ESPN's Keith Law has ranked Tigers prospect, Derek HIll, as the No. 85 prospect in major league baseball. (Insider subscription required).
When the Detroit Tigers finally had a first round draft selection for the first time in four years, they wasted no time in selecting Derek Hill in the June, 2014 amateur player draft. Hill, a speedy center fielder, who is profiled here by Rob Rogacki, was selected by Detroit with the 23rd overall pick, after just two years of high school baseball in California.
Hill is better known for his defense, than for his bat. Law wrote:
The son of longtime scout Orsino Hill and cousin of Darryl Strawberry, Derek Hill is already a plus defender in center at age 19 and a plus runner with an average or slightly above-average arm, but the question scouts had this spring was about his bat.
After being selected in June, Hill was sent to play rookie ball in low- A Connecticut of the NY- Penn league, where he struggled at the plate. He could be held in Florida for extended spring training to start the season, according to Law.
Rogacki summarized Hill's status this way:
Hill has the highest ceiling of any player in the Tigers' farm system, but it will be a few years until he gets a chance to display his capabilities at the MLB level. Until then, we get to dream on what could be, and that's a supremely gifted center fielder.
Hill is the only Tiger to make ESPN's top 100 prospect list this year. Law rated the Tigers' farm system dead last among the 30 clubs in major league baseball. The rankings were posted yesterday on ESPN.
Tigers' President and General Manager, Dave Dombrowski, took issue with the rankings. He told the Detroit news:
"I don't agree with him," Dombrowski, president and general manager of the Tigers, told The Detroit News. "He can say whatever he would like, but I remember after 2006 people said we wouldn't win anytime soon, and people have talked about that after other years that we wouldn't be good for years to come."
Ranking players out of high school and projecting them to the major leagues is an inexact science. The Tigers seem to have done pretty well in recent years, without a large number of players being ranked in ESPN's top 100.