Detroit Tigers: Top 10 Prospects

Detroit Tigers

Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.

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1. Rick Porcello, rhp

2. Ryan Perry, rhp

3. Cale Iorg, ss

4. Casey Crosby, lhp

5. Jeff Larish, 1b/3b

6. Wilkin Ramirez, of

7. Scott Sizemore, 2b

8. Cody Satterwhite, rhp

9. Dusty Ryan, c

10. Guillermo Moscoso, rhp

Best Hitter for Average Scott Sizemore
Best Power Hitter Ryan Strieby
Best Strike-Zone Discipline James Skelton
Fastest Baserunner Kyle Peter
Best Athlete Cale Iorg
Best Fastball Ryan Perry
Best Curveball Rick Porcello
Best Slider Ryan Perry
Best Changeup Rick Porcello
Best Control Jonathan Kibler
Best Defensive Catcher Jeff Kunkel
Best Defensive Infielder Brent Dlugach
Best Infield Arm Cale Iorg
Best Defensive Outfielder Clete Thomas
Best Outfield Arm Clete Thomas
Catcher Dusty Ryan
First Base Miguel Cabrera
Second Base Scott Sizemore
Third Base Jeff Larish
Shortstop Cale Iorg
Left Field Wilkin Ramirez
Center Field Curtis Granderson
Right Field Matt Joyce
Designated Hitter Magglio Ordonez
No. 1 Starter Justin Verlander
No. 2 Starter Rick Porcello
No. 3 Starter Jeremy Bonderman
No. 4 Starter Casey Crosby
No. 5 Starter Armando Galarraga
Closer Ryan Perry
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Gabe Kapler, of
2000 Eric Munson 1b/c
2001 Brandon Inge, c
2002 Nate Cornejo, rhp
Out of baseball
2003 Jeremy Bonderman, rhp
2004 Kyle Sleeth, rhp
Out of baseball
2005 Curtis Granderson, of
2006 Justin Verlander, rhp
2007 Cameron Maybin, of
2008 Rick Porcello, rhp
Year Player, Position 2008
1999 Eric Munson, 1b/c
2000 Matt Wheatland, rhp
Out of baseball
2001 Kenny Baugh, rhp
2002 Scott Moore, ss
2003 Kyle Sleeth, rhp
Out of baseball
2004 Justin Verlander, rhp
2005 Cameron Maybin, of
2006 Andrew Miller, lhp
2007 Rick Porcello, rhp
2008 Ryan Perry, rhp
Rick Porcello, 2007
Andrew Miller, 2006
Eric Munson, 1999
Kyle Sleeth, 2003
Justin Verlander, 2004
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Detroit Tigers

Any analysis of the Tigers' 2008 season begins with what transpired at the Winter Meetings over two days in December 2007. Detroit stunned many at the Opryland complex by acquiring Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis from the Marlins for a package of six prospects, with the previously untouchable Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller among them. The message was clear: After winning the American League pennant in 2006, then missing the postseason in 2007, the Tigers would settle for nothing less than a World Series championship in 2008.

Instead, they finished last in the American League Central. Their $139 million Opening Day player payroll, the second-highest in baseball, was the most ever for any team in baseball history to finish with a losing record.

"I thought we had a club that would compete to win a championship, and it's apparent we were significantly off on that, which is my responsibility," club president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "I'm embarrassed that you have a very large payroll and you don't do well. Now what we need to do is go out and try to fix it."

The disappointment was especially wrenching because of how much of Detroit's future had been mortgaged on the lost season. In addition to giving up Maybin and Miller, they also dealt standout prospects Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez to the Braves for shortstop Edgar Renteria. While Jurrjens led National League rookies with 13 victories and Hernandez continued to progress through the minors, Renteria played poorly in the field and had one of his worst years at the plate.

In terms of wins and losses, the farm system didn't have a banner year, either. Righthander Rick Porcello was the lone Tiger to make Baseball America's preseason Top 100 Prospects list, and the only Tiger to make one of BA's minor league Top 10 Prospects lists after the season. Only low Class A West Michigan reached the postseason.

One year after signing Porcello, lefthander Casey Crosby and shortstop Cale Iorg to well-above-slot bonuses, Detroit was more conservative in the 2008 draft. The Tigers spent $3.7 million on signing bonuses—down from $7.9 million in 2007—and didn't exceed Major League Baseball's slot recommendations for any pick.

Despite all the bad news, Detroit officials were encouraged by the development of many prospects during the 2008 season, particularly some of their pitchers.

Porcello reinforced his status as one of the top arms minor league baseball. Though he was much younger than many hitters he faced, he led the high Class A Florida State League with a 2.66 ERA in his pro debut. The Lakeland bullpen behind him boasted several intriguing arms, including 2008 draft picks Ryan Perry, Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt. Strike-throwing righthander Casey Fien and sidearmer Rudy Darrow have a chance to make the Tigers' Opening Day roster in 2009. Crosby made a rapid return from Tommy John surgery and was very impressive in instructional league.

Outfielder Matt Joyce hadn't played above Double-A prior to 2008 but batted .252/.339/.492 in 92 big league games. The system is otherwise light on impact position players, with Iorg the only Tigers farmhand widely projected by scouts to become an everyday player in the majors.

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