Top prospect lists continue to be released. Here's Keith Law's top 10 Tigers Prospects:
1. Jacob Turner, RHP (29)
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B (37)
3. Drew Smyly, LHP
4. Casey Crosby, LHP
5. James McCann, C
6. Tyler Collins, OF
7. Daniel Fields, CF
8. Brenny Paulino, RHP
9. Dixon Machado, SS
10. Jay Voss, LHP
At 29 overall, he ranks Turner lower than just about anyone else:
But he also ranks Castellanos higher than anyone else, at 37:Turner took a small step backward in 2011, but remains the Tigers' best prospect and the only potential impact starter in their system.
He'll show the upper 90s occasionally but still works mostly at 89-95 mph. His fastball has some life but is mostly up in the zone, resulting in more contact than you'd expect from his velocity. His curveball, 79-83, is hard and breaks down very sharply to change hitters' eye levels and get those swings and misses he's not getting yet on the fastball. His changeup remains very hard and he doesn't command the pitch as well as he commands the other two offerings.
Turner won't turn 21 until May and still has the lightning-fast arm that made him an elite prospect in the first place. He's nearly a full season removed from forearm tightness that limited his workload in 2010, and there's a potential top-end starter in here, but he's got more work to do to reach that point than I thought at this time last season.
Castellanos' ceiling hasn't changed in the last year -- impact power hitter with above-average defense at third base -- but he did prove to be less advanced as a player in 2011 than he appeared to be (to me, at least) out of high school.
He still projects to have four plus tools (running is the exception), with strong hands, a simple swing, and the leverage to produce 20-plus home run power when he matures. At third base, his arm is strong but his footwork is poor, getting tangled up to the point where it affects his fielding and throwing; he's loose and athletic enough to improve, but it's going to take time, as will improving his pitch recognition.
He started horribly in 2011, but hit .332/.385/.470 after May 1, striking out less often but not walking as much as he should. He was the sixth-youngest regular in the Midwest League in 2011 and will likely be one of the youngest players in the Florida State League this year, but may need to stick to a level a year to work on his plate discipline so he can fully tap his offensive potential.
And MLB.com has ranked the Tigers Top 20 prospects:
1 - Jacob Turner - Following the Tigers' model for young pitchers, Turner made his Major League debut in just his second pro season, leaping up from Double-A for a July outing and then returning in September. Now he's ready to compete for a rotation spot on Opening Day. Just 21 when the season starts, Turner has improved as an all-around pitcher. Though his plus fastball is still his best pitch, his other offerings -- curve and changeup -- have improved, as has his command. If that continues, he'll be able to join former fast-trackers like Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello in the Tigers' rotation.
2 - Nick Castellanos - The Tigers didn't have a pick until No. 44 in 2010. Castellanos, a first-round talent according to some, slid to them and they gave the Florida high schooler a record bonus for a supplemental first-round pick. After a rough April, he took off after that, never hitting below .300 in any month. He played a good amount of shortstop in high school, out of need, and is now settling in nicely at third. The power should start to come as he matures, something that could start happening as he moves up to Class A Advanced Lakeland in 2012.
3 - Drew Smyly - At the start of the 2011 season, lefty prospects in the Tigers' system like Andy Oliver and Casey Crosby got more of the attention, but it was Smyly who outperformed both of them. In his first full season, Smyly made it to Double-A and led the system in ERA while finishing third in strikeouts, more than enough to earn him MLB.com's nod for the organization's Pitcher of the Year. Smyly fits the mold of a command and control college lefty with four pitches -- fastball, cutter, curve and changeup -- all usable offerings. If the breaking ball and offspeed stuff continue to improve, it shouldn't be long before he's ready to help out in Detroit.
4 - Andy Oliver - Oliver made a very quick path to Detroit, making his big league debut in his first full year of pro ball but has yet to establish himself there. He struggled with consistency during his time in Triple-A, with command the biggest culprit. But the lefty out of Oklahoma State still has great stuff, a power lefty with a fastball that can touch the mid-90s. His secondary stuff, a breaking ball and a changeup, show glimpses of being effective, but he still needs to refine them. If he can throw more strikes, especially with his fastball, he still has the chance to become a big league starter in the near future.
5 - Casey Crosby - The 2011 season was a huge success for Crosby, if for no other reason than he stayed healthy and threw more innings in one year than he had in his pro career previously. A Tommy John surgery survivor, he throws a plus fastball that he keeps down in the zone to generate a ton of ground balls. His curve and changeup both have the chance to be very good complementary offerings. He needs to refine his command and control, and his lack of mound time because of injury hasnít helped that development. He has the stuff to be a starter, but if it doesnít come together, he could be an effective lefty reliever.
