Live from Lakeland: Tigers Fall Ball Day 1

Through the first two days of attendance at the Tigers Fall Instructional League, a few players have stood out and are worth mentioning right out of the gate. In particular, a couple of arms were especially impressive on the mound. Plus, some general notes and thoughts.

Julio Felix (RHP)

Felix was the standout pitcher in Wednesday's loss to the Braves. He came in and sat 91-92 with his fastball, showing hard boring action in on right-handed hitters. He touched 96 when he needed it and consistently showed the ability to reach 94 mph. He flashed a two-seam fastball that worked 89-90 mph and was extremely heavy and difficult for hitters to lift. His low-80s slider had horizontal break and showed modest potential. he flashed a change-up with good arm speed and some fade to the arm-side, missing a couple of bats in two innings. All of his pitches come out of the same arm slot and he has the build to maintain his stuff over multiple innings. I see a reliever profile long term, most likely in a middle relief or seventh inning role, but he has the potential to jump a couple of levels next year.

Jordan John (LHP)

He only worked one inning, but the 2012 draft pick showed some potential as a bullpen lefty. He worked with an average fastball, topping out a 92 late in his inning. His curveball has hammer potential and sat in the low-70s with 12-6 break. He is a deliberate worker on the mound and his motion is free and easy, making it look like he's playing catch in the back yard. He challenges in with his fastball.

Juan Falcon (RHP)

Falcon is a really raw arm that the Tigers brought to the States for the first time this fall. It is immediately evident why the Tigers moved him so quickly when you see his mature frame, long arms and good strength. He pumps 91-92 mph fastballs with ease and even touched 94 on one pitch. His change-up showed occasional sink and his slider was hard in the mid- to upper-80s. Both secondary pitches lack polish and will need considerable work. There's a lot of work to be done here, but Falcon does have some relief potential.

Dixon Machado (SS)

Machado immediately draws your attention on the field. He is a confident, easy-going player that clearly enjoys the game. His defensive abilities are outstanding, including tremendous hands, excellent range and an arm that drew some interesting commentary throughout the last two days. When Machado unleashed some throws from short, scouts could be heard saying "Zing," "Wait, wait, watch this," and other comments of the like. His arm is worthy of such commentary and earns easy plus-plus grades. The bat, well, let's just say I'm going to keep quiet because I don't have much nice to say right now.

Bunt Hits

Logan Ehlers had some soreness in his shoulder and went for an MRI last week. The staff I spoke with today are still awaiting word on any potential diagnosis…..Massive right-handed starter Edgar De La Rosa has been battling a dead arm and just resumed throwing bullpen sessions…..It sounds like Jacob Kapstein's move to first base is permanent…..James Robbins has improved his body since last year and he is a very real power prospect…..The Tigers have invited several pitchers to Lakeland with no intent on having them throw, just to conduct meetings/instruction on how to read hitters, sequence pitchers and learn their craft; a tremendous idea.

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