2013 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.

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1. Nick Castellanos, 3b/of
2. Avisail Garcia, of
3. Bruce Rondon, rhp
4. Jake Thompson, rhp
5. Austin Schotts, of
6. Danry Vasquez, of
7. Tyler Collins, of
8. Casey Crosby, lhp
9. Eugenio Suarez, ss/2b
10. Adam Wilk, lhp
Best Hitter for Average Nick Castellanos
Best Power Hitter Avisail Garcia
Best Strike Zone Discipline Nick Castellanos
Fastest Baserunner Austin Schotts
Best Athlete Austin Schotts
Best Fastball Bruce Rondon
Best Curveball Casey Crosby
Best Slider Bruce Rondon
Best Changeup Adam Wilk
Best Control Adam Wilk
Best Defensive Catcher James McCann
Best Defensive Infielder Dixon Machado
Best Infield Arm Dixon Machado
Best Defensive OF Daniel Fields
Best Outfield Arm Avisail Garcia
Catcher Alex Avila
First Base Prince Fielder
Second Base Jhonny Peralta
Third Base Nick Castellanos
Shortstop Eugenio Suarez
Left Field Austin Jackson
Center Field Austin Schotts
Right Field Avisail Garcia
Designated Hitter Miguel Cabrera
No. 1 Starter Justin Verlander
No. 2 Starter Max Scherzer
No. 3 Starter Doug Fister
No. 4 Starter Drew Smyly
No. 5 Starter Rick Porcello
Closer Bruce Rondon
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Jeremy Bonderman, rhp Out of baseball
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
Year Player, Pos 2012 Org
2003 Kyle Sleeth, RHP Out of baseball
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 Tigers
2011 James McCann, C Tigers
2012 Jake Thompson, RHP Tigers
Jacob Turner, 2009
Rick Porcello, 2007
Andrew Miller, 2006 $3,550,000
Eric Munson, 1999
Nick Castellanos, 2010 $3,450,000
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Detroit Tigers

Despite being in first place in the American League Central for just 34 days during the season and finishing with the seventh-best record (88-74) in the league, the Tigers returned to the playoffs in 2012, making back-to-back trips to the postseason for the first time since 1934-35.

Tied with the White Sox for the division lead with eight games left, the Tigers finished with a 6-2 kick. Detroit needed all five games to beat the Athletics in an AL Division Series, then swept the Yankees in the American League Championship Series before suffering the same fate at the hands of the Giants in the World Series.

Though Detroit is the poorest of America's 25 largest cities, fans supported the club by making it one of just nine teams to draw three million fans in 2012. They repaid 83-year-old Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who authorized the game's fifth-highest Opening Day payroll ($132 million) in an attempt to win his first World Series and the franchise's first since 1984.

Three players accounted for nearly half of that payroll total. Prince Fielder ($23 million), signed as a free agent in the offseason, delivered as expected by hitting .313 with 30 homers. Miguel Cabrera ($21 million) was even better, winning baseball's first triple crown since 1967 by batting .330 with 44 homers and 139 RBIs. Justin Verlander ($20 million) followed his MVP/Cy Young season of 2011 by going 17-8, 2.68 and leading the majors with 239 strikeouts and 238 innings.

That may be the best nucleus in the game, and the Tigers will continue fielding it. Verlander is signed through 2014, Cabrera is locked up through 2015 and Fielder is extended through 2020, with a total of $296 million remaining on their contracts.

Cabrera, Fielder and Verlander will have to keep producing, because the farm system has little to offer in the way of solid regulars and starting pitchers beyond third baseman Nick Castellanos and outfielder Avisail Garcia. The Tigers used to be one of the most aggressive teams in the draft, but they have forfeited their last three first-round picks as free-agent compensation for Jose Valverde, Victor Martinez and Fielder. Detroit spent $6 million on the 2011-12 drafts, the second-lowest total in baseball.

While the Tigers haven't finished higher than 23rd in Baseball America's annual organization talent rankings since 2007, they have gotten some production out of their system. They're tied with the Cubs with 12 players who have reached the majors from the 2008-12 drafts, most notably Alex Avila and Andy Dirks.

Detroit also has been able to trade minor leaguers for key additions to the major league roster during the last three seasons. The Tigers astutely picked up Jhonny Peralta (from the Indians for lefthander Giovanni Soto) in 2010, and Doug Fister (from the Mariners for big leaguers Charlie Furbush and Casper Wells, third baseman Francisco Martinez and righty Chance Ruffin) and Delmon Young (from the Twins for lefty Cole Nelson and righty Lester Oliveros) in 2011. Last season, they grabbed Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Marlins for former No. 1 overall prospect Jacob Turner, catcher Rob Brantly, lefty Brian Flynn and a swap of competitive-balance lottery picks.

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