No. 34: Jordan John, LHP
Left-handed pitcher Jordan John was selected by the Tigers in the 6th round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. Working on a strict innings limit, John only threw 3 2/3 innings with the Rookie League GCL Tigers in 2012, allowing only a single walk, no hits, no runs, and 5 strikeouts. Obviously, we can't really read a whole lot into those numbers considering how very small of a sample size they are, but at least he didn't get shelled right? John stands 6'3" and weighs in at around 200lbs, so he has some nice size working for him, but his frame doesn't have very much projection remaining, as opposed to someone like, say, Hudson Randall, who has the frame to fill out much more substantially.
Jordan John comes into the Tigers system already owning above-average command that earns future plus grades from nearly everyone. John throws 4 pitches: fastball, curve, slider, and change up; and shows the ability to command them all pretty effectively. His fastball sits in the high 80's, usually 86-89 while occasionally touching 90-91, but there is minimal projection remaining there. His slider flashes above-average potential, with the curve and change both lagging a touch behind but still offering solid-average projection. Overall, John is that classic touch-and-feel left hander that throws a lot of strikes, commands everything well, and shows an innate ability to keep hitters off balance. I believe his best role is that of a reliever, but I think the Tigers are going to try him as a starter.
I think John's ceiling is that of a 5th starter/middle reliever. He lacks the dynamic stuff to profile as a set up/late innings guy, but still has a better profile than other soft-tossing lefties in the system (I.E. Adam Wilk). Perhaps he could find a role as a 7th inning platoon reliever, somewhat similar to Phil Coke, who is able to enter higher-leverage situations if the opposing lineup is left-handed heavy, but you wouldn't call him a pure 7th inning guy. His overall polish and command ability lead me to believe that he could jump all the way to Class Advanced-A Lakeland in 2013, be it as a starter or reliever, seeing as West Michigan is rather log-jammed and Lakeland looks to have a couple openings in it's rotation, depending on how things shake out of course.