2014 TigsTown Top 50 Tigers Prospects: 40-31

The next ten prospects in the organization from TigsTown are out! The next ten feature a pair of shortstops from Latin America, a few power arms, and the resurgence of a couple of familiar names that have been on the prospect list before.

40. Aaron Westlake – First Baseman
Widely considered an over-draft in the third round in 2011, Westlake finally got on track with High-A Lakeland in 2013 and posted a solid .291/.344/.447 line in the difficult offensive environment of the Florida State League. Westlake owns a good approach at the plate, decent contact ability, and solid raw power from a strength-based swing. He won't be a star at first base but he could develop enough to be a second division type and a secondary trade chip.

39. Francisco Martinez – Third Baseman
Originally signed by the Tigers out of Venezuela in 2007, Martinez was part of the package shipped to the Mariners in exchange for Doug Fister in 2011. Brought back from the Mariners last summer after a failed attempt to move him to the outfield, Martinez is still a strong athlete with quality tools across the board. The Tigers have moved him back to third base where he has soft hands, a strong arm and solid-average potential. His bat must continue to develop, but Martinez is still just 22-years old and own the type of profile that could make him interesting down the line.

38. Jose Ortega – Right-Handed Pitcher
Ortega logged 11-2/3 innings in the big leagues in 2013 with a 3.86 ERA, backed up by a 1.86 ERA in 48-1/3 innings in Triple-A. As an undersized right-hander, Ortega struggles to get good leverage on his 94-96 mph fastball, making him more hittable than his raw stuff suggests. His slider continues to flash as a quality pitch and gives him a second offering to rely on against advanced hitters. With his fastball and history of success, Ortega has a ceiling in the seventh inning at the Major League level.

37. Chad Smith – Right-Handed Pitcher
When the Tigers popped Smith in the 17th round in 2011 they knew he wouldn't toe the rubber until the following summer as he completed his recovery from Tommy John surgery. After showing intriguing stuff in 2012, Smith was even more impressive out of the West Michigan bullpen last year, flashing a heavy low-90s fastball and quality breaking ball en route to a 2.12 ERA and more than a strike out an inning over 72 frames.

36. Connor Harrell – Outfielder
The Tigers haven't been shy about tapping into the Vanderbilt pipeline in the draft and Harrell was the latest in that string as the Tigers plucked him in the seventh round last summer. Shoved straight to Low-A West Michigan, Harrell hit just .237/.320/.373, putting his warts and skills on display in one 65-game sample. Harrell has impressive athleticism, good pop and a decent approach, but he has little feel for hitting and will always be a low-average guy that profiles better as a bench outfielder.

35. Jordan John – Left-Handed Pitcher
John dominated Low-A for much of the 2013 season, finishing with a 2.92 ERA in 111 innings of work. He allowed only 107 hits and struck out 89 batters as he used his impressive control to help his below-average fastball (sits 87-88 mph) play up during starts. John also mixes in a slider, curveball and changeup to keep hitters off balance and he will need one pitch to separate from the pack to help him profile as more than a back of the rotation starter.

34. Domingo Leyba – Shortstop
One of the Tigers high priority signings during the 2012 international signing period, Leyba proved why with a monstrous debut showing in the Dominican Summer League. In 57 games, the highly intelligent and instinctual Leyba hit .348 with 15 doubles, eight triples and five home runs. He lacks impact tools and may have to move to second base long term, but Leyba's feel for the game gives him a chance to reach beyond his raw tool profile and impress as he moves up the minor league ladder.

33. Willy Adames – Shortstop
Another high profile signing from 2012, Adames lacks Leyba's natural feel for the game but he makes up for that with superior physicality and an impressive package of tools. A quality athlete, Adames has the hands and arm for shortstop but his 6-foot-1, 180 pound frame may continue to mature and move him to third base. He has the potential for plus raw power down the line that could show up as average in-game power with an improved hitting approach.

32. Edgar De La Rosa – Right-Handed Pitcher
De La Rosa cuts an impressive physical presence on the mound, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 240 pounds. He is strong throughout with long limbs and enormous hands, giving him plenty of raw ingredients to work with. At his best he can pump fastball as high as 98 mph, but he finds more control when he works at 92-93. He has steep angle on all of his pitches and his changeup flashes as an above-average pitch. He has shown little feel for his slider, and that pushes his profile to late inning relief, possibly as an imposing setup option.

31. Kyle Ryan – Left-Handed Pitcher
After four seasons of professional baseball, Ryan is still just 22-years old and put together the most impressive performance of his professional career with a 3.17 ERA in 24 starts for High-A Lakeland. Long and lean, Ryan is armed with a fringe-average fastball, solid curveball and a changeup that lags behind his other two offerings. He is still adding strength and discovering the nuances of pitching, but he could be a number four starter if it all comes together.


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