Tigers Top 10 Prospects according to Baseball America

Rick Porcello - cr Roger DeWitt

Rick Porcello - cr Roger DeWitt

It’s another one of those rites of the offseason, the Baseball America top 10 list. The list itself is available to anyone, but for additional information (like scouting reports) you need to be a subscriber.

As for the list, here it is:

  1. Rick Porcello, rhp
  2. Ryan Perry, rhp
  3. Cale Iorg, ss
  4. Casey Crosby, lhp
  5. Jeff Larish, 1b/3b
  6. Wilkin Ramirez, of
  7. Scott Sizemore, 2b
  8. Cody Satterwhite, rhp
  9. Dusty Ryan, c
  10. Guillermo Moscoso, rhp

Usually when the list comes out I look back to the previous year’s list to see who stayed and who left. Hopefully the list changes because guys graduate and lose prospect status. In the Tigers case there are only 4 players carrying over from the ’08 last. As for the other 6? Only one graduated and that was Matt Joyce.

Yorman Bazardo and Francisco Cruceta flamed out. Danny Worth and Mike Hollimon had their development hindered due to injuries. Brandon Hamilton struggled in West Michigan, and while he’s still a prospect he’s no longer in the top 10.

Ryan Perry - cr Roger DeWitt

Ryan Perry - cr Roger DeWitt

The flip side of guys losing status is that some other earned their way into the top 10. Wilkin Ramirez built on a strong spring training and exploded for AA Erie. Guillermo Moscoso had an outstanding season, and Dusty Ryan played himself into the Tigers 09 plans. And Ryan Perry and Cody Satterwhite were new draftees who cracked the top 10.


So it’s not that the Tigers system is without talent – guys who stand a decent chance to play at the big league level. What it lacks is enough players who could excel at the big league level.


  1. Eddie

    November 21, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    If you buy into the thought that avoiding the Inverted W or Inverted L is imperative to a pitcher staying healthy, you have to worry about that (and other) pictures of Ryan Perry.

  2. Mark in Chicago

    November 21, 2008 at 3:39 pm


    I am familiar with the Inverted W/L and it’s supposed impact on the health of pitchers. However, my understanding is that it’s less of an issue for relievers as opposed to starters, as they don’t throw the number of innings and strain the elbow/shoulder nearly as much. It’s not that the increased risk of injury is zero, just closer to zero than if Perry were a starter. To my knowledge Perry doesn’t have a long history of arm problems, so perhaps he has the stamina and durability to generate that kind of torque without serious damage.

    That said, the above is picture is UG-LEE, and if he were a starter I’d be very concerned.

  3. Chris in Dallas

    November 21, 2008 at 4:02 pm

    The more I delve into it, the more I think that the study of pitching mechanics is a fool’s errand. The key to maintaining pitcher health has more to do with physiology and monitoring workload than anything else. Mechanics are important in that a pitcher’s delivery needs to be repeatable. Otherwise I think that more injuries are created by “tweaking” a pitcher’s mechanics rather than “faulty” mechanics. That’s my dimestore opinion anyway.

  4. Chris in Dallas

    November 21, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    As a side note, the Porcello photo leaves me hangin’. Am I interested in a hot, steamy what exactly? Submarine sandwich? Sauna? Pile of crap? So many questions.

  5. Joel in Seattle

    November 21, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Dang, Chris. Beat me to the punch. Perhaps Baseball America is interested in a hot, steamy Rick Porcello

  6. David

    November 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    I wonder if Wilken Ramirez has an outside shot to make the team out of Spring Training…

  7. Mike R

    November 21, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I am not a fan of that list. Mine will be different when I make mine for a prospecting website.

  8. Smoking Loon

    November 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    What I want to know is, is that Sponge Bob Squarepants standing on top of Porcello’s head?

    No, what I’d really like to know is how many of BA’s Top 10 Tiger prospects for 2004-2008 are playing in the majors now. I’m guessing… 5. Probably a bit low.

  9. Smoking Loon

    November 21, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    Hasn’t Jeff Larish also graduated? Or am I jumping to conclusions here?

  10. billfer

    November 21, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    @smoking loon

    Off the top of my head there’s Granderson, Verlander, Zumaya, Maybin(he’s supposed to start next year for the Marlins), Miller, Joyce, Jurrjens.

    As for Larish, he just barely qualifies as a rookie still so he hasn’t in fact graduated.

