20. Casey Crosby – Left-handed Pitcher
There was a bit of good news surrounding Crosby in recent weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily change the fact that in three professional seasons since signing as a 5th round pick, Crosby has missed two of them with injury. When healthy he has a plus-plus fastball that can touch 97 on the gun.
19. Gustavo Nunez – Shortstop
The bat didn’t inspire much hope in 2010, but that didn’t stop scouts from turning him in as a big leaguer on his glove alone. Nunez is a brilliant defender with outstanding first step quickness, good hands, and a plus arm. He can play anywhere on the infield, but truly shines at shortstop. His 80-grade speed gives him at least one offensive weapon.
18. Brandon Douglas – Second Baseman
Douglas has arguably the best hit tool in the Tigers system, and he can spray the ball from line to line with ease. While he doesn’t have much power, he could hit .300-plus at just about any level of baseball. Though he has played shortstop in the past, Douglas is a second baseman only and there’s plenty of guys above him on the depth chart.
17. Josue Carreno – Right-handed Pitcher
Carreno is a prime example of why it is so difficult to project 16 and 17-year old kids as big leaguers. Previously the owner of average command of his entire arsenal, Carreno shot up a couple of inches and added plenty of good mass to his frame, bumping his fastball to the above-average range, and now he has to wait for the command to catch up again.
16. Wade Gaynor – Third Baseman
The Tigers 3rd round pick in 2009, Gaynor got his bat going last year in West Michigan after a rough pro debut in the New York-Penn League. An exceptional athlete, Gaynor offers above-average speed and power, along with an outstanding work ethic. Most scouts wonder if he can stick at third, but he has the athletic ability to play elsewhere.
15. Ryan Strieby – First Baseman
Few can deny Strieby’s plus to plus-plus raw power, solid hitting ability, and sound understanding of the strike zone. However, many can question whether he will ever be able to fully utilize those tools. Strieby has missed significant time the last three years with a wrist injury that has yet to allow him to get back to full strength. The 2011 season is a big year for a player that now stands without a home in Detroit with Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez entrenched in the lineup.
14. Jose Ortega – Right-handed Pitcher
Not the prototypical Tigers fire baller at just 5-foot11, but Ortega can still bring the heat. Armed with a fastball that works consistently at 93-95, he can touch 97 regularly during his relief outings. His slider gives him a potential second plus pitch. His small stature leaves the ball coming in a bit flat, but when he’s on, Ortega’s fastball explodes at the plate and can be tough to square up.
13. Cale Iorg – Shortstop
Often overshadowed by his poor batting average and on-base percentage, Iorg is a rare commodity among prospects. He possesses four tools that rate as big league average or better on the 20-80 scouting scale. His speed, glove, arm, and power all rate very well, with only his hit tool posing a problem. He might never hit more than he has in his minor league career, but he’s still a big leaguer on his glove alone.
12. Avisail Garcia – Outfielder
Garcia is a tooled up kid that’s been pushed aggressively through the system. He profiles very well in right field defensively, though he has the instincts and speed to handle center field if needed. His arm is well above-average and some scouts believe it will be a legit plus tool or better down the line. Garcia’s frame is built for power but he has yet to tap into that strength in game situations. If it all comes together, Garcia could be a game changing player.
11. Casper Wells – Outfielder
Wells enter Major League spring training with a very good chance at landing on the Tigers Opening Day roster in the Bronx. He still has huge raw power, above-average speed and defense, and a rocket arm in the outfield, but he also remains a very streaky player that profiles well in a bench role. Wells’ makeup and raw physical ability could keep him on an MLB roster for quite a while.