John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

2017 TigsTown Top 50 Scouting Reports #40-36: Connor Harrell, Chad Bell, Jacob Robson, Jake Baker, Angel Nesbitt

The next five up, and the back half of those prospects ranked in the 30's highlight a trio of unconventional relief prospects, each for their own reasons, along with a pair of outfield prospects at different stages of their development.

40. Connor Harrell (OF)

Tool Grades (Future)

Hit

Power

Speed

Defense

Arm

35

45

55

55

60

 

Harrell’s name has long been bouncing around these prospect lists thanks to great athleticism and several tools that project at or above-average at the MLB level. Unfortunately for Harrell, the one tool that lags behind – his hit tool – is arguably the most critical for his MLB success. With contact struggles and an inability work counts, Harrell’s above-average raw power doesn’t consistently play in games, leaving his offensive profile a little short of the ideal for an everyday player. Defensively, Harrell can play all three positions at an acceptable level, flashing plus skills on the corners and more than holding his own up the middle. Harrell’s arm plays well at all three positions as well. At the end of the day, Harrell’s defensive skills and versatility give him a legitimate chance at finding a role on an MLB bench as a reserve outfielder, where his mediocre offensive gifts would be masked.

 

39. Chad Bell (LHP)

Tool Grades (Future)

Fastball

Curveball

Changeup

Command/Control

40

45

55

55

 

Bell’s proximity to the big leagues makes him a “prospect” in the loosest sense of the word. Approaching 30-years old and without any big league experience, Bell still has a chance to carve out a role as a bullpen lefty similar to what Blaine Hardy has been able to manage. With a fastball that sits in the 87-89 mph range with an ability to move it east-west at will, Bell can work well against same-side hitters. His curveball is good enough – fringe-average -- to miss left-handed bats, and his changeup can be a weapon to induce weak contact when ahead in the count. Bell’s ability to pound the lower third of the strike zone with all three pitches makes him a viable reliever at the highest level.

 

38. Jacob Robson (OF)

Tool Grades (Future)

Hit

Power

Speed

Defense

Arm

55

40

60

55

50

 

The Tigers eighth round pick in 2016, Robson raked during his professional debut in the New York-Penn League, showing high contact rates and strong on-base skills. Robson is a contact-oriented hitter that works the ball to all fields and can turn on the ball to pull it into the gaps and occasionally over the fence when he really runs into one. His plus speed is his best tool, allowing him to steal bases and play above-average defense in center field. As an all-around player with the ability to defend up the middle and hit for a high average, Robson has a strong chance to be a fourth outfielder at the highest level, and even some chance to become an everyday player that hits at the top of the lineup and plays solid defense if everything breaks well during his development.

 

37. Jake Baker (LHP)

Tool Grades (Future)

Fastball

Curveball

Changeup

Command/Control

55

60

40

45

 

Signed by the Tigers during the offseason, Baker generates some minor buzz within scouting circles thanks to his physical presence and potential for two plus pitches down the line. With participation in a professional strength and conditioning program there is some hope Baker’s strength could continue to translate to increased velocity gains beyond his present 89-91 mph that touches 92 mph. Baker could see a bump as high as 93-95 mph with that improved strength as well as a more consistent workload that may include shorter bursts out of the bullpen. Baker’s breaking ball will be his meal ticket in any role, but could really become a devastating pitch when thrown with the added conviction that comes with aggressive, short stints as a reliever. With two pitches approaching plus grades and command/control that could scrape average ratings down the line, Baker could be a dynamic and powerful lefty reliever at his peak.

 

36. Angel Nesbitt (RHP)

Tool Grades (Future)

Fastball

Cutter

Changeup

Command/Control

60

55

35

40

 

Heading into the off-season, Nesbitt’s stock was down as his fastball backed up and his cutter lost its previous crispness. With limited margin for error as a relatively generic right-handed reliever, Nesbitt needs the mid-90s heat that touches 97 mph in order for him to be successful in the big leagues. Thankfully for him and the team, his fastball has been back this spring, bumping 96-97 mph with regularity, and scouts have reported that his cutter has looked like a sharper pitch that can help keep him away from the heart of the barrel. Without a third pitch that offers any vertical element to his arsenal, Nesbitt yields more contact than you would expect, which is only exacerbated by his below-average command and control. As a big league reliever, Nesbitt projects to middle relief due to his inconsistent command/control, but he could be a useful and inexpensive relief option for the Tigers in 2017.


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