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The Detroit Tigers Prospect Report Awards: 2012

The TPR staff and I have made our picks for hitter/pitcher of the year for each team within the Tigers organization. Some big name guys (Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, etc) make an appearance here, as well as some lesser-known guys (Edgar De La Rosa, Tyler Collins).

Detroit Tigers #1 Prospect Nick Castellanos
Detroit Tigers #1 Prospect Nick Castellanos

GCL Tigers (Rookie League):

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Austin Schotts, CF

Schotts was able to showcase the speed, athleticism, and hitting ability that made him worthy of the Tigers 3rd round draft pick. He missed part of the season due to a dislocated finger, which made me consider Harold Castro for this pick, but I decided to go with Schotts in the end due to the overall greatness that he displayed in his 1st season of pro ball. He showcased some pop, very good speed, decent plate discipline, and solid D. He's an exciting prospect.

Jeremy: Austin Schotts, CF

Schotts was impressive in the Gulf Coast League, flashing doubles power and excellent speed. He also adapted pretty well to a new position.

Jordan: Austin Schotts, CF

Although Schotts missed a little bit of time with injury, he still put up the best numbers rather easily. With a .310/.360/.452 triple slash, plus 15 stolen bases, Austin gives the Tigers something they don’t have much of- a dynamic position player, with game changing ability. Look for Schotts to start at West Michigan, as he’ll only be 19 for the start of next season, but end the year in Lakeland if he continues to progress.

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Jake Thompson, RHP

Thompson was very impressive in his 1st season of pro ball, showcasing the power arm and pitchability that made him the Tigers first selection in the draft. Thompson is a big kid already with some room to grow, and I think we'll see a little bit of added velo as he matures. He already sits 91-92 with good life, while flashing projectable secondary pitches. He struck out more than a batter per inning, while keeping his WHIP under 1. Very exciting prospect

Jeremy: Jake Thompson, RHP

In 7 starts this season, Thompson only went 1-2, but posted a 1.91 ERA and a .149 BAA. He averaged just under 1 walk per 3 innings and struck out better than a batter per. His best pitch is a fastball that touches the mid 90's and has potential for more as he develops.

Jordan: Yorfrank Lopez, RHP

Lopez has been in the Tiger organization since 2009 playing in the VSL and DSL, and this was his first time coming state side. While he is a bit old for the GCL at 22, Lopez’ numbers were rather impressive. In 54 innings, Lopez allowed only 44 hits and a .219 BAA, striking out 57 and only walking 12. He also had a 2.32 ERA for the season, including a 1.51 ERA in his last 10 appearances

Connecticut Tigers (Class A-Short Season)

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Danry Vasquez, OF

Vasquez began the year at West Michigan, where he struggled mightily, but at 18, that's to be expected. He went to Connecticut, where he raked for the entirety of the season. The HR power hasn't developed yet, but I see future 20+ HR potential based on his swing, he just hasn't developed the strength yet. Future star potential here, a real hitting machine

Jeremy: Danry Vasquez, OF

Vasquez is one of the unheralded gems of the organization. He had a good season in Connecticut, hitting .311 in 72 games. He’s only 18 and he’s very raw, but he’s definitely one to watch, especially when he puts some muscle on.

Jordan: Danry Vasquez, OF

Danry Vazquez received 1.2 million in the summer of 2010, and it’s about time to see him providing dividends to the Tigers. The Venezuelan started at low a ball this season, and was absolutely torn apart, posting just a .162/.218/222 triple slash in 100 AB. However, upon demotion to the New York Penn League, Vazquez posted a .311/.341/.401, good for a .742 OPS. Vazquez has excellent hands, a sweet swing, and an excellent profile to hit for average. Let’s see how he does next year when he repeats Low-A, and if he can make some adjustments.

