20. Melvin Mercedes – Right-Handed Pitcher
Mercedes' dominance at High-A Lakeland in the first half this season has made him one of the organization's breakout starts; following in the mold of Bruce Rondon in 2012. Mercedes doesn't off Rondon's triple-digit heat, but he does still reach 97 mph at times and has tremendous weight to his fastball, making him difficult to square. Mercedes' control and slider are both still developing but as he matures, he could become a quality setup reliever.
19. Daniel Fields – Outfielder
Fields' prospect stock has reached a plateau in recent seasons and even with improved offensive numbers at Double-A this year, his projection still comes up short of an everyday player. Fields is a high-quality defender in center field, despite a well below-average arm, and that alone could make him a solid fourth outfielder. Scouts don't believe Fields' swing mechanics will allow him to hit quality pitching, but when he does make contact, he has the strength and bat speed to display some interesting power.
18. Austin Schotts – Outfielder
After exploding in his Gulf Coast League debut in 2012, Schotts prospect star has taken a major hit as he struggled to handle Low-A pitching and has been demoted to short-season Connecticut. Scotts still has some projection as a speedy centerfielder with good contact skills, but his offensive game is so raw, his developmental path with be much longer than initially believed.
17. Casey Crosby – Left-Handed Pitcher
As Casey Crosby continues to struggle with his delivery and overall consistency in Triple-A, scouts see less and less of a chance he sticks in the rotation. Crosby still has the power fastball that can reach the mid-90s and a curveball that shows flashes of being a quality out-pitch, but his inability to throw strikes consistently will likely push him to the bullpen. At some point the Tigers have to give him a chance to air it out in relief and see what they have in the power lefty.
16. Will Clinard – Right-Handed Pitcher
A prospect pushed hard by TigsTown entering the year, Clinard has lived up to our very early billing by breezing through High-A in the first half and having intermittent success in Double-A during his first full season of pro ball. Clinard has a broad arsenal for a reliever, highlighted by an easy plus cutter, and he could profile as a setup man at the highest level.
15. Kevin Ziomek – Left-Handed Pitcher
As fans may expect, the Tigers dipped into the Vanderbilt roster early in this year's draft, popping lefty Kevin Ziomek in the second round. A physical left-hander, Ziomek sits in the average range and can occasionally find 92-93 mph when he needs a little extra. He's a deceptive pitcher with average secondary pitches in his slider and changeup and he could be a back-end starter if it all comes together.
14. Corey Knebel – Right-Handed Pitcher
The Tigers surprised many by drafting Knebel in the supplemental first round and then announced their intent to have him work as a starting pitcher beginning next season. Knebel is a true power right-hander with a hard fastball that he throws for strikes and a sharp breaking ball that can miss bats. His changeup was under-utilized in the bullpen but he has shown flashes with the pitch, giving him the potential to fit as a starter. If he doesn't work out in the rotation, Knebel could move quickly as a setup reliever.
13. Eugenio Suarez – Shortstop
None of Suarez's individual tools jump off the page but he has a good feel for the game and a broad set of skills that play well in game situations. Suarez has a good approach at the plate, combined with a short, quick swing that allows him to spray the ball around. He lacks power and may be relegated to a slap hitter with a solid approach at the highest level. Suarez has the tools for the left side but the game moves too quickly for him at times and most scouts believe he will settle in as a versatile utility player.
12. Jeff Thompson – Right-Handed Pitcher
The Tigers third round pick this summer, Thompson is a tremendous athlete, particularly for a guy standing 6-foot-6 and pushing 250 pounds. With his imposing frame, Thompson is capable of pumping fastballs in the 91-93 mph range and touching 95 with a steep downward plane. Both his slider and changeup show some modest potential and could be enough to keep him in the rotation as a workhorse third or fourth starter.
11. Hernan Perez – Second Baseman
The other half of Erie's double-play combination with Eugenio Suarez, Perez has finally begun to put it all together this year in Double-A. A lithe, strong athlete, Perez looks the part of a big league middle infielder. He has strong wrists at the plate and can spray line drives around the field with surprising gap power. His defense at second base is very good and he has enough tools that he can fill in at shortstop as well. Perez is a heady player that plays the game hard at all times and he could be a solid everyday second baseman.
To read the rest of the 2013 Midseason Top 50, follow the links below:
2013 Midseason Top 50: 50-41
2013 Midseason Top 50: 40-31
2013 Midseason Top 50: 30-21