What makes a good baseball prospect?

The question was asked to me after I posted my personal Detroit Tigers top prospects list. Let me be clear I am not a scout but I play one behind the comfort of my device. To be honest I have no ideal what a person who’s been trained as a scout likes in a player.

As for me my list is short. For hitters and position players I look for:

  1. Plate discipline- can the hitter recognize pitches?
  2. Bat control- is the hitter following through on swings?
  3. Contact- is the hitter making consistent contact with the ball?
  4. Speed- to the bag or in the gap when playing in the field.
  5. Glove work- self explanatory
  6. Footwork- how does the fielder set up to make his throw?


As for pitchers:

  1. Arm strength- self explanatory
  2. Mechanics- can the pitcher consistently repeat them?
  3. Location- is he consistently around the strike zone?
  4. What does his change up look like? Anyone can throw a fastball. Without a change up a pitcher simply won’t last long.

To illustrate my point I’m going to highlight two of my favorite Tiger prospects. Pitcher Beau Burrows and SS/3B Isaac Paredes.

Burrows- 6′ 2″ right hander who has been and is flying through the Tigers system. Great arm strength his fastball touches on 99 mph and he follows it with a mid 70’s change up and a above average slider. His mechanics are spot on as demonstarated last August when he struck out 8 batters and then 10 in two consecutive starts.

He is consistently around the strike zone. But he uses his slider to get hitters to chase out of the strike zone. When your around the plate consistently batters will chase a pitch off the plate.

He projects as a top end of the rotation starter. Because of two other pitchers (Matt Manning and Franklin Perez) in the organization he’ll most likely end up being a #3 starter. That’s a great glimpse into the future of the Tigers starting rotation.

Paredes- 5′ 11″ right handed hitter and throws right handed. His first season in American baseball saw a kid (18 yrs old) give and eye raising glimpse of what he can do with a bat.

His pitch recognition is very good coupled with his discipline at the dish should have Tigers fans excited. He gave a good look into his future last September in Grand Rapids with a 3 home performance.

Well above average bat control should see him in double A (Erie Seawolves) at some point this coming season.Tigers scouts were wise to insist he be included in the trade that send Alex Avila and Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs for Paredes and Jeimer Candelario. Candelario was widely seen as the centerpiece of the trade. I respectfully disagree. I’ll go with Paredes. Candelario is a 3B/1B. As the Tigers advance in their rebuild I can make a strong argument Paredes will troll 3B and Candelario will move permanently to 1B giving the Tigers infielders a much needed athletic boost.

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