2014 TigsTown Midseason Top 50: Just Missed

Every time a rankings list is compiled there are players that just miss and arguably deserved to be on there. For a midseason list, there are players that have either made some strides and need to show more in the second half, and there are players where information is still coming in to push them into the rankings. Here are six players that could find their way into the next set of rankings.

Sandy Baez (RHP)
Now stateside and past some injury issues that held him up in extended spring training, Baez has been showing intriguing raw stuff including a fastball that sits in the low-90s and runs up to 94 mph. Both his slider and changeup show promise but need to develop consistency before they are reliable secondary offerings. Baez has raised an eyebrow among scouts this season and he could be a guy that makes some noise on prospect lists this off-season, particularly if he shows progress with control/command and his secondary offerings that hint at his ability to stay in the rotation.

Elys Escobar (C)
A member of the Top 50 entering the year, Escobar did not fall out by virtue of his own abilities, but rather the addition and emergence of other prospects. Escobar is stil a glove-first catcher with a chance to develop a plus defensive profile. His bat has picked up of late in the VSL, but there are still open questions about his ability to hit make contact at higher levels. If he can develop his approach and hit tool, Escobar has the pop in his bat to make an impact in a lineup. An aggressive move with Escobar would be to bring him stateside next season, but he is a guy to keep an eye on during his lengthy developmental path.

Josh Laxer (RHP)
A pure reliever, Laxer has shown power stuff in his professional debut, running his fastball up to 95 mph with an occasionally plus slider with Connecticut. Though he is unrefined as a pitcher, Laxer throws strikes regularly enough to project as a potential factor in the late innings. The Tigers likely won’t be able to move too quickly with this collegiate reliever, but he could start to move more quickly in 2016, with a ceiling resting in the setup range.

Gerson Moreno (RHP)
Another right-hander with a strong reliever profile, Moreno has been a pop-up guy this spring/summer in during extended and the GCL season. Entering the year he was known for reaching 94-95 mph at times, but this summer he has found another gear and scouts have noted him up to 97-98 mph at times. His curveball and changeup lag behind the development of the fastball, and he has to throw more quality strikes, but he is aggressive on the mound and acts the part of a late-inning power reliever.

Joey Pankake (3B)
A polished college bat, the Tigers were pleased to get Pankake in this year’s draft, and he has lived up to his billing as a quality all-around player during his debut with Connecticut. His tools aren’t flashy, but he steps in the box and shows a good approach, some feel for the barrel, and above-average raw power. His glove profiles well at third base with solid instincts, hands that are a work in progress, and a strong arm across the diamond. The profile isn’t sexy, but Pankake could be a solid player at the hot corner.

Aaron Sayers (INF)
A high profile international signing out of Australian, Sayers is starting to put his raw tools to use on the field. His defensive home is still up in the air, as he has little chance to stick at his natural position of shortstop, and his arm won’t hold up at third base, but Sayers will make his name with the bat. With a quick, compact stroke and a feel for the strike zone, Sayers has a chance to hit for average and gap power as his game continues to mature.


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