20. Eulogio de la Cruz – Relief Pitcher
‘DLC' still has the blazing fastball, and it's still as straight as an arrow. He was getting rocked early, but seems to be remembering those lessons in how to pitch that he learned earlier last season. He's still got a chance to become a special relief prospect, but there are still some significant hurdles. Fortunately for him, the organization loves him.
19. Andrew Kown – Pitcher
Kown's a versatile pitcher who can pitch effectively in both a rotation or a bullpen. His fastball gains a touch of velocity in the bullpen, while his command has improved this year. I'd like to see him remain in the rotation, but his lack of an overwhelming third pitch, may not allow that to happen.
18. Brian Rogers – Relief Pitcher
Talk about a pitcher that has taken to his relief role well. Rogers has become a dominant reliever; a reliever with the ability to go multiple innings. He has the ability to strike guys out regularly, but he can also locate his pitches well, inducing groundballs. If the Tigers look internally for bullpen help, he should be near the top of the list.
17. Ricky Steik – Relief Pitcher
Despite repeating the Midwest League, Steik is making the organization look pretty smart. His control has taken a huge step forward, as seen by his results this season. He isn't throwing as hard as past years, and is getting more groundballs. Keep an eye on him if he moves to Lakeland in the second half. It should be a good test for him.
16. Clete Thomas – Outfielder
Clete's ranking takes a big tumble after an abysmal first half. He's struggling to make contact routinely, not controlling the strike zone as well as last year, and also not demonstrating good base running instincts. He's still playing good defense, and has displayed a little notch of power, but there seems to still be some big holes. He needs to remain in center long term, but if Maybin starts pushing later this year, he could be in trouble.
15. Ronnie Bourquin – Third Baseman
The Tigers second round pick this month, Bourquin slots in a little lower than many would expect. He should hit for very good average, but the rest of his offensive game is a little less inspiring. He's a candidate to switch positions down the road, so he needs to progress with the bat. Despite his college polish, he's sort of a ‘boom or bust' guy.
14. Brendan Wise – Pitcher
In a bit of a surprise, Wise was held back in Oneonta this year, but he is still young enough that it shouldn't matter. He has gained a tick on his fastball, and has retained his command from last season. A little extra tightness on the breaking ball, and he could begin moving quickly.
13. Dallas Trahern – Starting Pitcher
With a ‘Jekyll and Hyde' first half, Trahern is a bit of an enigma at this point. He has the raw stuff to be much more dominating than he is. His slider still hasn't returned from it's year absence, and he's been very hittable at times this year. Additional experience should do wonders for him. I run the risk of sounding like a broken record, but Dallas needs to begin striking guys out again.
12. Ryan Strieby – First Baseman
Jeff Larish may finally have some competition at first. Strieby has enormous power potential, a discerning eye at the plate, and a very good work ethic. He's not a good runner, but he doesn't need to be either. He'll need to keep his swing short as a pro, and continue to improve his breaking ball recognition, but the potential is there for him to become a very serious power threat.
11. Jeff Frazier - Outfield
Frazier's star is fading; and quickly. His power has not progressed as many had hoped, and he hasn't been able to maintain his walk rates or ability to consistently hit for average. With no tool that stands out, and nothing that projects to develop down the road, he needs things to click soon. Frazier remains this high on the hope that his polish and work ethic carry him to a big second half. Without it, he's in danger of starting his descent.