Welcome to the annual series: ‘A Minor (League) Review of 2015.” This series is a great way to receive a quick recap of the ’15 minor league season for your favorite club(s), while also receiving a brief look toward the 2016 season and beyond. It can also be a handy feature for fantasy baseball players in keeper and Dynasty leagues.
The Graduate: James McCann, C: McCann shouldered a lot of pressure as a young catcher on a veteran team with fans that repeatedly expect to see the club in the playoffs. This young player did not look overwhelmed and he showed excellent leadership with the pitchers and on the field. The 25-year-old’s offensive contributions are nothing special, mainly because he’s too aggressive at the plate (16-90 BB-K in 114 games).
The Riser: Kevin Ziomek, LHP: The Tigers have a habit of trading away their top prospects but Ziomek has stuck around to date, although he’s not exactly a Top 100 prospect kind of guy. The lefty has made significant improvement since being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. His stuff is just average but it plays up due to the deception in his delivery and his control. He has the ceiling of a No. 4 starter and the frame to be an innings-eater for the Tigers.
The Tumbler: Steven Moya, OF: It’s tough to call Moya a “tumble” given that he played in the Majors in 2015 but the 24-year-old outfielder — blessed with immense power potential — actually saw his strikeout rate increase from 29% in 2014 to more than 30% in 2015 at the Triple-A level. He also hit just .240 with an on-base percentage well below .300. He’s pretty much a one-tick pony at this point and not much has changed in six years of development.
The ’15 Draft Pick: Beau Burrows, RHP: The Tigers grabbed a prep power pitcher with their first selection in the 2015 draft. The right-hander doesn’t have a huge frame but generates mid-90s velocity and has a power curveball. You don’t find pitchers with this kind of ceiling in the Tigers system very often so fans will have to cross their fingers and hope A) He doesn’t get hurt, and B) He doesn’t get traded. He has No. 2 starter potential.
The Lottery Ticket: Jairo Labourt, LHP: Acquired from Toronto along with Daniel Norris in the David Price deal, Labourt is a hard-throwing lefty with command and control issues. He worked in the low-to-mid 90s and also has a good breaking ball but he may be better suited to the bullpen in the long run. With the club’s lack of high-ceiling pitching depth, though, look for Detroit to give him extra chances to stick as a starter.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.