Baseball America has released their annual Top Ten Tiger Prospects list. This is premium content at BA so you need a subscription to read the scouting reports but the top ten are listed below:
1. Cameron Maybin
2. Andrew Miller
3. Brent Clevlen
4. Jair Jurrjens
5. Jordan Tata
6. Eulogio DeLaCruz
7. Gorkys Hernandez
8. Dallas Trahern
9. Jeff Larish
10. Scott Sizemore
Maybin and Miller need no introduction. They are two of the elite prospects in the entire minor leagues and will probably be ranked near the top of the top 100 prospects list which BA releases in the spring. It's not likely that any other Tigers will make that list. Humberto Sanchez probably has an outside shot but he, of course, was traded for Gary Sheffield. Maybin and Miller probably won't play regularly for the Tigers until 2008 but they are two names to watch very closely all year. They will probably spend the greater part of the season at AA Erie.
The prospect who is most likely to be ready to help in 2007 is Tata. He pitched for the Tigers a little bit this year and might wind up in their pen again next year. If he does not relieve for the Tigers, he'll start in AAA. Clevlen saw time with the Tigers this season and Jim Leyland likes him a lot but he is still struggling offensively and likely needs a year in the minors. I'm a little surprised he is ranked as high as number 3 but BA is very tools oriented and he has some good ones. The problem is he struggles at new levels and that is often a bad sign for a prospect.
The rest of the prospects are not likely to see much action in Detroit this year. The 20 year old Jurrjens raced up the prospect list from #16 to #4 after a solid season pitching for One A Lakeland and Erie. He'll pitch for Toledo this year. One of his teammates will be DeLaCruz who is the hardest throwing prospect but also wild. They are still trying to figure out his ultimate role - reliever or starter.
Gorkys Hernandez might be a new name for some of you. He batted .327/.356/.463 as an 18 year old in the rookie level GCL last season. He is still very raw but could become a very exciting prospect in time. middle infielder Scott Sizemore had a strong year for short season Oneonta this year hitting .327/.394/.435. Hernandez and Sizemore may both play for low A Western Michigan this year.
I thought Jeff Larish would be ranked a little higher after showing good power and a high walk rate for Lakeland this year. He did have trouble making contact though and he'll need to have a big year at Erie in 2007 in order to solidify his spot as the Tiger first baseman of the future.
The biggest surprise on the list was Dallas Trahern. He had a low strikeout rate this year (86 k in 145 innings) which isn't usually a good sign for pitching prospects. He may have a future as a ground ball pitcher. He'll most likely pitch for Erie in 2007