Moya represents Tigers on Top 100 Prospects list

Outfielder ranked No. 100 after breakout season in Double-A

Moya represents Tigers on Top 100 Prospects list

DETROIT -- The Tigers, after all the buzz from all the moves last summer, go into the season with a thinner farm system than a year ago. They'll still go in with a Top 100 prospect -- barely.

Slugging outfielder Steven Moya, coming off a breakout season at Double-A Erie that earned him Eastern League Most Valuable Player honors, cracked MLBPipeline.com's list at 100, keeping the Tigers represented on the list for another year.

The annual ranking of baseball's Top 100 Prospects is assembled by MLBPipeline.com Draft and prospect experts Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, who compile input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. It is based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2015. Team-by-team Top 30 Prospects lists for 2015 will be unveiled in March.

Mayo: Breaking down the Top 100 | Callis: Best tools in the Top 100

Two prospects the Tigers traded last July -- shortstop Willy Adames and pitcher Jake Thompson -- also made the list. They were dealt in trades for David Price and Joakim Soria, respectively.

It's a microcosm of what the Tigers' system has become in recent years -- a pipeline through which to fill specific needs, but more often to provide young talent to offer to other clubs in trade talks. Though Detroit can claim to have developed more Top 100 prospects (three) than last year (two), only one has a potential future in Detroit, at least for now.

As a result, the Tigers are one of four organizations with one name on this year's list, joining the Giants, Brewers and Cardinals. All of the other three, obviously, had their prospect ranked higher. Thus, going by a "Prospects" points system that grades based on where prospects rank, Detroit scored the lowest of any organization.

Scouting evaluations have varied widely on Moya, even after his star-studded season in Erie. The 23-year-old is a towering, athletic presence at 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds, but hadn't put together a complete, healthy season until last year. When he did, he hit it big.

Moya's 35 home runs led the Eastern League and ranked second in all of affiliated Minor League baseball. He added 33 doubles, three triples and 105 RBIs, producing a .555 slugging percentage to go with a .276 batting average.

Add in 16 stolen bases in 20 attempts, and Moya was an all-around offensive catalyst who earned a September callup to Detroit for his first taste of the big leagues. He also earned a spot in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .289 (26-for-90) with six doubles, five homers and 19 RBIs.

The flip side was a strikeout-to-walk ratio that showed the value of further development. Moya struck out 161 times in 133 games while drawing 23 walks, continuing a ratio that has carried for most of his professional career. He tempered that slightly in the fall, fanning 29 times against six walks in 23 games.

For that and other reasons, Moya is expected to get another year of development this spring at Triple-A Toledo. The Tigers filled their corner-outfield void for 2015 by trading for Yoenis Cespedes.

"With a guy like Moya, you don't want to bring him in and have him on the bench and play him every once in a while," assistant general manager Al Avila said last week. "You want him to play every single day, continue to get that strike zone down. When he's ready, believe me, he'll come up and he'll be an everyday player at that point."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.