    @Mike R
    I don’t think the list is too bad. I have Jacobson 5th and Sizemore 12th and Moscoso in the top 20 with Avila and Skelton filling out the bottom. Really, I think it’s pretty clear who the top 3 players are and I do have Crosby 4. But after that I have a hard time separating the next 10 players.

    In other words it differs from my list, but it certainly is reasonable.

  11. Jeff Molby

    November 21, 2008 at 9:44 pm

    Has anyone ranked farm systems as a whole lately?

  12. Chris in Dallas

    November 21, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    I’m not sure if BA has ranked the farm systems yet. I imagine the Tigers will be in the bottom third of the league. Outside of Porcello, there’s not really a whole lot of high upside guys at this point. I’m confident that DD will restock well, though. By 2010 when we’re having this convo, I’d be willing to bet the Tigers will be in the top half.

  13. Chris in Dallas

    November 21, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    billfer: depending on how you want to look at it you could add Raburn and Clevlen also.

  14. Mike R

    November 22, 2008 at 2:00 am

    Bill: I think a top ten that isn’t including Brandon Hamilton — especially in a system such as ours that is lacking high-upside players in general, let alone recently drafted RH’s with stuff that sits in the low-90’s and can hit the mid-90’s with the fastball I don’t like. Granted, I’m hard on it, but I think that’s mostly because I prefer BP’s rankings more than BA’s lately.

  15. billfer

    November 22, 2008 at 8:27 am

    I guess I don’t have a problem with Hamilton not being in the top 10, because he wasn’t in my top 10 🙂

    I can certainly see your case for him, but I can also look at the 28 walks in 32 innings at West Michigan and his other struggles there to knock him out of the top 10. Stuff wise he’s there, and I may be unfairly punishing him for being on the field to struggle in the first place – as opposed to Casey Crosby. I just view him in that group of 10 guys outside the top 4 that could be ranked a number of ways.

  16. Mark in Chicago

    November 22, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Is there any chance Cale Iorg becomes the everyday shortstop next year? DD loves the kid, and while he’s probably not ready, the Tigers generally aren’t afraid to advance players quickly. They expect him to be ready by 2010, so maybe they let him learn at the big league level.

    At any rate, ore and more I think our shortstop solution comes from within (Iorg, Worth, etc.) It just doesn’t make sense to deal from a position of weakness for a one-year stopgap, and not many f/a are looking for a one-year contract.

    It also might make sense to offer Renteria arbitration. Even if he accepts, it’s only for one year (the devil you know, I suppose), and if he doesn’t you get draft picks when he signs elsewhere.

  17. Smoking Loon

    November 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Cale Iorg could be the Santiago insurance/middle infield depth I’m looking for in 2009. Trouble is, putting him in this role would cost him the steady playing time he probably needs. I don’t know if anyone, even DD, casts Iorg as an MLB-ready starter at SS right this minute.

  18. David

    November 22, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Why is Cale Iorg so highly touted? Why does DD and co. want him in teh Bigs so soon? Is it because they signed him to a crazy contract for a 6th rounder? His career minor league BA where he hasn’t played above A ball is .250 which is terrible. Granted it’s only basically one season, but still is NOT very inspiring.

    Can’t really tell much about his defense – no tangotiger 😉 .

    Still maybe it’s rust, but if he has an OPS under .800 in the minors – why IN EARTH would you bring him up in 2010?
    Here is a list of 2010 free agents…

  19. billfer

    November 22, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I prefer to think of Santiago as being insurance for someone else as opposed to insuring Santiago. Iorg needs the regular playing time, and he shouldn’t be part of the Tigers plans in ’09. Not that he couldn’t crack the lineup at some point, but there should be no plan in place where he is expected to.

    As for why he’s so highly touted, it’s because he is immensely talented. His signing bonus is an indication of his skill set, and not a reason to rush him. I don’t think it’s that DD wants him in the bigs so soon, it’s that he thinks Iorg will force the issue.

    I asked Mark Anderson of TigsTown about the reasons why we didn’t see the tools translate to production in ’08 and he indicated that there was still rust from not having played in two years and he’s still finding the consistent swing plane and pitch recognition.

    Next year will be very interesting to see how he does at Erie with a full year plus the instructional league under his belt. It’ll be much easier to gauge his readiness for 2010.