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Edgar De La Rosa, RHP

I'm partial to starting pitching when it comes to awards such as this, so that's why I went with De La Rosa over perhaps more deserving bullpen arms (Turley, etc). De La Rosa is a guy who fits the bill of imposing, hard-throwing right handers. He's 6'6", and is already sitting in the mid 90's with his fastball, and has been clocked as high as 98-99 in small doses. He's an exciting prospect to watch, and he could be a fast mover in the organization if he's able to make a similar leap in production in 2013 as he did in 2012

Jeremy, Efrain Nieves, LHP

The 23 year-old lefty went 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA for Connecticut. He struck out 42 batters and walked only 8 in 42 innings. Opponents batted .181 off him.

Jordan: Josh Turley, LHP

No one’s numbers really stood out on the Connecticut Tigers besides Turley’s. He posted a 1.06 ERA in 34 innings, striking out 25, walking only 5, and only allowing 23 hits in 34 innings. As a 16th round pick the odds are already stacked against him, but keep an eye on Turley next season at Low A ball.

West Michigan Whitecaps (Class A)

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Eugenio Saurez, SS

While Saurez does not have star potential, he does show the potential to be an everyday shortstop in the major leagues. He has an easy plus glove, with a good arm and good speed. To me, his floor is that of a defensive-minded utility guy, but I think he'll hit enough to start eventually. He showed excellent extra base power this season with 34 doubles and 5 triples, while still managing to hit 6 HR's. He added 21 SB as well, showing that he's indeed a well-rounded player.

Jeremy: Eugenio Saurez, SS

If you’re a regular at TPR then you know how much I love Suarez. He’s already a .290 hitter with doubles power and excellent plate discipline. He’s fast and won an MiLB Gold Glove. What’s not to like?

Jordan: Eugenio Saurez, SS

Suarez is now regarded as the SS of the future for the Tigers organization. He held his own at West Michigan this season, hitting .288/.380/.409 with 21 steals. At 21 years old, Suarez has held his own at every level in the Tigers organization, and should make his way into top 10 prospect lists for the org this offseason. There has been talk of starting Eugenio in AA next season and bypassing Lakeland altogether. I think that says more about the Tigers’ opinion of Jhonny Peralta than their opinion of Suarez himself, but that’s just me. For his sake, I hope he gets 100-150 AB in Lakeland first, and let’s see how he does. This is definitely a player to be excited about going forward, though

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Marcelo Carreno, RHP

If I were giving out awards based on projection, I'd probably go with Kyle Ryan here (I'm a Kyle Ryan slappy, sue me), but Carreno is easily worthy of this award based on what he did in 2012. Very good strikeout numbers, limited walks, good innings pitched, etc, Carreno brought the whole package to the WMI rotation this season. I'd like to see him improve his groundball %, but he's still young. Look for him in Lakeland in 2013

Jeremy: Marcelo Carreno, RHP

This 6’1’’, 170-pound righty was the Whitecaps’ best pitcher this season, going 9-8 with a 3.23 ERA. He walked only 28 in 139.1 innings while striking out 119. It might be hard to crack the Tigers’ rotation in the next few years, but keep an eye Carreno.

Jordan: Marcelo Carreno, RHP

Carreno has steadily climbed the ladder in the Tigers organization since 2008, playing in the VSL, the NYP, and finally Low A this season. The Venezuelan made 27 starts for the Whitecaps, logging 139 innings. In those innings, he only allowed 129 hits and 28 walks, while striking out 119. Carreno has probably worked his way onto the top 50 prospect list for the Tigers organization, and should move up to A+ ball next season.

Lakeland Flying Tigers (Class A-Advanced)

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Tyler Collins, OF

Here's where it got a little complicated for me, because Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia could easily win this award, but since they spent the majority of their seasons in AA, Collins (albeit deservedly) gets the award. Collins is a guy in the 4th OF mold who can flat out rake. His power numbers were a bit skewed by the fact that Joker Marchant Stadium is a pitcher-friendly park, but you can look past the 7 HR's and see the 35 doubles, and reasonably guess that in a neutral park, Collins pops out 10-12 HR's rather than 7. Collins is a guy I'm very high on, as he commands the strike zone very well, walks a good amount, doesn't strike out exorbitantly, hits for average, will hit for decent power, and runs pretty well (20 SB). He's a fringe defender at best, which will limit his ceiling, but I still see a 4th OF in the major leagues at worst, with his potential being an average everyday LF.

