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The 2012 season has cleared up the picture regarding the future of the shortstop position in Detroit.  Jhonny Peralta may still be an above-average defensive shortstop (albeit with no range) but his miserable season at the plate (.239/.305/.384/.689, 13 HR and 63 RBI in 531 AB) might result in a change coming sooner than expected.

“Who’s available?” Well that’s part of the problem.  There is a dearth of good shortstops on the market.  Stephen Drew and Jimmy Rollins leap to mind, but Drew can’t hit and Rollins is getting old and has attitude issues.  So Peralta may very well come back in 2013.

So we’ve established that the shortstop of the future is in-house.  May I present to you Eugenio Suarez.

Suarez is a 6’0’’, 180 pound, 21 year-old Venezuelan who played his 2012 season with Single-A West Michigan.   He had an excellent season there, hitting .288/.380/.409/.789 in 135 games.  He’s not a power threat (only 6 homers in 511 at-bats) but he has doubles power already (he roped 34 of them) and is pretty fast as well, recording 5 triples and 21 steals.  He displayed good discipline, working out 65 walks.  Most importantly perhaps, he became a plus defender this season, recording a .971 fielding percentage, up from .923 in 2011 (which he split with the GCL Tigers and Connecticut).

At this point there are really only two drawbacks to Suarez: his size and his strikeouts.  He’ll need to put on weight if he’s going to play everyday. He struck out 116 times in 511 at-bats in A-ball and that’s obviously going to need to come down.  But if he puts on some weight and reduces his strikeouts, he could be a Tiger by 2014.

Go Tigers.

The Erie Seawolves, the Tigers AA affiliate, finished the 2012 season at 57-84.  Erie pretty much exemplified one of the things I love so much about the minor leagues, in that at the beginning of the 2012 season, they had arguably the fewest amount of actual prospects on their roster (save Rob Brantly), but ended the season with arguably the most actual prospects of any Tigers affiliate.

It was a rough season for Erie, particularly for the pitching staff.  Despite the influx of legitmate talent from Lakeland as the season went on, the pitching staff remained loaded with either org guys or fringe prospects, with the exception of when Bruce Rondon was the closer.

As far as who I believe actually have major league potential, the list contains some big names.  First and foremost, Nick Castellanos, who absolutely tore up A+ pitching, and actually was OK at AA, but tailed off towards the end.  Of course, Avisail Garcia is already with the big club, but still retains prospect status.  Continuing on, I haven’t given up on Daniel Fields as a prospect, as he showed improved power, plate discipline, and contact when he was called up late in the season.  Still only 21, I believe Fields can still be a solid 4th OF in the majors.  James McCann struggled mightily when promoted to Erie, but I’m of the opinion that he’s the best defensive catcher in the Tigers whole system, and profiles very well as a glove-first backup catcher.  In the bullpen, a guy like Michael Morrison has some big league potential as a 6th-7th inning guy, due to his ability to miss bats with a plus fastball.

Now on to the numbers:

Positional Players-

-RF Avisail Garcia (21): .299/.333/.455/.789/122 Games (Lakeland and Erie combined). 481 AB, 144 H, 17 2B, 8 3B, 14 HR, 58 RBI, 78 R, 18 BB, 95 K, 23 SB.

-2B Niuman Romero (27): .300/.367/.421/.788/135 Games. 523 AB, 157 H, 28 2B, 4 3B, 9 HR, 67 RBI, 73 R, 54 BB, 65 K, 19 SB.

-OF Jamie Johnson (25): .276/.353/.337/.690/126 Games. 463 AB, 128 H, 18 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 39 RBI, 64 R, 60 BB, 51 K, 14 SB.

-1B Jordan Lennerton (26): .269/.368/.469/.836/139 Games. 495 AB, 133 H, 34 2B, 2 3B, 21 HR, 82 RBI, 73 R, 79 BB, 141 K.

-OF Daniel Fields (21): .266/.329/.357/.686/91 Games (Injury early in season, time split between Lakeland and Erie). 350 AB, 93 H, 15 2B, 4 3B, 3 HR, 33 RBI, 44 R, 32 BB, 76 K, 23 SB.

-3B/RF Nick Castellanos (20): .320/.365/.451/.815/134 Games (split between Lakeland and Erie). 537 AB, 172 H, 32 2B, 4 3B, 10 HR, 57 RBI, 72 R, 36 BB, 118 K, 8 SB.

-2B Brandon Douglas (27): .263/.330/.344/.674/131 Games. 471 AB, 124 H, 23 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 48 RBI, 56 R, 42 BB, 72 K, 13 SB.

