Detroit Tigers: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Conor Glassey

Detroit Tigers: Chat

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

Conor Glassey: What's up, everybody? Thanks for spending part of your Friday afternoon with me chatting about Tigers prospects. This was my first Prospect Handbook assignment and I had a great time putting it together. Even though I'm listening to the new Jay-Z album, I'm definitely in a Motor City State of Mind, so let's do this!

    JAYPERS (IL): Could we get your thoughts on the Granderson trade as a whole? Also, does A-Jax have anywhere near the potential Granderson had at his age?

Conor Glassey: This seems like a fitting way to kick things off, as it's been one of the biggest deals of a very busy offseason that's seen many star players getting new zip codes. I like the deal for the Yankees, as Granderson is a great player that will fit perfectly in their park. I know it must be tough for Tigers fans to see the face of the franchise shipped out of town because too much money was tied up with Bonderman, Willis and Robertson. That being said, I like what the Tigers got back for Granderson and Edwin Jackson. I don't expect Austin Jackson to be on Curtis Granderson's level, but when you add in Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke, it's a nice package. With the potential to have around $60 million come off the books after this season, the Tigers are looking to the future.

    Darren (Detroit): What is the best-case timetable on Jacob Turner's progression through the system? Can he be as effective as Porcello as quickly?

Conor Glassey: Porcello was the exception, not the rule. Turner is very talented and has good polish for a high school pitcher, but I think he'll be on a slower timetable than Porcello.

    Brad Broughman (Lansing, MI): Did the Tigers overpay Daniel Fields? Everything that I saw had him rated as a 2-3 round pick and the Tigers gave him first round money.

Conor Glassey: No, I don't think so. Because what's the alternative? Taking a sixth-round talent for slot? Sometimes you have to pay a little more to get kids to skip school. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but it's a good strategy and I feel like the draft is an undervalued market. The Tigers are aggressive in spending in the draft and I really like that about them.

    Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Any concerns about Crosby and Turner's arms? I see they were both shut down Instructional League. Who has the higher ceiling of the two - and more importantly perhaps - who has the better future health going forward. If they both work out, that will be some rotation the Tigers will have with these 2 studs and Verlander and Porcello, Future is looking very bright in Detroit. Thanks for the chat.

Conor Glassey: Hi Michael. It sounded like the Tigers were being very cautious with the two when they were shut down. I think Turner has the higher upside, but they are very close. I would give Turner the better health going forward, as Crosby's already had Tommy John surgery. Both should be ready for spring training.

    Lila (Detroit): How close did Ryan Strieby come?

Conor Glassey: Strieby came very close, actually. He would have made the top 10 if not for the Granderson trade, which added two players ahead of him and bumped him out. While he's not in the upper-echelon of first base prospects, he has big power and is in that second tier for me. It'll be interesting to see how he does with a healthy wrist in Triple-A, but the Tigers don't really have a spot for him. Reports on his defense in the outfield were not good.

    Kenny (Irvine, CA): Scott Sizemore ranked 10th? I find that ranking surprising. Is that due to how strong the Tigers system is or the fact that Scott got injured at the end of the 2009 season?

Conor Glassey: It's more due to the strength of the system. Sizemore's a good player. He's an above-average player, but his other tools are average at best and his defense is fringy at second base. He plays the game hard, which helps his tools play up a little bit, but I like the other nine players better than him.

    Reid (Toronto): Gustavo Nunez had a decent year with the bat. Will he hit enough to be a major league regular, or is he more of a bench guy with a good glove and speed?

Conor Glassey: Nunez was the guy that kept moving up the list the more people I talked to. His defense and speed give him the chance to be at least a quality bench player. He's not going to be a power guy and needs to learn to work the count better, but I think he'll hit enough to play everyday.

    John (Detroit): I was surprised not to see Brennan Boesch on the list after his big year. Did he just miss the top 10 and do you expect him to repeat the numbers he put up this past year?

Conor Glassey: Hi, John. Boesch did have a nice year, leading the Eastern League in home runs and more than doubling his minor-league total in the process. He did make the 30, but not close to the 10. The power is for real, but it's generated from a stiff, mechanical swing. On top of that, Erie's park is a bandbox. Their three-year park factor ('06-'08) found here is 1.12, putting them right behind notorious Cal League launching pads like Lancaster (1.14) and High Desert (1.13). When you factor in his .318 on-base percentage (.314 over his minor-league career), I think he ends up as a platoon guy, at best.

    JAYPERS (IL): Did Brayan Villarreal come close to making your list? What's the scoop on his game?

Conor Glassey: Villarreal made the 30, but he's in the 15-20 range. His fastball is in the 93-94 mph range and, as you probably saw, he has the best slider in the system. He's working on his changeup, but profiles better as a bullpen guy.

