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Tigers Chat with Pat Caputo

Moderator: Pat will begin taking your Tigers questions at 12 p.m. ET

Moderator: thanks for joining in....here we go

 Q:  Thom from Ann Arbor, Michigan asks:
Kirkland and Clevlen fell flat on their faces, is there still a chance that either of them will be everyday players some point down the line?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: The problem with both of them is the same for most of the tigers position player prospects. They are lacking that one standout tool that separates them. Kirkland is a little older. Clevlen is younger and has played a level higher. I like his chances better, but last year was clearly a step back for both

 Q:  Edgar from Georgia asks:
Will Andrew Kown be in the top 30?
 A: 

Moderator: probably not

 Q:  Chris from Toledo asks:
Pat, obviously the Tiger's minor league system ranks near bottom in postition player prospects and rates higher in pitching prospects. When you throw in the 25 and under talent at the big league level right now (Bonderman, Ledezma, Infante, Shelton, Logan, German, Novoa) - do you think the Tiger's rate a little higher with other organizations in terms of overall talent 25 and under?
 A: 

Moderator: bonderman and Infante are potential star players. Ledezma has chance as well. The others you mentioned are limited. Novoa is the best of the bunch. The others are marginal prospects at best.

 Q:  Russ from NY asks:
If you were a betting man (maybe you are, I donít know), who would you place your money on to make the Majors first: Verlander or Beattie?
 A: 

Moderator: verlander...beattie had a very poor instructional league and will not be in the top 10 when the top 30 book comes out.

 Q:  Lisa Westman from Ann Arbor asks:
Curtis Granderson had a great season, but even if he reaches his potential, it seems like he will be average or slightly below average at best. What does this say about the tigers system? Should I hold out any hope that this system will ever produce an impact player?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: I've done this list for something like 15 years and this is by far the worst it is has been. considering the tigers track record, that is saying something. However, you must realize that they could hit with a couple of their higher ranked pitchers such as sleeth and verlander and then it won't matter. Also, Granderson could be a sleeper. Some scouts feel his tools, generally considered average, are underrated, particularly his speed. His played center field pretty well last year.

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
Hey Pat, love these chats! Do you feel Curtis Granderson's ideal position is CF and if not who is our CF of the future? I really like the speed of Nook Logan.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: logan has speed, but is very limited as hitter, particularly left handed. Granderson may not cover the same ground, but is adequate and not an out in the lineup

 Q:  Paul from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
Why the omission of Juan Tejeda? He had a breakout year at Erie, including slugging well over .500, and all at the age of just 22.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: He will be in the top 15. His power potential is limited and he is unathletic. 90 percent of the position players in the major leagues are just better athletes than he is. But he can hit...and if you can hit, you can play.

 Q:  Brendan Keeley from Ypsilanti, michigan asks:
Is there a more embarrassing list in baseball? TOP PROSPECTS OF THE DECADE 1995 Tony Clark, 1b 1996 Mike Drumright, rhp 1997 Mike Drumright, rhp 1998 Juan Encarnacion, of 1999 Gabe Kapler, of 2000 Eric Munson, 1bc 2001 Brandon Inge, c 2002 Nate Cornejo, rhp
 A: 

Pat Caputo: yeah, ron artest's rap sheet with the nba

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
How do the Tigers Top 10 compare with the other teams Top 10 in the Division?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: the others are all better...much better...

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
Will Kenny Baugh start off in Toledo in 2005 with the hope of getting called up. Where does he stand- 11-20 range?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: If he is in the top 20, it will be by default. He throws 87 mph and seems to end each season on the D.L. I'm surprised he's on the 40-man roster.

 Q:  Bill Ferris from Troy asks:
Pat, Why was Chris Shelton left off the list? He only had 55 PA's last year, so I thought he'd be eligible. And after destroying the AFL he seems deserving.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: Shelton does not have a position and is unathletic. Last season, when he did get to play in the major leagues and rehab assignment at Toledo, he did not sting the ball. He hit well in arizona, but the caliber of competition was down this year.

 Q:  Rick Kaplan from Berkley, Michigan asks:
Pat, I see David Espinosa isnt on the Tiger 40 man roster. I thought that after last year he might be considered somewhat of a prospect and held in higher regard by the Tigers. What's your take on Espinosa and his chances of becoming the player he was once projected to be.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: He faded after a decent start, didn't drive in a lot of runs, doesn't provide much defensively....

 Q:  Stan Papi from Huntington Woods asks:
You do a great job Book.....Any word on how Sleeth has done in Instructional League ball this fall? I've read that the Tigers feel he's taken a step forward.
 A: 

Moderator: sleeth did very well in instructional league. scouts I talked to from other organizations raved about him. He corrected his mechanical flaw of throwing across his body. Then, in his final outing with all the organization's officials and coaches watching because they were in Lakeland to meet....he threw very poorly

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
Pat, who are some sleepers that might be able to help the bullpen out this year? I can't stomach another season watching Franklyn German walk every other guy!
 A: 

Pat Caputo: mark woodyard, who was added to the 40-man, was made a reliever and pitched much better at Erie and in arizona. he will start next season at toledo

 Q:  Toby from Delaware, Ohio asks:
Pat, First, Happy Thanksgiving! Looking over the Tigers prospects, I'm totally underwhelmed. I'm wondering which has less talent in their top 10 - the Tiger or O's? Velander, Zumaya, and Sanchez are all listed as potential relievers down the road. Are these guys being considered as relievers because of the organizations lack of depth at the position or because it best suits their pitching styles?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: zumaya is being used as a starter now, but being viewed as a setup man down the road. the others are starters.

