggy probably contributes to the hype more than it should — he’s certainly not on that level. But Garcia’s tools, while still raw, are outstanding, and in this case, the hype is more about potential than it is about production. His impatient approach is to blame when it comes to the unimpressive numbers you’re referring to. Remember, though, he’s only 21. He’ll have the opportunity to refine his approach in Triple-A in 2013, and he’s the type of player who’ll need a few years in the bigs before he peaks. Best case: 300/350/500, 30 HR, 20 SB. A Safer peak projection: 280/335/450, but still coming close to 20/20.

  2. Anthony says:
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    @Scott: When will you release the top 10 Prospects for 2013? I figure Myers/Profar are 1-2 maybe Profar #1 since it looks like young might get traded. ANyways when can i expect a list ???

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      I’m gonna roll out my top prospects lists in Feb, once the dust has settled on FA signings & depth charts are a little more clear… I think Profar is a clear #1 overall prospect in terms of future ceiling, but looking at 2013 alone, I think Wil Myers & Oscar Taveras will be the top immediate impact guys.

  3. steve b says:
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    buddo though he is overhyped right now Garcia has

    a rocket arm and runs well.He swings nicel and has an idea what to do.If he can lay off bad pitches he’ll be above average and maybe more.Another year in AAA will do a world of good then we will see

    • steve b says:
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      @steve b: sorry nicel should have read nice

    • Scott Evans

      Scott Evans says:
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      Yeah, he’s not quite ready yet, and that must’ve been the deciding factor in the Hunter signing, but you’ve gotta love his tools. Exciting, high-ceiling guy for fantasy.

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