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Detroit Tigers Top 20 Pre-Season Prospects in Review

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A Tiger Mom and her Young Prospect

Detroit Tigers Top 20 PRE-SEASON Prospects in Review

1) Justin Verlander, RHP
His command still needs some work and he was rushed to the majors, but he was overpowering in the minors, going 11-2, 1.29 (1.29!) in 20 starts, with a 136/26 K/BB in 119 innings. If he stays healthy, he should be ready by July, perhaps sooner. Outstanding Grade A bluechip prospect.

2) Curtis Granderson, OF
Hit .272/.314/.494 in 47 games for the Tigers. This is a fair approximation of what he can do, although I think his OBP will end up 20-30 points higher than that. His speed production should increase as well. A solid player.

3) Tony Giarratano, SS
Hit .266/.334/.373 in 89 games for Double-A Erie. He is capable of better, although at this point it is still unclear if he will hit enough to be a regular at the major league level.

4) Kyle Sleeth, RHP
Tommy John surgery. Missed the season.

5) Joel Zumaya, RHP
Excellent season in Double-A and Triple-A, 9-5, 2.72 ERA, 199 strikeouts in 151 innings. His control still needs considerable work, but in terms of physical ceiling he is right there with Verlander.

6) Jeff Frazier, OF
Hit .287/.349/.453 with 45 doubles, 12 homers for Class A West Michigan. A good year. The large number of doubles may indicate more power to come.

7) Ryan Raburn, 2B
Hit .253/.323/.437 with 19 homers for Triple-A Toledo. Not a bad season per se, but his overall skills may be just a bit short. Better plate discipline could help, and he still needs to work on his defense.

8) Chris Shelton, 1B
Hit .299/.360/.510 with 18 homers in 107 games for the Tigers. This is not a fluke.

9) Juan Tejeda, 1B
Hit .291/.354/.447 in 122 games for Double-A Erie. He hit a little better than this at the same level in 2004. He can hit some, but is blocked by other players.

10) Lucas French, LHP
Combined for 12 starts between the Gulf Coast League, Class A West Michigan, and Class A Lakeland, going 5-3, 5.45 with a 50/23 K/BB in 68 innings. Nothing very attractive here stat-wise, but only 20 years old.

11) Eric Beattie, RHP
Completely fell apart, losing all command, walking 30 guys in 11 innings in rookie ball.

12) Andrew Kown, RHP
8-11, 4.36 in 26 starts for West Michigan, 98/52 K/BB in 151 innings. Nothing particularly stands out here, ratios are below average. According to scouting reports and personal observation, he should be capable of better than this, but the ratios don't lie.

13) Humberto Sanchez, RHP
5.57 ERA in 65 innings for Erie, 65/27 K/BB, 72 hits allowed. Too many hits for a guy who can throw in the mid-90s. Went on the DL with muscle spasms, but pitched well in the Arizona Fall League.

14) Brent Clevlen, OF
Hit .302/.387/.484 with 28 doubles, 18 homers, 14 steals for Lakeland. Excellent rebound season after poor '04 campaign. His status as a good prospect is restored.

15) Eulogio de la Cruz, RHP
Good year as swingman for Lakeland, 3.39 ERA, 97/36 K/BB in 96 innings, started 10 games, relieved 30, saved five. An underrated prospect who should get more attention.

16) Collin Mahoney, RHP
Great arm, but a pure thrower, has no idea how to pitch. 5.24 ERA in 22 innings for West Michigan, with 23/21 K/BB. Was even less effective after demotion to short-season Oneonta, with 7.82 ERA and 26/26 K/BB in 25 innings.

17) Josh Kauten, RHP
8-5, 3.16 ERA combined between West Michigan and Lakeland. 67/29 K/BB in 117 innings. Strikeout rate is low, but he generates a lot of ground balls and might be able to get away with that.

18) Kenny Baugh, RHP
12-8, 3.38 in 28 starts for Toledo, 107/60 K/BB in 165 innings. Surviving on guile and intelligence now, his arm having clearly been slagged at Rice. Component ratios are not strong but he might surprise us.

19) Matt Vasquez, RHP
6-9, 4.89 ERA combined between Lakeland and Erie, 84/21 K/BB in 131 innings. Excellent control, but is too hittable (145 hits) and doesn't strike people out.

20) Dallas Trahern, RHP
7-11, 3.58 in 26 starts for West Michigan. 66/50 K/BB in 156 innings is unattractive, however. He throws strikes but the K/IP worries me.

This system is improving gradually. Like most teams, the '06 list will look different. I am glad to see a personal favorite like Brent Clevlen rebound, and of course any organization featuring arms like Verlander and Zumaya should be pleased.