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Bonderman was acquired from Oakland along with first baseman Carlos Pena and closer Franklyn German in a three-way trade that sent Jeff Weaver, Detroit's top player and 1998 first-round pick, to the Yankees. The trade was made in July, but the Tigers couldn't officially acquire Bonderman until one year after his original signing (Aug. 22, 2001). He was in the news the previous summer as well, when he became the first player ever drafted after his junior year in high school. He was eligible because he was 18 and had received his GED diploma. Bonderman didn't make his pro debut until 2002 because he signed late, and Oakland challenged him by sending him straight to high Class A. Considering his age and experience, he was spectacular. He hadn't even pitched much in instructional league in 2001, logging just three innings. Bonderman has every tool to be a No. 1 starter in the major leagues. His fastball is consistently in the 92-94 mph range with movement, and there are times when he throws harder. His slider is sharp and he commands it well. Given his limited experience, Bonderman also has made excellent progress with his changeup. He's competitive and wants the ball, displaying a bulldog mentality on the mound. He has a strong frame, which bodes well for his durability. To reach his potential, Bonderman will need better command of his pitches, particularly his fastball. When he falls behind in the count, at times he comes in with less than his best stuff over the heart of the plate. He gave up 18 homers in 157 innings in 2002. Bonderman got better each month of the season until fading in August, so he'll have to get accustomed to the long grind of pro ball. Though Bonderman is just 20, the Tigers have no intention of bringing him along slowly. Barring injury or a poor performance during spring training, he'll begin 2003 at Double-A Erie. Bonderman has maturity beyond his age, three above-average pitches and a grounded and competitive makeup. It's not inconceivable that he could reach the majors late in the season, though 2004 is a more likely timetable.
Projected as a first-round pick in 2001, Larrison had a disappointing junior year at Evansville and scouts questioned his competitive nature. The Tigers were delighted to get him in the second round. After a shoulder ailment early in 2002, he overmatched Class A Florida State League hitters in the second half. He went 7-3, 1.25 in his final 12 starts. Larrison has an outstanding changeup and sets it up with a heavy, 91-93 mph sinker. Not only is his changeup deceptive and lively, but he's also able to throw it for strikes anytime during the count. At this stage, Larrison's breaking ball doesn't match the quality of his fastball and changeup. His shoulder woes cost him a month early in the season and raised durability concerns. He dominated the Cape Cod League in 2000 but couldn't back it up the following spring, so he must prove he can carry his success from 2002 to 2003. Larrison will join Jeremy Bonderman in the Double-A Erie rotation to begin 2003. If he fares well, Larrison will move up to Triple-A Toledo and could see Comerica Park by the end of the year.
Part of the Jeff Weaver trade with the Athletics and Yankees, German had 30 saves between three levels and two organizations in 2002. Signed as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, he made slow but consistent progress before a breakthrough in winter ball after the 2001 season. German combines a 96 mph fastball with an excellent splitter. If he gets ahead in the count, hitters generally have no chance against the splitter. He averaged 12.2 strikeouts per nine innings and didn't allow a homer in 2002. For a large pitcher, German's mechanics are smooth and consistent. He's athletic for his size. German is a two-pitch pitcher without a good offspeed pitch, so he has to work as a short reliever. At times, he struggles to throw strikes. German pitched well after the Tigers called him up last September. He'll probably open 2003 as a setup man for Matt Anderson, and he could take over if Anderson gets hurt or is ineffective.
After leading all shortstops in the upper minors with a .302 average in 2001, Infante slipped to .268 in Triple-A in 2002. He hit just .221 through early May before going on the disabled list with a back injury. He also had a tough time overcoming the death of his father. That came three years after his brother Asdrubal, who pitched in the Tigers system, was shot to death in a robbery. A fluid infielder, Infante has good range and excellent actions. He played second base during a September callup and made the switch without a hitch. He turns the double play well. At the plate, Infante drives the ball the opposite way with authority. He's a dedicated and hard-working player with an intense approach. Infante isn't going to hit for power, so he'll have to get on base. He must prove he can pull an inside pitch or major league pitchers will work him tight all the time. Infante needs to be more consistent in the field. He lacks the speed of a typical big league shortstop. Infante played well in September and should make Detroit's Opening Day roster as the starter at either middle-infield spot.