6 - Bruce Rondon - The 6-foot-2, 190-pound () Rondon is a big man with an even bigger arm. He has a plus fastball that has reached triple digits and has already shown an ability to dominate as a closer. What he hasnít been able to do is throw strikes consistently. If he can learn to repeat his delivery better, he has the chance to pitch in the back end of a big league bullpen for a very long time.
7 - Daniel Fields - Fields has had two seasons in the Florida State League, and although the results havenít been there, he still has the raw tools that made the Tigers willing to give him an over-slot deal in 2009. He has the potential to be a power-speed guy and has made the transition to center field. More than anything, he needs to make more consistent contact at the plate, and thereís still time for things to click for him at the plate.
8 - Avisail Garcia - Garcia has all the tools, from size and strength to power and his arm, to one day fit the mold of a prototypical right fielder. He runs well and has good range in right to go along with a plus arm. He needs to refine his approach at the plate to tap into his legitimate raw power. Heís the type who could excite Tigers fans with his 20-20 potential in the future.
9 - Brenny Paulino - The epitome of projectable, Paulino has already grown and added velocity in his time with the Tigers. He was outstanding in the Gulf Coast League in 2011, his U.S. debut. He has the chance to have a plus fastball, one that could sit easily in the mid-to-upper-90s once he is physically mature. His secondary stuff, a curve and changeup, are behind, but both have a chance to be good pitches for the lanky right-hander. It may take awhile, but he has as high a ceiling as anyone in the system.
10 - Jose Ortega - It took a long while for Ortega, signed back in 2006, to make it to full-season ball. When he did, he shot up the ladder, pitching at three levels in 2011. He scuffled in 2011 during his first taste of Triple-A, struggling with command both in and out of the strike zone. The undersized right-hander still has the power stuff to contribute in the back end of the bullpen soon, but heís going to have to locate his plus stuff better to find success at the upper levels of the Minors first.
11 - Danry Vasquez - Vasquez held his own as a 17-year-old in the Gulf Coast League but is still very much a project. He looks like he should hit for average from the left side of the plate, and he has the kind of frame that should allow him to add strength. Heíll need it because how much power he develops could determine just what kind of corner outfield prospect he is.
12 - Alex Burgos - The junior college lefty had an impressive first full season, once he joined West Michigan in June. The number that stands out is his batting average against of .189, which drops to .152 against lefties. Thatís not to say heís a future lefty specialist. His combination of stuff, deception and game plan should allow him to start, especially if he can continue to refine his command.
13 - Kevin Eichhorn - Eichhorn came to the Tigers in January 2011 from Arizona in return for Armando Galarraga. He made his first stab at full-season ball and performed well, proving to be durable and finishing off the season strongly. The son of former big league reliever Mark Eichhorn, he has a good idea of what heís doing on the mound with the kind of fastball command that should serve him well as he moves up the ladder.
14 - Matt Hoffman - Hoffman made the full-time move to the bullpen in 2010 and really embraced it in 2011, pitching nearly all year in Triple-A. He throws a good sinking fastball that generates a ton of ground balls. He doesnít strike out a ton of batters, so it might limit his role, but he was added to the 40-man roster this offseason and should be hitting a big league bullpen soon.
15 - Kenny Faulk - Future closer, anyone? Faulk saved 20 in 2011 to bring his career total to 41 and also has a career 11.1 strikeout-per-nine rate. A senior sign out of Kennesaw State, he goes right after hitters and really cut down his walk rate this past season. Even if his stuff is a little short to close, he did hold lefties to a .155 batting average, so he has a future as a specialist if nothing else.
16 - Rob Brantly - Brantly hit well in the Midwest League to start his first full season of pro ball, earning a promotion up a level where he did not put up similar numbers. Still, he has the chance to be a solid bat-first backstop who makes consistent contact and has a little bit of power. Heís done a nice job of keeping a running game in check and heís working to improve his overall defensive game. If he can do that, he could be an everyday catcher at the big league level.
17 - Adam Wilk - The Long Beach State product has performed well as a pro, posting a 2.62 ERA as a starter while climbing up the ladder to Detroit in just two full seasons, coming out of the bullpen for five games in the big leagues in 2011. Wilk isnít going to blow people away but will mix his fastball, curve, changeup and cutter well to keep hitters off-balance. He profiles as a back-end starter, though heís been tough on lefties and could potentially serve that role out of the bullpen again should the Tigers have the need.
18 - Josue Carreno - Carreno made his full-season debut in 2011, and although his performance was up-and-down, he was much stronger in the second half, with a 3.48 ERA and one strikeout per inning. He cut down his overall walk rate while keeping his strikeout rate constant from the previous summer. Better command of his fastball, curve and changeup could help him become a solid middle-of-the-rotation type, though he threw extremely well in a relief role in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason.
