50. Luis Marte – Right-handed Pitcher
For the third straight year, Marte lands inside the Top 50 on our list, but this time with more questions than answers. He still has the above-average fastball that can touch 94-95, and a big league slider, but his arm has had health problems the last two years, and a permanent move to the bullpen appears to be imminent.
49. Duane Below – Left-handed Pitcher
Tommy John surgery brought Below's 2009 season to a halt, but not before he dominated the Florida State League to start the year before moving on to Double-A Erie. Below's recovery is going well and he is expected to be ready for game action sometime during spring training; meaning he can continue his breakout in 2010.
48. Steven Moya – Outfield
A massive young man, Moya has prodigious power in his bat, and a thirst for learning and improving. While he is raw offensively, he does show some aptitude for controlling the strike zone, and he improved throughout the year in his ability to recognize breaking pitches. He may take a while, but he has a ton of potential as an offensive monster.
47. Andrew Dirks – Outfield
Dirks has a broad skill set, though none of his tools really stands out as that one big league tool. His collection of parts leaves him as a likely fourth outfielder, but he is capable of handling all three outfield slots, while hitting enough to be a contributor when he's in the lineup, and playing with a reckless abandon that manager's love.
46. Alexander Nunez – Second Base
Nunez has done nothing but hit since joining the organization, showing an above-average hit tool, a good concept of the strike zone, and some surprising pop for a second sacker. Defensively he is solid in every phase, and he has shown improvement with his instincts and double-play turns. Nunez is an extremely hard worker with an infectious love for the game.
45. Scot Drucker – Right-handed Pitcher
Drucker has average stuff across the board, and he competes hard every time he takes the hill. He can fill a variety of roles on a pitching staff, and that versatility combined with getting back to full health, could land Drucker a job in Detroit at some point in 2010.
44. Edwin Gomez – Shortstop
The Tigers fourth round pick in 2009, Gomez is very, very raw, but also shows outstanding talent as well. A lanky athlete, Gomez moves fluidly on the field, and there are some scouts that think he can stick at shortstop long term. He has potential to hit for average and some power, but translating his raw tools to game action could take a while.
43. Matt Hoffman – Left-handed Pitcher
Hoffman was pushed aggressively to High-A after a hot start at West Michigan in 2009, and he had his share of struggles with such a daunting assignment. Hoffman has an average fastball that flashes better than that, and his curveball could be a second above-average pitch with more consistency. A return engagement in Lakeland could see Hoffman emerge as an even better prospect.
42. Melvin Mercedes – Right-handed Pitcher
Mercedes has no-doubt closer stuff, and he could race up the prospect lists in 2010. Though his command is suspect much of the time, there is no denying Mercedes' heavy fastball that sits at 92-95 and touches 96. Mercedes also mixes in an above-average slider with swing and miss potential.
41. Francisco Martinez – Third Base
Martinez' stateside debut has left him with definitive areas where improvement is needed in 2010, but many scouts still see a player capable of hitting for average, stealing bases, and playing quality defense. He is a very good athlete, with a lanky frame that still has room to add strength. He is more raw than initially thought, but the tools are there to re-emerge as a top prospect.
The time has come yet again for TigsTown to release its top 50 prospects. Over the next five months, we'll be counting down from number 50 all the way to the top prospect in the organization. First up, prospects 50-41.
The time has come yet again for TigsTown to start releasing its top 50 prospects.