The third overall pick in the 1999 draft, Munson was a catcher at Southern California but that's no longer an option. A back injury in 2000 slowed his progress considerably. He was hitting .196 midway through 2002 but heated up after the Tigers traded for fellow first baseman Carlos Pena in July. Munson has a classic lefthanded hitting stroke. He has exceptionally quick hands and generates a lot of bat speed, giving him plus power to all fields. He shows patience at the plate, drawing a good number of walks. Munson struggles when he becomes pull-conscious, and there are extended periods when he strikes out too much. Some coaches and scouts question his drive. Though managers rated him the International League's best defensive first baseman and he has improved, he's not much more than adequate. Before his second-half turnaround, Munson was on the verge of wearing out his welcome in Detroit. With a logjam at first base, he spent the offseason learning to play third base. If Munson becomes more consistent, the Tigers will get his bat in their lineup.
Moore drew comparisons to Eric Chavez and Chipper Jones while emerging as the top prospect in Southern California. He signed quickly for $2.3 million, the third-highest bonus in club history. Despite wrist and back problems, he performed well in his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Moore has a smooth lefthanded stroke and considerable power potential. He already has a live bat that will enable him to move to third base if needed. As an infielder, he shows soft hands and above-average arm strength. He does not have normal shortstop speed, but he's a solid average runner. Like most young hitters, Moore could use a little more patience at the plate. His range as a shortstop is below-average and almost certainly will prompt a move to the hot corner. Moore will begin his first full season at low Class A Michigan as a shortstop. That's a position of considerable depth in the Detroit system, but Tigers officials would rather keep him at shortstop as long as possible. They don't want to move him to the hot corner and then possibly shift him back down the road.
Drafted out of junior college as a shortstop, Logan was moved to center field in instructional league after his first pro season. The Tigers also have made him a switch-hitter. He's a prolific basestealer, finishing second in the low Class A Midwest League with 61 in 2001 and leading the Florida State League with 55 in 2002. Logan has excellent speed and good instincts as a basestealer. His wheels also made his transition to center field go easily. He covers a lot of ground and throws well. Logan made strides as a hitter during the second half of 2002, making more consistent contact and beginning to bunt for hits. Logan needs to get stronger. He rarely turns on a pitch and pulls it. He needs to understand his speed and defense are his tickets to the majors. Logan must learn to bunt better and hit the ball on the ground more consistently to take advantage of his quickness. He makes too many errors in center field. The Tigers long have had a void in center field, and Logan is the primary candidate to fill it. He's probably two more years away though, and he'll begin 2003 in Double-A.
Henkel was the key to the trade that sent Mark Redman to Florida in January. Though the other two players Detroit acquired--lefthander Nate Robertson and righthander Gary Knotts--have major league experience and high upsides, they don't have the ceiling that Henkel does. After signing for $650,000 in September 2000, he spent nearly a year fighting a balky shoulder that caused his velocity to drop from 93-95 mph to the low 80s. Having already survived Tommy John surgery, he worked hard to strengthen the shoulder and gradually saw his velocity climb back up to 88-92 mph. He dominated the Florida State League in 2002 and earned a midseason promotion to Double-A. When he's on, Henkel brandishes a late-breaking knuckle-curve that can be close to unhittable. Combined with a deceptive delivery, his hook is hard for hitters to pick up and makes his fastball work that much better. He did a better job of integrating his changeup last season, giving him three solid weapons for the first time. A sociology major, Henkel tends to overanalyze his performance. With his history of arm problems, the Marlins often gave him a few extra days between starts. His delivery is high-maintenance, he still overthrows at times and his changeup needs more work. Florida planned on giving Henkel a look in big league camp as a swingman, but Detroit will evaluate him as a starter. He's more likely to open the year in Triple-A, but with his maturity and advanced knowledge, he probably won't need much more seasoning.
Clevlen tore up the 2001 Area Code Games but couldn't quite live up to that performance as a high school senior. Mentioned as a possible pick in the middle of the first round, he lasted until the second and agreed to an $805,000 bonus. An all-district quarterback, he also pitched and out-dueled No. 5 overall pick Clint Everts (Expos) in the Texas 5-A playoffs. For a high school player, Clevlen is a polished hitter. He can hit the ball to all fields and battles pitchers throughout the count. He can turn on a ball with power. A right fielder, he has sure hands and a strong arm. Clevlen has average speed at best. His range in the outfield is limited because he sometimes gets bad jumps and takes poor routes to balls. He's a good but not great athlete, so his bat will have to carry him to the majors. Like Scott Moore, Clevlen will make the jump to low Class A in 2003. West Michigan's Fifth Third Ballpark is tough on hitters and they'll both be young for the Midwest League.
