With a month of play in the books, it's officially time to unveil the first edition of the 2014 TigsTown Power Rankings. As a reminder, the weekly rankings do not reflect overall prospect status; nor are they exclusive to members of the TigsTown Top 50. The first edition will evaluate the current overall performance and statistics from players. Future editions will evaluate performance from the previous week of play and overall performance. Only players currently in the minors will be eligible each week. Be sure to check back every Monday for the latest edition.
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1. RHP Jake Thompson - High-A Lakeland
37 IP 3-1 0.97 ERA 0.95 WHIP 11BB 35K 0HR
Perhaps I'm a bit biased, but after observing all but one his starts this season, the top spot was a no-brainier to me: Jake Thompson. The 20-year-old right-hander is the fifth youngest player in the FSL this season--you might have to tell him that though. Thompson has absolutely shoved, tormenting batters out of the gate this season. The former 2nd round pick in 2012 is currently tied for the 3rd lowest ERA & is 5th best in strikeouts in the FSL through his first six starts.
As a reminder: you can find video on Thompson here and here.
2. RHP Edgar De La Rosa - High-A Lakeland
35 2/3 IP 1-3 2.78 ERA 0.98 WHIP 13BB 28K 3HR
Edgar De La Rosa worked hard this past off-season smoothing out his mechanics. And that hard work is already paying dividends to the 6'6" 23-year-old. Armed with a mid-to-high 90s fastball that has hit as high as 99 mph numerous times this year, a change-up and an improving slider, DLR has been impressive so far this season. De La Rosa was also recently named the FSL Player of the Week.
As a reminder: you can find video on DLR here.
3. RHP Austin Kubitza - Class-A West Michigan
29 1/3 IP 3-0 2.15 ERA 0.95 WHIP 8BB 39K 1HR
The Tigers fourth rounder from last season's June Draft is also off to a hot start this season. The 6'5" 22-year-old has the third most strikeouts and eighth lowest ERA in the MidWest League. Kubitza has also earned MidWest League Pitcher of the Week honors twice already this season.
4. RHP Corey Knebel - Double-A Erie
12 2/3 IP 2-0 1SV 0.70 ERA 1.10 WHIP 6BB 19K 1HR
Coming in at the number four spot, the lone reliever on the Power Rankings: Corey Knebel. The Tigers first round selection in the 2013 June Draft, Knebel is off to a hot start, refining his craft before his likely to promotion to Detroit to aid the Tigers bullpen sometime this season.
5. RHP Jonathon Crawford - Class-A West Michigan
29 2/3 IP 1-1 2.73 ERA 1.08 WHIP 8BB 27K 1HR
Crawford's '14 debut was anything but spectacular. The Tigers' first round selection from last year's June Draft allowed eight base runners and seven earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings. Since his less than stellar debut, Crawford has been lights-out though allowing just two earned runs over his last 27 1/3 innings of work.
6. RHP Buck Farmer - Class-A West Michigan
35 2/3 IP 3-2 2.02 ERA 1.20 WHIP 15BB 49K 2HR
The Tigers fifth round selection from last season's June Draft is off to a nice start this season in the MWL. The 6'4" right-hander--and breakout prospect pick by TigsTown's Executive Editor Paul Wezner--leads the MWL in strikeouts, is tied for third in innings pitched and currently has the seventh lowest ERA.
7. LHP Josh Turley - High-A Lakeland
28 1/3 IP 3-0 1.91 ERA 1.05 WHIP 9BB 24K 0HR
Southpaw Josh Turley moved from the 'pen to the rotation following the retirement of Jordan John a couple weeks ago. Armed with a 5-pitch kitchen sink arsenal that includes a hard 77-80 mph knuckleball that one NL Scout described as "pretty damn good", Turley has looked impressive thus far in his new role as a starter.
As a reminder: you can find video on Turley here http://youtu.be/RKZqjqU3Uag
8. LHP Kevin Ziomek - Class-A West Michigan
26 2/3 IP 1-3 1.69 ERA 1.16 WHIP 11BB 28K 1HR
Continuing the trend of impressive starting pitching out of the gate, Kevin Ziomek checks in at number eight in the power rankings. The Tigers second round selection in last year's June Draft, the crafty southpaw currently sports the MWL's sixth lowest ERA and solid numbers across the board.
9. SS Dixon Machado - High-A Lakeland
111 AB .279 AVG/.372 OBP/.732 OPS 1HR 7RBI 24R 2SB
It's no secret that the bat has always been the bugaboo in Machado's game. Machado, a 22-year-old and career .226 hitter is off to a nice start at the plate this season in though. In addition to his improved performance at the dish, the slick fielding shortstop continues to put on a clinic defensively.
10. SS Javier Betancourt - Class-A West Michigan
138 AB .290 AVG/.338 OBP/.657 OPS 1HR 7RBI 18R 4SB
Rounding things out this week is the soon-to-be 19-year-old Venezuelan infielder Javier Betancourt. Despite being one of the MidWest League's youngest players, Betancourt is off to a solid start across the board, validating the aggressive assignment so far.