Detroit Tigers 2015 Top 15 Prospects: 1-5
Dave Dombrowski transformed the Detroit Tigers from a complete laughing-stock in the late 90’s and early 2000’s into perennial World Series contenders. Drafting in the high twenties, signing the premier free-agents and trading your top prospects every year has taken its toll on the farm system, which is why the Tigers system ranks 29th in major league baseball.
Despite the poor ranking of the farm system the Tigers saw Nick Castellanos, Robbie Ray, and Eugenio Suarez, two of the systems top prospects graduate to the Major Leagues in 2014. Which Tigers top prospects will the opportunity to contribute in 2015?
Prospects 6-10 and 11-15 from the Detroit Tigers farm system have already been reviewed. It’s time to wrap up the Detroit Tiger 2015 Top 15 Prospect with a look at the systems Top 5 Prospects.
LHP, Michagin Whitecaps
H/W: 6’3″/200 lbs
Transaction: Selected in the 2nd round of the 2013 Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Kevin Ziomek’s 2014 Stats
Analysis: Ziomek has an average low-90’s fastball, an above-average mid to high 70’s slider, and decent 80’s change-up and curveball. This combination allowed Kevin to strikeout 29.8 K% of the batters he faced and he posted an impressive 2.98 FIP. Kevin’s 10 wins tied him for the Whitecaps team lead with a pair of top 5 prospects, but his 2.27 ERA was tops of the impressive three young starters. He also led the team in strikeouts and held opponents to an impressive .201 batting average.
2015 Prognosis: Lakeland with be Kevin’s starting point, but expect the Tigers to be aggressive with promoting him. After pitching 120+ innings in 2014, Kevin can expect to see his inning limit jump to around 150.
H/W: 6’5″/225 lbs
Transaction: Selected in the 4th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers."
RHP, Michagin Whitecaps
H/W: 6’5″/225 lbs
Transaction: Selected in the 4th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Austin Kubitza 2014 Stats
Analysis: Austin doesn’t generate as much velocity as you’d expect from his large frame. His fastball is in the high-80’s, but should increase with strength and conditioning. Austin possess a plus slider and his off-speed pitch is still a work in progress. Kubitza has good movement with late bite on his pitches which allows him to miss a lot of bats (26 K%), which is why he was second on the Whitecaps with 152 K’s. Good command continues to be strength with a very solid 2.95 BB/9 and FIP of 2.99. Kubitza was tough against LHB (.215)and RHB (.192) alike.
2015 Prognosis: Like Ziomek, Austin will start the with Lakeland and will move up to Erie if he gets off to another quick start. Look for the Tigers to continue to develop Kubitza’s fastball and off-speed offerings.
RHP, Michagin Whitecaps
H/W: 6’4″/225 lbs
Transaction: Selected in the 5th round of the 2013 Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Buck Farmer 2014 Stats
Analysis: The big right-hander from Conyers, Georgia, had one heck of a year. He flew through 3 minor league levels and finally landed in Detroit. Starting the year in at Full season A-ball, Farmer dominated in his 18 starts before getting promoted and dominating in 2 starts at Double-A. He struggled in his 2 starts at Triple-A before pitching 9 innings with the Tigers. He won Pitcher of the Year for the West Michigan Whitecaps and was selected to the Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star teams. He was also regarded as having the best breaking pitch and best control in the Midwest League. Farmer used his breaking pitches and control to strikeout over 20% of batters he faced at every level expect Triple-A.
2015 Prognosis: The Tigers have a solid 5 in their rotation. Farmer will start the season with the Toledo Mud Hens and will anchor the rotation. Buck will have to prove he can pitch at Triple-A if he is to be the first arm call-up if one of the Tiger 5 gets injured.
OF, Cunnecticut Tigers
H/W: 6’2″/195 lbs
Transaction: Selected in the 1st round of the 2014 Amateur Draft by the Detroit Tigers.
Derek Hill’s 2014 Stats
Analysis: Despite struggling, the Sacramento native, is still regarded as one of the Tigers more talented prospects. Hill has plus-plus speed, which he relies on to track balls down in CF. In the field, Hill isn’t all legs. Hill has a strong arm and good instincts. Derek showed good patience while in Rookie ball but appeared over matched in Connecticut. At 18, Hill still has the potential to add power to his frame to go along with his gap power. Derek couldn’t hit RHP (.178), but fared well against LHP (.295). Chances of this continuing is very slim
2015 Prognosis: Hill will start the year in Connecticut and will move up to West Michigan if all goes well. Look for Hill to use his speed to impact the game and increase his stolen base totals. Management will take their time with the promising 18 year old, especially if newly acquired Anthony Gose figures things out.
Positioned, Erie SeaWolves
Age: 23 years old
Height/ Weight: 6’6″/230 lbs
Transaction: Signed as an International free agent in 2008 by the Detroit Tigers
Steven Moya’s 2014 Stats
Analysis: The 6’6″ native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, finally appears to be healthy and fully recovered from his 2012 Tommy John surgery and the sholuder issues that limited him to 93 GP in 2013. Steven had a banner year in 2014, earning numerous accolades: All-Prospect Team and Rising Stars (AFL), MiLB Joe Bauman Home Run Award, MiLB.com Organization All-Star, MVP, All-Star Game Top Star, Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star teams, and Futures Game Selection. Moya led the SeaWolves in AB, R, H, 2B, HR, and RBI; unfortunately, his high 29.3K% and low 4.2BB% is a concern. Moya has always been a free swinger with a ton power, .280 ISO and .327 BABIP.
2015 Prognosis: There is a really possibility that Moya starts the 2015 with the Tigers. He could slug his way into the outfield and push Anthony Gose onto the bench with his impressive blend of power and speed. In order for this to happen he will need to find success despite his high strikeout tendencies.