This is the second installment in a look at the Tigers' Top 30 prospects coming into the season, according to Baseball America. Their status as "Up", "Even" or "Down" is mostly determined by their stats but a couple other variables slip into the decision. (Ages are as of July 13. Stats were pulled from Fangraphs.com Thursday.)
Nick Castellanos, 3B(?), 20, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 243 PA, .405/.461/.553, 9.1 BB%, 17.3 K%, .149 ISO, 3/5 SB
Erie, 114 PA, .307/.311/.482, 1.7% BB, 21.8 K%, .175 ISO, 1/4 SB
He forced a promotion to Erie as a 20-year old by hitting over .400 in Lakeland. His approach seemed to be improving in Lakeland, but two walks in over 100 trips to the plate in Erie shows it could still use work. Regardless, he hits the ball hard enough for people to talk about him being a future All Star. The big question in Detroit is at what position will that future lie. His starting in right field Thursday could be a clue.
Rob Brantly, C, 22 (23 Saturday), Bats: Left
Erie, 195 PA, .311/.359/.461, 6.2 BB%, 8.7 K%, .150 ISO, 0/3 SB
Toledo, 93 PA, .280/.330/.312, 6.0 BB%, 18.0 K%, .032 ISO, 0/0 SB
He also earned a promotion - from Erie to Toledo - by hitting well. Brantly's situation was likely influenced more by the catching situation at the major league level, but he's done well to seize his chance. He's looking like he could give the Tigers a good bat as a backup behind the plate.
Avisail Garcia, OF, 21, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 287 PA, .289/.324/.447, 3.8 BB%, 19.9 K%, .158 ISO, 14/18 SB
Erie, 25 PA
He finally started to show some of his power in the games and earned a midseason promotion to Erie. He's still showing the same weaknesses with command of the strike zone, but with continued growth he could fill a need for the Tigers as an athletic corner outfielder.
Tyler Collins, OF, 22, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 338 PA, .293/.367/.437, 9.2 BB%, 12.1 K%, .143 ISO, 11/13 SB
He's spent much of the season in Lakeland tearing it up right alongside Castellanos and Garcia. While his buddies have moved on, though, he's still in Lakeland. He may not have their tools but he is showing good strike zone coverage, athleticism and a good amount of pop. We could have one of the dirtdogs the Tigers believe they need. I'll leave the a-hole determination to his teammates.
Danry Vasquez, OF, 18, Bats: Left
Connecticut, 87 PA, .378/.414/.512, 5.7 BB%, 14.9 K%, .134 ISO, 3/5 SB
West Michigan, 112 PA, .162/.218/.222, 6.3 BB%, 17.9 K%, .061 ISO, 0/0 SB
Overmatched at West Michigan, the teenager has settled in nicely in Connecticut. If an "Up" seems strange given his time with the Whitecaps, just look up his time in the GCL last year.
Eugenio Suarez, SS, 20 (21 on Wednesday, day off on Thurs?), Bats: Switch
West Michigan, 377 PA, .310/.409/.450, 12.2 BB%, 18.0 K%, .141 ISO, 13/18 SB
After barely making Baseball America's Top 30, Suarez is one of the Tigers' breakout prospects this season. He's still not generating a lot of buzz at the national level, so people must be taking a "wait and see" approach about whether these numbers are a mirage. Even if his tools make this performance a surprise, it's nice to see the tools/performance relationship working in this direction for once. Can I also say a Tiger shortstop prospect hitting, drawing walks and generally doing well at the plate is just blowing my mind.
James McCann, C, 22, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 177 PA, .288/.345/.350, 5.6 BB%, 16.4 K%, .063 ISO, 3/3 SB
Erie, 91 PA, .207/.242/.322, 4.4 BB%, 16.5 K%, .115 ISO, 0/0 SB
McCann is a defense first catcher, but he'll still need to hit more like he did in Lakeland than what he has in Erie. Still, both are an improvement on his brief debut last season, split between the GCL and West Michigan.
Tyler Gibson, OF, 19, Bats: Left
GCL Tigers, 79 PA, .197/.321/.318, 15.2 BB%, 30.4 K%, .121 ISO, 10/13 SB
I know these numbers don't look like an "even" but what can you say about 79 GCL at bats? Nothing much. And with the organization being a little short on "Evens" and Gibson at least showing some secondary skills, he gets the nod.
Aaron Westlake, 1B, 23, Bats: Left
West Michigan, 358 PA, .232/.315/.368, 10.3 BB%, 21.5 K%, .137 ISO, 3/4 SB
As a first base prospect, you have one job. Hit. Well, you can't embarrass yourself at first base either, but if you're not hitting, you're not working. Westlake has not done enough of that, especially since to get a real look he'd need to hit well enough to play DH.
Brandon Loy, IF, 22, Bats: Right
West Michigan, 355 PA, .235/.294/.315, 7.6 BB%, 18.0 K%, .080 ISO, 13/14 SB
Are you a little tired of defensive infielders who don't hit well enough to fill even that specialty role? The rest of this list is peppered with those guys and Loy has some work to do to prove he doesn't fit the mold.
Dixon Machado, SS, 20, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 314 PA, .206/.302/.258, 11.5 BB%, 13.1 K%, .052 ISO, 13/18 SB
Slight, slick glove shortstop who will go as far as his bat takes him. The Tigers are going to hit the jackpot on this type of player some day, but for now Machado is just another Tiger infield prospect trying to crack an OPS of .600.
Daniel Fields, OF, 21, Bats: Left
Lakeland, 178 PA, .247/.303/.333, 7.3 BB%, 22.5 K%, .086 ISO, 12/15 SB
This is his third season in Lakeland - he's never played at another level as a pro - and it's looking a lot like his last season in Lakeland. That won't be good enough for him to keep his standing as a prospect much longer.
Hernan Perez, 2B, 21, Bats: Right
Lakeland, 296 PA, .232/.270/.287, 4.7 BB%, 15.9 K%, .055 ISO, 12/13 SB
Detroit, 2 PA
Don't let the promotion to Detroit fool you. The Tigers needed an infielder and he was almost literally the only option. In reality, he's hitting as bad (or worse) in Lakeland as the infielders in Detroit everybody is complaining about.
Thirteen position prospects. Six "Up, Two "Even"(-ish) and Five "Down". This is actually pretty good news from what I can see. Castellanos has All Star potential no matter what position he ends up playing and the other guys taking steps forward could conceivably fill holes for the organization. As for the others? Try to act surprised the Tigers have promising wispy infielders who can't hit a lick.