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2003 Wrapups: Detroit Tigers

With the 2003 minor league season coming to a close, we will be providing a brief wrapup of the season for all 30 minor league teams. In each report, we will take a look at how the team's Top 10 Prospects performed, identify some emerging prospects and organizational leaders, and report on the performance of their top draft pick.
Complete index of Team Wrapups               2003 League Wrapups

By Kevin Goldstein
October 2, 2003

Season Results

Level Team League W L PCT
AAA Toledo International 65 78 .454
AA Erie Eastern 72 70 .507
A+ Lakeland Florida State 55 78 .414
A West Michigan Midwest 67 73 .479
SS Oneonta New York-Penn 45 30 .600
R GCL Tigers Gulf Coast 28 29 .491
TOTAL 332 358 ..481


Performance of Top 10 Prospects

Here's how our top 10 prospects entering this season performed in 2003.

1. Jeremy Bonderman, rhp      Age: 20
His ability and maturity impressed the Tigers enough to move him into the major league rotation despite having never pitched above high Class A. Put into nearly an impossible position, Bonderman struggled through a tough season, but still projects as somebody who can anchor the Detroit rotation for years to come.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Tigers (MLB) 6-19 0 5.56 33 162.0 193 118 100 58 106

2. Preston Larrison, rhp      Age: 22
Earned the win in the Futures Game, but that was about the only highlight in an otherwise miserable year. Pitched 11.2 scoreless innings in his first two starts, but then went 16 starts without a victory. Eastern League hitters battered him around for a .322 opponent average.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Erie (Double-A) 4-12 0 5.61 24 126.2 161 89 79 59 53
Toledo (Triple-A) 0-1 0 3.38 1 5.1 3 3 2 2 3

3. Franklyn German, rhp      Age: 23
Began the year in the Tigers bullpen, but struggled mightily with his control and found himself back in Toledo. Pitched well for the Mud Hens, but had an 11.68 ERA in 14 games following his return to the big league squad.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Tigers (MLB) 2-4 5 6.04 45 44.2 47 32 30 45 41
Toledo (Triple-A) 1-4 4 2.45 24 29.1 21 9 8 9 32

4. Omar Infante, ss/2b      Age: 21
Like German, Infante made the Opening Day roster, but didn't perform well and returned to Triple-A, where things didn't improve much. Hitters with a sub-.300 on-base percentage and slugging rarely stay in the majors, even with the Tigers.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Tigers (MLB) 69 221 24 49 6 1 0 8 18 37 6 .222 .278 .258
Toledo (Triple-A) 64 224 28 50 10 0 2 18 22 32 22 .223 .299 .295

5. Eric Munson, 3b/1b      Age: 26
Started off slow (average was at .198 on May 28), but hit .257-12-31 over his final 50 games before missing the final two months of the season with a fractured thumb. Converted to third base over the winter, he's not a gold glove candidate there, but he wasn't a complete embarrassment either.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Tigers (MLB) 99 313 28 75 9 0 18 50 35 61 3 .240 .312 .441

6. Scott Moore, 3b      Age: 19
Last year's first-round pick moved to third base, but struggled both at the plate and in the field. Hit just .212-0-14 against lefties in 104 at-bats.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
West Michigan (Low Class A) 107 372 40 89 16 6 6 45 41 110 2 .239 .325 .363

7. Nook Logan, of      Age: 23
Still learning how to utilize his plus speed to improve his offensive game, Logan's last three years are almost mirror images of each other:

YEAR TEAM                    AVG  OBP  SLG
2001 West Michigan (Low A)  .262 .330 .335
2002 Lakeland (High A)      .269 .321 .336
2003 Erie (Double A)        .251 .316 .333
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Erie (Double-A) 136 514 71 129 16 7 4 38 51 103 37 .251 .316 .333

8. Rob Henkel, lhp      Age: 25
Injury-prone lefty pitched well in Double-A, but back and shoulder problems limited him to just 16 starts. Really just needs to stay healthy.
Team W-L SV ERA G IP H R ER BB SO
Erie (Double-A) 9-3 0 3.38 16 82.2 67 33 31 27 70

9. Brent Clevlen, of      Age: 19
Still just 19, Clevlen outplayed fellow 2002 draftee Moore at West Michigan, showing power, plate discipline, good fielding skills and a top-notch arm.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
West Michigan (Low Class A) 138 481 67 125 22 7 12 63 72 111 6 .260 .359 .410

10. Anderson Hernandez, ss      Age: 20
Repeated at Lakeland and produced nothing offensively, as his average dropped 30 points despite a significant drop in his strikeout rate.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Lakeland (High Class A) 106 380 47 87 11 4 2 28 27 69 15 .229 .278 .295


Top Draft Pick:

Kyle Sleeth, rhp    Wake Forest U.   Bonus: $3.35M
Fourth overall pick didn't sign until August 10, and did not make his pro debut, as the Tigers had him work out with Toledo before reporting to the instructional league.
TEAMG AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG
Did Not Pitch


Emerging Prospects:

Jon Connolly, lhp: 1.41 ERA led the minors leagues, but works in the mid-80s and depends on deception. It's hard to say whether or not his stuff will play at the higher levels.
Joel Zumaya, rhp: 11th-round pick from last year came out throwing smoke at West Michigan, striking out 56 in his first 32 innings with a fastball that consistently got into the high-90s. Still more of a thrower than a pitcher, he struggled with back problems in the second half.


Statistical Leaders

Batting Average Donald Kelly .306
Home Runs Ernie Young 21
Runs Batted In Ernie Young 84
Stolen Bases Nook Logan 37
Earned Run Average John Connolly 1.41
Wins John Connolly 16
Strikeouts Joel Zumaya 126
Saves Brian Schmack 29

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