A few disclaimers:
There are certain guys who just aren't going to open any eyes for consideration to the big club. Yes, guys like Brad Eldred do work their way into unexpected call-ups, but remember the torrid pace at which he played to merely get a *week* of play.
Small sample size warnings abound, and I don't suggest that one can get a complete picture of a player from their box score. Alas, no Tigers prospects play in Champaign, IL.
Keep in mind that these are relative to where a player's stock already is. A guy who hits .300 for six straight weeks probably isn't going to appear every week. Also, they are presented in no particular order.
And with that, let's start with the bull market.
DEVON TRAVIS, 2B, West Michigan -- .387/.429/.677/1.106; 31 AB, 9 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 SB, 1 CS
I know you're probably sick of hearing Brian talk about him, but, dang. A guy drafted to really just be a "nice little player," Travis could really draw notice with a display of power and patience in full season ball. Four extra-base hits, including a homer in each game of Friday's doubleheader, are just the ticket.
MONTREAL ROBERTSON, RHP, West Michigan -- 11 IP, 1.64 ERA, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 1 BB, 6 K, .154 BAA
Montreal Robertson is probably destined for the bullpen long-term (although Keith Law disagrees), the big righty has done some great work in his first two outings. His first start, in which he threw five no-hit innings, was followed with a six-inning quality start on Friday. Tommy John delayed his timeline, and 22 is a bit old for the Midwest League. However, he's already showing the repertoire and polish to allow a mid-season promotion.
HERNAN PEREZ, 2B, Erie -- .367/.387/.567/.954; 30 AB, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
The Major League Vet needed to show some life with the bat to keep pace with the other infield prospects, and Hernan Perez hit from the word "go." In his first three games, Perez smacked eight hits, including two doubles and a dinger. A promotion to Toledo is probably not in the cards this season, but the better he hits, the harder the Tigers will try to fit him into their future plans. One blemish on this week: five errors committed.
DUANE BELOW, LHP, Toledo -- 12.1 IP, 2.19 ERA, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 HR, 1 BB, 9 K, .140 BAA
One of my personal favorites, the Michigan native's future was in serious jeopardy after a brutal second half last season. He's putting that behind him in short order. Relievers are going to have the easiest path to Detroit all season, and Duane is setting the pace in Toledo with great strikeout numbers against Triple-A hitting. He's not a real option for a starting gig, but the constant concern over the bullpen means that Duane should have his phone with him at all times.
WARWICK SAUPOLD, LHP, Erie -- 12 IP, .300, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 HR, 2 BB, 11 K, .186 BAA
Saupold is very firmly on the fringe between organizational soldier and legitimate prospect, so he more than most needs to impress with every start. On Friday, he struck out eight batters with only one walk in seven innings, following a five-inning, three-strikeout, one-walk start previous to that. While he was initially signed out of Australia to relieve, he was strong in five Lakeland starts down the stretch last season. His opportunity to start in Erie this season could be a sign that the Tigers will let him play his way into consideration.
The following guys are holding their value, for better or worse.
DEAN GREEN, DH, Lakeland -- .323/.382/.531/.914; 32 AB, 6 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
He mashed in Lakeland last year, and he's mashing right now. He's never spent more than 65 games at one level due to his refusal to be challenged by his level, but there's not much to see until he's promoted further.
BRUCE RONDON, RHP, Toledo -- 4 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 HR, 2 BB, 3 SO, .077 BAA
In four Toledo outings, he's done pretty much exactly what was expected. The control is still iffy, but the arm is going to be too good to wait on with the bullpen turmoil up I-75. He hasn't been Toledo's regular closer, which might be a sign that they prefer Toledo's closer duties to be handled by someone likely to be in Triple-A longer.
TYLER COLLINS, OF, Erie -- .120/.241/.160/.401, 25 AB, 4 R, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 SB, 1 CS
The guy will hit, but the struggles are indicative of the tremendous jump in skill from Lakeland to Erie. No one will be holding his early failures against him, but he will need to adjust to show why he deserves consideration for a top-ten ranking.
It's not time to sell these guys, but they aren't making you feel great about the investment.
CASEY CROSBY, LHP, Toledo -- 7 IP, 9.00 ERA, 7 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 0 HR, 8 BB, 9 K, .269 BAA
His first start was a dreadful six earned run, three-inning affair. His next start was improved (four innings, one run), but in both he walked four. This is Crosby's second year in Triple-A, and it's time for him to knock it off. If he doesn't show marked improvement in his next few outings, he could be relegated to the bullpen by the All-Star break. This development would be a huge blow to his prospect status, especially considering his prior expectations.
QUINTIN BERRY, OF, Toledo -- .167/.286/.200/.486, 30 AB, 3 R, 0 HR, 3 RBI, 4 BB, 8 K, 3 SB, 0 CS
Many were surprised that the Tigers chose Don Kelly over Berry, choosing defensive versatility over game-changing speed. Berry isn't doing anything to convince the Tigers they made a bad call. The strikeout problems which made him an unattractive starting option are still present, and he isn't doing a whole lot when his bat meets the ball either. Throw in an error for good measure, and this is a nine-game stretch Berry would love to forget.
AUSTIN SCHOTTS, OF, West Michigan -- .107/.161/.143/.304, 28 AB, 4 R, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 13 K, 2 SB, 1 CS
Over-matched is an understatement to describe this week of play. While some growing pains are expected when jumping levels, few expected Schotts to look this bad. However, he's only 19, and will be all season. If he continues to struggle this mightily, he could be dropped back to the NY/Penn league. Such a development, while far from a concern, would temper some of the dreams he encouraged with his GCL play last season.
JASON KING, 3B, Lakeland -- .069/.129/.069/.198, 29 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
There might be BYB readers who could manage two singles and two walks in eight games at Lakeland. Hyperbole? Perhaps. But it's difficult to be hyperbolic about such an awful stretch. Did I mention he already has five errors? The Kansas State product was drafted in the fourth round of the 2011 draft because he was expected to provide a little bit of everything, but just enough to make it as a big league regular. His prospect stock sank considerably during 2012, and it's only going down further. He will turn 24 in June, so he doesn't exactly have a lot of time to waste, either.
DANIEL FIELDS, OF, Erie -- .167/.200/.389/.589, 18 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 0 SB, 0 CS
It was a stretch to find five guys with their stocks down so early, and Fields is admittedly a stretch to be placed in this category. Nevertheless, he's here because I wanted to list five players. This week was more of a run-of-the-mill tough week than any sign of real concern, but Fields has taken some prospect lumps since draft day in 2009. One thing that has held him back is his inability to sustain success at a level. In 29 games at Double-A last season, Fields showed enough skills to keep himself on the map (.711 OPS). He will need to improve on what he did last season to stay in the mix for a significant big league goal.
Non-prospects who played well: AAA 1B Jordan Lennerton (.964 OPS), AAA RHP Shawn Hill (3.14 ERA), A RF Jeff Holm (1.077 OPS)
As this is a new feature, any thoughts and comments are appreciated. Line stats will reflect full season numbers, and I will use the explanations to highlight specific numbers which illustrate my overall feelings. Opinions are my own.