2011 TigsTools: Best Infield Arm

Unlike many of the tools we rate in this series, infield arm is one of those "either you have it or you don't" tools. You can easily identify the premium arms. You can easily identify the horrible arms. Differentiating between a 40-grade arm and a 50-grade arm or a 50 and a 60 can be a dicey proposition.

Best Infield Arm
1. Gustavo Nunez (SS)
2. Dixon Machado (SS)
3. Nick Castellanos (3B)
4. Eugenio Suarez (SS)
5. Brandon Loy (SS)

Most scouts rate Nunez the top arm among Tigers infielders with both raw strength and the ability to throw from multiple angles and on the run. Machado runs a close second to Nunez with most scouts amazed at the zip he gets on the ball from his tiny frame.

Castellanos' arm didn't wow every scout that saw him this year, due mostly to a problem with his right hand that didn't allow him to let it loose at all times. When healthy, Castellanos showed plenty of arm for third base.

Suarez and Loy both show above-average to plus arms and have plenty to work with deep in the hole at shortstop.

Honorable Mention
Cale Iorg

Prior to his shoulder surgery following the season Iorg had rated among the top five. Until he demonstrates that his arm strength has come back in full, I can't justify squeezing him onto the list.

Projection Kings
Brett Harrison
Steven Fuentes

Both Harrison and Fuentes will flash plus arms but they lack the consistency in footwork and arm slot to let their arm strength show through at all times. Both players could find themselves among the top five in future lists.

Others Considered
Wade Gaynor
Javier Azcona
Hernan Perez
James Robbins

Robbins sat in the mid-80s as a left-handed pitcher during his amateur days and his arm is hidden at first base. Both Perez and Azcona offer consistently average arms that will flash a bit more at times. Gaynor may not be pretty with his short-arm mechanics but he has good raw arm strength and gets the ball to first base in a hurry.

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