Fields has been on the MLB radar for several years, taking batting practice at the Tigers facilities when his father Bruce was a coach within the organization. Even at 12-years old at the time, Daniel put on a show in batting practice.
He is a two-time All-District, and two-time All-Region player at University of Detroit Jesuit High School, and he is on pace to duplicate those honors in 2009. With his season not quite complete, Fields was hitting .634 with 12 home runs in 21 games. Those type of numbers will not only get you noticed on a district and regional level, but also in talks of Michigan's state player of the year.
Fields has already signed a letter of intent to play at Michigan in the fall, and he is one of the headliners on a solid recruiting class for the Wolverines. That early collegiate signing came on the heels of a junior season that saw Fields hit .398 with eight triples, eight doubles, five home runs, and 22 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
Fields is an absolute tool shed as a prospect. He has plus-speed that he uses well on the bases. He has good instincts, getting great jumps on both left-handers and right-handers. He has clocked as low a 6.6 second in the 60-yard dash, and he should maintain that speed as he fills out is frame.
Dan also offers plus power down the line, but that may take some amount of time to fully manifest in game power. He has plenty of loft from the left side of the plate, and he generates very easy power to all fields with excellent bat speed and quick wrists. He has already demonstrated in showcases and exhibitions that he can hit for power with wood, and it should come to fruition on the field in time.
Fields is a solid shortstop with excellent hands and decent footwork, but his reactions are a touch slow despite his exceptional speed. He doesn't get to as many balls as he should with his foot speed, and a move to third base or center field may benefit his stock as a pro prospect. He has a strong arm that could play just about anywhere on the field, and his baseball intelligence should make any necessary transitions relatively easy.
Fields has the bloodlines that teams love to see, his father Bruce having played pro ball and now coaching with Cleveland, and his brother Aaron playing at Wright State University. Though he still lacks some polish, the increased talent level is evident from his opportunity to work with professional instruction at a young age.
All-in-all, Fields is an exceptional prospect, one worthy of a much higher draft slot than the sixth round. He has every tool imaginable, and scouts drool over what he offers both at present, and in the future. Fields has a chance to be an exceptional player but it could take some time to bring all the tools together and perform at a high level on the field, in the pro ranks.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% HS
Fields has been healthy throughout his high school career, and he is in exceptional physical condition. He works hard to keep himself in shape and is always looking to improve his body. There are no immediate concerns with Fields injury potential.
The Tigers have demonstrated in recent years that those players they pick in the top ten rounds, they intend to sign. On the other hand, the Fields have made it abundantly clear that pulling away from his commitment to Michigan will take a substantial sum of money. Most teams were scared away by the demands of Dan and his family, but the Tigers – with their added connection to the family – must feel they have a clear understanding of his bonus demands.
I expect this deal to get done, though it will likely come down to the last minute in August before things are finalized. If singed, Fields is unlikely to make his pro debut until the 2010 season, where he would probably debut with West Michigan.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.