    ScottAZ (Phx, AZ): the report says Fields may be "too big" for SS, but he is listed at 6'2", 200lbs, which is about normal it seems for this generation of bigger, more offense oriented SS. How much bigger do they predict he will get necesitating a move?

Conor Glassey: While there are a lot of shortstops that are currently that size, not many of them were already that size coming out of high school. Fields is very athletic, but he'll probably get a little bigger which might move him off the position. There are better defenders in the system and if you look at the Tigers history of shortstops, they definitely value defense at the position.

    Terry (The Big D): Surprised you didn't find a spot for Melvin Mercedes. He looked impressive to many from what I hear. Explain?

Conor Glassey: Mercedes is an interesting pitcher, but he has only thrown 27 innings in the states. He has a good fastball, but his secondary stuff is still raw and he's just not in the same class as those guys in the Top 10 yet.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did Wade Gaynor make the top 30? Thoughts on him?

Conor Glassey: Gaynor had a nice college career, becoming the first Western Kentucky player to have a 20-20 season and ranking third in D-I total bases (behind only 2010 prospect Bryce Brentz and the Mariners' second-overall pick, Dustin Ackley). The Tigers are trying to calm Gaynor's swing down a bit, as he has a lot of pre-swing hand movement and a big leg kick. He's a good athlete and a hard worker and did make the back third of the list.

    Kyle (Dallas, TX): Do you see Austin Wood helping the big league club this season? Does he have a shot of being a closer one day in the bigs?

Conor Glassey: Hi, Kyle. I really wanted to get Austin Wood into the 30, but he was bumped out at the 11th hour. As you can see, he has the best control in the system and the Tigers really like his combination of stuff and makeup. I expect him to move quickly and one executive told me not to be surprised if he's even pitching in Detroit this year—though that was before the team acquired Daniel Schlereth and Phil Coke. I don't see Wood as closer material, but he should be a solid lefthanded reliever.

    Nick (DC): It seams as if the Tigers have a number of impressive young arms, from the majors on down is this the best pitching organization in baseball?

Conor Glassey: Hi, Nick. The Tigers do have a lot of quality arms in their Top 30. But, a lot of them are already in a bullpen role or project to be a reliever down the line, so I can't say they have the best collection of pitchers in the minors. If I had to pick one organizations pitching prospects, I'd go with Tampa Bay or Texas.

    Nick (DC): Robbie Weinhardt had a strong finish in the AFL after a rough start, what is his future and how close was he to making this list?

Conor Glassey: Weinhardt was great in the Arizona Fall League, leading the circuit in strikeouts. He profiles as a quality setup man and could be in Detroit at some point this year Like Strieby, he just missed out on the Top 10.

    Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Of the top 30 Tiger prospect guys in the 2009 Handbook who jumped up the most slots? Who plummetted the most?

Conor Glassey: Good question, Karl. I won't factor in guys that weren't eligible for the list last year (like Turner). The guy that jumped up the most would be Alex Avila, going from No. 20 in 2009 to No. 6 this year. The guy that dropped the most is Luis Marte, who was No. 17 a year ago and got edged out of the 30 this time around.

    Ace (Detroit, MI): Hi Conor, It appears that about 6 of the top 10 prospects could see signficant playing time this year. Would you agree or disagree with that assessment?

Conor Glassey: I think you're being optimistic, Ace. Jackson looks to be the everyday center fielder, Schlereth will be in the bullpen and Sizemore at second base, so there's three. I think Avila will split time with Laird and I think Ramirez needs more time in Triple A, and those are the only guys I expect to play in the big leagues in 2010.

    Ace (Detroit, MI): Where would you rank the Tigers farm system in the AL Central?

Conor Glassey: Good question, but I think they'd be last. The Top 10 got a nice boost from a strong draft and the Granderson trade and, to the Tigers' credit, their system would look a lot better with Porcello in it, but that's what a system's for—getting guys to the big leagues. I would line them up like this: Cleveland, Minnesota, Kansas City, White Sox and then Detroit.

    Warren (Texas): How is Detroit's Latin America program working out in your opinion? Are there any future studs in the DSL for the Tigers? Thanks for the chat!

Conor Glassey: The Tigers aren't big spenders in Latin America, but they do a good job of getting a good bang for their buck. These three players didn't crack the Top 30, but keep an eye on outfielder Steven Moya, second baseman Alexander Nunez and third baseman Francisco Martinez. Also keep an eye on catcher Gabriel Purroy, who was in the VSL.

    Michael Stern (Rochester NY): Cale Iorg? Still considered the SS of the future? He had a dismal year at the plate last season - low average, lots of strikeouts. Do scouts and the Tigers think he'll hit enough to make it?

Conor Glassey: Yeah, it was a brutal year for Iorg. I know the Tigers still hold out hope for him, but they're not counting on him as the shortstop of the future. How could you when the bat is that far away and he hasn't taken any real steps forward? He's a great athlete and is solid defensively, so he could develop enough to become a role player, but I wouldn't bet on him ever hitting enough to hold down an everyday job. I would say next year is a make-or-break year for him and he should repeat Double-A.

