No. 18: Logan Ehlers, LHP
Logan Ehlers was drafted by the Tigers in the 20th round of the 2012 draft, out of Howard College (TX). Ehlers was previously drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 8h round of the 2010 draft out of high school, but he turned down Toronto in favor of going to college. After being drafted, Ehlers was assigned to the GCL Tigers (Rookie League), where he compiled a 1.10 ERA across 16 1/3 innings, racking up 16 strikeouts vs only 3 walks, while accruing a WHIP of only 0.735. A small sample size, sure, but still great numbers nonetheless. It had been reported that Ehlers had undergone shoulder surgery following the 2012 season, possibly already ending his 2013 season, but it has come out that those were false reports. Ehlers reportedly had some arm fatigue, but nothing serious, and is on track for spring training at last check.
It's somewhat surprising that a 20th round pick in the most recent draft ends up in the top 20 of a prospect rankings list, but it's my opinion that the Tigers may have gotten one of the steals of the draft in Ehlers. Luckily, they were able to sign him. He stands in the 6'1"-6'2" range, weighing in at around 190lbs. He reportedly fell in the draft due to signability concerns, but theres no denying his stuff. His primary offerings are a fastball, slider, and change; all of which offering average-or-better projection. The fastball sits in the low 90's, usually around 91-93, but there have been reports of him getting it all the way up to 95 this summer. His breaking ball has plus potential, and Ehlers is able to throw it both as a swing and miss pitch out of the zone; as well as throw it for strikes. The changeup is new to Ehlers' repertoire, but as of now it still offers average potential, which solidifies Ehlers' projection as a starting pitcher. His command has been reported as at least average, with potential for more on all 3 pitchers, giving Ehlers' the upside of a #3 starter if all works out.
As you can tell, I'm pretty high on Ehlers. I've even gone so far as to call him the potential steal of the draft when I did the draft recap segments a few months ago. Now, I've been called too optimistic by some in regards to the Tigers prospects, and that may be true, but with Ehlers i just don't see any glaring weaknesses. He doesn't have the top notch stuff to become a frontline starter, but I would say he's already the 2nd best lefthanded starting pitching prospect in the system, behind only Casey Crosby. If Ehlers has a solid spring, he should head to Class A-West Michigan to begin the 2013 season, and could probably push for a promotion to Class A Advanced-Lakeland by mid-summer. As I said, I think he has the ceiling of a #3 starter, but could also become a solid bullpen lefty due to the plus potential of his breaking ball.