Douglas was drafted for the second time in 2008, this time by the Tigers, after being picked in the 32nd round by the Reds in 2007. The Northern Iowa product was signed quickly as an 11th round pick and he promptly played at four different levels in the Tigers organization that summer.
Seeing the most action (47 games) at Oneonta, Douglas posted a .312/.350/.407 line in the NYPL. He hit even better in brief stints at West Michigan and in the Gulf Coast League, and even held his own with five hits in 19 plate appearances at Double-A.
Things settled down in 2009 as Douglas spent the entire summer with West Michigan, posting a .322/.384/.374 line as a 23-year old. Douglas was sidelined for much of August with a groin strain, returning just in time for a playoff push with the ‘Caps.
In 2010, Douglas was expected to move quickly up the ladder after two strong pro seasons. He was slated for a spot on the Opening Day roster in Double-A before a hamstring injury sidelined him until June 5. Once he returned, he continued to hit at an impressive clip, notching a .331 average in 37 games at High-A Lakeland.
That type of hitting forced the then 24-year old Douglas to Double-A Erie, where he ripped the ball to the tune of a .359 average with 17 doubles in just 35 games; split evenly between shortstop and second base.
The impressive statistics paint a picture of a top prospect, but the scouting reports have yet to back that up.
Douglas' hit tool earns rave reviews, with most scouts believing he could hit around .290-.300 at the big league level, if not even better once he settled in. He makes easy contact on all types of pitches, and he can use the entire field at any time.
Douglas doesn't have much punch, typically just knocking singles around the park with no real consistently hard liners to the gaps and certainly no home run power. Given his frame and age, there is little reason to project any growth in this area.
An average to solid-average runner, Douglas is a smart base runner that reads pitchers well and could steal 10-15 bases a year on that alone.
Defensively, Brandon is a fringe-average defender at second base and well below-average at shortstop. He has solid range for the keystone but his footwork can get sloppy and he doesn't possess the best hands. His arm offers some strength but nothing to get excited about.
Douglas is an aggressive player that plays hard and will give everything he has each game. He enjoys the game and his makeup has earned positive reviews both from opposing scouts and from those within the Tigers organization.
As a one-trick pony with just a hit tool and little else, Douglas is tough to peg in a big league role. He lacks the defensive chops to be considered a utility player and he must post a high average to have any offensive value at all. At best, he looks like a second division regular at second base, and that is an optimistic view.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
There is some concern over the fragility of Douglas' body. He missed time with injuries in college and has had injuries that caused him to miss significant time in both of his full professional seasons. He needs a campaign that includes playing in 120-plus games to prove he can withstand the day-to-day grind of the professional game.
The Tigers invited Douglas to big league camp, but he has little shot to make the Opening Day roster with Scott Sizemore, Will Rhymes, and Carlos Guillen all ahead of him on the second base depth chart, not to mention the likes of Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth.
All signs point toward a return to Double-A for the 2011 season. There exists a slim window where Douglas can steal a big league opportunity, and how long that crack remains open will depend entirely on how much he hits.
If the Tigers multitude of second base options all fail and Douglas continues hitting, he could see Detroit later this year, but if he is going to be a big leaguer it is far more likely to be in 2012 than 2011.
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