The 2013 TigsTown Top Ten
Surprise! Castellanos is #1
Surprise! Castellanos is #1
Managing Editor
Posted Mar 21, 2013
Mark Anderson headshot


The time has come - with spring training for both the big and minor league clubs under way, TigsTown releases its top ten prospects in the Tigers organization!

1. Nick Castellanos (OF)
There is little doubt that Castellanos is the top prospect in the system, after all, he is one of the top hitting prospects in all the minor leagues. With a move to the outfield, his path to the big leagues has been cleared, assuming he makes enough strides defensively to be adequate at the position. He is a natural born hitter with good pitch recognition skills, an innate feel for hard contact and plenty of raw power. His peak could see him develop into a prototypical number three hitter with average and power, and that peak may not be far away.

2. Bruce Rondon (RHP)
Very rarely will I rank a relief prospect this highly on any list. Then again, very rarely do relief prospects of this caliber come along. Rondon is a freak of nature. His fastball is an overpowering beast that sits comfortably in the 97-99 mph range and regularly works above 100 mph. Both his slider and his change-up show flashes of being at least average pitches and he is willing to throw them when he's ahead in the count. Rondon is a future closer if ever there was one and he could take over that role in Detroit in 2013, and never look back.

3. Avisail Garcia (OF)
Garcia finally mastered High-A in 2012 and moved on to Double-A where he continued to flash the raw tools that have excited scouts for several years. When the Tigers needed outfield help down the stretch, it was Garcia that received the call, both for his defensive abilities and offensive promise. Garcia is a top-notch defender that can handle enter field if asked. His arm is a plus tool as well. Garcia has natural hitting ability and his premium frame makes for easy power projection if he can tap into it in game situations. Garcia has the tools to be special, but enough warts to temper that enthusiasm with a projection more in the above-average realm.

4. Danry Vasquez (OF)
Fans may have been discouraged by Vasquez's struggles at West Michigan in 2012, but he redeemed himself and should have redeemed the fans faith in him with a strong showing in the New York-Penn League. With a fluid left-handed swing and a natural feel for the barrel, Vasquez makes easy contact and shows an ability to use the whole field extremely well. His power doesn't always come through in games, but he does have pop in his skinny frame. There is a lot of projection required to see Vasquez as a big leaguer, but he has the offensive tools to stand out as he moves through the system.

5. Casey Crosby (LHP)
Crosby has been on the prospect radar for several years and many fans may be suffering from "prospect fatigue" when it comes to this young lefty. Despite injuries and inconsistencies along the way, Crosby still projects as a quality big league piece, whether at the back of the rotation or in the bullpen. He has learned to add and subtract from his fastball to allow for better command and to keep hitters off balance, and he still has 96-97 mph in his back pocket when he needs it. He compliments that heater with arguably the system's best curveball, making him a dynamic lefty that should be up for an extended stretch in 2013.

6. Steven Moya (OF)
Don't forget about Moya just because he underwent Tommy John surgery at mid-season. He will be back in 2013 and from all accounts in Lakeland this summer and fall, he might be even more beastly than he was before. A massive human, Moya is a 6-foot-6 monster with surprising athleticism, and now the muscle mass befitting his frame. Moya's calling card is his 80-grade raw power, but he has shown a surprising ability to develop his hit tool and defense, giving him a tremendous raw ceiling. He could be poised to explode in 2013.

7. Jake Thompson (RHP)
The Tigers top pick -- second round -- in June, Thompson has surprising polish for his age, backed up by quality stuff. His fastball sits in the low-90s and can touch 94, while his breaking ball and change-up both show promise. Thompson is a thickly built guy that looks the part of a workhorse mid-rotation starter. He has the feel for his craft and raw stuff to head to West Michigan in 2013 and there are some scouts that believe his timetable will be quicker than most high-school arms.

8. Austin Schotts (OF)
Picked one round later than Thompson, Schotts is an outstanding athlete that has a good feel for the game, despite not focusing on baseball throughout high school. He has 70-grade speed that plays on the bases and in center field, making him a threat in both areas. He knows how to make contact and shows some gap power. His approach will need to develop as he faces better competition, but if things come together, he could evolve into a top of the lineup threat that plays quality defense in the middle of the diamond.

9. James McCann (C)
It is easy to be disappointed in McCann's profile given that he was a second round pick in a loaded 2011 draft. He's not flashy and he doesn't really stand out in any way. He just grows on you the more you watch him. McCann is a quality receiver, works well with his staff and has the arm strength and quick feet to have good catch-and-throw skills. He is a big strong kid with power in his bat but a questionable approach that prevents him from tapping into his best offensive tool. Even without significant improvement from his current skill level, McCann should be an MLB backup. If he improves at the plate, he has a chance to provide more support than that.

10. Drew VerHagen (RHP)
The Tigers went over slot to bring Verhagen into the fold this summer and when you see him on the mound it is easy to see why. A physical specimen, Verhagen is an imposing presence on the mound and his fastball matches his stature. He can bump 95-96 mph with his four-seamer and sits just a half tick lower than that. He shows some feel for a change-up and his breaking ball lags behind, leaving him in a tough spot as a starter. If either pitch improves significantly with pro instruction, Verhagen has mid-rotation potential. With just the fastball and a modest change-up, he could still have a future as a setup man.


Related Stories
Tigers Prospect Profile #11: Tyler Collins
 -by TigsTown.com  Mar 20, 2013
Transaction Blog: Castellanos Sent to Minors
 -by TigsTown.com  Mar 19, 2013
Tigers Prospect Profile #12: Eugenio Suarez
 -by TigsTown.com  Mar 19, 2013

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