Tigers Prospect Profile #15: Alex Burgos

The Tigers fifth round pick in 2010, Alex Burgos was relatively quiet in the organization, up until midway through the 2011 campaign, when he got sent to West Michigan and was outstanding, posting an ERA just barely above two. However, can Burgos keep that pace up as he sees more advanced competition?

Alex Burgos
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Height: 5-11
Weight: 180
Born: 12/1/1990
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Background
The Tigers fifth round pick in 2010, Burgos dominated at State College of Florida that spring, leading his squad to their first JUCO World Series. Burgos finished the college season with a spectacular 13-1 record and 1.42 ERA, while whiffing 109 hitters in just 95-plus innings.

Burgos signed in time to make eight relief appearances in the Gulf Coast League. In 11 2/3 innings total, Burgos allowed two earned runs (five runs total) on ten hits and three walks, while striking out 15. He didn't record a decision in his brief professional debut, but he did finish the summer with a 1.54 ERA.

The Tigers held Burgos back in extended spring training to build strength. He made his full-season debut with West Michigan later in the year, making 16 starts with the club before the season ended. In 94 2/3 innings Burgos managed a 6-5 record and 2.19 ERA. He allowed just 63 hits and 33 walks while striking out 89 batters.

Scouting Report
Though it's a gross generalization, Burgos routinely earns the classic "crafty lefty" moniker. His raw stuff doesn't blow you away but his understanding of pitch sequencing and his command of the baseball can make up for that.

Burgos' fastball sits consistently at 86-88 mph and after his strengthening program last spring he can bump 91 when he reaches back for more. While his velocity didn't jump significantly with added strength, he is able to maintain his velocity later into games as a result.

He developed the ability to cut the ball more consistently last year and that helped him get inside on right-handed hitters. His change-up flashes as a plus pitch at times and gives him another pitch to keep right-handers off his below-average fastball.

Burgos will mix in both a slider and curveball during his outings. The curveball rates as the better pitch and could be above-average with more refinement. He stops short on the pitch too frequently and doesn't get the hard, darting bite that scouts would like to see. His slider is a below-average pitch and there has been talk of scrapping the offering all together.

Burgos pounds the strike zone with all of his pitches, particularly his fastball that he can move to both sides of the plate. His command of both the cutter and change-up improved throughout the 2011 season, and he could have above-average big league command in time.

The biggest asset in Burgos' bag of tricks is his mound presence and understanding of pitching. He carries himself with extreme confidence on the mound and doesn't back down from anything.

Burgos posted some gaudy numbers last year, but his stuff doesn't back it up. He lacks a go-to pitch that can get advanced hitters out and there is little projection for enough improvement in his pitches develop a swing-and-miss offering. Without that, Burgos is going to be forced to succeed on sequencing, command and guts.

His ceiling maxes out as a number four or five starter. Without a put away pitch, Burgos doesn't have a bullpen profile as a backup plan.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

A

West Michigan

6-5

2.19

16

16

0

89

33

94.2

1.01


Health Record
There was some minor mention of shoulder trouble during his strengthening program last spring, but he was healthy and durable after heading to West Michigan later in the year. He is a little undersized and will have to prove his durability at every stop.

The Future
Burgos is headed to High-A Lakeland to start the 2012 season. His polish should allow him to succeed in the Florida State League and he could get a chance to try his hand at Double-A later in the year.

There is potential for Burgos to move quickly through the system and post numbers that draw the attention of fans and casual onlookers. That said, his scouting reports are far from sexy and he will have to prove he can get advanced hitters out once the book is out on him.

If Burgos pitches well in Lakeland and gets a shot with Erie this year, he could be on the big league radar by the end of the 2013 season.

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