Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
While it's a bit unfair as he's battled a hamstring injury all season, the reality is that if Dixon Machado isn't able to get healthy and get productive this summer, it's tough to keep him much near a prospect chart. He's already been passed by the likes of Hernan Perez and Eugenio Suarez on the top prospect list for middle infielders after hitting .195 in Lakeland last year. And while there were signs that he had put on much needed muscle and weight this off-season, he's played in only four games as he's dealt with the hamstring injury. If he's unable to return and be productive this summer, that makes two straight years of largely unproductive play, including a year in which he was largely idle and lost valuable development time. For Machado, the time is now to get healthy and get productive.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
It may seem like a stretch to say that Tyler Collins will fall off the prospect map barring a strong second half, but in reality, that statement is at least partially true. In his first exposure to Double-A, Collins has struggled to a .217/.326/.415 line in 62 games. Frequently lauded by fans as a guy that would hit his way to a job as a big league regular, scouts remained skeptical entering this year; projecting him as more of an extra outfielder or bench bat. Based on the results this year, Collins not only appears to be proving the scouts right, but making look they weren't pessistic enough. Collins has made few adjustments to opposing pitchers this year and there are open questions about his feel for the game and whether or not he can make those necessary adjustments. The idea of Tyler Collins as an everyday player had long vanished from the radar, and without a strong showing at the plate in the second half, the idea of him as a bat-first extra outfielder will fade just as quickly.
James Chipman, Lakeland Correspondent
First baseman Aaron Westlake checked in as the Tigers 41st best prospect in the TigsTown Top 50 earlier this year. Despite being selected in the third round of the 2011 draft, Westlake has failed to really put everything together and emerge as a legitimate top prospect. This season in Lakeland, Westlake is noticeably struggling with the advanced pitching of the Florida State League. Much like our Director of Scouting Mark Anderson warned us, Westlake's bat speed has been no match for premium velocity and secondary offerings have often tied him up at the plate. Westlake is striking out at alarming 27% clip and his walks are down from 10% to 6% this season. On a positive note, Westlake's .269 batting-average and .716 OPS this season are career highs. Unfortunately Westlake hasn't played since late May and he's almost 25 years old. In danger of dropping out of the Top 50, Westlake must get healthy and put up stellar numbers in the second half to remain a relevant prospect.
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