    Alex (Grand Rapids): Any Tigers going to make your Top 100 list?

Conor Glassey: I can't speak for the official BA list, as it hasn't been put together yet. I'm still ironing out my personal list just for kicks and it has Turner and Crosby in the 30-40 range and then Austin Jackson near the bottom.

    Morgan (Michigan): Oliveros wasn't on the 40 man roster when the rule 5 draft started, did we get lucky that no one picked him up?

Conor Glassey: He wasn't eligible because he signed a 2006 contract.

    Michael (Fenton): DD and Chadd love power arms, would they pass on one if Yardy Cabrera is there when we draft in the 1st round?

Conor Glassey: Good question, Michael. Cabrera's a tough guy to get a read on because he's significantly older than 99 percent of high school players, but the Tigers do like him. He's basically grown up at Tigertown, as his dad is a hitting coach in the organization. If you haven't already, check out a feature we published this summer on Cabrera:

    Derek (Flint MI): JV, Porcello, Scherzer, Turner and Crosby. Can that be the best rotation in all of MLB?

Conor Glassey: It'd have to be in consideration. But, a lot can happen between now and then. Just look back at the projected 2010 rotation from the 2007 Handbook: Verlander, Miller, Bonderman, Robertson, Jurrjens.

    Steve (North Carolina): What are your thoughts on Luke Putkonen? He is a tall lanky pitcher who throws hard. It seems he put of decent numbers this year.

Conor Glassey: Finally healthy, Putkonen had a real nice year and made the Top 20. His fastball's a tick above average and he gets a fair share of groundballs. He throws both a curveball and a slider and the Tigers are trying to get him to pick on and focus on it. He's one of the few pitchers outside the Top 10 that projects as a starter, but more of a back-end guy.

    John (Flint MI): would Robles make the Top 10 if he was still here? was the a steal for the M's?

Conor Glassey: No, Robles probably would have been in the 13-18 range, but I really liked that trade for the Mariners.

    Steve (Holland, MI): How does the numbers Casper Wells put up in the AFL translate to how the Tigers view him; does he make the Top 15-20 organization wise? And does the arrival of Jackson effect his chances?

Conor Glassey: I don't think the Tigers really cared about his numbers in the AFL, they just wanted to see him get playing time after missing part of the year with injuries. Wells is a tweener (not enough glove for CF, not enough bat for a corner) and profiles as a fourth outfielder for me, so Jackson's arrival doesn't really affect him much.

    John (Toledo): Wilkin Ramirez seems to have the habit of mastering each league he plays in, given enough time. Of course, "master" is relative — he still strikes out a lot — but is he capable of moving up to Detroit this year, or will he spend another year with us in Toledo?

Conor Glassey: I think Ramirez should at least start the season in Toledo. He needs to work on his approach at the plate and routes in the outfield. Having Guillen, Jackson, Magglio and Raburn buys him some time to do that.

    David (Michigan): Tyler Stohr on the radar?

Conor Glassey: Yep, 20-25 range.

    Michael (Baltimore): I was wondering what your thoughts were, and the thoughts of people you talked to, on Avisail Garcia? He was very young when he was summoned to West Michigan. He seemed to hold his own, but the stats were not pretty. Can we expect more power from him this seaosn?

Conor Glassey: A lot of Garcia questions today. He was one of the youngest players in the Midwest League this year — and looked it at times. But he's a good athlete with a quick bat and some power projection. He profiles best as a right fielder and might repeat Low A, as the Tigers jumped him there from the VSL, but he's an interesting prospect, for sure.

    Nick (DC): Conor, if you had to pick a sleeper in the Tigers system for 2010 who would it be?

Conor Glassey: My sleeper within the 30 is first baseman James Robbins, who I fought to keep on the bottom of the list. Outside the 30, I like young righthander Ramon Lebron who gets his fastball up to 97.

    bo (louisville): what is the word on physically huge pitcher scott green out of kentucky? has he dropped of the radar?

Conor Glassey: Still on the radar, still huge, still in the 30, but got hurt this season.

    Adam (Michigan): Casey Kelly or Jacob Turner?

Conor Glassey: I might be in the minority, but I'd take Turner.

    Pony (Chicago): What can the Tigers expect from Sizemore this year?

Conor Glassey: Here's my prediction on Sizemore's 2010 line: .270/.365/.420

Conor Glassey: Thanks everybody for all the great questions. Click here to pre-order your 2010 Prospect Handbook directly from Baseball America for a supplement that includes each team's 31st prospect. Also, check us out on Twitter @baseballamerica. Have a great weekend! J.J. Cooper will be here on Monday with the Royals Top 10.