2015 TigsTown Top 50: Just Missed List

At any given snapshot in time, a prospect ranking list is going to exclude players that have a legitimate case for making the list. This year’s edition of the TigsTown rankings is no different in that several players mixed into various iterations of the list and ultimately fell just short of the cut. Here’s a look at the remnants left on the debate room floor.

(Listed in alphabetical order)

Wynton Bernard (OF)
Much to the surprise of nearly everyone in the industry, the Tigers added Wynton Bernard to the 40-marn roster in order to avoid seeing him head to minor league free agency for the second year in a row. A scrap heap signing prior to last year, Bernard put together a fantastic campaign in the Midwest League as an older player with limited tools. While the Tigers roster addition suggests Bernard may be a significant prospect, the scouting community strongly disagrees, pegging him as an org guy that gets the most out of limited tools, and owning a very limited (if any at all) MLB profile.

Will Clinard (RHP)
Having previously ranked among the Top 20 prospects in the organization, Clinard’s stock has plummeted over the last 18 months. With an arm injury that some in the industry have expressed serious concern over, and control problems that crept up in 2013, Clinard’s prior ceiling as a setup arm is in serious jeopardy. When healthy, Clinard still possesses a plus fastball and plus-plus cutter that can devour hitters, but until he proves he is capable of staying on the mound and contributing, he will remain in the shadows just off of the Top 50.

Calvin Drummond (RHP)
Drummond impressed many scouts with his performance out of the Lakeland bullpen in 2014, but in the end his projection lands in the middle reliever realm. With such a modest ceiling and a more likely role as an organizational reliever, Drummond was passed over in favor of some more intriguing, and riskier, young players. With success – including an ability to miss bats – at Double-A in 2015, there is a chance Drummond could find a more definitive big league projection, but that seems unlikely at this stage.

Gabe Hemmer (RHP)
A low round pick in 2014, Hemmer dominated the New York-Penn League thanks to a vicious slider that toyed with opposing hitters across the league. Hemmer can run his fastball up to 94-95 mph at times and he always backs it up with a two-plane slider that can be unhittable at times. With additional success against stiffer competition, as well as improved control of the fastball, Hemmer could profile as a reliever similar to Al Albuerquerque.

Jason Krizan (OF)
Krizan’s first truly strong performance came with Double-A Erie in 2014 and he has cemented himself as a potential fourth outfielder in the big leagues. With the defensive traits to handle all three outfield spots, and a strong approach at the plate, Krizan can do enough on both sides of the ball to avoid being a black hole on an MLB bench. His lack of bat speed and natural hitting ability prevents him from projecting as an everyday player, but he has a real chance to find his way into the last few spots of a big league roster.

Joe Mantiply (LHP)
A relatively non-descript college senior, Mantiply made a strong impression in his first full season of professional ball. As a left with a fringe-average fastball, plus changeup, and deception in his delivery, Mantiply has a chance to carve out a niche as a quality lefty reliever. Though he carries a real chance of fitting into a big league bullpen at some point, it is hard to justify what reasonably projects as a second lefty ahead of some higher ceiling players with intriguing raw tools.

Brenny Paulino (RHP)
Fans have been waiting for Brenny Paulino to perform to the level suggested by his past high rankings, and while he didn’t do that in his 2014 return, he did show enough to still intrigue scouts. With a fastball that some scouts reported reaching 97 mph at times, Paulino has regained the arm strength that made him a legitimate prospect. In the end, his horrific control leaves his fastball as more of a novelty than a true weapon, and that ultimately kept him just short of this list. If Paulino can manage to find some control in 2015, he could quickly move back into the rankings and garner attention befitting his fastball velocity.

Montreal Robertson (RHP)
Robertson has many attributes that could carry him to the big leagues, but his lack of consistency leaves many scouts questioning whether he can put everything together long enough to make it happen. Capable of pushing his fastball into the mid-90s in short bursts, and occasionally showing an above-average slider, Robertson has the aggressive approach to profile as a 7th or 8th inning arm should the stars align.

Austin Schotts (OF)
Schotts’ stock has taken a precipitous tumble since being a high-round pick of the club; his tumble coming to a head when few industry sources would even peg him as an organizational player following the 2014 season. Schotts is still a premium athlete with double-plus speed and some potential as a premium defender in center field, but he lacks any discernible feel for hitting; a glaring weakness that will ultimately halt his ascent if not corrected. Schotts could find his way onto the back end of this list at a future date, but it will come only with improvement at the plate.

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