2012 TigsTools: Best Hitter

Vasquez has outstanding potential as a hitter

Hitting ability is often the make or break tool for a prospect. Prospect status and big-league success often depend largely on how much a guy hits. Even with power or good defense in the profile, if a guy doesn't hit, he's not going to maintain his prospect status. The Tigers have several hitters with the ability to consistently barrel the ball and hit for a high average.

Best Hitter
1. Nick Castellanos (OF)
2. Danry Vasquez (OF)
3. Avisail Garcia (OF)
4. Dean Green (1B)
5. Tyler Collins (OF)

The Tigers top three hitting prospects all have the natural hitting ability to succeed in the Major Leagues. Castellanos may be one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues and he has the potential to hit .300 on an annual basis. He has a knack for barreling the baseball and can drive all types of pitches, to all parts of the park. Danry Vasquez is very much Castellanos' equal in the batter's box. I debated sitting Vasquez atop this list for the second year in a row but his struggles hitting slightly better pitching in the Midwest League this year tipped me toward Castellanos.

Tigers fans got a taste of Avisail Garcia's hitting ability in his big-league trial and despite an aggressive approach and some issues with his swing consistency, he should hit for average. Both Dean Green and Tyler Collins are at least a full grade below the top three, but both have sound hitting ability. Dean Green is the classic "big guy that can hit" and he could hit for average at just about any stop along the way. Collins is very similar and he could hit .280+ in the big leagues.

Honorable Mention
Austin Schotts
Eugenio Suarez

The Tigers second pick in June, Schotts hit in the upper .300s for much of his professional debut, demonstrating the amount of polish he carries for his age. An excellent athlete with good coordination, Schotts can use the entire field and has enough juice in his bat to drive the ball consistently. Suarez shows the makings of a solid approach and a knack for contact, which could allow him to become an average hitter.

Projection Kings
Harold Castro

Castro is on the verge of cracking the Top 5 on this list and some scouts I spoke with would have been willing to place him in the four or five spot. He doesn't see many pitches he doesn't like but he has a feel for the barrel and can make contact both in and out of the strike zone. For long term success, Castro will have to tighten his zone, but he has the makings of a potential plus hitter.

Others Considered
Jamie Johnson
Devon Travis

Johnson has long been in consideration for this list, largely thanks to his outstanding approach and ability to smack the ball to all fields. Travis is a new name that the Tigers went over and above to get in the fold after the draft. He has good hands at the plate and can work the ball to all fields with some pop.

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