19 - Aaron Westlake - A senior sign out of Vanderbilt, Westlake was drafted for his best tool: power. The left-handed hitter can mash and will show good patience at the plate. He didnít show much of that during his summer debut, but at his slightly advanced age, the hope is his bat will move him through the system quickly as a power bat at first base.
20 - James McCann - The Tigers didnít have a pick in 2011 until the second round, and they used it on McCann. The Arkansas product had an up-and-down career with the bat in college, saving his best season for last, and the Tigers hope that carries over and he can be a decent hitter with a little pop. Heís solid behind the plate with a decent arm and even better leadership skills. How his hitting develops could determine his ultimate role.
Baseball America has released its Top 100 prospects list.
As usual, only two Tigers make the cut:
and22 - Jacob Turner - rhp, Tigers Age: 20. ETA: 2012.
Already a graduate of the Rick Porcello school of accelerated Tigers timetables.
I'll post their longer prospect profiles when I get the BA Handbook later this week.45 - Nick Castellanos - 3b, Tigers Age: 20. ETA: 2014.
No one will be more interested in the results of Miguel Cabrera's move back to third.
Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus has released his top 20 Tigers prospects:
The rest is behind a paywall.System In 20 Words Or Less: The best team in the American League Central by a wide margin, but that certainly doesn't apply to the farm.
1. Jacob Turner, RHP
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
3. Casey Crosby, LHP
4. Drew Smyly, LHP
5. Andrew Oliver, LHP
6. Brenny Paulino, RHP
7. Bruce Rondon, RHP
8. Danry Vasquez, OF
9. Avisail Garcia, OF
10. Rob Brantly, C
11. Brian Flynn, LHP
12. Alex Burgos, LHP: Southpaw impressed more with finesse than stuff, but his deep arsenal serves him well.
13. James McCann, C: Big-bodied catcher has a backup profile with a strong glove and questionable hitting.
14. Brandon Loy, SS: This 2011 pick is a legitimate shortstop, but will he hit?
15. Tyler Gibson, OF: High-upside hitter, but he’s raw and not especially toolsy.
16. Tyler Collins, OF: Short, stocky, and stuck in a corner outfielder slot, but he barrels everything.
17. Josue Carreno, RHP: Venezuelan righty with good curve and improving velocity.
18. Aaron Westlake, 1B: Plenty of raw power, but the rule of first base prospects applies, and his debut was iffy.
19. Kevin Eichhorn, RHP: Finally was healthy in 2011 and showed some flashes of pre-injury stuff.
20. Jason King, 3B: Burly third baseman can hit, but he might not stick at the hot corner.
1. Jacob Turner, RHP
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2009, Westminster Christian Academy HS (MO)
2011 Stats: 3.48 ERA (113.2-102-32-90) at AA (17 G), 3.12 ERA (17.1-15-3-20) at AAA (3 G), 8.53 ERA (12.2-17-4-8) at MLB (3 G)
Tools Profile: Fantastic combination of stuff and polish.
Year in Review: The top prospect in the system reached the big leagues before his 21st birthday and looked like he belonged.
The Good: Turner has three average-to-plus pitches that all play up due to highly advanced command and control. He throws several variations of an 89-95 mph fastball that he adds and subtracts from while adding cut or sink. His power curveball is an easy plus offering that he uses to get outs while ahead in the count, and his changeup is advanced for his age. He has a big, strong frame, easy delivery, and maintains his stuff deep into games and late into seasons.
The Bad: While it's hard to find weaknesses in Turner's game, scouts are hesitant to put an ace projection on him without a plus-plus offering. While he throws a lot of strikes, he still needs to polish the command of those secondary offerings as well.
Ephemera: There have been 13 pitchers with the last name Turner in draft history, and Jacob is the only one to pitch in the big leagues.
Perfect World Projection: Number-two starter.
Fantasy Impact: Good across the board, but short of elite.
Path to the Big Leagues: Turner will compete for the final slot in the Tigers rotation this spring, and even if he doesn't open camp in the big leagues, he could spend much of the season there.
2. Nick Castellanos, 3B
Drafted/Signed: First round, 2010, Archbishop McCarthy HS (FL)
2011 Stats: .312/.367/.436 at A (135 G)
Tools Profile: Plus bat, with other tools beginning to translate.
Looks like an msu recruiting class.
With what I assume will be the last such list the Spring, Fangraphs has posted its Top 100 prospects list. The usual suspects make the list, with Turner checking in at #18 and Castellanos ranking 31st (highest I've seen him).
They rank Castellanos as the 4th best third base prospect, and Turner as the 9th best RHP prospect.
Brantly, Casali, Leyland, McCann, Castellanos and Henry to minor league camp
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