Scouting the Return for Ian Kinsler

Late last night, the Angels turned an 18-year-old whom they’d originally signed for $125,000 and their eighth-rounder from 2016 into second baseman Ian Kinsler. Below are brief scouting reports on new Tigers prospects Wilkel Hernandez and Troy Montgomery.

Hernandez is an 18-year-old Venezuelan righty who spent most of the year at the team’s Tempe complex, first in extended spring training and then in the Arizona Rookie League. He was one of several young, projectable pitching prospects who helped compose the burgeoning underbelly of Anaheim’s farm system. One of the others, RHP Elvin Rodriguez, was also acquired by Detroit as the player to be named later in the Justin Upton trade.

Hernandez is a lanky 6-foot-4 with broad, tapered shoulders and room on his frame for more weight. His delivery is a bit stiff, upright, and not especially graceful, but he has better control of his body than most teenagers this size. Not only is Hernandez a competent strike-thrower, but he’s an advanced sequencer. He delivers from a high-three-quarters slot which, combined with his height, creates a lot of angle on the fastball, and Hernandez is already quite adept at changing hitters’ eye level with only his heater. He also has a pedestrian curveball that flashes average and projects there, as well as a below-average changeup. His arm slot may be better suited for a splitter.

There’s nothing exceptional about Hernandez, but he is a prospect of interest. He’s got a big-league frame, big-league arm strength, workable breaking-ball feel, and a bit more polish than most other teenage arms. Realistically, he profiles as a No. 4 or 5 starter — and he’s probably a half-decade from being it — but this is exactly the kind of prospect you hand to your player-development staff and see what they can make of him.

OF Troy Montgomery, 23, was selected in the eighth round of the 2016 draft out of Ohio State. He had a bit of a breakout in the Arizona Fall League, playing with a high level of effort for all six weeks and showing what I thought was some of the better bat speed in this year’s AFL. He mashed right-handed pitching all fall and runs well enough to be an asset on the bases. Montgomery is small, listed at 5-foot-10, 185, and his high-effort swing will likely make him strikeout prone, but he has a good shot to become a big-league bench outfielder based on what I saw in the AFL.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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Jetsy Extrano
6 years ago

I can’t believe a Bartolo Colon commenter isn’t already on top of “burgeoning underbelly”.