During the Jim Leyland years, the Tigers didn’t really utilize the roster expansion of September 1st very much. They thought it best to only call up a few guys, usually an extra catcher, Danny Worth, and an extra pitcher or two. This year, Brad Ausmus and company have turned that precedent on it’s head, and called up nearly 10 players from the minor leagues. Since I don’t want this to turn into a 3,000 word post, I’m going to do two separate ones: One for positional players, and one for pitchers.
Steven Moya, OF: Moya stands at least 6’7″, and weighs in at a chiseled 250-ish pounds. He is “what they look like”, according to Rod Allen, and Rod is not wrong. He’s a physical specimen in every sense of the phrase. He has massive raw power, amongst the top raw power anywhere in the minor leagues. However, questions about his contact ability limit his profile and his ultimate ceiling in the major leagues. He swings and misses a lot, struggles against arm-side pitching. struggles with recognition, lacks knowledge of the zone, and overall he is just a very raw hitter still. That being said, he made huge strides in 2014, but still has a long way to go. He’s a solid fielder in RF or LF, with plus arm strength that is limited due to inconsistent mechanics and accuracy. His best utilization at this time is probably that of a late-innings pinch hitter against a right handed pitcher.
Tyler Collins, OF: Collins is a grinder-type outfielder who lacks a plus tool, but who can still be a valuable asset both right now and in the future. He’s best in LF, where he still falls short of being an average defender. Fringy arm strength, but he manages to get the job done for the most part in left. He “can play” center field, but that wouldn’t be a wise decision, in my opinion. He can run a little bit, but his stolen base numbers are more indicative of good baserunning skills and good instincts moreso than raw speed. He’s a pesky hitter at his best, with some pop in his bat (as we saw the other night), but at his peak I don’t think he’s better than a .250-.260 hitter (40-45 on the 20-80 scale). I think he’s a better option than Moya at this point if we’re talking daily utility, but Moya would be the one more likely to hit one 500ft and look gorgeous doing it.
Hernan Perez, IF: Perez is a 2nd baseman by trade who played a lot of shortstop in AAA this season. and while he’s not sexy there, I’ve long believed him to be a better option than Andrew Romine as a utility IF. He can play 2B at a plus level, a fringy (passable) SS, and truth be told I’m sure he could handle 3B and LF if given some reps there. That speaks to a valuable utility option, moreso when you include that he can hit the baseball. He features a compact, short stroke, and an advanced ability to put bat to ball. He’s aggressive, and won’t walk a ton, and doesn’t come with much beyond doubles power. While he shows the ability to potentially hit in the mid-high .200’s, the lack of walks and lack of power make that an empty batting average, which in my mind limits his profile to more of a utility guy than an everyday player. All that being said, he’s still a better option than Andrew Romine. He may see some time as a pinch hitter, pinch runner, or defensive replacement down the stretch, but I don’t think he’ll start many games (if at all).
James McCann, C: Ahh yes. James McCann. The savior of the franchise from the dastardly Captain Nepotism. In all reality though, James McCann is probably the best prospect on this list in terms of the combination of upside, polish, ceiling, floor, etc, etc. Moya has a higher upside, sure. But McCann is a helluva lot more polished, a helluva lot more major-league ready, and a helluva lot closer to his ceiling than Moya is. And his ceiling is still that of a solid major league catcher. Jordan Gorosh at Baseball Prospectus has been saying for years that he believes a platoon of Avila and McCann would be extremely valuable, and I tend to agree with him. We should see such a platoon on display in 2015. Anyways, scouting. McCann is a good defender, probably a 55 on the 20-80 scale behind the dish. He’s a heady player with good athleticism, blocks well, receives well, and handles pitching staffs well. He’ll also show off a plus arm at times, though he’s more consistently in the above-average range in terms of pop times. He’s a good hitter, though he lacks home run power. Realistically he’s a guy who can hit in the .265-.270 range at his peak, while not striking out a ton (although he won’t walk a ton either), with 20+ doubles and maybe 5 HR’s or so. Like I said, pair him with Avila in a platoon and that’s excellent production from the catcher’s position.
I’ll scout the pitcher callups in a seaparate post tomorrow.