Sunday, July 31, 2005

Detroit Tigers prospect Brent Clevlen (and others)

From with John Sickels (formerly the ESPN Minor League guru):

Brent Clevlen, OF, Detroit Tigers
Lakeland outfielder Brent Clevlen went 2-for-6 Thursday, with a double and a home run and four RBI. This raised his numbers to .297/.374/.487 on the year, including 21 doubles, 14 homers, 42 walks, and 90 strikeouts in 374 at-bats. A second-round pick in 2002 out of high school in Texas, Clevlen was a favorite of mine until a very poor 2004 season for Lakeland. He returned to the Florida State League this spring and has turned things around, with substantial improvements in all offensive categories. His walk rate is up considerably, as he's returned to the good plate discipline he showed earlier in his career, learning to lay off the pitches on the outer half of the zone that were a problem for him last season. As a league-repeater, Clevlen will have to show he can carry this progress forward to the next level, but he is still just 21 years old. If he had gone to the University of Texas instead of signing with the Tigers, he would probably have been something like a second round pick this past June. The question now is, should he be promoted to Double-A for August, or does leaving him in A-ball for the rest of the year make more sense?

Sounds like he is back on track towards being a very good corner OF prospect. Hopefully he can continue his success in Erie next year.

Some news with other prospects:

  • Joel Zumaya (20) went 6 innings allowing no runs, 2 walks, and getting 12 strikeouts for AAA Toledo in his most recent start. He got knocked around in his first start for Toledo, but has been solid since. His 12 K performance in 6 innings is just silly. He'll be fun to watch develop as he keeps blowing people away with the fastball pushing 100 and the developing offspeed pitches.
  • Kevin Whelan (22) is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 4 saves in 12 innings with 19 Ks and 6 BBs and only 2 hits allowed (unfornately 1 was a HR). Too many walks, but the former Texas A&M closer and 2005 4th round draft pick is racking up big K numbers down at Oneonta in the rookie league.
  • Clete Thomas (21) continued his hot start at Oneonta with some solid play at West Michigan thus far. Through 17 games, he has a .311/.411/.410 batting line and 4 SBs in 5 attempts (he's now 13/14 overall this year as a pro). He also has more BBs than Ks (as he did at Oneonta as he continues to display excellent discipline at the plate for this 6th round pick in 2005.
  • Jeff Frazier (22) is bouncing back from a slow start this year with a .278/.347/.413 batting line on the year at West Michigan. He's a former 3rd round pick in 2004 from Rutgers who had a good summer at Oneonta last year. Still a pretty good OF prospect with a solid bat. Needs to develop more power to be an elite prospect.
  • Brent Dlugach (22) is having a solid year as a SS at West Michigan with a .294/.332/.414 hitting line. He's a big kid for a shortstop at 6'4" and 200 lbs and was a 6th round pick in 2004 from Memphis. Did not play well at Oneonta last year, but has bounced back with a solid year thus far at West Michigan.
  • PJ Finigan (22) is off to a nice start at West Michigan. The 7th round pick in 2005 has a 1.72 ERA in 15.2 innings with 4 walks and 16 strikeouts. Great numbers in very limited action thus far.
  • Jair Jurrgens (19) is having a very nice year at West Michigan considering his age. He was signed as a free agent out of Curacao (home of Andruw Jones) in 2003 at the age of 17. He had nice seasons in 2003 and 2004 in the Gulf Coast rookie league before struggling in Oneonta last year. This year, though, he's 7-5 with a 3.23 ERA in 108.2 innings and 30 walks and 85 strikeouts. Not quite what Joel Zumaya did in West Michigan at the age of 18 two years ago, but not bad nonetheless. I had never even heard of this kid, but with those numbers at that age at that level he's got some big upside.
  • Josh Rainwater (20) has a 3.56 ERA in 65.2 innings with 15 walks and 59 strikeouts at West Michigan. Not bad for the former 2003 4th round draft pick.
  • Dallas Trahern (19) has a 3.10 ERA in 130.2 innings with 39 walks and 57 strikeouts. He is performing quite well for his age at West Michigan, but the K/9 inning ratio of 3.9 is disturbingly low. Not sure how he fits as a prospect, but he's at least worth keeping an eye on.
  • Chris Robinson (21) the 3rd round pick at catcher in 2005 is slowly turning around his numbers the plate at West Michigan. He's now at a .203/.261/.297 hitting line through 17 games. He's got good defensive skills and the Tigs organization is probably weaker at catcher than any other so it would really be nice if his bat would come around. His ratio of 5 walks to 17 strikeouts is definitely not good at this point.
  • Nate Bumstead (23) has a 2.50 ERA in 122.1 innings with 39 walks and 87 strikeouts at Lakeland. Good numbers, but he's a touch on the older side for the Florida State League.
  • Jordan Tata (23) has a 2.50 ERA in 118.2 innings with 32 walks and 100 strikeouts at Lakeland. Similar to Bumstead in regards to age. We'll see how they do at Erie next year.
  • Eulogio de la Cruz (21) has a 3.39 ERA in 71.2 innings with 27 walks and 78 strikeouts at Lakeland. He's the right age and has good K/BB and K/IP numbers. He's a decent prospect right now.
  • Justin Verlander (22) has a 0.30 ERA in 29.2 innings at Erie with 5 walks and 31 strikeouts. Has had minor struggles in his 2 starts at Detroit, but has blown away all the A and AA competition he has faced thus far. His stuff is the definition of unhittable in the minors. Hopefully he can continue to develop because he is one of the 5 best pitching prospects in all of baseball.
This is just a partial list of some prospects that are having good years in the Tigers system. I'll list some more like Curtis Granderson at another time. And as a refresher here is the hierarchy of minor league teams along with the age a player should be playing well there to be considered a prospect:

Toledo (25 and under) AAA, Erie (22-24) AA, Lakeland (21 and under) high A, West Michigan (21 and under or recent draft pick) low A, Oneonta (20 and under or recent draft pick) short season, GCL Tigers (19 and under) rookie league. Older players can flourish in a league, but it usually means they are somewhat behind their peers on the development curve. For example, a 22 year old SS tearing up the NY-Penn League for Oneonta isn't much of a big deal. A 22 year old SS tearing up the International League for Toledo would be one of the best prospects in the game.


Anonymous Graig Rotenberry said...

It''s quite impressive.

Mon Dec 05, 01:35:00 PM  

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