Jeremy: Tyler Collins, OF

Collins was terrific in Lakeland this season, hitting .290/.371/.429/.800. He homered only 7 times, but smacked 35 doubles, 5 triples, and stole 20 bases. Collins isn’t much with the glove, but he’s dynamite pretty much everywhere else.

Jordan: Tyler Collins, OF

Unfortunately, Nick Castellanos doesn’t qualify for this award because he didn’t play enough in A+ ball. Even if he’d have hit .150 for the remainder of the season for Lakeland, he’d still have won this award based on his unbelievable start to the season. However, of the full time Lakeland players, Collins had the best year. While there are questions regarding his power potential at the big league level, it’s apparent that the 6th round pick from 2011 can hit right now. Collins put up an impressive .290/.371/.429 slash line, with 20 steals and 35 doubles. He also walked 58 times while only striking out 64. I fully expect Collins to start out at AA next season, and could even make a big league appearance as early as next season based on his performance.

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Tyler Clark, RHP

As a late round pick, Clark is going to have to prove himself at every level if he wants to make the majors, but in 2012 he was arguably the best reliever in the Tigers organization, outside of maybe Bruce Rondon. Striking out well over a batter per inning, while limiting his walks, and allowing opponents to hit only .137 against him are all signs of a dominant reliever. Perhaps most impressive, to me at least, was that Clark showed the ability to be dominant for longer than 1 inning at a time. Several times he was called on to record saves longer than 1 inning, and did so very effectively.

Jeremy:: Tyler Clark, RHP

Clark was incredible for the Flying Tigers this season: 6-1, 0.63 ERA, 9 saves, 59 strikeouts in 42.2 innings, and a .137 batting average against. He was promoted to Erie late in the season and struggled, but his future is still bright.

Jordan: Victor Larez/Matt Crouse

These two were extremely close. Their lines were virtually identical. Larez put up a 1.72 ERA in 68 innings, with 48 H, 29 BB and 59 K, while Crouse had a 1.91 ERA in 70.2 IP, with 49 H, 25 BB and 47 K. Crouse is a converted starter, and if Larez seems like he’s been in the Tiger system since 1923, then you’re right. This is his 7th season in the org. including VSL ball. Both are marginal prospects at best, but had very nice years coming in relief for Lakeland.

Erie Seawolves (Class AA)

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Jordan Lennerton, 1B

Yes, Avisail Garcia could get this award easily, but he spent the majority of his time at Lakeland. Lennerton became the first Seawolve since Brennan Boesch (lolwut?) in 2009 to hit 20+ HR's, and he did so while also leading the team in 2B, BB, SLG%, OBP%, and OPS (and K's), while playing very good D at 1B. He's not really a major league prospect due to age, but he could end up being a Brad Eldred/Mike Hessman type up-and-down power guy if all goes well.

Jeremy: Nick Castellanos/Avisail Garcia

Castellanos and Garcia are really 1A and 1B. Castellanos is the contact hitter and Futures Game MVP with star hitter potential, and Garcia is the freakishly athletic potential 5-tool player already in the show.

Jordan: Jordan Lennerton, 1B

Once again, this was based on opportunity. If Rob Brantly hadn’t been traded, or Avi Garcia wasn’t called up to the big leagues, this award would be one awarded to whomever ended the season better. However, with both gone from Erie’s lineup, Lennerton was the process of elimination winner here. While Jordan looks to be an organizational soldier, he’s a pretty good one. In 495 AB, Lennerton put up a .269/.368/.469 triple slash, while bombing 21 homers and 34 doubles. Maybe Lennerton can bomb his way to AAA next season, but don’t expect to see him in Detroit any time soon, unless there are a few injuries.

