40. Drew VerHagen – Right-Handed Pitcher
VerHagen found success in the Tigers bullpen in 2015 and while his 2016 season was hit or miss, he still has the potential to be a quality middle reliever, and possibly a 7th inning guy down the line. Injuries ended VerHagen’s 2016 season early, but he should be back on the mound in 2017, flashing a quality fastball and changeup that can get outs at the big league level.
39. Cam Gibson – Outfielder
Gibson’s athleticism invokes memories of his bloodlines that are tied to former Tiger Kirk Gibson, Cam is an excellent runner that can show double-plus speed down the line, and similar speed once underway in the outfield. His reads, routes, and arm strength are still developing, and hold back his defensive potential, however. Offensively, Gibson remains raw, but there is intriguing potential with his bat speed, ability to drive it in the gaps, and speed.
38. Jacob Robson – Outfielder
The Tigers 8th round pick this summer, Robson signed for slot and got on the field quickly in short-season ball. Robson is most known for his above-average to plus speed and strong instincts on the bases and in the field. His wheels allow him to be an asset defensively in center field, and also allow him to cause problems on the bases. Blessed with strong contact ability and a developing approach, Robson is largely a slap hitter with nominal gap power. He profiles as a table-setting center fielder or bench outfielder.
37. Jose Salas – Shortstop
One of the Tigers more impressive athletes at the lower levels, Salas entices with a broad set of tools that could allow him to develop into an impact player at the game’s highest level. With quick-twitch athleticism, Salas could stick at shortstop, where his offensive game – headlined at present by premium bat speed and gap power – could play up a tick. Salas will take time to navigate the minor leagues, but the payoff could be huge.
36. Zac Houston – Right-Handed Pitcher
The Tigers 11th round pick in June, Houston signed for what amounts to 7th or 8th round money as an over-slot signee. The Tigers are likely to keep Houston in the bullpen long term, where his large frame strikes an intimidating presence on the mound. In short bullpen stints, Houston’s fastball plays up as high as 97-98 mph and his breaking ball has tightened, showing above-average potential.
35. Kody Eaves – Utility
Eaves’ transition to Double-A has been brutal this season, causing his prospect shine to dim considerably. Always projected as a utility player, Eaves relies heavily on his high-effort style of play. An above-average runner, Eaves can put pressure on the defense with his base running. Combine that with enough strength and bat speed to find the gaps, and he could be an intriguing bench option for a big league club. Eaves is stretched at shortstop, but can handle second and third base easily, and some scouts speculate he could handle the outfield as well.
34. Julio Martinez – Outfielder
A high profile international league signing for the Tigers in 2014, Martinez did a great job of slugging his way through the DSL as a 17-year old and was quickly promoted to the rookie-level GCL for the 2016 season. While his performance this season has been abysmal, Martinez still owns tantalizing raw power that makes him a valuable commodity going forward. With an aggressive offensive approach, Martinez will need to develop his instincts and approach to reach his potential.
33. Gregory Soto – Left-Handed Pitcher
A physical lefty with excellent arm strength, Soto is an emerging prospect for the Tigers. He gained notoriety for reaching 96 mph with his fastball in the GCL last year, and he’s continued to show similar raw stuff with Connecticut in 2016. Soto still lacks polish and frequently struggles to throw strikes, but his ceiling is rare among Tigers prospect, making him one of the bigger names to watch over the next couple of years.
32. Connor Harrell – Outfielder
Long considered a quality fourth outfield prospect, Harrell’s 2016 season represents the first time he’s truly broken out and performed on the field. Capable of handling all three outfield spots, Harrell is a solid runner with thump in his bat, but he has historic issues making consistent contact, limiting the transition of his tools to the field. Harrell still looks the part of a reserve outfielder and he could help in that role as soon as 2017 should the Tigers need help.
31. Juan Ramirez – Outfielder
Signed for $185,000 in 2015, Ramirez has been a consistent performer in game situations; showing well for the Tigers throughout their experience scouting him. Likely a corner outfielder long term, Ramirez has the plus arm strength necessary to fit in right field. He has an advanced approach for his age, working counts and finding pitches to drive to the gaps, giving his hit tool a chance to play as he moves up the ladder. Ramirez is an intriguing prospect that should see the States in 2017 and he could become one of the club’s more promising Latin American prospects.