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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Who's going where in the Tigers' minor league system

Once it's set who is making the big league roster for the Tigers, it becomes a process of divvying up the minor leaguers, assigning them to their respective teams. Here's a preliminary overview of which big-name prospects in the Tigers system are going to which teams, based on rosters/lineups released by the minor-league affiliates this week. Obviously, there are still some assignments that are outstanding, and some players won't appear on this list. 

(Jose Alvarez, LHP; Duane Below, LHP; Casey Crosby, LHP; Shawn Hill, RHP; Jose Ortega, RHP; Luis Marte, RHP; Bruce Rondon, RHP; Luke Putkonen, RHP) — Crosby is the organization’s top starting pitching prospect, but is still a ways away from being ready. The veteran Hill is probably who the team would call on if a spot start is needed. Rondon needs some seasoning at Triple-A before he’s ready to be the Tigers’ closer, but he’s not that far off. Ortega (pictured above), Marte, Putkonen and Below have already spent some time in the big-league bullpen.

Position players (Bryan Holaday, C; Quintin Berry, OF, Nick Castellanos, OF; Avisail Garcia, OF; Danny Worth, IF; Kevin Russo, IF/OF; Ben Guez, OF; Gustavo Nunez, IF; Argenis Diaz, IF) — Castellanos and Garcia are in Toledo and not Detroit because the organization doesn’t want to stunt their growth as bench players with the big-league team. If someone’s needed, though, either might get the call-up. Worth probably played well enough to earn a spot on the bench, but has an option left, as did Berry, who was the Tigers’ Rookie of the Year in 2012, and Russo, who was signed to a minor-league deal in the offseason. Argenis Diaz is a stud defender, while Gustavo Nunez was recently returned to the Tigers after being selected in the 2011 Rule 5 draft.

Overview — May be as many high-end prospects as Toledo has had in a while, with quite a few up-and-coming players knocking on the door, as well as some big-league-ready backups who may get a call sooner rather than later.

(Kyle Lobstein, LHP; Warwick Saupold; Robbie Weinhardt; Tyler Stohr; Tyler Clark)

Position players (James McCann, C; Ramon Cabrera, C; Hernan Perez, 2B; Dixon Machado, SS; Wade Gaynor, 3B; Tyler Collins, OF; Daniel Fields, OF)

Overview — The Seawolves’ lineup is better than their pitching, with a couple of highly-regarded prospects at catcher in McCann and Cabrera, two of the better middle infield prospects in the system in Machado and Perez, and a couple of outfielders who opened eyes as non-roster invitees in big league camp in Collins and Fields. Collins, who is the No. 7 prospect in the system, reminds people of Andy Dirks. The Tigers thought enough of Lobstein, acquired by trade after the Rule 5 draft, that they doubled down and traded catcher Curt Casali to the Rays to keep the lefty, who will be Erie’s Opening Day starter.

(Drew VerHagen, RHP; Ryan Robowski, LHP; Melvin Mercedes, RHP; Joe Rogers, LHP; Will Clinard, RHP)

Position players (Eugenio Suarez, IF; Aaron Westlake, 1B; Dean Green, DH; Jason King, 3B; Brandon Loy, 2B; Steven Moya, RF)

Overview — Suarez might be the Tigers’ best shortstop prospect (ranked No. 9 in the system), while Westlake and Green have plenty of raw power potential, as does the massive, 6-foot-7 Moya, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery. VerHagen joined the Florida State League champs late, and may be on the fast track toward the upper minors, along with his former Vanderbilt teammate, Clinard, while the Tigers have high hopes for the burly Mercedes, who was a non-roster invitee to big league spring training.

(Montreal Robertson, RHP; Endrys Briceno, RHP; Jordan John, LHP; Edgar De La Rosa, RHP)

Position players (Austin Schotts, CF; Danry Vasquez, OF; Devon Travis, 2B; Jeff Holm, OF)

Overview — The Tigers’ third-round pick last year, Schotts is seen as the center fielder of the future, and is ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the system by Baseball America, after hitting .310 in rookie ball. Vasquez, the No. 6 prospect, is back with the ‘Caps after struggling there to start last season, but is still one of the Tigers’ top hitting prospects after signing as a 17-year-old. He, Briceno and De La Rosa all need to add muscle mass to live up to their potential. The Tigers have been transitioning the powerful Robertson from reliever to starter.


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