The Detroit Tigers had one of the worst farm systems in baseball heading into the trade deadline. With a major league team that has a very slim chance at making the playoffs -- they currently have a 6.5 percent chance of playing in October, according to Baseball Prospectus -- and some veterans with expiring contracts, it was time to "reboot." In the last couple days before the trade deadline, the Tigers were able to trade David Price, Joakim Soria and Yoenis Cespedes for some interesting prospects. Let’s look at the Tigers top 10 prospects now to see where the recently acquired rank.
1. Daniel Norris (LHP, MLB, Acquired for David Price)
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Norris is the top prospect in the Tigers' system now. He has consistently been ranked a top 30 prospect in all of baseball, and is even in the top 15 for some. Norris has already started at the major league level with Detroit after making appearances there in both of the past two seasons (30 total innings, 4.20 ERA, 5.26 FIP, 5.49 xFIP). Norris is very nearly major league ready, but he has spent the majority of this season at Triple-A to try to improve his command (4.27 ERA, 3.57 FIP in 90 2/3 Triple-A innings this year).
Scouting Report: I watched Norris in the Midwest League back in 2013 and again this year in spring training. His arsenal includes a fastball, curveball, slider and a changeup. The fastball, curve and slider all have above-average to plus (6) potential for me, and the change-up lags behind. If his command is able to take a step forward he could become a mid-rotation starter.
2. Derek Hill (CF, Single-A West Michigan, 2014 1st round pick)
Some people will probably disagree with me ranking Hill second ahead of recent Tigers first round draft pick Beau Burrows. Hill has struggled in his full season debut in West Michigan this year (.238/.305/.314 in 53 games). Many people, myself included, think Hill should be playing with short-season Connecticut in the New York-Penn League right now.
Scouting Report: I’ve seen Hill many times this year and absolutely love him. He has shown a scary-good mixture of good make-up and tools. He currently has elite (8) speed that will turn into 7+ speed as he adds strength and ages. He has also showed potential for a plus-plus glove in center and average arm. My only concerns are his ability to stay healthy -- he has made three trips to the disabled list already this year -- and his hit tool. His hit tool is currently a 2 for me, but with improved swing mechanics I can see him developing a major league average (.255-.265 batting average) hit tool. He also has 2 power currently, but with added strength and the improved swing mechanics I could see him developing 12-15 home run power. For me, Hill has the potential to be a first-division regular (a starter on a good team). You can read my full scouting report on him at TigsTown ($).
3. Beau Burrows (RHP, Gulf Coast league, 2015 1st Round Draft Pick)
Burrows is currently pitching in the Gulf Coast League, where he has a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings. I’m really hoping to be able to see this guy in West Michigan next year, but he will probably go to extended spring training and then to short-season Connecticut during the summer.
Scouting Report: Burrows has a potential plus-plus (7) fastball. Reports on the changeup and curveball differ. Some say they both have above-average potential or plus potential, while others say they both have average potential. I talked to someone who has seen Burrows in the GCL, and he said the curveball looked very good. Burrows has mid-rotation potential, but realistically it looks like he will become a back-end starter or possibly a high-leverage reliever.
4. Michael Fulmer (RHP, Double-A Erie, Acquired for Yoenis Cespedes)
Fulmer has spent most of this year in Double-A after making one start in High-A. He has absolutely dominated the Double-A level since his promotion there (1.88 ERA, 2.60 FIP). This year, because of his performance, he has become a household name among people who pay attention to prospects.
Scouting Report: There are some concerns about Fulmer's ability to stay healthy. According to the reports, he has worked in the mid-90s while touching 96 miles per hour with his fastball. He has also shown a plus slider, a good curveball and a changeup that needs some work. Fulmer needs to work on his command a little as well. His ceiling is a mid-rotation starter, although many think he will likely end-up in the bullpen due to his high-effort delivery and injury history.
5. Matt Boyd (LHP, Triple-A Toledo, Acquired for David Price)
Matt Boyd got a very brief and unsuccessful (14.85 ERA, 11.18 FIP, 3.76 xFIP in 6 2/3 innings) taste of the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays a few weeks ago. Boyd has spent most of this year in Double-A (1.10 ERA and a 2.62 FIP in 73 2/3 innings). He has also spent time in Triple-A (2.77 ERA and 3.49 FIP in 39 innings) and that’s where he will start in the Tigers organization.
Scouting Report: Two years ago, in a very short stay in the Midwest League, Boyd worked in the high 80s with his fastball. This year, he has sat in the 93-95 mile-per-hour range with good sinking movement. Boyd also throws a curveball, changeup and slider. The changeup and curveball look to be average pitches while the slider lags slightly behind. He struggles with his command at times, often missing up in the zone which leads to him giving up a high percentage of home runs. Boyd has potential to be a fourth or fifth starter if he is able to improve his command.