Because he was 18 when he signed out of the Dominican Republic in April 2001, Hernandez has been pushed through the system. He made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League and jumped to Lakeland for his first full season. Hernandez has handled the challenges well. A brilliant fielder, Hernandez is the best defensive shortstop in the organization. That's saying something with Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago on hand. Hernandez has excellent range, extraordinary arm strength and soft hands. As a hitter, he held his own in 2002 despite being young for the Florida State League. More quick than fast, he has average baserunning speed. A switch-hitter, Hernandez seldom turns on pitches or pulls the ball with authority. He hits everything to the opposite field, particularly while hitting lefthanded. He also needs a better understanding of the strike zone. For all of his brilliance with the glove, Hernandez still makes too many errors. He tends to sulk after poor performances. Hernandez will be one of the youngest regular position players in Double-A at age 20. He'll move as quickly as his bat allows.
Petty has pitched well since recovering from the arm problems he experienced during his first spring training in 2001. He has gone 21-11 the last two seasons, being named the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League in 2001 and holding up for 28 starts in low Class A in 2002. Petty throws 89-91 mph consistently with some movement on his fastball. He has a fine breaking ball for a young pitcher, a cross between a curveball and a slider. He's athletic and has a good feel for pitching. Durability is no longer a question now that he does a better job of staying in shape. Petty's changeup is weak and will need a lot of work. There are concerns about the way he prepares on the days he's not pitching. There are times when Petty loses command of his fastball, and he will have to cut down on his walks. He hits a lot of batters and throws too many wild pitches. Petty will move up to high Class A in 2003. The Tigers feel no sense of urgency to rush him and want to give him time to mature.
The question about Ross is not whether he's a future major leaguer, but how high his ceiling is. He has been productive and had his best season last year in Double-A. From a tools standpoint, he has power and runs the bases well. His arm is strong and accurate enough that the Tigers considered making him a pitcher when they drafted him. At the same time, Ross doesn't have one overwhelming tool. He's not big and his listed height is generous. Some scouts say Ross is as good as he's going to get. Others think his Craig Biggio intensity will allow him to become a big league regular. His future probably lies at a corner outfield spot, though Ross did help his cause by showing he can play center field last season. Ross will open 2003 in Triple-A but could push for major league playing time in the second half.
The Tigers liked Coenen's size and velocity when they drafted him in 2001. While he hasn't lived up to the 93 mph radar gun readings he flashed in college and in the Cape Cod League, he has proven to be refined. He showed a good feel for pitching in 2002, winning 14 games in low Class A during his first full pro season. In order to move up the ladder, Coenen must become a three-pitch pitcher. His fastball isn't overpowering, as he usually throws around 88 mph and tops out at 91. He has a slurvy breaking ball that he commands well, but he needs an improved changeup. Coenen uses a three-quarters delivery that gives his pitches some movement, but it doesn't look like he ever will be overpowering. To set up his breaking ball, Coenen will need command of his fastball early in the count. He'll move up to high Class A this season.
Van Hekken battled back from a slow start last season to reestablish himself as a top prospect in the eyes of Tigers officials. He solidified their belief in him by shutting out the Indians in his major league debut in September. But that game also created concern because Van Hekken's fastball averaged 83 mph and didn't top 85. This much the Tigers know about Van Hekken: He has a big league curveball, an excellent feel for pitching and knows how to win games. He's athletic and does the little things well, and he has a strong makeup. The only question surrounding him is whether he throws hard enough to be effective in the majors. His fastball does have good movement and he's able to make it tail back over the outside of the plate against righthanders. He works the outer half of the plate well against righties and is effective against lefties because of his curve. Showing an improved changeup in spring training would help his chances of making the Opening Day rotation.