  20. David

    November 22, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    Oh, rust is what I figured

    I remember when they drafted him and thought it was weird thinking he hadn’t played baseball for awhile due to his missionary work…

    Still your last paragraph I agree with, and hope he can post an OPS in the neighborhood of .900 with the wolves next year

  21. Smoking Loon

    November 23, 2008 at 2:47 am

    “I prefer to think of Santiago as being insurance for someone else as opposed to insuring Santiago.”

    Fair enough. Still, the new and improved Ramon does come in handy right about now for a number or reasons. No pressure to bring Renteria back, less pressure to acquire some world-beating SS or rush Iorg. Ramon Stopgap.

    The IorgWatch in 2009 should be very interesting.

  22. Tigercub33

    November 23, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    “It also might make sense to offer Renteria arbitration. Even if he accepts, it’s only for one year (the devil you know, I suppose), and if he doesn’t you get draft picks when he signs elsewhere.”

    Why WOULDN’T the Tigers offer ARB? Either they solve their SS situation (Renteria agrees – although this is unlikely) or they get TWO draft picks. For a system that is lacking in elite talents I don;t see how you can possibly pass up the opportunity to get two high level picks (especially considering what the Tigers gave up to get him).

    Maybe someone can correct me if I am wrong, but if DD does NOT offer arb to Renteria I will seriously doubt his sanity.

  23. Tigercub33

    November 23, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    “The IorgWatch in 2009 should be very interesting.”

    Which will be more interesting – IorgWatch or PorcelloWatch – and which will be elevated to Blue&Orange Status sooner? Will PerryWatch be in 09, 10, or 11?

  24. Mark in Chicago

    November 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Porcellowatch will be interesting also, T-cub. I recall reading some scouting reports last year that thought he could contribute at the ML level already, although wasn’t yet a front of the rotation guy. I already made a prediction in these pages that Porcello will make at least 10 starts with the big league club this year.

    With our rotation depth (or lack thereof) a June/July callup has to be a possibility if he’s lighting up AA.

    Also, mlbTradeRumors lists the Tigers as having strong interest in Jack Wilson via trade. I think the cost would be pretty low, and Wilson has a rep as a very good defender (not sure if this is still the case). He can provide a little bit of offense, but not a ton. Frankly, I’m a little surprised there hasn’t been more talk about this option.

  25. Tigercub33

    November 23, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    “Also, mlbTradeRumors lists the Tigers as having strong interest in Jack Wilson via trade. I think the cost would be pretty low, and Wilson has a rep as a very good defender (not sure if this is still the case). He can provide a little bit of offense, but not a ton. Frankly, I’m a little surprised there hasn’t been more talk about this option.”

    Same here. I VASTLY support this idea over getting Lugo. I essentially ignored all the rants and raves from Pirates fans about wanting AG or Bonderman. I think a Clevlen + deal could do it. The Tigers already have an abundance of 4th OFers. I am just hoping that our Top 10 list remains the same (or gets players added to it – not subtracted from it)

  26. Tigercub33

    November 23, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    “…he could contribute at the ML level already, although wasn’t yet a front of the rotation guy”

    Verlander, Bonderman, AG, Porcello and then needing a 5th from Miner, Willis, Robertson, Bonine, Lambert, is MUCH better than finding TWO SPs from that last group.

    I read the same (or similar) thing. I think if Porcello had thrown what he knew instead of working on his weaknesses – as he did this year – he would have been virtually unhittable in Lakeland.

  27. Chris in Dallas

    November 23, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I think if Porcello had thrown what he knew instead of working on his weaknesses – as he did this year – he would have been virtually unhittable in Lakeland.

    I don’t know if you can make that argument based on anything. If he was going to be virtually unhittable, he would’ve been virtually unhittable. He did well, but I’d like to see him miss some bats this season and get moved up to AA before automatically giving him a September callup. No point in rushing a 20 year old kid.

  28. David

    November 24, 2008 at 2:11 am

    Hey Bill

    I was wondering…do you plan on doing any interview(s) this off season with Tigers players (major or minor league) and/or broadcasters/front office guys?

    Plus how have you gotten interviews in the past? Email?

