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2012 Fish Watch: Detroit Tigers – June Edition


The first thing you need to know about The Fish Watch is that it’s not a list of sleepers. It is instead a list of players at various points in their respective minor league journeys that for one reason or another have piqued my interest enough that I am watching their development more closely than the bulk of prospects out there. To read more about this project, check out the introduction and master list.

This is the second round of updates in this series so I will not rehash why each player made my list but you can always go back and read previous installments of the series. While doing the installments by division worked the first time around, I’m going to go team-by-team for the June recaps (yes I realize it is mid-July already).

Detroit Tigers (S2S 2012 Tigers Team Prospect List)

3B – Jason King (22) – Tigers 2011 4th Round Pick

2011 – Connecticut (A-): 0.251/.341/.415, 16 XBH, 6 SB, 20 BB and 39 SO in 227 PA
2012 – West Michigan (A): 0.233/.281/.341, 10 2B, 3 HR, 3 SB, 10 BB and 31 SO in 193 PA

Notes – While King has seen his share of adversity in his brief professional career, he has also shown a great deal of resiliency. He didn’t make his season debut until May 2nd as he was working his way back from a torn ACL and torn meniscus suffered last season. On May 16th King was hitting 0.075/.123/.170  and needed to close out the month 16-51 to get his slash stats up to 0.192/.223/.279 before June 1st. He continued to elevate his stats from the deep, dark hole they started in by hitting 0.292/.363/.431 during the month of June and was faring even better at the plate in his last 10 games. Unfortunately his resurgence was cut short by injury on June 26th and the Whitecaps placed him on the 7-day disabled list the following day.

While I remain optimistic about his future, we still don’t have a good feel for what he’s capable of. He’s yet to have  a long consistent stretch where he can settle and really develop but it is a positive that he quickly knocked the rust off after a long layoff and was showing some progress and growth before the latest injury.

OF – Danry Vasquez (18) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on July 2nd, 2010

2011 – GCL Tigers (Rk): 0.272/.306/.350, 11 XBH, 3 SB, 7 BB and 34 SO in 224 PA
2012 – West Michigan/Connecticut: 0.252/.293/.340, 10 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 12 BB, 36 SO in 225 PA

Notes – From April 5th to May 10th the Tigers had Vasquez playing above his head in the Midwest League. At nearly two full months younger than the Indians Francisco Lindor, he was the youngest player in the league and while his slash stats were downright awful he wasn’t exactly flailing at the plate. In fact his 20-7 SO-to-BB in 29 games with the Whitecaps was rather impressive for an 18-year old who had spent 2011 in the GCL.

He was back in action once the NY-Penn League got underway and responded to the more reasonable assignment – given his age and lack of experience – with a 0.378/.429/.533 line in 12 June games. The line drive swing that his scouting reports emphasize has been on full display and in June his 25.0 LD% helped fuel his lofty 0.472 BABIP. Vasquez is not fleet of foot and has a fringe average arm so he’s going to need to keep slapping line drives around the field and develop some power to justify the Tigers’ faith in him that led to a $1.2 million signing bonus in 2010.

SS – Eugenio Suarez (20) – Signed out of Venezuela as a NDFA on October 9th, 2008

2011 – GCL Tigers/Connecticut: 0.266/.338/.464, 30 XBH, 11 SB, 21 BB and 47 SO in 279 PA
2012 – West Michigan: 0.313/.411/.454, 29 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 14 SB, 49 BB and 73 SO in 403 PA

Notes – While he’s more highly regarded for  his instincts than tools there’s no denying the results. He finished April with a 0.944 OPS and while he couldn’t replicate that output during May, he surged to hit 0.366/.448/.585 during the month of June – good for a staggering 1.033 OPS. On top of the slash stats he cut his K% from 21.5 in May to 12.2 in June and kept his BB% above 11% for the 3rd consecutive month.

The young SS has made gains in the field as well as the plate. After committing 24 errors in 70 games at short in 2011, he’s dropped that to just 10 E in 75 games this season. His Fld% at SS has obviously improved as a result and jumped from 0.927 to 0.974. With the range and arm to stick at the position long term the strides he’s made defensively at SS cannot be undervalued here. As an added bonus Suarez has played 15 error free games at 2B as well.

Suarez entered 2012 as the Tigers #28 prospect (according to Baseball America) but given the way he’s performing thus far in 2012 I think it is safe to assume he will occupy a loftier position in the organization’s hierarchy.


For more on the Detroit Tigers, check out Motor City Bengals