Steamer Projects: Detroit Tigers Prospects

Earlier today, polite and Canadian and polite Marc Hulet published his 2014 organizational prospect list for the Detroit Tigers.

It goes without saying that, in composing such a list, Hulet has considered the overall future value those prospects might be expected to provide either to the Tigers or whatever other organizations to which they might someday belong.

What this brief post concerns isn’t overall future value, at all, but rather such value as the prospects from Hulet’s list might provide were they to play, more or less, a full major-league season in 2014.

Other prospect projections: Arizona / Atlanta / Baltimore / Boston / Chicago AL / Chicago NL / Cincinnati / Cleveland / Colorado / Houston / Kansas City / Los Angeles AL / Miami / Milwaukee / Minnesota / New York AL / New York NL / Oakland / Philadelphia / Pittsburgh / St. Louis / San Diego / San Francisco / Seattle / Tampa Bay / Texas / Toronto.

Steamer Projections: Detroit Batting Prospects
Below are the current 2014 projections for select Detroit batting prospects. All projections have been prorated to 550 plate appearances (and 450 for catchers) for sake of uniformity. Defensive figures (denoted by Def) account both for positional adjustment and UZR, and are presented relative to league average. Note that, in many cases, defensive value has been calculated entirely by positional adjustment based on the relevant player’s minor-league defensive starts in 2013. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age POS PA BB% K% BABIP wRC+ BsR Off Def* WAR
1 Nick Castellanos 22 3B 550 6.0% 17.7% .310 94 0 -4 2 1.7
7 Devon Travis 23 2B 550 4.6% 13.0% .282 80 0 -12 2 0.8
12 Eugenio Suarez 22 SS 550 6.3% 19.8% .291 72 0 -17 6 0.7
6 James Mccann 24 C 450 4.4% 17.8% .283 66 0 -17 8 0.6
9 Tyler Collins 24 COF 550 6.7% 19.3% .278 81 0 -12 -6 0.1
8 Daniel Fields 23 OF 550 6.5% 23.6% .302 73 0 -17 -2 0.0
10 Steven Moya 22 COF 550 3.2% 27.4% .268 51 0 -30 -6 -1.9

Steamer Projections: Detroit Pitching Prospects
Below are the 2014 projections for select Detroit pitching prospects. Projections for starting pitchers have been prorated to 150 innings; for relievers, to 50 innings. Prospects are listed in order of projected WAR, which has been calculated by using kwERA — that is, an ERA estimator which utilizes only strikeouts and walks — so as to remove the vagaries of park effects, and probably also because the author has no idea what he’s doing. Listed ages are as of June 30, 2014. The symbol # denotes the relevant prospect’s ranking on Hulet’s list. Figures might diverge slightly (although not signficantly) from those which appear on player pages.

# Name Age Hand IP K% BB% kwERA kwERA- WAR
13 Casey Crosby 25 LHP 50 19.8% 12.6% 4.45 115 0.3
2 Robbie Ray 22 LHP 150 15.5% 12.1% 4.90 127 0.1
3 Jake Thompson 20 RHP 150 12.2% 11.5% 5.23 135 -0.5
14 Drew Verhagen 23 RHP 150 0.0% 0.0% 5.31 137 -0.6
11 Endrys Briceno 22 RHP 150 7.6% 10.5% 5.66 146 -1.1

• With a few notable exceptions, maybe — like Boston and St. Louis, for example, and perhaps also Pittsburgh or Texas — there really aren’t many clubs which feature both excellent talent at the major-league level and then also a collection of minor leaguers who, if promoted right this minute, would likely produce wins at a league-average rate. As their very encouraging playoffs odds suggest, Detroit does feature one of the most talented clubs in baseball currently. As the projections above suggest, however, they don’t currently employ many rookie-eligible players who could reliably substitute for any of their talented major-leaguers.

• The one exception is Nick Castellanos — and, in fact, with the transition of Miguel Cabrera back to first base (a move itself made possible by the departure of Prince Fielder to the Rangers) Castellanos really will be asked to play alongside the club’s talented major-leaguers. Note that the projection published here for Castellanos does account for his move back to third base. So far as UZR is concerned, Steamer views Castellanos as roughly league average — probably more optimistic, that assessment, than scouting reports have indicated.

• In addition to noting that the projection for Castellanos takes for granted that he’ll be playing third base, the reader should also note that three of the Tigers’ most MLB-ready (if not necessarily their absolute best) pitching prospects — Jonathon Crawford, Buck Farmer, and Corey Knebel — are omitted from the above table, owing to how few professional innings they’ve all thrown. Each of that triumvirate was selected out of college in last year’s draft.

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