The Tigers had to play catch-up to the Cleveland Indians for most of the season, but as the season turned to the stretch run, they took off like Seabiscuit toward the finish line, leaving the rest of the AL Central in their dust. To accomplish another Central Division title, the Tigers used a mostly veteran roster, and besides a few relievers and a small appearance from Casper Wells who was later traded to Seattle, the Tigers really didn’t introduce any prospects to the majors for a lengthy period of time.
The most significant thing to happen to the farm system came when they traded four prospects to Seattle for Doug Fister, in a trade that certainly played a significant role in their second-half surge. The Tigers, however, paid a price as they lost Wells, closer-to-be Chance Ruffin, Charlie Furbush, and another hitting prospect in Francisco Martinez. While none of those were “star” prospects, they were all solid prospects that could see the majors at some point, with Martinez the one with the highest potential.
As for those remaining within the Tigers farm system, it was mostly a disappointing season. Top prospects Jacob Turner and Nick Castellanos performed well, and Turner even made a few major-league appearances late in the season. Otherwise, Drew Smyly and Casey Crosby were part of the few who held or improved their stock. And without a first-round pick, the Tigers weren’t really able to add much talent, though they did make a few solid selections that bolstered the farm system.
While the Tigers will probably remain the class of the Central next season, the hold could be tenuous, and other than Turner and Smyly, there doesn’t seem to be much help that will be immediately available. But with a large payroll, you don’t always need a great farm system, and the Tigers have always been willing to spend in the draft, though it’d be nice for the farm system if they kept their first-round picks.
Jacob Turner SP
Age/Level (as of 4/2012): 20/MLB
Turner is still young and has developing left to do, but he’s seriously talented and has already made his major-league debut. With a fastball in the low-to-mid-90s with sink, a hammer curve, and an improving change-up, Turner has everything he needs to be a successful pitcher, but one wonders if he isn’t being rushed. While has good stuff and plenty of projection (big frame, lean), he still needs to work on his change, consistency with his secondary pitches, and command. He certainly has the frame, smooth and athletic mechanics, and work ethic to make that happen, and you can make the argument that he can still learn those things in the majors. I’d just like to see him in AAA for most of 2012, but it would be hard to argue he’s not one of the five best Tigers pitchers, I’m guessing.no comments