Tigers Scouting Report #26: Ben Verlander

The younger brother of Tigers' ace Justin, Ben Verlander was snagged in the 13th round of last summer's amateur draft. He may not have the ceiling of a future ace, but he's a strong prospect in his own right.

Ben Verlander

Vitals

Position: Outfielder
Date of Birth: 1/31/1992 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Height/Weight: 6-3/170
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: 2013 MLB Draft, 14th Round
Ranking History: #26 (2014)

Background: The younger brother of Tigers ace Justin Verlander, Ben was a sly choice of the club during the 2013 draft. He started out strong during his professional debut but faded down the stretch as the toll of a long college and professional season wore him down.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
Connecticut 2562956122429145963.219.273.328


Scouting Report

Body: Physical presence; impressive physical projection; natural strength is evident; has room to hang more; very athletic; well coordinated; not as physical as older brother, but still very projectable; MLB body.

Hit: Raw hitter; lacks experience; swing has consistency in load; will get long to the zone at times but shows some aptitude for correcting issues on the fly; approach needs work; will chase spin and soft out of the zone; handled velocity well when observed; can turn it around; needs to trust hands and work oppo more frequently; potential for fringe hit. Grade – Present 3/Future 4+

Power: Has strength and bat speed for power projection; can drive it to pull side; has oppo pop but doesn't trust hands enough to work that way consistently; will develop all-fields power with experience; ball doesn't have high trajectory off the bat; lower finish to the swing; more line drive oriented; could still profile for 25+ doubles and 15+ home runs; hit tool development will dictate power; raw power could improve along with game power due to professional training regimen. Grade – 4/5+

Speed: Consistently showed average times down the line; gets after it; surprisingly fast given size and physicality; athletic enough to maintain speed; still learning to use wheels in OF and on the bases; could be small part of game. Grade – 5/5

Defense: RF profile is legitimate; moves well; has range to gap and line; could be above-average to plus later in developmental arc; reads are a half-tick late right now; inexperienced; high effort defender; lots of potential; could handle CF in a pinch but not every day. Grade – 4/5+

Arm: Big arm strength; fits RF profile; worked upper-80s to low-90s as pitcher; arm action is a little long but makes up for it with velocity; accuracy was sporadic during pro debut with inconsistent footwork as the culprit; throws carry well; potential weapon; easy plus with potential to play better with improved accuracy and experience. Grade – 5+/6+

Other: Very smart player; very raw in the field and at the plate; 2013 was first full season as position player; lots of potential on both sides of the ball; development could come slow; baseball bloodlines; knows how to act; some leadership potential; enjoys the game; potential late bloomer.

Final Word

Summary: Very raw for college product; profile requires substantial projection; will need at least grade jump in most tools; hit tool utility will be deciding factor; potential for solid pop; defense could play to near plus level with rifle arm; no blatant weaknesses in game; needs experience; good intelligence; hard worker; good bloodlines.

Risk: Extreme risk; Smart kid; has bloodlines; still very inexperienced as position layer; no full-season resume; high flameout potential.

Projection: Potential solid everyday player; huge risk to reach ceiling; more likely useful bench outfielder that hits a bit and can defend across the outfield; full-season debut in 2014 with West Michigan; has breakout potential but things might not click quite yet; just getting Abs/reps this year would be a successful season considering required development.

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