2014 TigsTown Midseason Top 50: 30-21

Now inside the top 30, take a look at which prospects in the organization fall in the 20's. It's a group highlighted by a couple of recent draftees along with a couple of well-known but raw middle infield prospects.

#30 – Domingo Leyba – Shortstop
The Tigers have been aggressive with Leyba and assigned him to the short-season New York-Penn League for his first stateside experience. Leyba is a heady player with incredible instincts and feel for the game, but lacks the tools of many other teenaged prospects that are pushed aggressively. He has a chance to be a solid second baseman long term, but he’s going to have to prove it at every level of the organization.

#29 – Kyle Lobstein – Left-Handed Pitcher
A lefty with solid stuff and some feel for his craft, Lobstein will likely pitch in the big leagues off and on for an extended period of time. He doesn’t have the raw stuff to lock down a rotation spot for years, but he can fill in at the back of the rotation, and also provide versatility out of the bullpen. If his opportunity does not come with the Tigers, he could be a secondary trade chip that gets a chance on a second division club.

#28 – Shane Zeile – Catcher
One of the Tigers top picks this summer, Zeile is still new to catching but shows impressive tools behind the dish. He profiles as a glove first backstop that will handle a staff well, block well and should have strong catch-and-throw skills when all is said and done. His bat will determine whether he plays every day or as more of a backup/platoon option, but the Tigers will give him every chance to develop and take on a large role at the big league level.

#27 – Adam Ravanelle – Right-Handed Pitcher
Ravanelle starred for Vanderbilt in the College World Series, flashing a power arsenal that can play very well in relief. Some scouts still believe Ravanelle – who remains raw despite three years of college experience – could still start long term, but the vast majority of evaluators see a high-leverage reliever with power stuff that locks down the 8th inning of tight games.

#26 – Harold Castro – Second Baseman
Despite impressive physical gifts and baseball tools, Castro’s star is fading as a prospect. He has yet to put together the type of consistency at the plate that his tools suggest, and while he has speed and some potential with the glove, those elements of his game remain enigmatic as well. Castro will continue to get chances to prove he has the makeup and overall ability to make it as a pro, but as he continues to struggle and lack consistency, his prospect status will continue to take a hit.

#25 – Joe Jimenez – Right-Handed Pitcher
Signed as an undrafted free agent last year, there were lofty expectations surround Jimenez entering this season; a season in which it was expected he would work as a starting pitcher and begin to build his profile as a potential workhorse starter. Instead, the Tigers have moved him to the bullpen where he has been pumping 92-95 mph heat and flashing an impressive slider. Jimenez has impact potential as a reliever, but the move to the bullpen this early in his career hurts his prospect stock.

#24 – Chad Smith – Right-Handed Pitcher
Tiger fans have received their first exposure to Smith with a call-up this season and while he doesn’t have flashy raw stuff, he can excel in one inning stints. He lacks the consistently plus velocity he showed prior to Tommy John surgery his first season, but he has improved his strike throwing and the consistency of his secondary stuff, giving him a chance to have extended success in a 6th/7th inning role.

#23 – Daniel Fields – Outfielder
After what appeared to be a breakout campaign at Double-A Erie in 2013, Fields has struggled on the field this season, and also missed extensive time due to injury. When he’s right, his defense profiles at the Major League level, and his bat has shown enough life over the years that he could be a quality fourth outfielder. He needs to stay on the field and he needs to begin performing consistently to get that chance.

#22 – Kevin Ziomek – Left-Handed Pitcher
Ziomek’s raw potential may exceed every other member of the West Michigan pitching staff this season. Armed with a powerful right arm and very intriguing secondary stuff, Ziomek only lacks the ability to consistently throw strikes. That missing element keeps him from profiling as a potential mid-rotation starter, and opens questions about whether or not his future rests in the bullpen. Either way, Ziomek has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, and if given enough developmental time, he could reach that projection.

#21 – Endrys Briceno – Right-Handed Pitcher
Entering this season, Briceno was poised to breakout and cement himself as one of the organization’s top pitching prospects. Those plans were derailed when he came down with an injury to his right arm; an injury that resurfaced just as he was about to rejoin the Lakeland rotation. Briceno has not yet gone under the knife, but things don’t look good at this point. If he gets healthy and shows the impressive fastball and intelligence he had previously showed, he could re-assert himself as a potential mid-rotation arm or high-end bullpen piece.


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