Detroit Tigers OF Prospect Rashad Brown - Sara D. Davis
In this 6 part series, I will take a look at the Tigers' 2012 draft class, how they fared statistically in their first professional seasons, and shortly preview what to look for from them in 2013. 33 of the Tigers 39 selections signed with the team.
No. 19: LHP Logan Ehlers-20th Round (634th Overall)-Howard College (TX)
Stats (GCL Tigers-Rookie League): 0-0, 1.10 ERA, 16 1/3 IP, 9 H, 3 BB, 16 K, 0.73 WHIP, .167 BAA
Thoughts: Ehlers was selected in the 20th round, so to the average fan, he may not seem like a legitimate prospect. Enter Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend" here. Ehlers has the ceiling of a middle of the rotation starter, and probably could have been taken significantly higher in the draft based on raw talent, if not for some mild signability issues. The Tigers paid him an over-slot bonus to sign, and I'm very happy that he did sign. There were reports that Ehlers had shoulder surgery towards the end of the 2012 season, but this is not the case. He had some fatigue, but no significant injury, and no surgery. Therefore, he should be ready to go in spring training. Ehlers' fastball sits in the low 90's, usually about 90-92 or so, but there have been reports of his reaching back for an much as 95. His slider flashes plus at times, and his changeup shows at least average projectability. If Ehlers can command 3 average (or better) pitches, then I have no problem projecting him to be a 3-4 starter in the majors. Small sample size caveats apply here, but he did post all around outstanding numbers in Rookie League. Should Ehlers not develop his secondary pitches to average or better status, then he could easily find himself in the bullpen, where his ceiling would be that of a shut down lefty, especially if his fastball were to play up a couple ticks out of the pen.
2013 Projection: If Ehlers is healthy in Spring Training (and by all updated accounts, he will be) then I would be surprised if he isn't assigned to Class-A West Michigan's rotation.
MLB ETA: Ehlers could move quicker than normal, especially if his secondary stuff sharpens a bit. But quicker than normal does not necessarily mean "fast", so I wouldn't expect to see him in Detroit before 2015.
No. 20: LHP Alex Phillips-21st Round (664th Overall)-Kentucky
Stats (Class A Short Season-Connecticut): 1-0, 2.51 ERA, 32 1/3 IP, 28 H, 6 BB, 29 K, 1.05 WHIP, .235 BAA
Thoughts: To be quite honest with you all, I don't know much, if anything, about Alex Phillips. He's a big guy, listed at 6'4", 205, but that doesn't necessarily tell us a whole lot. He posted very good numbers at Connecticut, but again, as a college pitcher in short season ball, that doesn't tell us much about him. He pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in college, and did the same thing in his first professional season, so that tells me that the Tigers view him as a reliever all the way (unlike guys I'm unsure on, like Joe Rogers or Jordan John). He only walked 6 in 32 1/3 IP, so that tells me that he's obviously a strike thrower, and the fact that he struck out quite a few while giving up less than a hit per inning also tells me that he at least has average command. I know nothing about what his repertoire features, so I can't help you guys there. Based on the incredibly small knowledge I have on him, I'd guess that his ceiling is that of a long reliever or LOOGY-type, but I could be way off. I'll try and dig around for some more information as we move along through the offseason.
2013 Projection: I'd expect Phillips to head to West Michigan and pitch out of the bullpen in 2013, but the Tigers could see things differently than I and maybe try and push him to Lakeland. Who knows, really.
MLB ETA: 2015-2016, depending on how he does of course.
No: 21: RF D.J. Driggers-22nd Round (694th Overall)-Middle Georgia College
Stats (GCL Tigers-Rookie League): .160/.240/.234/.474/28 Games. 94 AB, 15 H, 5 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 11 R, 6 BB, 35 K, 3 SB
Thoughts: First and foremost, I need to point out that Driggers was suspended for 50 games by the MLB for testing positive for a banned substance. To my knowledge, he will still have to serve some of that suspension in the 2013 season, as there was not enough games left in the 2012 season at the time of his suspension to satisfy said suspension. Like Phillips, I don't know a whole lot about Driggers other than he's a pretty good athlete and there is some offensive projection there. He has serious contact issues, but when he does make contact, he has the bat speed to turn contact into some serious pop. He struggles with pitch recognition and strike zone discipline, which leads to a ton of strikeouts and not many walks, but he's far from the first young player to have those very issues. Hopefully he can come back from his suspension and not miss a beat in his development, but that obviously remains to be seen.
2013 Projection: I'm thinking that the Tigers may have Driggers in extended Spring Training to begin 2013, and then maybe send him to Connecticut once his suspension is up.
MLB ETA: I genuinely have no idea. I'm not entirely sure of his professional profile, so I couldn't tell you guys. But I think that if Driggers makes it at all, he won't be seen in the majors until 2016 at the earliest.
