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2016 TigsTools Detroit Tigers Prospect Tools: Best Outfield Defense

The three outfield positions come with very different defensive requirements, but plus defense is welcome anywhere on the diamond. The Tigers have one truly excellent defensive outfielder in 2014 first-round pick Derek Hill, but are there any plus gloves behind him?

Best Outfield Defense


1. Derek Hill (CF)

2. Jason Krizan (OF)

3. Connor Harrell (OF)

4. Michael Gerber (LF)

5. Austin Schotts (CF)

 

Defense has been Hill's calling card since the Tigers drafted him 23rd overall in 2014, when many evaluators pegged him as being the finest defensive outfielder on the entire draft class. He gets great jumps in the outfield, using his 70-grade speed to cover wide swaths of territory, and he has average arm strength. It's a potentially exceptional defensive profile that could find him winning Gold Glove awards in the Majors one day.

 

Krizan had a tough year at the plate in 2016, but the 26-year-old still brought his glove with him every night. He takes good routes to the ball, he has a strong, accurate arm and a quick release, and he possesses excellent instincts that allow him to capably play all three outfield positions, though he lacks the ideal speed to man center on a regular basis.

 

Drafted out of Vanderbilt in 2013, Harrell has been a mainstay on this list thanks to excellent athleticism, a strong arm, and the ability to handle left, right, and center.

 

A center fielder at Creighton, Gerber fits better in a corner in pro ball because he’s just an average runner, but he shows the instincts, range, and arm to be an above average defender in left or right.

 

Schotts is a gifted athlete blessed with plus-plus speed that allows him to man center field and run down balls hit to either gap.

 

Honorable Mention

Steven Moya (RF)

Jiwan James (CF)

 

Despite his hulking physique, Moya is an excellent athlete who possesses average speed. He doesn’t have a quick first step, but when he gets moving his giant strides allow him to cover a lot of ground. He also owns a strong arm that is ideal for right field.

 

James is approaching 27, but he remains a tremendous athlete in center, using his plus speed to cover ground, and his average arm to discourage runners from taking an extra base.

 

Projection Kings

Jose Azocar (OF)

Cam Gibson (OF)

Hector Hernandez (OF)


Azocar has a chance to move near the top of this list in the future thanks to good speed, solid reads, and a solid-average arm. Gibson is still raw as a defender, but his 70-grade speed makes up for some false steps right now, and could allow he to eventually become above-average in center. Hernandez has not played in the United States yet, but he’s a tooled-up athlete who may develop into a plus defender in time.


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