2013 TigsTools: Best Hitter

The Tigers have the best hitter on the planet in Miguel Cabrera, and while no one on the farm can come close to such a lofty projection, there are some that could approach .300 at the Major League level. Hitting a baseball requires pitch recognition, fast hands, barrel control and often the ability to hit the ball where it is pitched, using the whole field to your advantage.

Arguably one of the hardest things to do in all of sport, multi-tooled prospects can often be brought to their knees over the development of their hit tool. Who are the best projected hitters in the Tigers organization?

Best Hitter

1. Nick Castellanos (OF)
2. Devon Travis (2B)
3. Harold Castro (2B)
4. Dean Green (1B)
5. Javier Betancourt (2B)

Castellanos retains his spot atop these rankings for yet another year as he showed hitting prowess as one of the youngest players in Triple-A in 2013. Castellanos has a true knack for squaring the ball and driving it to all fields. His pitch recognition has improved and while he will still chase good breaking balls out of the strike zone, he has an ability to adjust and make contact on any pitch, in any part of the zone. At his peak, Castellanos could be a .290-.300 hitter at the Major League level.

Second basemen Devon Travis and Harold Castro both have intriguing hitting ability but they do it in very different ways. Castro represents the natural hitter with a gift for contact, while Travis represents the grinder that refuses to give-in during at-bats and comes up with his share of hits. Travis' pitch recognition and approach are more refined than Castro's at this point, but Castro shows flashes of figuring out that part of his game.

Dean Green may not be a serious MLB prospect, but his hitting ability continues to rate well among scouts. His bat speed is lacking, which is part of the reason his MLB projection comes up short, but he consistently gets the bat to the ball and sprays line drives around the field.

Venezuelan second baseman Javier Betancourt has a great feel for the game overall, and that stands out in the batter's box even though he is just a teenager. Betancourt could top this list in the coming years with the potential to be a solid all-around player that hits .280-.290 at the highest level.

Honorable Mention

Ramon Cabrera (C)
Hernan Perez (2B)

Acquired from the Pirates in exchange for left-hander Andy Oliver, Cabrera is a free-swinging catcher that can hit from both sides of the plate. His aggressive approach can get him in trouble against more advanced pitchers, but Cabrera could be an average hitter if he gets a chance in the big leagues.

Tigers fans got a taste of Perez's ability in 2013 but he was clearly overmatched trying to hit at the major League level. He has strong arms, wrists and hands with good bat speed and some feel for the barrel, giving him the potential to hit for average and show gap power when he reaches his peak.

Projection Kings

Domingo Leyba (IF)
Franklin Navarro (C)
Austin Schotts (OF)

Infielder Domingo Leyba's polish was on full display in his first season in the Dominican Summer League in 2013 and he has the sound approach and feel for hitting to post consistently high batting averages as he moves up the minor league ladder. Navarro struggled in his Stateside debut in 2013 but he has a chance to develop into an average hitter which could make him a very valuable backstop. Scotts ranked much higher on this last year but both Low-A and short-season pitchers exploited his lack of barrel control and poor pitch recognition, leaving scouts to mention just how raw he is at the plate.

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