Worth joined the Tigers after a standout three-year career at Pepperdine University. As a senior, Danny was named 1st Team All-West Coast Conference as he posted a .344/.410/.477 line for the Waves. He also stole 11 bases (8th in WCC) in 16 attempts while notching a .964 fielding percentage. Worth also ranked in the WCC top ten in runs (43), hits (83), doubles (19), batting average, and slugging. He ended his career at Pepperdine ranking second on the career doubles list – which was good for ninth in WCC history – and also 11th on the career hit list; all while playing in 183 consecutive games for the Wave. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, Danny played for the Alexandria Beetles of the Northwoods League. He earned league All-Star honors on the back of a league leading .344 average, and top five finishes in on-base percentage, slugging, and steals.
In 2006, Danny again earned all-conference accolades as he took home West Coast Conference Honorable Mention honors, along with being named to the Malibu Regional All-Tournament Team. He led the West Coast Conference in doubles (24) and ranked ninth in the league in hits with 78. Between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Danny played for Danville of the Central Illinois Collegiate League, where he finished with a .259/.329/.381 line and 11 steals (7th in CICL).
As a freshman he was not expected to see much action, but his excellent poise and play thrust him into the starting lineup where he played in 63 games, with a .306 average and 34 RBI. From an unexpected starter, he ended up taking home 2nd Team All-WCC honors, and made the Long Beach Regional Tournament Team. In high school, Worth helped lead his Valencia High team to three straight Santa Clarita Conference titles, while taking home conference honors in each of the three seasons, including 1st Team All-Santa Clarita as a senior when he hit .417 with five home runs.
The Tigers challenged Worth upon signing, sending him straight to Lakeland to start his professional career. In 51 games for the Flying Tigers, Danny notched a .251 average and nine doubles, along with swiping six bases. In August, he was promoted Double-A Erie for the final five regular season games and playoffs. In those final stretch games during the regular season, Worth knocked six hits in only fourteen at-bats, including two doubles and a triple.
Worth has some of the best defensive abilities in the 2007 draft, and projects as an elite defender at the diamond's most difficult position. He has tremendous actions in the field, ranging to each side to snag balls many shortstops don't reach. His footwork on all plays is excellent, and he turns a double-play with the best of them. His arm strength is above-average and he is accurate from any position on the infield. He can make every play asked of him, and should only improve with professional instruction. His only noticeable defensive weakness is getting to the ball in the hole at short; but he has learned to compensate for this deficiency by positioning himself more astutely based on a batter's tendencies.
Offensively, Worth is a gap-to-gap line drive hitter, with minimal home run power. He can drive the ball to all parts of the field, adjusting to any pitch in any location. His swing doesn't look natural, but he has worked diligently to make it work for him; and he has experienced success with wood bats in the past. I doubt the organization's hitting instructors will mess with his mechanics too much. He profiles as a doubles hitter with enough speed to challenge outfielders. Pepperdine coaches consistently clocked him at around 6.9 seconds in the 60-yard dash, but his speed plays up because of his outstanding baseball IQ. He has great instincts on the bases, and could steal 18-20 bases annually at the big league level.
Danny has a love for the game that is unrivaled, and he simply wants to be on the field and in the game. His teammates look for him to lead by example, and he leaves every ounce of effort on the field at all times. His makeup is off the charts, and should help him transition well to the pro game. Worth profiles as a defense first shortstop with enough offense to help a Major League team.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Danny is a durable player, demonstrating a willingness to play through minor aches and pains without a drop in performance. His exceptional work habits and desire to succeed should allow him to maintain his highly durable ways.
Worth entered camp this spring with a chance to head back to either of his previous pro stops. With the addition of Cale Iorg, and the continued presence of Audy Ciriaco, there are three talented shortstops who need playing time to develop. Worth's polish and defensive proficiency should give him the ability to handle Erie if assigned there to start the 2008 season. One way or another, he should see time at Double-A before the close of the season.
Pepperdine Coach Steve Rodriguez answered "He's a big league shortstop." when asked what he saw in Worth's future, and when this was posed to former Erie Manager Matt Walbeck, he did not express any disagreement. Worth has the defensive ability to help a Major League team right now, leaving his offense as the limiting factor in his timetable to Detroit. With the Tigers holding an option for 2009 with Edgar Renteria, there is a strong feeling that Worth could be ready to replace him when that contract expires.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.