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2019 Bless You Boys midseason prospect rankings: Who just missed the list?

These are the guys who find themselves a little bit outside the spotlight.

Jay Markle/Bless You Boys

It’s the season of prospect rankings once again, and we will start rolling out full-length profiles for the players that made it onto our midseason top-30 list pretty soon. However, as we have done in the past, we would like to turn our attention first to those players who didn’t cut the mustard for one reason or another. In past seasons, one or more of these players very well may have made it into the top 30, but thanks to the stark improvement of the Detroit Tigers’ pipeline over the last couple of seasons, they were not included.

There was some dissent about how the end of our list should shake out — all of the players below were vote-getters on one or more of our personal lists. Generally speaking, they are interesting names with a few glaring issues. We thought it would be worthwhile to take a closer look at each one.

OF Ulrich Bojarski

The 20-year-old Bojarski was a force in the heart of the Whitecaps’ lineup during the first half of the 2019 season and was their only representative on the Midwest League All-Star roster. His decisively successful campaign has resulted in a .297/.332/.472 line. That’s a performance that exceeds league average by 23 percent, according to Baseball Prospectus’ dRC+. Armed with excellent bat speed and a powerful swing, the Australian import has provided a team-leading 10 home runs. Although he is locked into a corner outfield position, his athletic build and average-or-better arm should allow him be adequate in right field.

Bojarski’s tools are undeniable but there’s a reason he’s not included among our top 30 prospects — namely, a great deal of difficulty recognizing spin and an overly aggressive approach. Watching Bojarski, one gets the sense that he’s trying to tap into his considerable power with every swing. It makes him somewhat vulnerable to pitch sequencing and it results in a small number of walks. He needs to let pitchers do some of the work for him in order to continue succeeding at higher levels. He could make the jump into the bottom half of the list with improvement in the walks department or a demonstration of his skills in a more pitcher-friendly league.

RHP Zack Hess

Almost certainly bound for a relief role, scouts tabbed Hess as the kind of pitcher who could make it to the major leagues in a hurry given the right circumstances. He attacks hitters with a mid-to-high-90s fastball in shorts stints, but he dials it back to the 91-94 mile per hour range when he is stretched out to pitch multiple innings. Hess pairs that heater with a power slider that operates as his punch out pitch. It’s an electric duo of offerings that earned him a career rate of 10.94 strikeouts per nine innings.

Hess was utilized as a closer during his freshman days at LSU, where he shined. His high-effort delivery is less of a concern in that role, and there’s more wiggle room for his sometimes spotty command. The Tigers intend to deploy him as a starter for now, despite the chorus of voices in the scouting community crying that he’s not cut out for the role. As a starter, he will need to develop a significantly more effective changeup and throw a few more strikes. If everything clicks for him in that role, his ceiling is that of a mid-rotation arm that strikes plenty of guys, but is prone to getting beat around when he loses his command.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-LSU vs Oregon State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

C Sam McMillan

One of the more intriguing and difficult to understand offensive profiles in the Tigers’ farm system is McMillan. The catcher came in at No. 31 in our voting, one spot away from cracking our list. With phenomenal ability to recognize spin and plenty of patience, McMillan often works long at-bats and fouls off a lot of pitches. His seemingly excellent hand-eye coordination evaporates inside the zone, though, and he appears to have little feel for the barrel. When he digs into one, he can show average power. It just doesn’t happen as often as you might like.

That approach leads to stat lines that have us scratching our heads. He is hitting .233/.394/.297 this year — no, that’s not a typo — and evaluative statistics love it. According to wRC+, that’s a performance 18 percent above average. Even more ambitious is dRC+, calling it 36 percent better than average. Batting average on balls in play (BABIP), our normal indicator of sustainability, doesn’t seems to indicate there is something fishy going on here. It just doesn’t seem like he can continue to have success while struggling to deliver hits or tap into his power.

Early reports on his defense were extremely negative but we have seen him catch on multiple occasions. While there is work to be done, we think he will be fine behind the plate. His work with the glove is nothing remarkable, but it plays, and he needs to develop more consistency with his strong throwing arm. That should come with time.

SS Ryan Kreidler

The token future utility infielder in this year’s draft class, Kreidler is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades. He can defend reasonably well and could stick in the middle infield despite being very large for the position thanks to a decent understanding of how to use his hands in defensive motions. He isn’t the rangiest guy, but he makes all the plays. An extraordinary arm compliments his skillful defense, and he can make it work anywhere in the infield. Unfortunately, he has the mechanical problems you would expect from a 6’4 batter but doesn’t flash a lot of raw power, making him an uninspiring hitter. The Tigers favor this kind of profile, and will give Kreidler plenty of opportunities to prove his worth.

OF Brock Deatherage

Transforming from an anonymous senior sign from North Carolina State to a fanbase darling literally overnight, it’s undeniable that Deatherage can offer some loud performances from time to time. His double-plus speed — he has 32 stolen bases already this year — and above-average raw power give him tantalizing potential. He has worked hard to improve his defense, and the footwork that served him well as a member of the Wolfpack’s football squad has been an asset in right field as well. He’s also fantastic in the clubhouse and interacts extremely well with the media.

What stands in the way of his prospect status is an almost completely nonexistent approach at the plate. While some evaluators believe that he will grow into a more disciplined batter with professional reps, we have some serious doubts that that will be the case. Should Deatherage show any growth in that area, he will rocket to the majors as a fourth outfielder type. Without it, though, he’s playing below his age and will fall out of interest pretty quickly.