The Erie SeaWolves might need to rely on their outfield to provide heavy offensive production this season. Erie has two of Detroit’s top prospects to patrol the outfield and fans might want to watch them play as much as possible as both could end up in Toledo sooner rather than later. Here’s a look at the SeaWolves’ four outfielders.
Tyler Collins, 5-11, 215, LF, Bats: Left, Throws: Left – Collins is on the rise in the Tigers’ organization. The speedy outfielder has a knack for finding his way on base and is the No. 6 overall prospect in Detroit’s minor league system. Collins has versatility in a lineup where he could lead off or move down in the batting order. In 126 games in Lakeland last season, Collins collected 137 hits for a .290 average, including 35 doubles, five triples and seven home runs. Collins scored 68 runs, drove in 66, drew 58 walks and stole 20 bases.
Collins was selected by the Tigers in the sixth round of the 2011 draft out of Howard College in Texas. He was named the Lakeland player of the year last season after finishing tied for fifth place for home runs in the New York-Penn League in 2011. The 22 year old has worked his way up through the organization and is a rising outfield prospect in a system that is rich with outfielders.
Daniel Fields, 6-2, 215, LF, Bats: Left, Throws: Right – Fields is a familiar face this season after being called up from Lakeland in 2012. The 22-year-old prospect was lured away from attending the University of Michigan out of high school by a seven-figure signing bonus from the Tigers. Fields was drafted by the Tigers in the sixth round of the 2009 draft out of University of Detroit Jesuit High School and is the No. 7 overall prospect in the Tigers’ organization. Fields is the son of former Tigers outfielder and coach Bruce Fields, and was named a second-team All-American his senior year after hitting .596 with 50 runs scored, five doubles, one triple, 13 home runs, 43 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.
Fields was a shortstop in high school but converted to the outfield in Lakeland. He spent two full seasons in Class A before being called up during his third season in 2012. Fields played 29 games with Erie and hit .264 with 28 hits, including four doubles and two home runs. He drove in seven runs and scored 13 while stealing nine bases. The Tigers are loaded with outfielders in their system but Fields is still young and has plenty of time to develop.
Luis Castillo, 5-11, 160, CF, Bats: Switch, Throws: Right – Castillo is looking to accelerate his climb in the Tigers’ minor league system. He was signed by the Tigers as a non-drafted free agent in January of 2007 and started in rookie ball. He eventually made it to Lakeland for a few games in 2009 and 2010 before playing a full season with Western Michigan in 2011. Castillo, who is from Panama, started 2012 with Western Michigan before playing 86 games with Lakeland. The 23 year old hit .238 with 18 doubles, 28 RBIs and 36 runs scored for Lakeland. Castillo will get a shot with Erie this season but needs to make the most of it to keep moving up.
Jamie Johnson, 5-9, 180, CF, Bats: Left, Throws: Right – Johnson is another familiar face with SeaWolves fans. Johnson had a quick rise to Erie in 2011, his third year in baseball, before playing most of 2012 in Erie and a quick stint in Toledo. Johnson was drafted by the Tigers in the seventh round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Oklahoma. Johnson was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2006 but did not sign. Johnson hit .281 in 116 games with Erie last season, including 18 doubles, one triple, two home runs, 60 runs, 37 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Johnson played 10 games with Toledo last season, including a .222 average with four runs scored, two RBIs and three stolen bases.