TigsTown MLN: A Look at the Rooks

With the Tigers top two teams currently on break for their All Star games, and others taking a break for last night's Midsummer Classic, it might seem as if it's a slow go of things down on the farm. So, as baseball preps for its second half, we take a look all the way down the farm at the rookie level GCL Tigers.

For starters, if you're looking for some of the team's best prospects, it's best to start up the middle.

Cole Miller is one of the Tigers better young catching prospects, being a solid catch and throw guy with very good quickness behind the plate, Miller has the defensive abilities to remain behind the plate as he makes his way up the ladder. His bat should cause no concern either; despite his slow start (certainly having to split time with three other catchers hasn't made it any easier on Miller to get into any type of a grove).

Miller is sharing time with James Skelton, Angel Flores and Daniel Sondoval, and would likely also be sharing time with Cody Collett had he not gone down with yet another injury. Collett has plenty of potential, but is now in his third professional season, suffering yet again through injuries. As unfortunate as it may seem, Collett's career may end in retirement before it ever gets off the ground.

Continuing up the middle, the Tigers have a pair of extremely young guys as their double play combination that have some of the best tools in the organization.

Second baseman Agustin Guzman was just drafted as a 17 year old when the Tigers took him out of Baton Rouge Community College. Guzman had an OPS near 1.500, displaying incredible patience for a player his age, with some pop in his bat that could certainly develop into more than just gap power as he fills out. Guzman has played just six games so far, but already has an OPS of .847.

His up the middle mate has possibly even more upside than he does, as the Tigers signed Audy Ciriaco out of the Dominican this past winter. Ciriaco, a bigger shortstop at 6' 3", 200 lbs, he has solid range in the field and can already swing for the fences despite having just turned 18 last month. He'll certainly be one to watch in the coming years – don't be surprised to see a jump out of him similar to that of Wilkin Ramirez.

One final man to note is outfielder Casper Wells, who was another recent draft pick out of small school Towson State. Wells, having played college ball, has a bit more experience than many of his opponents, but is still crushing the ball with a slugging percentage over .600. And possibly the best part of Wells is hard working attitude and demeanor, making him another one to watch.

Moving on to the pitchers, one player of note that has surprised many is Eric Beattie. Beattie was selected as a "polished college pitcher" that "should move quickly up the ladder." None of that has happened so far, as Beattie has seemingly lost complete control and often throws the ball without having a clue as to where it may be headed. The Tigers had hoped getting him some game experience against lower level competition would help, but it hasn't panned out so far – 11 walks in less than four innings of work, and an ERA of 27.00.

Garrett Berger has been experiencing much of the same control problems, with 14 walks in less than five innings.

Finishing up on a positive note from the pitching staff – Luis Gil has had an absolutely dominant start to the GCL season. Gil, a former infielder for the DSL Tigers (that's Dominican Summer League), has been converted to pitcher and the returns thus far have been outstanding with a 0.79 WHIP and 0.95 ERA. Gil could certainly make a name for himself in the organization over the coming weeks.

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