2014 Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects


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With one of baseball’s best offenses and a dominant rotation, the Tigers won the American League Central and reached the AL Championship Series for the third straight season in 2013.

TOP 10 PROSPECTS
1. Nick Castellanos, 3b/of
2. Devon Travis, 2b
3. Bruce Rondon, rhp
4. Robbie Ray, lhp
5. Jake Thompson, rhp
6. Jonathon Crawford, rhp
7. Corey Knebel, rhp
8. Eugenio Suarez, ss/2b
9. Domingo Leyba, ss/2b
10. Hernan Perez, 2b/ss
BEST TOOLS
Best Hitter for Average Nick Castellanos
Best Power Hitter Steven Moya
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Devon Travis
Fastest Baserunner Austin Schotts
Best Athlete Austin Schotts
Best Fastball Bruce Rondon
Best Curveball Corey Knebel
Best Slider Jonathon Crawford
Best Changeup Jose Alvarez
Best Control Jose Alvarez
Best Defensive Catcher James McCann
Best Defensive Infielder Dixon Machado
Best Infield Arm Dixon Machado
Best Defensive Outfielder Daniel Fields
Best Outfield Arm Steven Moya
TOP 15 PLAYERS 25 AND UNDER
No Player, Pos (Age) Peak Level
1. Nick Castellanos, 3b/of (22) Majors
2. Jose Iglesias, ss (24) Majors
3. Rick Porcello, rhp (25) Majors
4. Drew Smyly, lhp (24) Majors
5. Devon Travis, 2b (23) High Class A
6. Bruce Rondon, rhp (23) Majors
7. Robbie Ray, lhp (22) Double-A
8. Jake Thompson, rhp (20) Low Class A
9. Jonathon Crawford, rhp (22) Short-season
10. Corey Knebel, rhp (22) Low Class A
11. Eugenio Suarez, ss/2b (22) Double-A
12. Domingo Leyba, ss/2b (18) Rookie
13. Hernan Perez, 2b/ss (23) Majors
14. Kevin Ziomek, lhp (22) Short-season
15. James McCann, c (23) Double-A
TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Kyle Sleeth, rhp Out of baseball
2005 Curtis Granderson, of Yankees
2006 Justin Verlander, rhp Tigers
2007 Cameron Maybin, of Padres
2008 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2009 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2010 Jacob Turner, rhp Marlins
2011 Jacob Turner, rhp Marlins
2012 Jacob Turner, rhp Marlins
2013 Nick Castellanos, of Tigers
TOP DRAFT PICKS OF THE DECADE
Year Player, Pos. 2013 Org.
2004 Justin Verlander, rhp Tigers
2005 Cameron Maybin, of Padres
2006 Andrew Miller, lhp Red Sox
2007 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2008 Ryan Perry, rhp Nationals
2009 Jacob Turner, rhp Marlins
2010 Nick Castellanos, 3b (1st round supp.) Tigers
2011 James McCann, c (2nd round) Tigers
2012 Jake Thompson, rhp (2nd round) Tigers
2013 Jonathon Crawford, rhp Tigers
LARGEST BONUSES IN CLUB HISTORY
Jacob Turner, 2009 $4,700,000
Rick Porcello, 2007 $3,580,000
Andrew Miller, 2006 $3,550,000
Eric Munson, 1999 $3,500,000
Nick Castellanos, 2010 $3,450,000
Tigers Team Page
Last Year’s Tigers Top 10 Prospects
2013 Draft: Tigers
2013 Draft Report Cards: Detroit TigersPremium
Complete Index of Top 10 Prospects

While the Tigers couldn’t get back to the World Series after falling to the Red Sox in six games in the ALCS, general manager Dave Dombrowski has built the Tigers into the perennial favorite in the AL Central with a series of savvy trades and free agent signings with the financial backing to make it work.

The Tigers’ track record in trades and free agency speaks both to the organization’s ability to forecast performance for other teams’ major leaguers and to properly evaluate their own prospect inventory. While some teams fall too much in love with the prospects they signed as amateurs and have spent time developing, the Tigers have done well selling off their prospects at the peak of their value.
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They did it to acquire Miguel Cabrera after the 2007 season, parting with 2005 and 2006 first-rounders Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller as headliners in the deal.

Dombrowski added Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks along with Austin Jackson and Phil Coke from the Yankees after the 2009 season. The Tigers had to give up Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson in the three-team exchange, but Austin Jackson gave the Tigers a younger everyday center fielder with more years of control than Granderson, and Scherzer won the AL Cy Young Award by going 21-3, 2.90 in 2013.

At the 2011 trade deadline, the Tigers sent third baseman Francisco Martinez (the team’s No. 4 prospect entering the season), outfielder Casper Wells and lefthander Charlie Furbush to the Mariners for Doug Fister. The Tigers astutely sold high on Martinez and got an above-average starter in return.

The book is still out on righthander Jacob Turner, the 2009 first-rounder who ranked as Detroit’s No. 1 prospect from 2009-11, but including him in the 2012 midseason trade to acquire righthander Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante was a win.

Having the fifth-highest Opening Day payroll in 2013 gave the Tigers more margin for error, but they largely haven’t wasted the money they spent with contract extensions for Cabrera and Sanchez or free agent deals for Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta.

When the Tigers lost shortstop Peralta to a 50-game suspension in 2013 for his involvement with Biogenesis, the club again dipped into its farm system, trading toolsy outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox in a three-team deal that imported Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox.

Dombrowski executed a blockbuster after the season, moving Prince Fielder (and all but $30 million on his massive contract) to the Rangers for second baseman Ian Kinsler. The move allows Cabrera to move back to first base and No. 1 prospect Nick Castellanos to return to third. The trade that sent Fister to the Nationals and netted lefty Robbie Ray as the centerpiece was more puzzling.

The Tigers’ farm system isn’t the strongest, and it hasn’t been for several years. Sacrificing first-round picks from 2010-12 to sign free agents hasn’t helped them there, but the Tigers have held on to homegrown players who have been productive, including catcher Alex Avila.

The Tigers are betting on Castellanos to emerge as their third baseman after spending 2013 in left field, and for Bruce Rondon, one of several prospects from Venezuela, to pitch high-leverage innings in front of free agent signing Joe Nathan.