Like Joe Mauer, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 draft, Hannahan was a baseball and football star at St. Paul's Cretin-Derham Hall. But Hannahan has taken a much more difficult path. He developed a drinking problem as an adolescent and was kicked off the Cretin- Derham baseball team for drinking in the 10th grade. His trials continued, including arrests and blackouts, before he finally sought help in July 2000, entered a treatment facility and got sober. He came back for his junior year at Minnesota and became the Big 10 Conference player of the year. When the Tigers selected Hannahan out of Minnesota, they figured they had landed an advanced prospect. They were right, as he got to Double-A within a year. But once he got to Erie, Hannahan hit the wall and didn't perform up to expectations. One of the reasons Hannahan advanced quickly was because he showed patience at the plate, didn't chase bad pitches and used the entire field. In Double-A, he was less selective and less successful. The knock against him is that he doesn't have typical power for a corner infielder, and he may have hurt himself by trying to beat that rap. He'll have to hit for a high average to be an effective major league hitter at third base. Defensively, Hannahan is excellent. He has soft hands and a good throwing arm. He lacks speed, but is a fluid athlete otherwise. He'll get a second chance at Double-A this year.
Torres got his shot in the major leagues last season and was underwhelming. He didn't make enough contact or get on base frequently enough to make much use of his speed, and his throwing arm was a problem in center field. He played better in Triple-A but still wasn't the player the Tigers hoped he would be at this point. They believe he has gotten too big, bulking up considerably from when he was drafted as a raw project who had more experience with track than with baseball during his youth in Puerto Rico. His skills aren't designed for a power game and he must accept that his ticket is playing small ball. He needs to put more balls in play and learn to bunt better to take advantage of his blazing wheels. Torres sometimes takes odd routes to balls, but he has the tools to become an above-average center fielder if his throwing arm recovers. He once had a solid average arm, but he had shoulder surgery in 2001 and his throws lacked strength and carry last year. His mechanics also looked awkward. Detroit may have found its center fielder and leadoff man with an offseason trade for Eugene Kingsale, so Torres likely will get more time in Triple-A.
The Tigers expected Baugh to move quickly when they chose him 11th overall in 2001, after he was the Western Athletic Conference pitcher of the year as a Rice senior. He quickly advanced to Double-A in his first pro summer, throwing well in five starts before being shut down with a tired arm. The problem is that he hasn't pitched since because of shoulder woes. After rest initially was prescribed, he needed arthroscopic surgery on his labrum. When he's right, Baugh has a fastball that usually sits around 90 mph with sinking action. He has touched 95 but gets more movement when he doesn't light up the radar gun. His changeup has progressed nicely, but his curveball is terribly inconsistent. At times it's a plus pitch and at others it's not even close. Regaining his health and improving his curve to the point that he can depend on it are the keys for Baugh. He knows how to work both sides of the plate and sets up hitters for his offspeed pitches late in the count. He's expected to be 100 percent for spring training. If that's the case, Baugh likely will begin the season in Double-A.
After finishing second in NCAA Division I in hitting with a .483 batting average at Illinois-Chicago, Granderson did the same in the short-season New York-Penn League. He finished runner-up with a .344 average and won league MVP honors. Granderson has a quick, compact batting stroke and drives the ball hard from gap to gap. He has yet to flash a lot of power, but organization officials see that coming. The Tigers love Granderson's makeup. He's a hard worker and a team player. He's neither very fast nor very athletic, and his arm strength is ordinary. Detroit envisions him as a left fielder, and to get there he'll have to continue to hit and develop more pop. He'll begin 2003 in low Class A, where West Michigan's Fifth Third Ballpark will provide a stern test.
A high school star in the Bronx, Sanchez attended Rockland (N.Y.) Community College and had surgery to remove scar tissue from his elbow two months before the 2001 draft. Undeterred, the Tigers selected him and monitored him as a draft-and-follow. After he transferred to Connors State, he blossomed into a possible first-round pick before Detroit signed him for a $1 million bonus. He pitched well at short-season Oneonta despite spending two stints on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain and right biceps strain. Sanchez, who resembles Jose Mesa, usually works in the low 90s with his fastball and touches 95. Besides velocity, his fastball also has good sink. He throws both a curveball and slider, and both are solid pitches. His changeup is excellent at times, though it's inconsistent. Sanchez carries a lot of weight on his frame and there are some concerns about his conditioning. While he shows four quality pitches at times, he needs to command them better. He's expected to begin 2003 in low Class A and will be promoted quickly if he shows early progress.
