John Sickels has posted his review of his 2005 top 20 Tiger prospects. Comparing last year’s list with what transpired, it is easy to say that the Tigers farm system is definitely looking better. Going into 2005, Justin Verlander, who hadn’t even pitched professionally was Sickels top-rated Tiger prospect. While Verlander had a very promising season, I think the preseason ranking had as much to do with the Tigers lack of talent as it did with Verlander’s potential.
While some guys such as Eric Beattie and Collin Mahoney turned in less than impressive seasons, several other prospects more than compensated. Jordan Tata and Brent Clevlen had huge years for Lakeland. Then there was the draft that yielded promising prospects and performances from Kevin Whelan and Clete Thomas – and that doesn’t even include the potential of Cameron Maybin.
Going in to 2006 the Tigers will be losing Curtis Granderson and Chris Shelton off the prospect list, but for all the right reasons. At least right now it looks like the Tigers farm system actually has some solid performers instead of (or at least in addition to) guys with potential.