 Q:  Andrew from Athens, GA asks:
Sleeth or Verlander? Who should reach the majors first and who projects better as a true #1?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: i have no idea what the tigers have in verlander and at this point, really, neither do they. sleeth was supposed to be refined when they drafted him - and he hasn't been. That's been disappointing.

 Q:  neal from joliet, il asks:
Hello and Happy Thanks and Giving. Do you see either Sborz or Rainwater becoming front of the rotation starters? Also, do you think Nook Logan showed enough in the bigs last year?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: it's impossible to tell at this point. Sborz has a really good arm, but no clue whatsoever out there yet. Rainwater really needs to get serious about his physical conditioning or he has no chance.

 Q:  Paul Colbert from Bandon OR asks:
We need some encouragement! Who in the system made some real progress last year? Someone who was off the radar in 2003 but played themselves into the Top 20. What about some of the pitchers on the Midwest League champion West Michigan team.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: Matt Vasquez has a good feel on the mound and a chance from that West Michigan squad...

 Q:  Tim from UK asks:
I saw Juan Tejada was addressed in an earlier question, but I was wondering how a couple of his fellow Erie players stack up. David Espinosa and Jack Hanahan each put up decent numbers with a good OPB, with Espinosa in particular showing a bit of power and speed. Could either have potential for future ML impact?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: The numbers at erie are misleading because it's a hitter's park...Neither one of those guys would make be among the Top 30 in most organizations. They just haven't performed up to the level necessary to progress. if they play in the major leagues, the stay will likely be brief....

 Q:  bill from grand rapids asks:
Why was giarratano only #6 on this list? ws his season ending injury a factor?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: no...he does a lot of things well, but nothing that makes you think he is going to make it big some day. He just isn't the type of athlete the top major league shortstops are. For example, Omar Infante has a much higher ceiling...

 Q:  Matt from Roseville, MI asks:
Where will Sleeth and Verlander pitch this year? Are they going to put Zumaya in the bullpen?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: sleeth will start at Erie, Verlander at lakeland

 Q:  Bruce Barut from Boston asks:
Hi Pat, Is Robbie Sovie still considered a prospect? He only had a limited number of at bats at Oneonta this year. He was considered a gifted athlete when drafted who needed time to develop. Thanks.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: no

 Q:  Sean S from Cape Coral, FL asks:
Pat, Does your outlook on the farm system match Tiger brass'? I just wonder if they feel they've got a bunch of sleepers in the system against all hope.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: I don't know if it is to the same degree, but I do know dave dombrowski has let his staff know he is not pleased...nor should he be.

 Q:  Greg from Guelph, Ontario asks:
Still even with lower pitching competition, Shelton did threaten to win the triple crown in the AFL and seems to be an on-base machine. He might not have driven the ball well, but still batted .339 with an on base average over .400 at Toledo. With the Tigers organization the way it is you can't find a place for him in the top 10? Would he at least make the top 15? Thanks, take care.
 A: 

Pat Caputo: here's a little insight on chris shelton...he was the 19th rated prospect in the pirates organization when the tigers drafted him. watch him take BP. Then watch somebody like Dmitri Young take BP. And athletically, he's not nearly as gifted as Young.

 Q:  Buckwheat from Motown asks:
Who are the sleepers in the organization, one pitcher and a position player?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: sleepers...not really...just a lot of sleepwalking

 Q:  C.J. from Ottawa asks:
Have any of the later round 2004 draftees improved their standing in instructional league after generally diappointing debuts? Would Dallas Trahern rank in the top 30?
 A: 

Moderator: trahern has a shot at being in the top 30

 Q:  Rick from Cypress California asks:
What happened to Scott Moore? By many people in Southern Calif. he seemed to be as good a prospect or better than Sergio Santos of that same draft year. Is the problem really in their minor league developmental system?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: Once in awhile, he will drive the ball very hard or far, but not consistently. But honestly, it's difficult to see how he was taken eighth overall in the draft. Especially as a shortstop.

 Q:  Dick from Grand Rapids, MI asks:
I see that you have Tony Giarratano at number 6 this year after being 5 last year. He finished off a great year in High A, just wondering why he wasn't higher. Wasn't he the best prospect midway through the year for the Tigers? Also, what are your thoughts on outfielder Vincent Blue?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: see earlier postings....

 Q:  Dave B from Troy, MI asks:
Any word on the condition of Fernando Rodney - will he be counted on this year?
 A: 

Pat Caputo: Rodney is doing well and should be ready for the spring...

 Q:  David from MotownTigers.com asks:
Where does Wilken Ramirez stand right now, and does he have a chance to be special?
 A: 

Moderator: Ramirez DH'd in instructional league, but didn't play third. His arm is recovering well according to team officials, but he hasn't thrown in earnest yet. Yes, he does a lot of upside as a prospect, but is still very far away...too far to tell much. gotta go now...thanks for the questions and have a nice day.. pat caputo

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