This is the second of a two part series composed by DTW member Nick D. Look for Nick to cover the minors in detail in the upcoming season(s).
What follows is part 2 of 2 recapping the 2010 minor league season. I’ve ranked the following prospects based on scouting predictions and past performance in addition to the improvement shown over the course of last season. Please note that I no longer include Austin Jackson as a prospect for purposes of the minor league recap.
And now…. the hitting prospects 2010 recap:
1. Brennan Boesch, OF
(Understatement Alert) Brennan Boesch did not have a consistent 2010. His tremendous 1st half, and implosion after the all-star break, have been well documented. However, when taken as a whole, he had a pretty solid rookie campaign. His.256/.320/.416 numbers were adequate. He also produced some power; hitting 14 home runs and producing 67 RBI. Frustratingly, 12 of those 14 homers, and 45 out of 67 RBI, came before July 1. Boesch has to work on his approach to hitting and find the mojo he had through June. As Jim Price frequently lamented, Boesch had too much working in the 1st half to never find it again. If he finds a happy middle ground between his Jekyll and Hyde, we’ll have a quality, every day, outfielder.
2. Casper Wells, OF
Wells was one of several minor leaguers who got a shot in the Show during 2010. With the Tigers he hit .323/.364/.538 in 36 games. He also went deep 4 times with 17 RBI. At that pace, over 162 games he would have hit 18 home runs with 76 RBI. Surprisingly, his AAA numbers were actually worse than his 2010 big league numbers. In 103 games for Toledo he hit .233 and slugged .483. Notably, however, he belted 21 home runs. Wells seems to be capable of producing at any level. Fans should keep a close eye on Toledo to see if he maintains consistency in the average and power departments.
3. Will Rhymes, 2B
Rhymes played 95 games for Toledo and 54 for the Tigers. At Toledo, he hit .305 with 35 RBI. He stole 22 bases and posted a respectable OBP of .370. Rhymes was promoted and then sent back to AAA following a brief stint in the bigs. He then returned to the Tigers following injury problems. Rhymes is a competitive man who loved the big leagues. I think he’s got the work ethic and fiery spirit to be a big leaguer soon. If you want see what Rhymes thinks about Rhymes, check out his web site: (http://www.willrhymes.com/).
4. Scott Sizemore, 2B
In 48 games with the Tigers Sizemore hit .224/.296/.336 with 3 homers and 14 RBI. Clearly, he was not quite ready for the bigs. His minor league numbers were better: .298/.378/.472 over 76 games for the Toledo Mud Hens. Sizemore is probably never going to be a Robinson Cano type player, but he has the skill set to be a productive in-fielder at the major league level. He should figure into the discussion for the 2011 second base job opening.
5. Alex Avila, C
Avila played quality baseball behind the plate. At the plate, however, he lacked the same consistency in his game. He hit .228 over 104 games with 7 HR and 31 RBI. I, as a fan of the Tigers, would also like to offer this mostly subjective nugget of analysis: Over the year, in my opinion, it seemed like Avila produced hits or walks in crucial situations more often than Laird did. The numbers sort of back up my opinion: Avila – .344 OBP w/RISP, Laird – .275 OBP w/RISP. Although Laird did hit .222 w/RISP compared to Avila’s average of .203 w/ RISP. Avila is not going to win a silver slugger award at catcher, but I feel he has a higher ceiling than his 2010 performance. Watch for him to improve next year.
6. Ryan Strieby, 1B, 2B, OF
If I was a manger, I would have Strieby be the first player off the bus at every game. I’d then have him sneak back onto the bus and walk off again, somewhere in the middle of the team. He stands 6’5’’ and weighs in at 235 lbs. This behemoth appeared in 76 games for the Mud Hens. Strieby spent 2010 adjusting to higher-level pitching. In 2009 he hit .303/.427/.565 for AA Erie with 19 homers and 58 RBI in 86 games. In 2010, he was promoted to AAA Toledo where his numbers dipped (.245/.323/.400). His power numbers also fell as he only went yard 10 times. The troubling part about 2010 is that Strieby showed improvement in the average and slugging departments after every promotion prior to last year:
2006 at A- Oneonta, .241 BA/.335 SLG
2007 at A West Michigan, .253 BA/.422 SLG
2008 at A+ Lakeland, .278 BA/.563 SLG
2009 at AA Erie, .303 BA/.565 SLG
2010 at AAA Toledo, .245 BA/.400 SLG
If Strieby can continue to improve, he’ll be a solid, every day, power bat. If he does not show significant improvement at Toledo he may be an ideal player to look at trading to bolster a mid-season deal.
