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Better know a Tiger: Eugenio Suarez

Eugenio Suarez looks to fill an important role: exciting prospect.

Eugenio Suarez may look young, but it makes for an exciting prospect
Eugenio Suarez may look young, but it makes for an exciting prospect

Working through the 40 man roster and moving to shortstop, the only true shortstop besides Jose Iglesias is Eugenio Suarez. And Suarez has only played a partial season above Advanced-A. But Baseball America recently slotted him in the 8th spot on the list of top Tigers prospects.

A year ago we ran a substantial profile, and after another good season in 2013 you will be hearing his name more. The story is similar to Hernan Perez, though he is slightly younger and enters the 2014 season at age 22. Eugenio was born in Puerto Ordaz, Bolivar, Venezuela. He was signed by the Tigers and played at ages 17 and 18 in the Venezuelan Summer League. He was brought stateside on a more traditional path, playing first in the Gulf Coast League and Class A Short Season Connecticut. It was his 2012 season in West Michigan that had him on the prospect radar.

Year Age Lg/Lvl Games PA BA OBP SLG
2009 17 VESL 57 240 .262 .360 .350
2010 18 VESL 61 261 .311 .389 .396
2011 19 Rk 12 50 .341 .408 .636
2011 19 A- 58 229 .250 .323 .426
2012 20 A 135 603 .288 .380 .409
2013 21 A+ 25 122 .311 .410 .437
2013 21 AA 111 496 .253 .332 .387

Suarez started last year at Lakeland and was quickly promoted to Erie. He cooled off in Double-A, but a combined .347 on-base percentage and .396 slugging percentage for a 21 year old shortstop is worth excitement.

Keys to Success

With Eugenio, the keys are not as much what he needs to do as what he needs to not do. The Tigers need to resist rushing him to the majors. Suarez needs to avoid trouble, not that he has any reputation for it. He needs to avoid injury. Continued improvement in pitch recognition and fielding will help, and there is no one area of his performance which stands out as demanding attention.

Odd Numbers

His Oliver Projection is for a 2.9 WAR. This would be above-average performance, and I find that hard to believe at this point even if he got the playing time, which he won't. But it sure looks good in print, or in pixels.

2014 Outlook

While in theory Suarez could be called up if Jose Iglesias is injured or struggles to hit in his first full season, he should have another full year in the minors.