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:
-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
-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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