7. Daniel Fields, OF
Fields is the son of former Tigers hitting Coach Bruce Fields. He was also ranked in the top 50 prospects in 2009 and is from Detroit. It seems as though destiny will place Fields into the outfield at Comerica Park in the future. In 2010, his first professional season, Fields didn’t do much with the bat (.240/.343/.371). Fields did manage to play pretty solid defense, committing only one error in 102 games for Lakeland. Watch for Fields to develop as a hitter and probably end up in Erie.
8. Gustavo Nunez, SS
Nunez is a small kid, standing only 5’10’’, but his compact frame packs some explosive quickness. Nunez stole 33 bases in 2010 for Lakeland after being promoted from West Michigan. His batting numbers fell off in Lakeland as he hit just .222 with an OBP of .263. Nunez needs to improve his patience and his decision making while swinging the bat. He’s got plenty of raw talent which needs to be refined. If the Tigers hitting instructors can get the average up, he’ll be a dangerous player on the base paths. Nunez will benefit from some more time on the farm.
9. Alden Carrithers, 2B
Carrithers hit .359 before being promoted from Lakeland to Erie. At Erie, he hit significantly worse at .262. Carrithers didn’t hit for power at all during 2010, but, I think he has serious Moneyball upside. His OBP in 2010 was .422. Needs to improve against high level pitching but he has plate awareness and patience to get on base.
10. Wade Gaynor, 3B
In 131 games for West Michigan, Gaynor hit .286/.354/.436. His 147 hits led the Tigers’ farm system. Gaynor is a young guy, at 22, and has a high ceiling. In his last 10 games he had 10 RBI and only went hitless twice. He won’t be in Detroit in 2011 but look for Gaynor to see a promotion within the farm.
11. Andy Dirks, LF
The 6’, 195 lb lefty played at Erie and Toledo in 2010. In Only 22 games for Toledo he shredded opposing pitching. At Toledo, he hit .375/.398/.648 with 4 HR and 17 RBI. Those numbers were up significantly from his Erie totals, but are quite impressive. Dirks is continuing to tweak his game in the offseason and is currently assigned to the Toros del Este in a Dominican winter league.
12. Jordan Lennerton, 1B
Lennerton hit .295 cumulatively between stops at West Michigan and Lakeland. After being sent to Lakeland, his HRs went from 3 to 9 and he increased his RBI output from 23 to 33. I think he’ll start 2011 with Lakeland and be in Erie before August. Lennerton is a lefty who has exhibited some power. If he continues to spend time in the weight room, and display a continued increase in performance, he’ll be a hot commodity in the near future.
13. Kody Kaiser, RF
Kaiser hit .293/.346/.445 over 112 games at Lakeland and Erie. He was 20 for 26 when attempting to steal. Kaiser is a decent prospect but needs to improve the frequency with which he strikes out as he was K’d 109 times in 434 AB’s.
14. Rawley Bishop, 1B
Bishop hit .276 over 133 games at Lakeland and then Erie. He hit 15 HR and drove in 87. He has displayed decent power but his average fell 50 points between Lakeland and Erie. Bishop needs to show that he can hit superior pitching before advancing any further in the farm system.
15. Avisail Garcia, OF
Garcia is a pretty raw prospect. He is only 19 years old with one professional season under his belt. In 125 games with West Michigan he hit .281 with 4 HR and 63 RBI. He stole 20 bases in 24 attempts. Garcia is spending the off season back home in Venezuela with the Caribes de Anzoategui. He will need to spend a few seasons working on his game, but he’s an athletic youngster with room to grow.
16. Billy Nowlin, DH
Nowlin spent 83 games with Lakeland before being sent to Erie for 40 games. Cumulatively, he hit .265 with 14 HR and 71 RBI. Nowlin started his Tigers career in 2008 with the GCL Tigers and has been continuously promoted every year. His 2010 numbers fell off slightly from 2009, but not substantially. If he can put together a decent year at Erie, Nowlin may end up in Toledo in 2011 or 2012.