For the players ranked 11-20, please see yesterday's article for the remainder of the top 20:
10. Andrew Oliver – Left-handed Pitcher
The 2011 season was a rough one for one of the Tigers premier left-handed pitching prospects. Oliver never found consistency with his mechanics, his command or his breaking ball and as a result he was forced to battle through the year. The Tigers were working to simplify his delivery at the end of the year, causing his numbers to dip even further as the season drew to a close. Nearly all scouts are convinced Oliver ends up in the bullpen, possibly as soon as 2012, where he could still be a power-armed lefty reliever.
9. Tyler Collins – Outfielder
Collins was an under the radar, over slot signing out of Howard Junior College in 2011. His JUCO numbers were out of this world but his transfer away from Baylor caused him to remain relatively unnoticed until the Tigers pulled the trigger. Collins is a very good athlete with a compact body and a broad offensive skill set that could make him an solid player at the big league level.
8. James McCann – Catcher
McCann was the Tigers top pick in the 2011 draft and while his selection was surprising to many fans, that shouldn't cloud the fact that he's a nice player in his own right. He has excellent size and the potential to be a very good defensive player at the pro level. He offers strength and a solid approach at the plate and could be a good defender with pop in the second half of the lineup. McCann could reach High-A in 2012 and may not take long to move through the Tigers system.
7. Brenny Paulino – Right-handed Pitcher
Paulino is one of the highest risers in the system and that comes on the heels of added velocity and a good showing in the Gulf Coast League. Calling Paulino long and lanky doesn't begin to describe his frame. He can already touch the mid-90s with regularity and scouts believe there could be more velocity in their as he matures physically. Paulino's development will require more than additional velocity, as his command and secondary pitches both lag behind.
6. Rob Brantly – Catcher
Brantly gives the Tigers another catcher with the potential to be a contributor at the big league levels. He is a very good athlete for a catcher, playing some right field as an amateur. He moves well behind the plate and has made good strides as a defender since signing, earning positive marks from scouts. He has average to slightly above-average power in his bat and a good approach.
5. Drew Smyly – Left-handed Pitcher
Smyly drew raves from Tiger fans in 2011 as he put up dominating numbers between Lakeland and Erie in his first full season of pro ball. While he isn't the prototypical crafty lefty, Smyly is closer to that profile than he is that of a power pitcher. He mixes his pitches well and has the projection for good command, giving him a chance to be as much as a number three starter in the big leagues. While fans seem to be clamoring for him to earn the fifth starter's spot in Detroit, it is far more likely that he is ready later in the year.
4. Casey Crosby – Left-handed Pitcher
The Tigers got exactly what they needed out of Crosby in 2011, as he stayed healthy and showed electric stuff in a year when he needed to be added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Crosby still has a mid-90s fastball and potential above-average curveball that could make him a solid mid-rotation starter or an outstanding late inning arm. The only obstacle remaining for Crosby to get a look in the big leagues is the number of quality strikes he throws.
3. Danry Vasquez – Outfielder
The Tigers spent big in 2010 to sign Vasquez out of Venezuela, giving him a signing bonus north of $1 million. In his first season as a pro Vasquez showed a natural feel for hitting and a need to improve his approach to get better pitches to hit. He is still very lean and lacks the strength to consistently drive the ball but some scouts believe he could develop better than average power. Vasquez is a very risky prospect but one that could be a plus offensive player down the line.
2. Nick Castellanos – Third Baseman
The best position player prospect in the system, Castellanos could be one of the elite offensive prospects in the game at this time next year. He has a knack for barreling the ball and while he maintains an aggressive approach at the plate, he demonstrated the ability to make adjustments in his debut season, improving each month as the year went on. Castellanos has the skills to stick at third base and the power projection to complete the profile. With another strong year in 2012, the Tigers could be forced to begin considering him for a big league role as late as the end of the 2013 season.
1. Jacob Turner – Right-handed Pitcher
Turner enters the 2012 season with a serious chance at making the Tigers Opening Day rotation as the fifth starter. Turner showed the ability to get big league hitters out in his brief trial in 2011 while also showing that he needs to fine tune some of the nuances of his game. With only modest improvement over the off-season Turner could be both a short term and long term answer for the Tigers rotation. He has the potential for three average or better pitches to go along with plus command, giving him the pure ceiling of a number two starter.
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