No. 22: RHP Andrew Harrison-23rd Round (724th Overall)-Oklahoma
Stats (GCL Tigers-Rookie League): 2-0, 0.79 ERA, 11 1/3 IP, 5 H, 6 BB, 12 K, 0.97 WHIP, .135 BAA
Thoughts: Again, small sample size caveats apply here, but Harrison posted some very good numbers in his short stint with the Rookie League Tigers. He is a converted position player, as he started his career at Oklahoma as a 1B/DH type, and by all accounts he was actually a pretty good hitter. Obviously, he was destined for the mound as he was converted there by the Sooners and played primarily as a pitcher during the 2012 college season. He's a big dude at 6'4" 225, and he's incredibly raw as a pitcher, having only been on the mound exclusively for just over a year now. I haven't seen him throw, but I've heard that he has the arm speed to project his fastball into the mid 90's, while his secondary stuff, while very raw, shows at least modest projection as well. He's not going to be a fast mover, as I'm sure he needs to simply learn how to pitch first, rather than worry about advanced stuff. Regardless, he's an intriguing prospect, and one to keep an eye on as we move towards Spring Training.
2013 Projection: Depending on how Spring Training goes, the Tigers could choose to either send Harrison to West Michigan or keep him in extended spring training, and then ship him off to Connecticut for short season ball.
MLB ETA: Like I said, I don't think Harrison will move quickly, as he has a lot to learn. However, relievers who can throw hard can move quickly in general, so it remains to be seen how the Tigers will handle Harrison. Regardless, I wouldn't expect to see him before 2015-2016, if at all.
No. 23: RHP Nick Carmichael-24th Round (754th Overall)-Palomar College (CA)
Stats (GCL Tigers-Rookie League): 3-1, 2.22 ERA, 44 2/3 IP, 40 H, 14 BB, 38 K, 1.21 WHIP, .244 BAA
Thoughts: Like several other Tigers, the first thing that strikes you about Carmichael is his size: He's 6'6", 220lbs. I've actually been able to find some film on Carmichael, so I can give a bit of a scouting report. I like his delivery: It's very free and easy, and Carmichael has pretty good arm speed. I'd like for him to get more drive from his lower half, as he seems to be "all arm" at times, which hinders velocity and command. He lands in a very athletic and balanced position, which helps in his ability to field possible come-backers. Carmichael served as the closer at Palomar, where his fastball has reportedly been clocked anywhere from 92-96, but as a starter he presumably works in the low 90's. His frame and arm speed suggests that there may be some more velocity in Carmichael's future, and the Tigers may decide to transfer him back to the bullpen, but as for right now, Carmichael is a starting pitching prospect. He looks more like a good organizational pitcher right now, but I have yet to see him in action firsthand, and he also is still adjusting to starting.
2013 Projection: Given that Carmichael is a bit older (he'll turn 23 in April), he's going to need to perform well at every level to be considered a prospect. Common logic would state that Carmichael go to West Michigan in 2013, but given that there are several guys ahead of him on prospect lists, he may have to go to extended spring training and then Connecticut. Honestly, I have no idea what the Tigers have planned for him at this point.
MLB ETA: As I said, Carmichael looks more like an org guy to me, but 6'6" RHP who can (allegedly) reach the mid 90's with their fastballs still hold at least minimal major league projection. 2015-2016, if at all.
No. 24: IF David Reaves-25th Round (784th Overall)-Alabama
Stats (Combined: Class A-West Michigan and Class A Short Season-Connecticut): .238/.298/.332/.629/60 Games. 223 AB, 53 H, 13 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBI, 33 R, 13 BB, 42 K, 3 SB
Thoughts: As I've said, as we go further down the draft board, the less and less I know about the players selected. Reaves is no exception, as I don't know much about his scouting report. He was a college senior, drafted in the later rounds, and profiles as an org player, albeit a good one. He has some extra-base pop in his bat, and will eventually have the ability to command the strike zone at an average level. His defense is solid but not spectacular. Honestly, nothing stands out about Reaves to suggest that he will be anything more than a very solid organizational player.
2013 Projection: There are several middle infielders who will be vying for the spots in West Michigan, including Devon Travis, Reaves, Jordan Dean, Tyler Hanover, and others. I'd expect Reaves to go to West Michigan, but he probably won't play everyday
MLB ETA: 2016, if at all
No. 25: OF Rashad Brown-26th Round (814th Overall)-Westlake HS (GA)
Stats (GCL Tigers-Rookie League): .250/.312/.340/.652/30 Games. 100 AB, 25 H, 3 2B, 3 3B, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 16 R, 7 BB, 29 K, 4 SB
Thoughts: If you like projection, then you'll like Brown. His best tool is his speed, which earns the occasional 70 grade from scouts, but is consistently graded as plus. In other words, he's very fast. He'd be the 2nd or 3rd fastest runner in the Tigers system, behind Austin Schotts and maybe Ismael Salgado. Right now, Brown is incredibly raw. To put it simply, he's still learning how to play baseball. His raw tools are impressive, and he shows the projection to play CF, hit for at least moderate average, and steal bases at the major league level, but he's still a long ways away. He also has the bat speed that projects to solid extra base power, but he lacks the strength for that to play significantly in games yet. Brown is an intriguing prospect and one to watch, but we must be patient.
2013 Projection: Seeing as Brown is still a teenager, I think he'll go to extended spring training and then to Connecticut when the short season league begins
MLB ETA: Even if Brown moves quickly, which I really don't see happening, I think we're looking at 2017 as an arrival date
And that's it for Part 4 of this series. Parts 5 and 6 should come later this week, depending on how school is going for me. As a reminder, please follow Detroit Tigers Prospect Report on twitter @TigersProspects, and you can follow my personal account @B_Sakowski. Also, remember to like us on Facebook!