2011 TigsTools: Best Command

Establishing command of the strike zone is often times one of the final pieces to the puzzle for a pitching prospect and the development of it can vault an up-and-down guy to a solid big league option.

It's not just about the ability to throw strikes but more the ability to locate within the strike zone and throw quality strikes that defines command. Even with the Tigers love for hard throwers, there are still several pitchers that have command now and projection for even more.

Best Command
1. Adam Wilk (LHP)
2. Jacob Turner (RHP)
3. Drew Smyly (LHP)
4. Luis Marte (RHP)
5. Austin Wood (LHP)

Wilk's arsenal requires that he maintain command of the strike zone and to his credit he has developed the best present command in the system; earning consistent plus grades from scouts in 2011. He can locate all of his pitches to all four quadrants of the strike zone and added the ability to locate outside the strike zone this year.

Turner showed in his big league debut that he still needs to refine his command to reach his big league ceiling, but he already possesses at least average command and maybe more. A similar rating can be applied to Smyly who throws quality strikes with multiple pitches and should have plus command once he reaches his peak.

Marte is the classic example of developing command over the long term, as he has added command of his arsenal to his game only in recent years. His ability to locate his fastball is outstanding at times. Austin Wood is another polished pitcher with at least average command now and the ability to refine that to be even better.

Honorable Mention
Zach Samuels (RHP)

I am often hit with questions of how Zach Samuels projects down the line and I wish I could remain more positive. His best attribute is his command of a fringy arsenal. He can locate well and that allows him to mix his pitches in any count to any hitter.

Projection Kings
Kevin Eichhorn (RHP)
Brennan Smith (RHP)

Eichhorn came out of high school with the reputation as a polished pitcher that should develop supreme command. That projection hasn't materialized to date. While he pounds the strike zone consistently he doesn't always locate, particularly to the corners. Brennan Smith shows flashes of locating his arsenal but needs more consistency to move into serious consideration for the top five.

Others Considered
Daniel Bennett
Brooks Brown
Trevor Feeney
Thad Weber

Bennett commanded his below-average fastball exceptionally well in his pro debut, allowing him to have an outstanding summer pitching as high as West Michigan. Brown, Feeney and Weber have all improved their location since signing and they are all fringe-average command guys that can locate well at the minor league level.

Have questions about the list? Head to the discussion thread on the TigsTown Premium Forum to discuss in-depth!

2011 TigsTools: Best Command

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