  29. Mike R

    November 24, 2008 at 3:19 am

    @ Bill:

    I absolutely understand that and I am a stats-based guy even when it comes to minor leaguers (once you get a feel for what kind of qualifications you can put on a kid and his successes/struggles due to parks, age, etc etc), but I’m not ready to put A TON of stock into those numbers from Hamilton. He’s a project, no doubt, but he’s got arguably the highest upside of any kid in the system not named Rick Porcello — I like him more than Casey Crosby. At least Hamilton’s curve can flash as an average pitch at times, where as Crosby’s at Lefty with a heater and Tommy John Surgery already. For me (and I know this will come across as rude, but you obviously know I don’t mean it like that), I don’t get how one can rank Crosby ahead of Hamilton at all. That seems kind of fool-hearty at this point in the game.

    @ The Rick Porcello in Detroit Talk:

    Rick Porcello NEEDS to miss more bats. Yes, he did not throw his best breaking pitch (curve) most or all of the year in an attempt to work on his slider and change up. Yes, he got massive amounts of ground balls.

    But, I point to another big, RHP with elite level ground ball tendencies who also had his best pitch (curveball) taken from him in Low-A ball in 2007: Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics property.

    Rick Porcello’s 2008 in High-A Lakeland at age 19: 125 IP, 527 TBF, 116 H, 16 2B, 4 3B, 7 HR allowed, 72 K, 33 BB, 3.84 FIP, 3.44 base runs per 9 innings (all from firstinning.com). That equates out to 13.7% Strikeout %, 6.3 BB%, and 65% Ground ball rates.

    Trevor Cahill’s 2007 in Low-A Kane County:

    105.1 IP, 437 TBF, 85 H, 15 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR allowed, 117 K, 40 BB, 2.87 FIP, 2.91 BsRns/9. That equates out to 26.8% K %, 9.2% BB rate, 59% GB rate.

    Now, qualifiers: yes, Cahill was 19 and in Low-A where as Porcello was 19 and in High-A. That said, both had their best strikeout pitches taken from them, both got above-average/elite ground ball rates from these kids on the basis of their heavy, hard fastballs. Even if you give Cahill a knock down and Porcello a bump up for their ages relative to their levels, Cahill’s performance still shows that getting a breaking pitch taken from you while in A-Ball should not mean you post anemic strikeout rates. I do realize that I’m comparing Porcello to one of the preeminent pitching prospects in baseball today, but I don’t feel that is unfair for a kid called the best prep pitcher in the 2007 draft.

    In short, Porcello should probably open in High-A Lakeland for the first month (until the weather warms up and he can move to Erie … I personally would have him in Lakeland longer for his development, but the Tigers won’t be doing that), and he needs to impress when he gets his curveball back. Cahill DOMINATED High-A Stockton (hitters league) and Double-A Midland (hitters league) where as Porcello will be coming up through the Florida State League (pitchers league) and then the Eastern League which I believe is a pitchers league but might be closer to neutral, but that’s just off the top of my head.

    Porcello is, in my mind, not deserving of, nor close to, contributing at a level in which starting his arbitration clock would be a wise thing. I am happy to revisit this come July or thereabouts, but maybe a Sept. call-up is all that I’m looking for from him. Other than that, he needs to prove to me that he can reach league average K-rates before I and comfortable even giving him a back-of-the-rotation spot and starting his arbitration clock.

  30. Tigercub33

    November 24, 2008 at 9:13 am

    Clarifying my Porcello comments –

    Perhaps I got a bit too excited. I was not advocating for him to be called up right away, nor was I saying that he should not have to “earn” his job. Basically, I just like the thought of him in the rotation more than Robertson or some of the minor league fodder that has a chance to be there.

    Unless he has an absolutly stunning ST against REAL MLBers, I would hope that he would open in A (or possibly AA) and then get bumped aggressively (if warranted). I realize that he also needs to build up his arm strength as this past year was probably twice as long as what he is used to.

    Also, I was not basing my statement that he would have been better if he had his curve on anything other than my own feelings (while I embrace some aspects of SABR stuff – I still go by the gut feelings too).

  31. Mark in Chicago

    November 24, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Great job breaking down Porcello, Mike. You make some compelling points, and it would definitely be encouraging to see higher K rates as he gets his full repertoire back. I stand by my prediction that he makes 10 starts at the major league level primarily because of the lack of depth of the Tigers starting staff. It doesn’t mean he’s ready, I just think it’s a distinct possibility. Anything after a May 30 callup means he wouldn’t be arb-eligible until after the 2011 season at the earliest.

  32. Jennifer

    November 24, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t think Renteria will be around to offer arbitration to. ESPN.com rumors states Giants very interested, and the Braves have been mentioned as interested in a reunion as well.

