TigsTown Top 50 Scouting Reports: 35-31

The next five scouting reports in the TigsTown Top 50 features a pair of recently-drafted college arms in Josh Laxer and Artie Lewicki, a pair of speedy outfielders with plenty of room to grow in Tyler Gibson and Jose Azocar, and a righty that burst onto the prospect scene in 2014.

35. Tyler Gibson (OF)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense (SS) Arm
Pres: 3 / Fut: 4+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 5+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 4+
In an ideal world, Gibson grades out much better across the board than he does in the above table. Unfortunately, that ideal world does not exist, and it is unlikely Gibson reaches the raw heights his athleticism and physical tools suggest at first glance. Gibson struggles to make consistent contact and may not develop into more than a fringe hitter, though that development would allow his raw power to play at an average or slightly above-average level. Gibson is a good runner with good athleticism, and he should maintain that speed and become an above-average defender in center field. If forced off center, Gibson’s fringe-average arm will likely force him to left field. With a broad set of skills, Gibson has a chance to be an exciting player that plays a power/speed role at the Major League level.

34. Sandy Baez (RHP)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Fastball Curveball Changeup Control
Pres: 5+ / Fut: 6+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 3 / Fut: 4 Pres: 4 / Fut: 5+
A relative unknown to most fans entering the 2014 season, Baez burst onto the scene with impressive velocity and some dominating outing in the GCL. With a fastball that rests comfortably in the 92-93 mph range and reaches as high as 96 mph, and the ability to maintain that velocity throughout starts, Baez has the potential for at least a plus fastball and likely more. With anticipated progress in the breaking ball and control, Baez will at least have the arsenal to succeed in a relief role; a role that many scouts view as realistic. In shorter bursts, Baez’s fastball could play in the 94-96 mph range more consistently, and his curveball could add some power and crispness that would make it more effective.

33. Jose Azocar (OF)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Hit Power Speed Defense (SS) Arm
Pres: 3+ / Fut: 5 Pres: 4 / Fut: 5 Pres: 6 / Fut: 6 Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 5 / Fut: 5
Though he has yet to make his stateside debut, Azocar has excited scouts and several members of the Tigers organization with his combination of 2014 performance and impressive raw tools. An aggressive hitter, Azocar will need to demonstrate he can adjust to more advanced pitching and make consistent hard contact that will allow his average raw power to manifest in game situations. A plus runner, Azocar has the potential to impact the game on the bases, and has the speed to hold down center field long term. Some scouts believe Azocar could develop into a plus defender up the middle, while others come up just short of such a rating. Though the developmental path will still take considerable time, Azocar is a name to watch as he continues to make his way through the Tigers system.

32. Artie Lewicki (RHP)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Fastball Curveball Slider Changeup Control
Pres: 5+ / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 4+ Pres: 5 / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5 Pres: 4+ / Fut: 5
Signed following his senior season at Virginia, Lewicki has the ingredients to become a quality back-end starter prospect that mixes pitches and eats innings. Still returning from Tommy John surgery, Lewicki has strike throwing ability and should have average control and command long term. His fastball sits in the low-90s with life and can reach slightly higher when he needs an extra gear. Armed with a slider, curveball, and changeup, Lewicki relies heavily on the slider to miss bats, and the curveball/changeup combo to keep hitters off balance and induce weak contact. Though not an overwhelming profile, Lewicki looks the part of a big league pitcher, whether that comes as a number five starter or a setup reliever.

31. Josh Laxer (RHP)
Tool Grades (Present / Future):

Fastball Slider Control
Pres: 6 / Fut: 6+ Pres: 5 / Fut: 5+ Pres: 4 / Fut: 4+
Everything about Laxer screams powerful late inning reliever. With a fastball that already sits in the 94-96 mph range, and reports of scouts seeing him as high as 98 mph, Laxer can blow his lively heater past hitters. He works up in the zone frequently, and would be better served refining his ability to keep the ball down and make his raw stuff more difficult to lift. Laxer’s slider needs consistency, but generally works as an average pitch and should be above-average with additional focus and work with a professional coaching staff. Most scouts see Laxer as a potential setup reliever at the Major League level, with peak seasons that resemble that of a solid closer.

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