-C James McCann (22): .237/.278/.311/.589/109 Games (Split between Lakeland and Erie). 380 AB, 90 H, 22 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 39 RBI, 39 R, 18 BB, 73 K, 5 SB

Pitchers

-SP Ramon Garcia (27): 10-13, 4.74 ERA, 159 1/3 IP, 180 H, 40 BB, 102 K, 1.38 WHIP

-P Robbie Weinhardt (26): 1-2, 2.73 ERA, 66 IP, 57 H, 26 BB, 56 K, 1.26 WHIP

-P Michael Morrison (24): 4-3, 3.14 ERA, 63 IP, 46 H, 40 BB, 72 K, 1.37 WHIP

And that’s it for Erie.  I’d like to make a note on Castellanos.  Yes, he struggled mightily down the stretch for Erie.  Yes, his strikeout numbers are very high.  Yes, his BB numbers are very low.  Absolutely none of this is cause for any concern whatsoever.  He’s 20 years old, in his 2nd year of professional baseball, and he absolutely scorched High-A, while more than holding his own at AA.  Remember, he was still learning the OF right around the same time that he started to struggle, so I have no issue saying that contributed to the struggles.  He will go the Arizona Fall League, get more AB’s, spend more time in the OF, and just gain experience, which is invaluable for a 20 year old.  In a perfect world, he could start 2013 at AA, playing every day in LF (in my mind), while working on his plate discipline.  Fans get excited when prospects put up huge numbers, and don’t take into account the fact that they are still very young, and that AA =/= MLB.  Give him time, he will be fine, and he will be a stud.

Thanks for reading, and Go Tigers!

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Toledo finished the 2012 season at 60-84.  It was a rough season for them, but somewhat expected, seeing as they played most of the season with minimal talent, and even fewer actual prospects, particularly in the position players area.

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The pitching staff has some major-league talent, namely Casey Crosby, Andy Oliver (I know, I know), Bruce Rondon, and Adam Wilk (to some extent), but all of them, aside from Wilk, seriously underperformed this season.

From a positional player standpoint, only Danny Worth and Bryan Holaday hold any real major league ability/projection, and even then, their individual ceilings are probably both up-and-down guys or career backups.

Let’s move on to the numbers:

Position Players:

-OF Justin Henry (27): .300/.372/.357/.729/131 Games. 476 AB, 143 H, 14 2B, 5 3B, 1 HR, 38 RBI, 72 R, 54 BB, 65 K, 22 SB.

-OF Ben Guez (25): .289/.403/.459/.863/108 Games (btwn AA and AAA). 370 AB, 107 H, 24 2B, 6 3B, 9 HR, 48 RBI, 65 R, 53 BB, 93 K, 15 SB.

-C Bryan Holaday (24): .240/.312/.320/.632/75 Games. 250 AB, 60 H, 12 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 25 RBI, 18 R, 22 BB, 43 K.

-IF Danny Worth (26): .264/.364/.421/.785/60 Games. 216 AB, 57 H, 15 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 24 RBI, 30 R, 31 BB, 58 K, 10 SB.

Starting Pitchers:

-SP Adam Wilk (24): 7-11, 2.77 ERA, 149 2/3 IP, 123 H, 28 BB, 128 K, 1.01 WHIP.

-SP Casey Crosby (24): 7-9, 4.01 ERA, 125 2/3 IP, 112 H, 65 BB, 112 K, 1.41 WHIP.

-P Andy Oliver (24):

Oliver Overall: 5-9, 4.88 ERA, 118 IP, 103 H, 88 BB, 112 K, 1.62 WHIP

As a Starter: 4-9, 5.06 ERA, 101 1/3 IP, 85 H, 76 BB, 92 K, 1.59 WHIP

As a Reliever: 1-0, 3.78 ERA, 16 2/3 IP, 18 H, 12 BB, 20 K, 1.80 WHIP

Relievers:

-P Luke Putkonen (26): 3-3, 4.92 ERA, 56 2/3 IP, 68 H, 20 BB, 46 K, 1.55 WHIP

-P Collin Balester (26): 1-1, 3.64 ERA, 47 IP, 38 H, 12 BB, 45 K, 1.06 WHIP

-P Luis Marte (26): 3-2, 3.70 ERA, 24 1/3 IP, 20 H, 10 BB, 27 K, 1.23 WHIP

-P Bruce Rondon (21): (Numbers combined at A+, AA, and AAA) 2-1, 1.53 ERA, 53 IP, 32 H, 26 BB, 66 K, 1.09 WHIP, 29 Saves

From these prospects/players, I only see Crosby, Oliver, and Rondon as impact major leaguers (Crosby as a SP, Oliver as a RP, and Rondon as a CL).  That’s not to say that guys like Holaday, Worth, or Marte can’t play roles on major league teams as backups or long relievers, but as for impact guys, I’m only seeing the 1st three.

As time goes on this off season, I’ll be doing full scouting reports and profiles of guys I see as “impact” major leaguers, so expect to see such reports on Crosby, Oliver, and Rondon (and potentially Holaday).

Thanks for reading, and remember, if you don’t share this article and spread the word about the blog, you’re an Indians fan.

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@TigersProspects

Hello everyone, and welcome to Tigers Prospect Report (TPR).

My name is Brian Sakowski, and I will be your party host.

As many of you know, I created a twitter account a while back (@TigersProspects) for the purpose of doing nightly updates on how all of our minor leaguers were doing.  It was 99% just stats, and the reception I got was unbelievable.  The account was followed by several Tigers prospects, as well as media types like Lynn Henning and Matthew Mowery.

So I decided that, while

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