6. Spencer Turnbull (RHP, Single-A West Michigan, 2014 2nd Round Draft Pick)
Turnbull has been performing pretty well in the Midwest League this year (3.16 ERA, 3.41 FIP in 88 1/3 innings).
Scouting Report: I’ve made nearly 20 trips to West Michigan and the only time I’ve seen Turnbull was the second game of a doubleheader back on opening weekend. He worked in the 92-94 mile-per-hour range (topping out at 96 miles per hour) with some really good movement and control on his fastball. The fastball is currently a 6+ pitch with 7 potential. He also showed a slider with good movement and bad command. I graded this pitch as a current 5 with 6 potential. His last pitch is a changeup, which didn't do a lot in terms of movement. I graded it as a 4 currently with 4+ potential. I need to see Turnbull pitch again before making my final projection. However, for me, he has fourth or fifth starter potential but will likely end up as a high leverage reliever.
7. Dixon Machado (SS, Triple-A Toledo, International Free Agent)
Machado got a brief taste of the big leagues back in late May, but was only given seven at-bats. He has spent the rest of this season in Toledo (.270/.323/.348 in 371 at-bats).
Scouting Report: The first thing that stands out about Machado’s game is his glove. For me, it can easily be graded as plus (6). The glove is his carrying tool, and there have always been questions surrounding his bat. However, according to scouts who have seen him this year, the bat looks much better. Machado could become a second-division regular type, but a utility career looks more likely.
8.Christin Stewart (LF, Single-A West Michigan, 2015 1st Round Draft Pick)
Since he was drafted in June, Stewart has seen time in the Gulf Coast League (.364/.462/.682 in 22 at-bats), the New York-Penn League (.245/.322/.490 in 49 at-bats) and the Midwest League (.267/.348/.350 in 60 at-bats). He was drafted out of Tennessee, so he should be a guy that moves relatively quickly through the system.
Scouting Report: I have seen Stewart twice since he was promoted to West Michigan in July. One of the first things you realize when watching Stewart is that his defense and arm are both pretty bad, and should limit him to left field. However, I love what I have seen from the bat, and that will be the tool that carries him. Two games aren’t enough for me to comfortably predict a position player, but Stewart looks like another guy that could potentially end up as a second-division regular (a starter on a bad team).
9. Joe Jimenez (RHP, Single-A West Michigan, Undrafted Free Agent)
Jimenez has spent the entire 2015 season with West Michigan and has been very impressive (1.69 ERA and a 2.25 FIP in 32 innings). This is another guy many people have recently become more aware of because of his MiLB Futures Game appearance.
Scouting Report: I have been fortunate enough to see Jimenez several times this year. He has worked at 95-97 miles per hour (topping out at 98 miles per hour) with good movement on his fastball. He has also showed a slider with a good amount of movement that has plus potential. He currently struggles with fastball command and slider control, but he has the stuff to become a second-division closer. You can read my full scouting report on him at TigsTown ($).
10. Jairo Labourt (LHP, Advanced A Lakeland, Acquired for David Price)
Labourt has spent the entire 2015 season in the Florida State League (4.80 ERA in 84 1/3 innings). He is most known for his recent appearance in the MiLB Futures Game.
Scouting Report: Labourt's fastball works in the mid-90s, touching 97 miles per hour. He also throws a slider and changeup, both of which have average to slightly above-average potential. He has struggled at times to repeat his delivery, and this leads to him struggling with control at times. If he is able to repeat his mechanics a little better, he could end up as a fourth or fifth starter, but there is a pretty good chance he ends up in the bullpen.
JaCoby Jones (SS/OF, Double A Erie, Acquired for Joakim Soria)
Jones is a good athlete with plus speed. He has good swing mechanics and good raw power to all fields. His bad approach will likely keep him from reaching his ceiling. He will likely move to the outfield and become utility player.
Steven Moya (OF, Triple-A Toledo, International Free Agent)
Moya has very good raw power. However, the swing is very long with a lot of holes in it, and I’m very doubtful it will work at the major league level. For me, Moya is starting to seem a guy that won't have much of a big league career.
Zach Shepherd (3B, Single-A West Michigan, International Free Agent)
Shepherd is currently playing third base, but I highly doubt he will stay there long term due to his bad defense. For me, he looks like a utility corner outfielder with an average hit tool.
Tyler Alexander (LHP, Connecticut Tigers, 2015 2nd round draft pick)
Alexander won’t really overpower anyone, as he is more of a command-and-control guy. However, he has some decent stuff and some think he could potentially end up as a back-end starter.