Working through the 40 man roster and moving to shortstop, the only true shortstop besides Jose Iglesias is Eugenio Suarez. And Suarez has only played a partial season above Advanced-A. But Baseball America recently slotted him in the 8th spot on the list of top Tigers prospects.
A year ago we ran a substantial profile, and after another good season in 2013 you will be hearing his name more. The story is similar to Hernan Perez, though he is slightly younger and enters the 2014 season at age 22. Eugenio was born in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar, Venezuela. He was signed by the Tigers and played at ages 17 and 18 in the Venezuelan Summer League. He was brought stateside on a more traditional path, playing first in the Gulf Coast League and Class A Short Season Connecticut. It was his 2012 season in West Michigan that had him on the prospect radar.
Suarez started last year at Lakeland and was quickly promoted to Erie. He cooled off in Double-A, but a combined .347 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage for a 21 year old shortstop is worth excitement.
Keys to Success
With Eugenio, the keys are not as much what he needs to do as what he needs to not do. The Tigers need to resist rushing him to the majors. Suarez needs to avoid trouble, not that he has any reputation for it. He needs to avoid injury. Continued improvement in pitch recognition and fielding will help, and there is no one area of his performance which stands out as demanding attention.
His Oliver Projection is for a 2.9 WAR. This would be above-average performance, and I find that hard to believe at this point even if he got the playing time, which he won't. But it sure looks good in print, or in pixels.
While in theory Suarez could be called up if Jose Iglesias is injured or struggles to hit in his first full season, he should have another full year in the minors.