The Tigers were surprised Woods was available with the 32nd overall pick in 2001 because he had been projected to go in the middle of the first round. After a respectable debut, he began 2002 in high Class A. In his first plate appearance of the season, Woods walked and then stole second base--injuring his knee in the process. After returning from arthroscopic surgery, he struggled to find consistency before hurting his other knee and needing another operation. Neither injury is expected to hinder Woods in the long term, but the missed playing time set him back. He's a strong athlete with average speed. His quick hands generate a lot of bat speed, and he has exceptional power potential for a middle infielder. He also has drawn a high number of walks in his brief time as a pro. Woods has soft hands and a solid arm for second base, though he's not especially fluid and needs to smooth out his rough edges defensively. Because 2002 was a lost season, Woods will return to Lakeland in 2003.
With Dean Palmer playing just 61 games over the last two seasons, the Tigers bought third-base insurance in the major league Rule 5 draft. During his first two pro seasons, Chapman looked like nothing more than a solid organizational player, hitting for average but showing little power for a third baseman. Philadelphia wanted him to play winter ball after the 2001 season, but Chapman decided he would be better served by working on his strength and conditioning. The Phillies assented and a bulked-up Chapman nearly tripled his career home run total in 2002. It's a testament to his strong work ethic and makeup. Chapman shows a disciplined approach at the plate and has average tools across the board. He's solid defensively at third, where he does everything well but little exceptionally. After the Phillies signed David Bell as a free agent, they decided not to protect Chapman on the 40-man roster. He projects as a useful corner utility player in the majors, and that's the role Detroit will use him in this season.
The Tigers wound up with three players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, though Ledezma was the only one they selected themselves. In addition to acquiring Travis Chapman, they also added righthander Matt Roney from the Rockies via the Pirates. Ledezma has tremendous upside but has been hampered by injuries. He emerged as a prospect when he made his U.S. debut in 1999, before his elbow began bothering him in the middle of the next season. Ledezma had a stress fracture in his left elbow, which kept him out from late July 2000 until April 2002. He pitched well in five low Class A starts, before a nagging lower back strain sidelined him again. Ledezma did return for an August appearance in the Gulf Coast League, and was 100 percent for instructional league and the Venezuelan League after the season. In Venezuela, he pitched for Magallanes manager Phil Regan, who doubles as a skipper in the Tigers system. Before Ledezma went down, he was throwing 93-94 mph from a deceptive angle and showed a consistently hard curveball. His lack of innings has made it hard to develop a changeup. His 41-8 strikeout-walk ratio in 27 innings in 2002 is indicative of his ceiling. Boston planned to return him to low Class A, so Detroit may have a difficult time keeping him on its 25-man roster all season. If the Tigers can't, the Red Sox almost certainly will take him back for half the $50,000 Rule 5 draft price.
When the Tigers decided they had several first-base options and didn't want to go to arbitration with Randall Simon, they traded him to the Pirates for three minor leaguers. Burnside, who has been traded twice and claimed in the major league Rule 5 draft once, was the most advanced of the prospects. Though 26, he hasn't pitched above Double-A and has been stuck at that level for the last three seasons. Yet Burnside intrigues scouts because he's a lefthander who consistently tops 90 mph and sometimes reaches the mid-90s. He also flashes an excellent slider. His problem is that he lacks command. His changeup and overall feel for pitching also leave something to be desired. Primarily a starter throughout his career, he may have more of a future as a reliever. Burnside should get his first crack at Triple-A in 2003.
Rated as one of the best infield prospects in the 2000 draft, Espinosa lasted 23 picks because of signability concerns. The Reds had blown most of their signing budget before the draft, so they signed him to a unique deal: an eight-year, major league contract worth a guaranteed $2.75 million, but with no up-front bonus money. He showed the potential to be a dynamic leadoff hitter while in the Cincinnati system, but his defensive shortcomings led the Reds to include him in a trade for Brian Moehler last July. Espinosa didn't play after switching organizations because of back spasms; the Tigers were aware of his condition and don't believe it will linger. Espinosa offers size, budding strength and good bat speed. He appreciates the value of a walk and has basestealing speed. He's still raw, however, as he strikes out and gets caught stealing too often. He's even less refined as a middle infielder and already has proven he can't play shortstop. His footwork has led to throwing problems, and some scouts believe Espinosa would fit better in center field. Detroit contemplated making that move, but kept him at second base in instructional league and he played relatively well. With a good spring, he could open 2003 in Double-A.
