2013 TigsTools: Best Speed

If there is one skill that Tigers fans wish the club had more of in recent years, it would be speed. High-end runners can impact the game from the second they leave the batter's box, when a pitcher commits to home plate and even on defense. The Tigers have not developed high quality burners of late, but there are a few intriguing prospects on the farm that can pick them up and put them down.

Best Power
1. Austin Schotts (OF)
2. Rashad Brown (OF)
3. Ismael Salgado (OF)
4. Hector Hernandez (OF)
5. Steven Fuentes (SS)

The club's second pick in the 2012 draft, Schotts is a true 70-grade runner. He gets out of the box quickly despite an aggressive swing and gets down the line anywhere from 4.08-4.17 seconds in my own experience. His speed translates well to stolen bases and the outfield and his running ability is far and away his best tool.

Brown is another 70-grade runner, though his speed doesn't play as well in game action as Schotts. Brown is a very raw baseball player with exceptional athleticism and his speed could end up being an impact tool, but it isn't at this time. Salgado has ranked highly on this list for several years now and while I did not get reports of consistent 70-grade times down the line this year, he still flashed them with some frequency.

Still developing physically at just 16-years old, Hernandez will turn in the occasional plus-plus time to first base, but he more consistently sits in the plus range. Scouts are mixed whether he ends up on the high end of his present range or more toward a plus runner long term. Fuentes is another plus runner that should maintain his speed and continue to impact the game with his legs.

Honorable Mention
Adrian Castano (OF)
Manuel Joseph (OF)
Francisco Martinez (3B)

A 26th round pick out of Bayside, New York, Castano can turn in plus times down the line on occasion but remains very raw in every phase of the game. Joseph is similar in that he can down the line to turn in plus times. His game is slightly more advanced than Castano, and his speed plays well in center field. After returning from the Mariners during the 2013 season, Martinez didn't show the true plus speed he had when he departed two years ago, but he was still a legitimately above-average runner.

Projection Kings
Harold Castro (2B)
Steven Negron (SS)
Andres Sthormes (C )

The Tigers like Castro for a lot more than his speed, but despite his good size for a second baseman, he still gets down the line in above-average fashion and will show the occasional plus run. As Castro's body fills in, he could settle in as an above-average runner with good instincts on the bases. Negron will occasionally show some truly remarkable times down the line and can really fly when he gets going, but he was extremely inconsistent this year according to scouts that saw him during his debut. Listing Andres Sthormes in this piece is not a typo. Despite being a catcher, Sthormes is currently a plus runner down the line. He is raw and can be delayed getting out of the box and must improve his reads on the bases, but if catching doesn't kill his speed, Sthormes could be an intriguing stolen base option.


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