Tigers Top-15 Prospects of 2011
1. Jacob Turner | RHP | Age – 19 | Grade – B+
2. Nick Castellanos | 3b | Age – 19 | Grade – B
3. Andy Oliver | LHP | Age – 23 | Grade – B/B-
4. Daniel Fields | CF | Age – 20 | Grade – B-/B
5. Casey Crosby | LHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B-
6. Chance Ruffin | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B-
7. Drew Smyly | LHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+
8. Danry Vasquez | OF | Age – 17 | Grade – C+
9. Francisco Martinez | 3b | Age – 20 | Grade – C+
10. Bruce Rondon | RHP | Age – 20 | Grade – C+
11. Brayan Villareal | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+
12. Jose Ortega | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+
13. Josue Carreno | RHP | Age – 19 | Grade – C+
14. Kevin Eichhorn | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+
15. Avisail Garcia | RF | Age – 19 | Grade – C
› Prospect Primer (Grading Criteria Explained)
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› Index of 2011 Top Prospect Lists
› Index of Last Year’s Top Prospect Lists
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› 2010 Tigers Top Prospects
ALSO SEE – Tigers Top Prospects, No’s 1 – 5
Grades are based on a prospect’s projected value over the course of his career and how likely it is that prospect will fulfill his projected value. Various factors are accounted for including upside, red flags, actual performance, and closeness to the majors. See the 2011 Top Prospect List Primer for more information as it relates to prospect grading and philosophy.
Hitters must have 100 or fewer Major League ABs to qualify for this list. Starting pitchers must have 50 or fewer Major League innings to qualify. Relief pitchers must have 25 or fewer Major League innings to qualify. Ages are listed as of May 1st, 2011. Levels are based on the highest level in which a prospect played in 2010. All grades are subject to change based on any new information I receive before the season starts.
Prospects 1 and 6 are available for everyone to read. All other scouting reports can be accessed by Premium Members only.
Quick Rundown on Prospects 6 – 15
- 6. Chance Ruffin | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – B- … See his in-depth report below…
- 7. Drew Smyly | LHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+ … I see him more as a back of the rotation starter than a middle of the rotation one.
- 8. Danry Vasquez | OF | Age – 17 | Grade – C+ … Not a whole lot of information is out there on Vasquez, but his upside justifies his ranking ahead of other prospects on this list.
- 9. Francisco Martinez | 3b | Age – 20 | Grade – C+ … He’s got some interesting tools, but I worry about how well his power plays at third base. He has to re-work his swing to generate more loft so he can get more balls in the air.
- 10. Bruce Rondon | RHP | Age – 20 | Grade – C+ … He’s raw, but has an outstanding fastball…control improved as the season progressed.
- 11. Brayan Villareal | RHP | Age – 23 | Grade – C+ … Continues to prove doubters wrong by posting strong numbers at higher levels of competition…a good candidate to move to the bullpen.
- 12. Jose Ortega | RHP | Age – 22 | Grade – C+ … Undersized but with a powr arm…a possible set up man.
- 13. Josue Carreno | RHP | Age – 19 | Grade – C+ … Stocky right hander has two potential above average to plus pitches.
- 14. Kevin Eichhorn | RHP | Age – 21 | Grade – C+ … Acquired from Arizona, he’s an undersized pitcher who throws strikes and features a very good curveball…needs to add a little more velocity to his stuff to maximize effectiveness.
- 15. Avisail Garcia | RF | Age – 19 | Grade – C … Improved from his initial season with West Michigan, but was still overmatched at times. Still very young for his league.
- HONORABLE MENTIONS (in no particular order) – Tyler Clark (RHP) | Rob Brantly (C) | Lester Oliveros (RHP) | Alex Burgos (LHP) | Luis Marte (RHP) | Argenis Diaz (SS) | Luke Putkonen (RHP) | Casey Fien (RHP) | John Murrian (C) | Alex Nunez (SS) | Anthony Shawler (RHP) | Ramon Lebron (RHP) | Michael Torrealba (RHP) | Ryan Strieby (1b) | Ryan Robowski (LHP) | Brian Holaday (C) | Casper Wells (OF) | Charlie Furbush (LHP) | Wade Gaynor (3b) | Andy Dirks (OF) | Ben Guez (RF) | Dixon Machado (SS) | Tony Plagman (1b) | Miguel Mejia (RHP) | Kyle Ryan (LHP)
- *Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, Scott Sizemore, and Robbie Weinhardt are no longer considered prospects based on the criteria set forth for these lists.
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Fastball – 55 Now | 55 Future
Slider – 55 | 60
Control – 50 | 60
Command – 50 | 55
Pitchability – 50 | 60
ETA – 2012
Final Grade – B-
Body Type – Not a real physical player…reminds many of another former Texas closer: Huston Street
Fastball – Not an overpowering pitch, but it’s typically clocked in the low 90′s and will touch as high as 93 or 94. The pitch has good life and plenty of run, making it difficult for hitters to center it.
Slider – More of slurve type pitch…Ruffin can vary the break and velocity of the pitch. His low – mid 80′s version is the harder version, with more lateral break, while the slower version is clocked in the mid-70′s with a loopier, bigger break and more depth.
Ruffin uses his breaking ball liberally, which keeps hitters off his fastball. However, the pitch is also inconsistent and he’s known to occasionally leave one hanging for hitters to hammer.
Chance Ruffin was a real solid starter for Texas in 2009, but he volunteered to close for the team in 2010. From the get-go, the move seemed to make sense. Ruffin is mostly a two-pitch pitcher and I’m not sure his body type is well suited to start over the long term. In addition, Ruffin has a closer’s mentality, both in aggressively going after hitters and bouncing back after a rough outing.
Ruffin doesn’t have the prettiest mechanics, but they’re effective. I’d like to see his hips moving forward a little sooner to pick up momentum, but he’s got a decent tempo at around 23 or 24 frames despite a very high leg kick. His arm action is a little loopy, but he repeats it well, generating good arm speed. He also does a solid job of firming up his glove side though I’d maybe raise the glove just slight…that’s nitpicking, however.
*Credit to the MLB Scouting Bureau
Ruffin finishes his pitches well, getting excellent extension at release. This helps make up for his lack of height.
At Texas, Ruffin was particularly good at missing bats. He struck out over 13 batters per nine innings, while limiting the number of walks he allowed. That said, he could improve his ability to command his pitches within the strike zone.
Ruffin has a chance to move quickly through the Tigers sytem.
Best Case Outcome – Possible closer or a very good set up man
More Likely Outcome – Well above average reliever.
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