Tigers Prospect Profile #6: Casper Wells

Despite coming in as a relatively unheralded draft pick, Casper Wells has made everyone stand up and take notice of him. Wells has put his power on display over the past couple seasons, and is now knocking on the Tigers' doorstep.

Casper Wells
Position: Outfielder
Height: 6-2
Weight: 210
Born: 11/23/1984
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
It's been a lengthy road for Wells, having been drafted in the 14th round of the 2005 draft. After being born a local kid in Grand Rapids Michigan, Wells spent much of his youth away from the state of Michigan, before standing out as an outfielder and pitcher at Towson State University.

The Tigers have been patient with Wells, allowing his performance to dictate his promotion schedule, and allowing him to full develop. After signing, Wells started in the Gulf Coast League, ripping nine doubles, five triples, and five home runs in his first 45 professional games.

Moving up to Oneonta the following year, Wells saw action in 46 games with the O-Tigers, struggling to a .229/.305/.333 line. Wells also saw early-season action with High-A Lakeland, playing in eleven games with the Flying Tigers.

Wells returned to Oneonta for the 2007 season, and his performance improved dramatically. In 67 games, Wells crushed the ball, smoking 18 doubles, 11 triples, and nine home runs, giving him a .265/.323/.523 line.

The 2008 season started the birth of the new Casper Wells, as he posted a solid line in 50 games at West Michigan to start the season. The Tigers pushed him to Double-A Erie after an injury created an opening, and a change to his batting stance sent him flying.

Wells exploded with Erie, punishing the ball to the tune of a .289/.376/.589 line in 75 games. His line included an astonishing 17 home runs, and he even managed to steal eight bases, giving him 25 for the season.

A return to Erie in 2009 was the assignment handed down by the Tigers, and Wells continued to feast on Eastern League pitching. Though a wrist injury shut him down for an extended stretch, he still popped he still managed 18 doubles and 15 home runs.

After both the 2008 and 2009 season, Wells was sent to the Arizona Fall League to get additional at-bats and continue his development. Both times, Wells enjoyed the extreme offensive environment of the desert, and he posted monster numbers.

Scouting Report
Most scouts will tell you right off the bat that he doesn't look like a center fielder. Wells is a thick bodied player that draws more comparisons to an NFL linebacker than a speedy MLB outfielder. He has a physical upper body and thick legs, giving him the powerful components he needs to be a power player. Wells worked extensively at the API facility in Arizona following the AFL last year, and the improvements to his body are noticeable.

Casper's power is his most prominent tool, with tremendous pull power and well above-average power to the opposite field. When Wells connects, the sound can be deafening off his bat. His added strength has given him the ability to get to the hitting zone quicker and keep the fat part of the bat in the hitting zone longer.

Wells has improved his ability to control the strike zone, but he remains an aggressive hitter that attacks fastballs early in the count. He can struggle with good breaking balls, and he will likely always be prone to lofty strikeout totals.

Defensively, he has surprising speed in the outfield (and on the bases) and he can flag down balls in both gaps with ease. He is an above-average runner with excellent instincts. He gets good jumps on the ball, and take good routes as well. He has a plus arm that is befitting a right-fielder.

Wells has improved in every facet of the game in recent years, including the mental side of things. He has calmed his approach, while still maintaining his relaxed and often joking personality. Wells isn't easily rattled, and he takes nearly everything that happens on the field in stride. He works incredibly hard at his craft and could be a solid big league outfielder very soon.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

AA

Erie

311

.260

18

15

41

103

43

.369

.489


Health Record
Wells missed a large chunk of the 2009 season after breaking the hamate bone in his wrist. An injury that often saps power for a while, Wells was quickly back to hitting with authority, and there are almost no concerns about his power going forward. He recently dislocated his pinky finger after being hit by a pitch, but there are few concerns there either.

The Future
There's not much left for Wells to accomplish in the minor leagues. He has impressed the last two years in Major League spring training, and he is about as ready for the big leagues as he will ever be. If the Tigers have any injuries in this year, he could see time in Detroit.

If Wells could somehow reign in his strikeouts, he could have All-Star potential. As it stands now, he looks more like a solid outfielder with the ability to play all three spots and hit for power. Wells should make his MLB debut at some point this season, and as exciting as that will be, Wells will likely take it right in stride and just keep on playing.

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