Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
When you have a farm system as thin as what the Tigers do, it can be a bit more difficult to uncover diamonds in the rough - after all, they've traded away the equivalent of an entire system's top ten over the last 24 months or so. That being said, I've really liked what we've seen early on from right-hander Trey Teakell, the Tigers ninth rounder out of TCU. While they're different pitchers with different skill-sets, Teakell reminds me a bit of Buck Farmer, who went from off the Top 50 to shooting up the organizational ladder given his combination of age and polish. At 23 years of age, Teakell isn't the typical draftee, which has allowed him to get off to a great start between Connecticut and West Michigan, combining to post a 1.23 ERA over 22 innings, with 12 strikeouts. In an organization desperate for quality pitching, Teakell could see himself shoot up the charts with continued success.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
For me, two guys that have been battling injuries over the last 12-18 months could both sneak their way into the Top 50 come November, and both were close in the recent edition. Catcher Will Allen and reliever Josh Laxer both have intriguing tools sets that could and them in the Top 50, if healthy. Allen is on the field now, seeing time with Connecticut, and while the rust is evident as he continues to come back from shoulder surgery, catchers with good defensive tools and power in their bat are commodities not to be taken lightly. As Allen rounds back into form, assuming he does, he could be a guy that slowly begins climbing the rankings. On the other hand, Laxer is still on the shelf after Tommy John surgery earlier this year, but when healthy he offers a setup reliever profile highlighted by a high-octane fastball that sits in the mid-90s, paired with an intriguing slider. Depending how the back of the list shakes out in December, Laxer could sneak back into the discussion, but it will be on the basis of what he was before injury, at least until he's back on the mound next spring.
James Chipman, Senior Correspondent
The Tigers have a few arms in the Gulf Coast League that have caught my attention; all of which could potentially find their way into the Top 50 this off-season. 18-year-old right-handed reliever Francisco German is raw, but projectable, featuring impressive arm speed, a late-breaking fastball that has touched 94 mph and a projectable curveball with legit swing and miss potential. Despite featuring a small 5'9" 175 pound frame, right-handed reliever Jose Lopez has faired well too, thanks largely in part to his mid-90s fastball. If I have to pick just one though, I'll put my money on southpaw Gregory Soto. Perhaps better suited for the bullpen when all is said and done, Soto's fastball has touched as high as 96 mph as a starter, and his change and curveball have missed a fair amount of bats. Numbers aside, the raw stuff has raised the eyebrows of quite a number of scouts this season.
Chris Brown, Staff Writer
It's no secret that the Tigers have a bad system, so not making the cut is a pretty good reflection of a player's lack of prospect status. However, kids can make unexpected leaps, and my pick to make the back end of the list for next year is right-handed pitcher Alec Kisena, this year's 16th rounder. He has impressive size (6'5, 250) and athleticism, having also played football in high school, and he doesn't turn 20 until October. His stuff might not necessarily match up with his size, but his early numbers in the Gulf Coast League are encouraging, and in a system this thin, the mere hope that the Tigers might be able to squeeze more out of him could be enough to land him in the top 50.
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