  33. Chris in Dallas

    November 24, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    One thing that bugs me about Porcello from what I’ve read (of course I haven’t actually, you know, seen him yet) is that his velocity seems to have been overstated. The scouting reports coming out of high school had him “sitting” at 95, but apparently he’s more like a 90-91 guy. Not that it’s a horribly big deal, but he’s doesn’t seem to be a “power” guy.

  34. Chris in Dallas

    November 24, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    And another thing. I wonder if Porcello’s anemic K rates are not so much due to his talent as much as it’s an organizational philosophy to be allergic to the strikeout. I wonder this because there’s no earthly reason that Justin Verlander shouldn’t be striking out 200 guys per season. The only really high K guy on the staff in recent years (starters only) has been Bonderman and he was developed by Oakland. Of course Verlander did K 136 batters in 118 minor league innings so I’m probably wrong.

  35. Matt in Toledo

    November 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Jennifer – That would be a good thing for the Tiger. You can still offer a guy arbitration if he’s signed somewhere else. If Renteria signs with another team before the Tigers have to decide to offer him arbitration, they can offer him arbitration (and get the compensation draft picks) without fear of him accepting it.

  36. Matt in Toledo

    November 24, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    Rats, double posted.

  37. Tigercub33

    November 24, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Looks the ARB question is moot – the Giants appear to have signed Renteria…

  38. Chris in Dallas

    November 24, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Man. Those Giants love them some washed up veterans. It’s uncanny.

    It’s not a done deal yet, though. Here’s the scoop: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.....38;c_id=sf

  39. Mike R

    November 24, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    @ Tigercub:

    I do think Porcello’s strikeouts would’ve been better with his curveball. Would they be at an elite level? i’m not positive they would be.

    @ Mark:
    Good point about starts made after May 30th. That doesn’t change my feelings on it, but that would make it just a bit easier to absorb.

    @ Chris:

    I’ll have to find the link, but there was an article that talked to Porcello where he said himself that the scouts blew up his velocity. He absolutely can sit around 95, but he throws a 2-seamer as his main fastball which is in the 90-92 range. This is also the reason for his massive GB rates, as the 2-seamer give the more sink than his 4-seamer. He said it’s just something he feels comfortable doing and that he’s fine with letting his teammates turn GB’s into outs but knows that he’ll have to dial up a K from time to time and that his 4-seamer or breaking ball are great out pitches.

    @ Chris again:

    Verlander has great stuff, but that doesn’t translate to K’s. My previous paragraph on Porcello I think hits on what I think the reason for low K rates were caused by: his comfort in getting GB’s and keeping his pitch counts down. I would obviously rather have him K a lot of guys, but if he’s going to let the ball be put in play, getting it on the ground is the best option he can choose. I think next year he’ll strikeout something like 18-20% of the batters he faces with something around 50-53% GB rates with most of that work coming in Erie. If he’s in Detroit then, I would look for him to post more numbers like his High-A stint: Low K’s, very good GB rates as great, hard, sinking 2-seamers play at all levels of baseball.

    Also, I doubt it’s something ‘organizational.’ Maybe I’m mis-interpreting your statements, but that makes it sound like you think the Tigers are requesting these guys not K batters or something of that ilk. I don’t think that Bondo’s strikeout abilities stem from him being in Oakland’s system, either.

  40. Chris in Dallas

    November 25, 2008 at 11:27 am

    Mike: It’s not out of the realm of possibilty that an organization would stress a “pitch to contact” philosophy in regards to developing pitchers. That’s probably not the Tigers MO, though. Verlander (and Zumaya since he was developed as a starter) struck out more than a batter per inning in the minors. I was merely speaking (er, typing) extemporaneously.

  41. Mike R

    November 25, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    Chris, I know. The Twins are a prime example of a team that focuses on throwing strikes rather than K’ing guys. I’m just not sure the A’s are a franchise in that mold.

  42. Kelly R

    December 19, 2008 at 6:46 pm

    I saw recently signed pitching prospect Mike LaLuna pitch most of this past summer for the Independant Can-Am League Sussex Skyhawks. He was un-hittable and missed lots of bats while helping them win their championship under former MLB manager Hal Lanier. Considering that he was a shortstop for all of his college ball years he seemed very impressive and mature on the mound. Where do you see him going this season?