Tigers Scouting Report #10: Daniel Fields

Daniel Fields has been a closely watched prospect ever since he was drafted nearly five years ago and given a seven figure signing bonus to forego his commitment to Michigan. After years of up-and-down performance, did Fields finally turn the corner in 2013?

Daniel Fields

Vitals

Position: Outfielder
Date of Birth: 1/23/1991 (2014 Opening Day Age: 23)
Height/Weight: 6-2/215
Bats/Throws: Left/Right
Acquired: 2009 MLB Draft, 6th Round
Ranking History: #12 (2010), #5 (2011), #16 (2012), #20 (2013), #10 (2014)

Background: An over-slot ($1.625M) signing in 2009, Fields hit just .240/.343/.371 in an aggressive assignment to High-A during his 2010 debut season. He remained in Lakeland for much of the next two years, and compiled a cumulative .238/.323/.349 line across 295 games (1200 plate appearances) before a promotion to Double-A in the second half of 2012. After returning to Double-A in 2013, Fields posted a much stronger .284 average with 27 doubles and ten home runs en route the best season of his career.

Performance:

2013 Stats - Hitting
TEAMABRH2B3BHRRBIBBSOSBCSBAOBPSLG
Erie 51571130276105845130247.284.356.435


Scouting Report

Body: Athletic; has thickened up since signing; much more muscular; still moves well and has good flexibility; carries new "good" weight well; looks the part of MLB player; good body.

Hit: Lots of holes; doesn't have natural feel for the barrel; will swing through mediocre stuff in the zone; can be prone to chasing quality breaking pitches out of the zone; goes through spurts of aggressiveness, followed by spurts of passive approach; bottom hand gets too involved in swing; will try to pull bat through the zone making swing fragmented and hard to control; gets power happy at times and short-circuits path through the zone with upper cut; not a natural hitter; would be eaten alive by MLB pitching right now and projects to below-average. Grade – Present 3/Future 4

Power: Power can come naturally when he trusts swing and easy strength; gets too eager to drive ball and will try to yank it, pulling head off the ball and leading to more weak contact; even with questions surrounding hit tool utility, could hit 10-12 home runs and 15-20 doubles if given regular Abs; power could play more consistently with more sound approach and consistent swing. Grade – 4/4+

Speed: Came into baseball as plus runner down the line and in OF; has slowed with additional strength/mass; more of a fringe runner down the line that doesn't get out of the box easily; can show solid-average speed once underway on extra-base hits or underway in OF; average run overall; still a good athlete and unlikely to change too much physically at this point, so speed should be sustained. Grade – 5/5

Defense: Natural defender; can play legitimate CF; reads the ball very well off the bat; previous struggles with balls hit directly at him have been corrected; move side-to-side very well; runs gracefully and appears to glide to ball most times; comes in well; not an overly aggressive defender but will give effort; above-average profile that can play to plus on the corners; minimal room (and minimal need) for improvement. Grade – 5+/5+

Arm: Below-average; arm has not transitioned to OF throws from prior infield days; doesn't come out of his hand well; arm stroke and release are inconsistent; accuracy varies; left-field arm. Grade – 4/4

Other: Quality makeup; good head for the game; doesn't get too high or low; can appear low energy at times because of even keel; good instincts.

Final Word

Summary: Fringe overall profile; bat comes up short of everyday role; doesn't have swing mechanics or natural feel to hit that allows for hit tool projection; power can play in spite of this with more gap power than big-time home run power; speed is average and works in the field and on bases; good instincts; very good defender; can play all three spots and is above-average up the middle; arm is below-average; intelligent kid that's been around the game.

Risk: Low risk; Low ceiling/high-ish floor; already reached upper minors; minimal improvement remaining in game; "is what he is."

Projection: 4th OF profile; defense will carry him to MLB level; bat comes up short; could see MLB in 2014; likely extended role in 2015 with departure of Torii Hunter; solid bench player long term.

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