Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects

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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, 2011.

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Conor Glassey
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1. Jacob Turner, rhp
2. Nick Castellanos, 3b
3. Andy Oliver, lhp
4. Francisco Martinez, 3b
5. Daniel Fields, of
6. Casey Crosby, lhp
7. Chance Ruffin, rhp
8. Drew Smyly, lhp
9. Avisail Garcia, of
10. Jose Ortega, rhp
Best Hitter for Average Nick Castellanos
Best Power Hitter Nick Castellanos
Best Strike-Zone Discipline Jamie Johnson
Fastest Baserunner Gustavo Nunez
Best Athlete Daniel Fields
Best Fastball Jose Ortega
Best Curveball Jacob Turner
Best Slider Chance Ruffin
Best Changeup Jacob Turner
Best Control Adam Wilk
Best Defensive Catcher Bryan Holaday
Best Defensive Infielder Cale Iorg
Best Infield Arm Nick Castellanos
Best Defensive Outfielder Andy Dirks
Best Outfield Arm Casper Wells
Catcher Alex Avila
First Base Miguel Cabrera
Second Base Scott Sizemore
Third Base Nick Castellanos
Shortstop Jhonny Peralta
Left Field Brennan Boesch
Center Field Austin Jackson
Right Field Daniel Fields
Designated Hitter Francisco Martinez
No. 1 Starter Justin Verlander
No. 2 Starter Jacob Turner
No. 3 Starter Max Scherzer
No. 4 Starter Rick Porcello
No. 5 Starter Andy Oliver
Closer Ryan Perry
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Brandon Inge, c Tigers
2002 Nate Cornejo, rhp Out of baseball
2003 Jeremy Bonderman, rhp Tigers
2004 Kyle Sleeth, rhp Out of baseball
2005 Curtis Granderson, of Yankees
2006 Justin Verlander, rhp Tigers
2007 Cameron Maybin, of Marlins
2008 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2009 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2010 Jacob Turner, rhp Tigers
Year Player, Position 2010
2001 Kenny Baugh, rhp Out of baseball
2002 Scott Moore, ss Orioles
2003 Kyle Sleeth, rhp Out of baseball
2004 Justin Verlander, rhp Tigers
2005 Cameron Maybin, of Marlins
2006 Andrew Miller, lhp Marlins
2007 Rick Porcello, rhp Tigers
2008 Ryan Perry, rhp Tigers
2009 Jacob Turner, rhp Tigers
2010 Nick Castellanos, 3b (1st round supp.) Tigers
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
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Detroit Tigers

After their 2009 season ended in heartbreaking fashion—with a 12th-inning loss to the Twins in a one-game playoff for the American League Central title—the Tigers switched gears as they headed into 2010. At the Winter Meetings, general manager Dave Dombrowski sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks in a three-way trade that brought back outfield prospect Austin Jackson and lefthander Phil Coke from New York and righthander Max Scherzer and lefthander Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.

Granderson was beloved in Detroit, but all four players the Tigers received in the trade performed well their first year in Motown. Jackson had big shoes to fill in center field, but hit .293 with 27 steals and played excellent defense. Scherzer went 12-11, 3.50 and ranked sixth in the AL with 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings. Coke was solid out of the bullpen and Schlereth showed the potential to be Detroit's closer of the future.

Though the trade accomplished two goals for the Tigers, making them both younger and cheaper, it couldn't put them over the top in the American League Central. They went 48-38 and stood just a half-game out of first place in the first half, but lost their first six games after the all-star break and never recovered. Detroit finished 81-81 and in third place, 13 games behind the Twins.

The Tigers now face another offseason of decisions. They quickly re-signed free agents Brandon Inge and Jhonny Peralta, but could still have plenty of money to play with after a combined $64 million in salaries for Jeremy Bonderman, Johnny Damon, Gerald Laird, Magglio Ordonez, Nate Robertson and Dontrelle Willis came off the books.

Detroit is in good shape on the mound with a rotation led by Justin Verlander and Scherzer and a strong bullpen fronted by Jose Valverde, but the team needs to find some help for Miguel Cabrera in its lineup. Though Brennan Boesch and Will Rhymes had their moments as rookies in 2010, both are complementary players. The farm system will offer no immediate help, so the Tigers may have to find position players via free agency.

Their best hope for an impact bat is third baseman Nick Castellanos, who signed for a supplemental first-round record $3.45 million in August. He was the Tigers' first pick in the 2010 draft after they gave their first-rounder to the Astros as compensation for signing Valverde.

Detroit also exceeded MLB's bonus recommendations and gave seven-figure bonuses to college pitchers Chance Ruffin and Drew Smyly. The club's aggressive spending in the draft has landed them talents such as Verlander, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller (the key pieces of the trade that brought back Cabrera), Rick Porcello and No. 1 prospect Jacob Turner. All seven draftees on this Top 10 Prospects list were signed for over-slot bonuses.

The Tigers' front office has gone through as much turnover as their roster. The team fired farm director Glenn Ezell in June and replaced him with field coordinator Mike Rojas. Detroit also promoted scouting director David Chadd to vice president for amateur scouting and special assistant to Dombrowski, giving him additional responsibilities with major and minor league evaluation. Chadd will continue to help make the decision on the team's early draft picks, along with new scouting director Scott Pleis, who  moved up from national crosschecker. The Tigers also added two former scouting directors after the season ended, hiring Tim Hallgren (Dodgers) to fill Pleis' old role and Eddie Bane (Angels) as a pro scout.

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