The first thing that I want to do before we get into the Tigers system is thank Chad Hillman for giving us a big hand. Chad has gone into semi-retirement from his blogging but is one of the real experts on the Tigers’ system out there. He lives in Michigan and we met last season while I was in Lansing covering the Blue Jays’ Midwest League affiliate. He’s been an invaluable resource about Tigers prospects and gave me a fantastic write up for you Tigers fans out there. When you see the author refer to himself, it’s Chad talking about seeing these players in person or talking to team/organization staff about them.
That said, if you have a problem with anything we’re writing, go talk to him. @HillmanChad
Triple-A: Toledo Mud Hens (International League)
Double-A: Erie SeaWolves (Eastern League)
High-A: Lakeland Flying Tigers (Florida State League)
Class-A: West Michigan White Caps (Midwest League)
Short-Season A: Connecticut Tigers (New York-Penn League)
Complex-Rookie: GCL Tigers (Gulf Coast League)
Tyler Collins – OF
Date of Birth: June 6, 1990
Height/Weight: 5’11″/215 lbs
Acquired: 6th round of the 2011 draft
Analysis: Collins probably deserves to be ranked higher on this list especially after he saw a big breakout in his power game hitting 21 home runs for Double-A Erie this past season. An expected result of that added power was a dip in his batting average. Collins also had a very solid performance in the Arizona Fall League this year, hitting .260/.382/.356 with a pair of home runs and a very good walk to strikeout ratio. He has good foot speed and can steal the occasional base when needed.
2014 Prognosis: Collins will either start at Double-A or move up to Triple-A, depending on the organization’s need. He most likely projects as a utility outfielder at the MLB level as I suspect he will be an all-or-nothing guy at the MLB level.
Hernan Perez – 2B
Date of Birth: March 26, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’1″/185 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of Venezuela in 2009;
Analysis: Perez has spent time in Detroit as a second baseman with a majority of that time coming last season when Omar Infante went down with injury. He has plus range and is a plus defender, but his bat still has a ways to go. He had a really good season in Erie and once Infante returned was assigned to AAA Toledo.
2014 Prognosis: With the trade to acquire 2B Ian Kinsler, Perez is expected to start the season at AAA Toledo.
Melvin Mercedes – RHP
Date of Birth: November 2, 1990
Height/Weight: 6’3″/250 lbs
Acquired: International free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008
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Analysis: Mercedes is another prototypical Dave Dombrowski guy. He reminds me of Joel Zumaya and Bruce Rondon in that he is also a bad body guy (Ok. He’s fat; he’s approaching 300 pounds) but he is another guy that can throw the ball 98-100. He also has a slider that needs work. His future is a late inning guy with closer potential at the MLB level depending on the development of his slider.
2014 Prognosis: He will get a long look in Spring Training for a bullpen spot in Detroit, but I think they will ultimately send him to AAA Toledo to continue development of his slider as well as late inning opportunities.
Steven Moya – OF
Date of Birth: September 8, 1991
Height/Weight: 6’6″/230 lbs
Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2008
Analysis: I like Moya, but I’m not as high on him as other guys. He has struggled with injuries during his professional career and I question his durability. He is a big guy standing 6’6” and has awesome power potential but is still learning the outfield position and the bat has gotten better but still needs some work. He has a pretty strong arm that will keep him in the running to be a Major League right fielder depending on what happens with the bat.
2014 Prognosis: There’s a good chance that Moya will start the season in AA Erie.
Devon Travis – 2B
Date of Birth: February 21, 1991
Height/Weight: 5’9″/183 lbs
Acquired: 13th round of the 2012 draft
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Analysis: Travis is overlooked by a lot of prospect guys because he is short and there are questions about his durability. To this point though he has been impressive and dominated both the Midwest League and Florida State League this season basically splitting time in both. He hit .352 with a .916 OPS in the Midwest League and didn’t stop with the step up in competition as he hit .350 with a .962 OPS in the Florida State League. He has quick hands and good foot work around second base and while he will probably never be a flashy superstar, he has the potential to be an average everyday player or a very good utility player at the MLB level.
2014 Prognosis: Travis should start in Erie, but may start in Lakeland depending on what the Tigers decide to do with Suarez.