Roundtable: First Top 50 Prospect Debut

As Spring Training games get under way, a number of prospects will get a chance to show off their skill, making cameos with the big league club as players get into game shape. This week's Roundtable question: Who will be the first member of the TigsTown Top 50 to make his big league debut this year?

Paul Wezner, Executive Editor

When looking at which prospects are going to get the first look at the big league level, it's usually driven by need - an injury occurs or a player struggles, necessitating the elevation of a key prospect to make their big league debut. When it comes to a need like that, it's most likely going to pop up in the bullpen, as that is the group that usually has the most flux, so it'd make sense that the next prospect to make his debut would come in the bullpen. However, there are about a dozen individuals competing for a spot in the bullpen, and all of them have already made their big league debut, meaning not only would the Tigers need a replacement, but they'd basically have to go through an entire second string of relievers to get to someone that would make a big league debut. Given that, I think we have to look elsewhere for the first player to make their Major League debut, and the area with limited depth or risk of injury that would necessitate a promotion to a Top 50 prospect is clear to me, and that's in the outfield. And while Steven Moya is the name prospect here, and could well insert himself into the conversation, he's a priority prospect that needs development time. On the other hand, Daniel Fields provides defensive versatility, and doesn't have the same development timeline or ceiling that Moya does, so bringing up the youngster as a reserve outfielder would be a very possible scenario. So, my choice for the first TigsTown Top 50 member to make their big league debut is Fields.

Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting

The Tigers have several Top 50 prospects that will make their MLB debut in 2015, including pitchers such as right-hander Edgar De La Rosa and Jose Valdez, and shortstop Dixon Machado, in addition to a non-Top 50 pitcher like Joe Mantiply who could make his debut this summer. Of those youngsters that will see their first time in the big leagues, I think Jose Valdez will be the first to do so. Blessed with a power arm and a fastball that can easily reach 98-99 mph, backed up by a top notch slider, Valdez has the arsenal to pitch in high leverage innings at the Major League level. Valdez is still working out the kinks in terms of throwing consistent strikes with his fastball, but that may not matter if the Tigers get in a pinch and need another reliever over the course of the first couple months of the season. Valdez won't be the first bullpen arm to get the call, as pitchers like Kyle Ryan, Alex Wilson, Josh Zeid, and the loser of the Blaine Hardy/Ian Krol battle will likely be the first to get the call. Among the group prospects on the 40-man roster that could make their debut, Valdez is likely to get the call before De La Rosa or Angel Nesbitt.

Neil Weinberg, Senior Analyst

Angel Nesbitt. The Tigers have a funny habit of trading most of their best prospects and the majority of the remaining group that is near the MLB level has already enjoyed a cup or two of coffee. Nesbitt is the type of player who can move fast in the Tigers system because he throws hard and there are always plenty of available bullpen jobs throughout the year. We'll see guys like Hernan Perez, James McCann, and Steven Moya before we see Nesbitt, but I'd bet on Nesbitt to be the first member of the Top 50 to make his debut. This organization can't resist a hard throwing reliever.

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