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Detroit Tigers Top Prospects - 2017 TigsTown Top 50: 20-11

Continuing the countdown of the top 50 prospects in the Detroit Tigers organization as ranked by the TigsTown staff, out come the ten prospects that fell just outside the top ten. The group is highlighted by a few experienced right-handers and a trio of shortstops in varying stages of development.

20. Myles Jaye – Right-Handed Pitcher    

Acquired as part of the deal that sent catcher Bryan Holaday to the Rangers last spring, Jaye has an uninspiring profile, but one that should see him reach the big leagues, regardless. With an average, athletic build, Jaye manages a clean delivery that supports above-average command of his entire arsenal. While his fastball rarely creeps above the 89-91 mph range, he locates well and works ahead of hitters consistently. Jaye’s slider and changeup can work in spurts, but are designed more to keep hitters off balance than miss bats. Jaye profiles as a fifth starter if everything breaks properly and he could help in Detroit in 2017.

 

19. AJ Simcox – Shortstop    

Simcox is an interesting prospect that has moved quickly from over-slot draft choice to finding a modicum of success at High-A in his first full-season of pro ball. Simcox is a glove-first player with the defensive chops, footwork, hands, arm strength to play shortstop at the game’s highest level. His athleticism and instincts could also allow him to play other infield positions successfully. At the plate, Simcox understands the strike zone and has pitch recognition skills, but is eager to swing and take advantage of his innate bat-to-ball ability. He makes contact easily and uses the whole field, giving him a chance to hit for average with some gap power. All told, Simcox profiles as more of a utility player than everyday asset, but a step forward at the plate in 2017 could change that outlook.

 

18. Sandy Baez – Right-Handed Pitcher        

Added to the 40-man roster this off-season, Baez has moved methodically through the Tigers system, reaching Low-A as a 22-year old in 2016. Well-built and athletic, Baez can hump his fastball up as high as 96-97 mph and there are reports that he has reached even higher on occasion. He routinely sits 93-95 mph with excellent life at the plate and an ability to pound the strike zone. Baez’s curveball could be an above-average offering with improved consistency, and his changeup lags behind despite good arm speed. Most scouts project Baez to the bullpen where he could pitch in high-leverage situations.

 

17. Drew Smith – Right-Handed Pitcher    

The Tigers third round choice in 2015, Smith’s debut season was cut short because of arm problems, but he bounced back with a solid showing at Low-A in 2016. Working with a fastball that routinely sits in the mid-90s and will reach as high as 98 mph at his best, Smith can blow hitters away when he’s in and around the strike zone; something that is consistently a challenge for him. When he’s throwing strike, Smith’s curveball can be a solid second weapon. Due to the effort in his delivery, Smith is unlikely to make much progress with his command, and that could relegate him to more of a setup role than locking down the ninth inning.

 

16. Mark Ecker – Right-Handed Pitcher  

Smaller in stature than the prototypical high-powered right-hander, Ecker still boasts an electric fastball that reaches 97 mph. Off the fastball, Ecker is able to utilize an above-average changeup that sits in the mid- to upper-80s with plenty of movement and the ability to miss bats or induce weak contact. Though Ecker features a slurvy breaking ball, it lags behind his two primary offerings and is rarely utilized. Ecker throws a ton of strikes and has the potential to be an impact reliever thanks to his fastball-changeup combination.

 

15. Anthony Pereira – Shortstop    

A fast rising prospect coming into the 2016 season, Pereira had an odd year that left him in a state of limbo heading into 2017. Asked to bounce between four rosters throughout the summer, reaching as high as Double-A and as low as short-season ball, Pereira never got comfortable and never had a chance to settle in and perform. Still blessed with the athleticism and actions to play up the middle on the dirt, and the quick bat and power potential to be an impact offensive player, Pereira desperately needs game repetitions to develop his skills. The 2017 season will be a pivotal one as Pereira is teetering on the edge of prospectdom if he can’t settle in and perform.

 

14. Dixon Machado – Shortstop    

A well-known prospect in Tigers circles, Machado has long drawn considerable praise for his plus glove and double-plus arm that allow him to be an effective and exciting defender at shortstop. Machado had gotten stronger throughout his career, augmenting his excellent approach at the plate with a developing ability to hit the ball harder to all fields. At his best, Machado works counts, makes contact, and has the above-average speed to make things happen on the bases. At his worst, he is overpowered by advanced arms and lacks the offensive tools to carry him at the big league level. Machado will have a big league career thanks to his glove, but his bat will determine whether he’s a second division shortstop or slick fielding utility infielder.

 

13. Michael Gerber – Outfielder

An under the radar 15th round pick in 2014, Gerber made quick work of the A-ball ranks, earning a promotion to Double-A as a 23-year old in 2016. Gerber’s bat speed and raw power are enticing, but his pitch recognition remains an issue, leading to exorbitant strikeout totals that many scouts believe will hold back his offensive potential. Gerber is an asset in right field where he does a good job tracking balls down with his average speed, and he flashes a plus arm that can help control the opposition’s running game. Unless Gerber miraculously curtails his swing-and-miss issues, he looks more and more like a reserve outfielder.

 

12. Adam Ravenelle – Right-Handed Pitcher  

Ravenelle has exploded on the scene after injuries and inconsistency had derailed the early part of his career. Thanks to health and subsequent improved fastball velocity – he now sits 96-98 mph and touches 100 in short relief stints – Ravenelle now looks the part of a legitimate late inning reliever. Though his second pitch is frequently dubbed a slider, it is truly a sharp cutter with filthy action that can miss bats and demoralize hitters. Ravenelle still struggles to control his powerful arsenal and he must work to improve that element of his game throughout the 2017 season. Ravenelle could reach the big leagues in 2017 and could be there to stay in 2018, potentially assuming a high leverage role down the line.

 

11. Spencer Turnbull – Right-Handed Pitcher

After rising up prospect lists following a 2015 season in which he regularly reached the upper-90s with his fastball as a starting pitcher, Turnbull began to plummet during the 2016 season as he battled arm problems and a related decrease in velocity. As he finally regained his health, Turnbull began to show incremental velocity improvements during the Arizona Fall League, reaching as high as 96 mph during his last two outings of the season, and giving hope to the notion that once fully healthy, he could return to his high-octane ways. When right, Turnbull flashes an above-average to plus slider that compliments his fastball well. Command issues have plagued Turnbull since his amateur days, and could relegate him to the bullpen long term as a professional.

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