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Bruce Rondon, RHP

There is some debate as to whether or not Rondon qualifies here, since he split his season between 3 levels, but dammit I'm the editor. Rondon is the Tigers best relief prospect by a wide margin, showing an 80 fastball that sits in the high 90's and has been clocked as high as 102-103, with solid but not spectacular off speed stuff. He's the Tigers future closer, and due to his development in the areas of control and command, I think we'll see him in Detroit in 2013.

Jeremy: Bruce Rondon, RHP

You’ve probably heard of this flamethrowing Venezuelan righty. He recorded a 0.83 ERA and 12 saves during his stint in Erie, striking out better than a batter per inning. He is the closer of the future in Detroit.

Jordan: Ramon Garcia, RHP

Erie’s pitching staff was downright awful this year. There was no good choice for pitcher of the year. They have no starting pitching prospects, and a couple only a couple of fringe relievers. Obviously Bruce Rondon would have been the award winner had he pitched the entire season in Erie, yet he only threw 21 innings, so it’s difficult to give him the award. Garcia is another organizational soldier, a 28 year old this time, who had a nice year, making 21 starts for the AA Seawolves. In this 21 starts, he threw 131 innings, allowing 139 hits, 29 walks, 87 K, and a 3.96 ERA. In 6 starts for AAA Toledo, he was absolutely lit up, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Garcia in AA again next year.

Toledo Mud Hens (Class AAA)

Hitter of the Year

Brian: Ben Guez, OF

I would give this to Brad Eldred, but he was sold to Japan during the season, and Guez is the next best option for me (close with Justin Henry though). Guez fills the role of up-and-down 5th OF for me, and there is a little bit of major league potential there. Guez was good for an .834 OPS this season, with 20 2B, 6 3B, and 6 HR with 11 SB in limited AB's due to injury. To be brutally honest, Toledo didn't have much in the way of legitimate prospects this season, but Guez wins this award for me.

Jeremy: Jerad Head, OF

The Mud Hens were a poor offensive team in 2012, but got a great year out of 29 year-old former Cleveland Indian Jerad Head. He hit 268/.353/.451/.804 with 12 homers and 9 steals in 85 games.

Jordan: Brad Eldred, 1B/DH

Even though he probably didn’t have enough AB, and was shipped off to Japan midseason, Eldred’s first 2 ½ months were so preposterous that he had to win this award. With a .305/.374/.695! triple slash, and 24 home runs in only 236 AB, Eldred tore the cover off the ball in AAA. He proved once again however that he’s a AAAA player, struggling in 20 or so AB for the big club before being sold to Japan’s Hiroshima Carp.

Pitcher of the Year

Brian: Adam Wilk, LHP

Wilk was dominant in AAA, but got hit around pretty badly in his brief time with Detroit. He's a feel and command LHP without a dominant out pitch, but he could still find a role in the majors as a long reliever and spot starter if he maintains his command. He led Toledo's SP in all the major categories, and is the only member of the staff truly deserving of this award.

Jeremy: Adam Wilk, LHP

Wilk still retains prospect status, and does have some major league potential. The lefty had a fine season, posting a 2.77 ERA and holding opposing batters to a .221 average. He also exhibited excellent control, issuing only 28 walks in 150 innings. His win-loss record was a pedestrian 7-11, but it was through no fault of his own.

Jordan: Adam Wilk, LHP

Wilk performed admirably in AAA this season, and it’s apparent that he’s too good for AAA hitters, but probably not good enough to get outs at the MLB level, unless it’s in a LOOGY capacity. Wilk put up an extremely impressive season at AAA. 149 innings, only 123 hits allowed, 28 BB and 128 K. With a whip holding strong at 1.01, and a 2.77 ERA, the soft-tossing left hander dominated AAA for the Tigers this season. He’ll probably get some more shots in Detroit in the next few years, but I wouldn’t expect much.