Daniel Tillman, RHP, Reliever
Starting our countdown is relief pitcher Daniel Tillman. The Angels love this kid, as they should, taking him in the second round of 2010 Draft out of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. After a rough 2013 plagued with injuries, Tillman has dropped progressively in prospect talk. All of our voters agreed that he needed work, but also all agreed that he should be a dangerous threat in 2014, and that we could be wrong about putting him this far down in our countdown.
Daniel Tillman is a pretty fun package to look at. His fastball sits in the mid 90's, anywhere from 93-96. He has a pair of fastballs, both with a two-seam grip and both move in different forms. His "initial" go-to fastball is almost comparable to a sinker. He opens his fingers just enough to keep it as a titled "four-seam" but the ball breaks late and down like a sinker, and is usually in the 95-96 range. His second fastball is a two-seam fastballs that breaks well against lefties and is anywhere in the 93-95 speed range. Tillman's mid 80's slider is one of the best in the Angels farm system due strictly to it's break. Tillman's problem with the slider is his delivery as his arm slot drops just slightly. Tillman has a very average changeup.
Tillman had control issues near the end of the 2013 season which has been a big question mark with the progression of his future. If Tillman can start painting the corners a little better to help his control, he could be a very hard pitcher to deal with at the plate.
Tillman was a favorite among statistical only Angels fans and professionals, as in 2010 and 2011, Tillman had a 2.19 earned run average over 106.3 innings pitched in three different levels (Rookie, Low-A, High-A).
2011, he kept up his strong pitching in High-A with the Inland Empire 66ers when it came to not allowing runs, but could not find the plate walking 6.9 per nine, particularly 8.8 walks per nine in Double-A Arkansas. With the bad, came the good though as he struck out 10.8 per nine in 2012 with the help of his good fastball/slider combination.
An undisclosed injury tagged Tillman early in 2013, not giving him many innings of work to look at. Control was still a slight problem for Tillman as he walked seven and half per nine.
EXPECTED IN THE FUTURE:
The injury may keep Tillman in High-A out of Spring Training in 2014, but you can only imagine that he'll be headed to Arkansas sometime in the middle of the season. Tillman has major league potential according to scouts from not just the Angels, but also other teams. If he can stay healthy, you can expect Tillman to be with the Los Angeles Angels sometime in 2016, and be a strong force in the Angels latter part of the bullpen.
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