Prospect Viewing Guide: Toledo Mud Hens

US PRESSWIRE

The Toledo Mud Hens, the Tigers Triple A affiliate, have announced their official opening day roster. A few minor surprises, but nothing completely out of the blue. Full breakdown below:

Per an official press release from the Toledo Mud Hens:

Pitchers:

Jose Alvarez, LHP

-Org guy. Competed well in spring training with the Tigers. Could start or relieve, but he'll presumably start for Toledo. Minor league starting pitching depth, nothing more.

Duane Below, LHP

-We all know about Below. Will probably pitch in Detroit at some point, more likely as a long man out of the bullpen, but can make a spot start if needed. I'd assume he'll be in Toledo's rotation

Casey Crosby, LHP

-The only legitimate prospect in the Mud Hens rotation, Crosby is probably the first starter called up if the Tigers need one. 2013 is a huge year for him.

Kenny Faulk, LHP

-Fringe major leaguer. Has been a closer through his minor league career, but won't be (to start) for Toledo. Has a nice FB/CH combo, ceiling tops out as an up and down guy for me. Doesn't have the breaking ball to profile as a LOOGY

Shawn Hill, RHP

-Minor league starting pitching depth. Probably the only righty in Toledo's rotation. Could see some time in Detroit in the same way Thad Weber did.

Matt Hoffman, LHP

-Legitimate major league ceiling. Probably as a LOOGY. Rumors that he'll start for Toledo confuse me, because he's much better served out of the bullpen.

Luis Marte, RHP

-We know Marte. 7th inning ceiling, probably more of a middle reliever. Doesn't get enough plane on his fastball to be too successful, but has a nice repertoire. Probably the first reliever called up if the Tigers need an extra arm, but don't want Rondon

Pat Misch, LHP

-Org starter, assume he'll be in the rotation as well.

Jose Ortega, RHP

-Dynamite stuff, has no idea where it's going. Similar upside to Marte due to lack of command.

Luke Putkonen, RHP

-Could start or relieve, I like him WAY better out of the bullpen. Fastball is way better out of 'pen, curve is a nice offering when he commands it, added a splitter as a 3rd pitch which gives him higher upside than "just another guy". Bane of Jordan's existence

Bruce Rondon, RHP

-Needs to refine command and become more consistent, as well all saw. Tremendous closer upside. When he's on, no one touches him. Think we'll see him no later than June. Probably before.

Jesse Todd, RHP

-Org guy. Don't see him ever pitching in the majors

Rob Waite, RHP

-Swingman, can start or relieve. Fringy player, if all falls perfectly he could get a MLB cup of coffee, but not a long term MLB pitcher.

Catchers:

Brad Davis, C

-Org catcher. Similar to Dane Sardinha or a thousand others that can play in the minors for years as a catcher. Could sniff the big leagues if injuries take their toll, but not a major leaguer long term

-Bryan Holaday, C

-Backup MLB catcher ceiling. Assume he'll be the backup catcher in 2014. First guy called up if injury occurs to Avila or Pena.

Infielders:

Argenis Diaz, 2B/SS/3B

-Org player; probably starts at 3B for Toledo, can play a lot of positions but no major league ceiling

Jordan Lennerton, 1B/DH

-Best defensive 1B in the system; plus raw power, tons of swing and miss. Don't think he has a MLB ceiling, but could be called upon as left handed bench bat if needed.

John Lindsey, 1B/DH

-Assume he'll be Toledo's everyday DH; career minor leaguer and org guy. Nothing to see here.

Gustavo Nunez, SS/2B

-Former highly-touted prospect; probable starting SS for Toledo. More organizational depth at this point, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the majors as a utility guy for someone. Behind Danny Worth on that depth chart, but who knows?

Kevin Russo, UT

-Listed as an infielder, can play anywhere. 3B/2B/LF/RF/CF. I'd think he probably starts almost everyday for Toledo, but maybe not in one position. May end up as starting 3B over Diaz. Probably sees some time with Detroit this season if injuries occur.

Danny Worth, 2B/SS/3B

-26th man for the Tigers. First call up if IF injury occurs. I think he'll start at 2B for Toledo, but will see some time at SS, 3B, and probably LF as well. I would have kept him over Santiago.

Outfielders:

Quintin Berry, OF

-Almost made Tigers out of camp. Plus speed, nothing else. Speed allows below-average defense in OF to play up to average level. First outfielder called up in case of injury.

Nick Castellanos, LF

-Do I even need to write anything here? Needs to work on outfield defense significantly, and hone plate discipline/zone recognition at the plate. We'll see him in Detroit this season, the only question is whether it will be in September or before.

Danny Dorn, OF

-Org guy. Roster filler.

Benny Guez, OF

-Looks like he'll start in RF, with Berry in CF. 5th OF ceiling, can play solid defense but bat is lacking major league projection. May see some time this year if injuries take their toll.

Disabled List:

Avisail Garcia, RF

-Will be starter in RF when he returns from injury. Needs to work on approach at the plate to allow his power to play. Should see him in Detroit this season at some point.

So there you have it. A lot of organizational filler; some fringe major league guys, and 3-4 legitimate prospects. When I look at this team from a scouting perspective, I'm going to go to Mud Hens games to watch Castellanos, Garcia (when healthy), and go on a night when Casey Crosby pitches and pray Bruce Rondon pitches too. Holaday is what he is; there's nothing really left to scout there. We know about Danny Worth, Luis Marte, and Jose Ortega. Putkonen still intrigues me, especially since he's added a 3rd pitch.

Reminders: You can follow us on twitter @TigersProspects.

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