#5 UT JaCoby Jones (+5)
When the club acquired Jones, there was optimism in the organization about his potential across the diamond, but a 50-game suspension for violating Minor League Baseball’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and limited productivity in Toledo kept him from rising up the list. But a strong cameo in Detroit, and continued display of his power/speed combo, plus the potential to hold down an up-the-middle defensive position, has Jones’s star looking brighter.
#11 RHP Spencer Turnbull (+11)
Turnbull found himself outside of the top 20 at midseason, dealing with a shoulder impingement that cost him the first half of the season, and on initial return, he didn’t look like the same pitcher. But by the end of the season, he was showing signs of promise, and he impressed many scouts in the Arizona Fall League, finding his upper-90’s fastball and flashing his impressive slider, with a 3.60 ERA over six starts. Likely the only thing that kept him from returning to the top ten was the uncertainty about his ability to stick in the rotation.
#26 RHP Sandy Baez (+8)
Baez continues his move up the prospect charts, buoyed most recently by the organization’s decision to add him to the 40-man roster and protect him from the Rule 5 draft, despite being a 22-year old that just reached full-season A-ball in 2016. Baez sits mid-90’s with fastball, but can reach the upper-90’s in short bursts. Baez could continue to grow as a starter, but has the potential to move quickly up the organizational ladder as a power reliever.
#34 RHP Artie Lewicki (+10)
Lewicki lost much of 2015 to injury, but as he proves his durability, his potential as a back of the rotation starter continues to gain traction, especially after a strong showing late in the year in Erie. Lewicki doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but coming off a solid AFL showing (12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings, with one bad outing inflating his ERA), he could find himself on the big league doorstop soon.
#30 OF Ulrich Bojarski (NR)
The Tigers signed Bojarski out of South Africa over the summer and he immediately vaulted himself into the top 30, making him a fast riser as an international signing. While very raw at just 18 years old, he’s an impressive athlete that could lay claim to the five-tool prospect designation. He’ll get a chance to show off his skills Stateside for the first time this spring, and is a name to watch.
#6 OF Derek Hill (-5)
Within days of TigsTown giving Hill the top spot in the midseason rankings, it was announced he would miss the remainder of the year as he undergoes Tommy John surgery, and will likely miss at least a portion of his 2017 campaign as well. The concerns about him recovering from the injury are limited, but it raises concerns overall about his durability given his past injury issues, and he is now in a position where he will lose significant portions of each of his first three years, precious development time that he can’t get back. Hill is still an exciting prospect, but he’s going to need to show he can stay on the field and start to develop his bat to be considered among the top prospects in the organization.
#14 SS Dixon Machado (-7)
Machado has been a bit of an enigma in the organization, always displaying excellent defense, but having persistent questions about his ability to hit. Machado got brief looks in Detroit in August and September, and managed just one hit in 13 plate appearances. He did rebound offensively in Toledo in the second half of the season, but scouts remain skeptical of his ability to hit at all against premium pitching, which if he can’t, will drive him toward a utility role.
#44 LHP Kevin Ziomek (-16)
The lefty was already trending a bit down coming off a lackluster 2015 season, and then the diagnosis of Thorasic Outlet Syndrome resulted him undergoing surgery to correct it. He’s a pitcher that should remain on the radar given what he’s shown on the past, but so many questions between his health and his declining repertoire have dimmed his prospect status considerably.
NR UT Kody Eaves (-22)
Eaves was acquired from the Angels last winter, and was among the top 30 prospects in the Angels organization when acquired. He slotted in at 35 in the midseason edition of the Tigers rankings, and fell out of the rankings entirely this off-season. A utility candidate, Eaves struggled to make contact with Erie in 2016 (.222 average, 105 strikeouts in 325 at-bats), and didn’t display the defensive skill to capably play shortstop, leaving him in a difficult position of lacking offensive upside and being unable to play one of the most needed spots to fill the role of a utility player.
NR 2B Hector Martinez (NR)
Martinez made his way into the midseason top 50, and hit .310 with the GCL Tigers West club, leaving many optimistic about his future. However Martinez has a variety of concerns with his prospect status, including but not limited to being limited to second base and lacking strength.