After an excellent pro debut in 2001, Raburn dislocated his hip in an all-terrain vehicle accident during the offseason. There was concern that his career was in jeopardy and he was expected to miss all of 2002. He returned ahead of schedule, playing in 48 games, but his production was down considerably. His live bat started to come around again during instructional league. The brother of Brewers infield prospect Johnny Raburn, Ryan has a short stroke, good pitch recognition and power to all fields. He has a long way to go defensively and made 15 errors in 23 games at third base last season. He has a strong arm and good hands, but poor footwork causes fielding and throwing problems. He'll spend the season with one of Detroit's Class A affiliates.
After he took his teams to College World Series at the junior college and NCAA Division II levels the last two years, the Tigers drafted Pender with a 2002 third-round pick they received from the Mets as compensation for free agent Roger Cedeno. Considered a project despite his college background, Pender was more refined than Detroit expected. In his first pro summer, he displayed good command of his fastball while making progress with his offspeed pitches. Scouts compare him to Andy Ashby because he has a loose, lanky frame and a fluid motion. Pender's fastball has good life and consistently hits 90-92 mph. His curveball is a plus pitch at times but is inconsistent, and his changeup has a long way to go. The main thing Tigers coaches have been working on with Pender is getting him to trust his ability. When he gets in trouble, it's often because he's being too fine with his fastball early in the count. Pender will begin this season in low Class A.
After a slow growth curve, St. Pierre took a big step forward last season. He set career bests in home runs and RBIs while reaching Double-A, and he continued to make strides as a receiver. After the season, he played well in the Arizona Fall League. Because St. Pierre progressed so much, the Tigers didn't hesitate to trade Michael Rivera to the Padres for Eugene Kingsale. St. Pierre has above-average arm strength. The knock on him in the past was that he didn't get rid of the ball quickly enough, but his release was quicker last season. St. Pierre frames pitches well and has good hands. As a hitter, St. Pierre sometimes tries to pull the ball too much, and his swing tends to get long. When he hits to all fields, he's more productive. There are some coaches and front-office officials in the Tigers organization who view St. Pierre as a potential everyday catcher in the major leagues. Others remain skeptical because he doesn't show much power, and see his ceiling as a backup with decent defensive skills. St. Pierre will go to Triple-A to start 2003 and could get his first taste of the majors later in the season.
The first of two players to be named in the Randall Simon trade, Novoa has a live arm but also some negatives. After a solid U.S. debut in 2001, Novoa was found to be two years older than originally thought. He also was hammered in low Class A, forcing him to repeat the short-season level. Novoa has a mid-90s fastball and a hard, biting slider. Unlike many young power pitchers, Novoa consistently throws strikes. He needs better command within the strike zone, as he tends to try to get away with high fastballs that can be hit. Novoa's changeup is decent but must be fine-tuned in order to give him the offspeed pitch he needs to complement his hard stuff. Some Pirates officials said they thought Novoa could be a dominant closer, but the Tigers will keep him as a starter in low Class A this year.
After turning down an Arizona State scholarship to sign with the Tigers, Loux had an impressive pro debut (.129 opponent average) in the Gulf Coast League in 1997--so impressive that he has had trouble living up to it ever since. Yet he has won a total of 21 games in Triple-A the last two seasons and is still just 23. Loux had arthroscopic elbow surgery following the 2000 season and pitched without his usual velocity in 2001 in a gritty effort. He continued to struggle in the first half of last year, with a 6.40 ERA through mid-June, before making a dramatic turnaround. He threw shutouts in three of his next four starts and had a 3.11 ERA in his final 12 outings. When he's pitching well, Loux works both sides of the plate with a 90 mph sinker, a good changeup and a curveball. He's competitive, which works both for and against him. There were concerns about Loux' conditioning earlier in his career, but he has addressed those issues and gotten in better shape. Loux was hit hard when called to the major leagues for the first time in September, hurting his chances of making Detroit's rotation in 2003.
In his first exposure to full-season ball, Tejeda led the Midwest League with 106 RBIs last season. He has produced throughout his four years in the organization and is advanced for a young hitter. He understands the strike zone, makes consistent contact and uses all fields. Tejeda's 11 homers last year aren't indicative of his power. West Michigan's Fifth Third Ballpark is a hitter's nightmare, and he hit .256-3-43 there compared to .342-8-63 on the road. Tejeda is a purely offensive player. He's not athletic and has poor footwork at first base. His bat will have to carry him as he continues his progression through the minors, which will take him to high Class A this year.