Roundtable: Player in Need of AFL Time

Ready to talk Tigers? Want to hear the opinion of the TigsTown staff? Welcome to the TigsTown Roundtable! This week's question: Which player do you think would benefit the most out of a trip to the Arizona Fall League?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor

Dave Dombrowski told TigsTown a few weeks ago that Nick Castellanos will be headed to the AFL, so looking past him, I think the player that could get the most out of such a trip would be catcher James McCann. Having traded top catching prospect Rob Brantly, the Tigers are in a position in which they'll either need to re-sign backup Gerald Laird, or rely on a combination of James McCann and Bryan Holaday. While Holaday has big league defense, he's not going to stick long offensively if he has to play much, and who knows how well Alex Avila's knees are going to hold up. Even if they do try and bring Laird back, it'll likely only be on a one-year deal. The long and short of it is that the Tigers need McCann to come along quickly to fill that void, and given his struggles at the plate since moving up to Erie (hitting just .179 with a .480 OPS in 184 at-bats), the more practice he can get against talented competition, the better.

Mark Anderson, Managing Editor

It's always interesting when it comes time to pick players for the Arizona Fall League. There are so many restrictions and considerations in play. From Single-A exemptions to restrictions surrounding the use of international players, and even how much a guy has played that year, there is always something to consider. As Dave Dombrowski told us several weeks ago, Nick Castellanos will be going to the AFL to work on his outfield defense. That will be an immense benefit to him. Looking through the upper levels, you struggle to find top prospects that would gain valuable experience in the AFL. With his Double-A experience, James McCann could go, but is that too much for a first full season of professional baseball? A guy like Rawley Bishop or Brandon Douglas could head west and draw some attention heading into the Rule 5 draft. Pitchers like Jared Gayhart and Ryan Robowski have fringe big-league ceilings and could improve their stock with a trip to the AFL. All that said, with his struggles at times this year and the need for repetition coming back from Tommy John surgery, I think power-armed reliever Tyler Stohr could benefit the most. He's still in need of innings to find his command and his slider and a trip to the AFL could be just what he needs heading into 2013.

Chris Vannini, Senior Staff Writer

He's been there before, but I think Andy Oliver would greatly benefit from a stint in the Arizona Fall League. With the move to the bullpen, it could allow him to pitch in more relief situations and speed up the transition. Oliver found a lot of success in the 2009 fall league and his time in Erie in 2010 statistically was his best as a pitcher in his career, especially with the location — which has been Oliver's biggest downfall. Another stint in Arizona may be the key to the power arm getting back on track.

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