The Staff of the Detroit Tigers Prospect Report has ranked their Top 50 Tigers Prospects. The rankings are as of 11/25/2012. We will be posting them one by one, every day, beginning with No. 50 and concluding with No. 1. The posts will consist of mini prospect profiles and scouting reports.
No. 50: Jamie Johnson, OF
Johnson, who will turn 26 in April, was drafted in the 7th round by the Tigers in the 2009 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. He has moved through the system at a mildly fast clip, and should be manning center field for Triple A-Toledo in 2013. He is smaller, only standing 5'9", but packs some punch in his frame as he checks in at 180lbs.
Johnson is a very good defensive outfielder, who's speed grades out from 55-60 depending on the day. This speed allows his defense to play up a half grade or so as well. When you consider that he's already a solid defensive OF, the speed allows his defense to play as close to plus. For comparison, Quintin Berry is a below-average defensive OF, but his speed allowed his defense to play up to about average. The same scenario applies for Johnson, but he's overall the better defender. As far as hitting goes, Johnson's skill set first offers an outstanding approach. Just going by overall statistics, you can see that Johnson does not strike out a lot, and walks a ton. Just last year, spending most of the season at Double A-Erie, Johnson walked 60 times while striking out only 51 times. That's an excellent approach to hitting, regardless of the level. He has some extra base power, but does not have the pure strength or bat speed to generate much, if any, home run power. As I said, he runs pretty well, which projects to 10-15 stolen base potential, but he's not a burner. Overall, Johnson is, simply put, a good baseball player.
Johnson's ceiling is that of a 4th outfielder, in the mold of Andy Dirks (this is not a player comparison, more of a role comparison) with less power and hitting but better defense and speed. He should be in Toledo to start 2013, and could see the majors if the Tigers have injury issues (in much the same way that Quintin Berry got to the big leagues in 2012). Long term, Johnson could eventually make a major league roster as a 4th-5th outfielder/role player. Regardless, he is a valuable guy to have in the organization, and I'm happy that he's with the Tigers