2015 TigsTown Midseason Top 50: Top Ten

The top ten prospects in the organization at the midway point through 2015, led by recent first round picks Derek Hill and Beau Burrows.

#10 – Buck Farmer – Right-Handed Pitcher
Farmer is now familiar to most Tiger fans having made his debut in 2014 and arrived in the big leagues again in 2015 for a couple of cameo appearances, but he has yet to find success at the highest level. His changeup is a standout big league pitch, but his fastball command lags behind and his breaking ball remains far too inconsistent. Farmer has some potential a #5 starter but a more likely scenario involves him settling in as a swingman or middle reliever at the Major League level.

#9 – Spencer Turnbull – Right-Handed Pitcher
The Tigers second round pick in 2014, Turnbull has turned in some solid results in his full-season debut with West Michigan this summer. Though the stat line is solid, Turnbull is still struggling to show consistency in mechanics and control, as well as with his changeup; both essential elements for him to reach his potential as a mid-rotation starter. Turnbull’s fastball and slider are both of high enough quality that scouts can see a high-leverage reliever if starting doesn’t work out over the long haul.

#8 – Tyler Alexander – Left-Handed Pitcher
A second round pick last month, Alexander joins the Tigers as a draft-eligible sophomore that the club has liked since his high school days; having drafted him then as well. A command-and-control lefty with solid stuff across the board, Alexander has a potential mix and match his way to a nice career as a number four starter. Scouts highest on him believe he could develop into a pitcher similar to former-Tiger lefty Drew Smyly.

#7 – Joe Jimenez – Right-Handed Pitcher
After signing as an undrafted free agent out of Puerto Rico, Jimenez has shot his way up the Tigers prospect rankings. With a sturdy build and enormous arm strength, Jimenez looks the part of an intimidating late-inning reliever. At his best, Jimenez can reach 96-98 mph with his fastball and he will flash a strong slider with two plane break. Control of his arsenal and emotions are still developing, but Jimenez has the highest ceiling among relief prospects in the Tigers system.

#6 – Zach Shepherd – Third Baseman
Signed out of Australia as a teenager, Shepherd has long been known for his offensive potential, and scouts have stood up to take notice this summer in the Midwest League. A natural hitter with barrel control and excellent bat speed, Shepherd has a chance to hit for average and power at the game’s highest level. He has a solid approach for his age and should get on base as he moves up the ladder. The biggest question surrounding Shepherd’s future is where he lands defensively; having already moved off shortstop and not earning rave reviews at the hot corner, Shepherd could end up in left field.

#5 – Christin Stewart – Outfielder
Drafted in the supplemental first round this year, Stewart was a guy the Tigers were targeting after he impressed them the last two seasons at Tennessee. Despite an aggressive approach, Stewart is able to consistently barrel balls and drive them to all parts of the park with authority. Scouts highest on Stewart’s ability at the plate envision a player with an above-average hit tool and above-average power in game situations, making him a potentially dynamic offensive player.

#4 – Dixon Machado – Shortstop
Considered a very legitimate project since his days in the Venezuelan Summer League as a teenager, Machado truly began to put things together in the second half of 2014. Still just 23 years old and blessed with the same amazing defensive skill set that has always carried his profile, Machado is now finding success at the plate as well. Machado will always be a glove first player, but his bat now looks capable of posting a solid batting average and OBP; enough to keep him in the lineup at a second division level.

#3 – Steven Moya – Outfielder
Arguably the highest ceiling player in the entire Tigers system, Moya also has high potential to flame out and fade away. A massive human being, Moya owns elite raw power and so far in his career he has managed to translate that raw power to game situations in spite of low batting averages and an extremely aggressive approach. Moya has many skeptics in the scouting community, and rightfully so, but in a game starved for power, his ability to drive the ball out of any park on the planet is appealing and keeps him high on the prospect radar.

#2 – Derek Hill – Outfielder
Last year’s top pick, Hill has struggled some in his full-season debut with West Michigan this season. A raw hitter that needs to develop against tougher competition, Hill has still shown impressive bat speed and a better approach than many peers his age. If Hill can figure things out at the plate and show a decent average with gap power, his double-plus potential as a defender in center field and near-elite speed will play nicely on a big league roster.

#1 – Beau Burrows – Right-Handed Pitcher
Drafted in the first round by the Tigers just over a month ago, Burrows is an intriguing power arm with the raw stuff to become a #3 starter down the line. Though he doesn’t have the classic size of most power-armed Tiger prospects, Burrows still bumps his fastball into the mid-90s while showing feel for a breaking ball and changeup that could round out his arsenal. The developmental path could take a while for Burrows, but his potential as a mid-rotation arm makes him one of the most valuable prospects in the Tigers organization.

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