Bryan Smith at Baseball Analysts has been posting his top 75 prospects list this week. Today Bryan posted 10-25 and two Detroit Tiger prospects made the list. Joel Zumaya came in at 23 and Justin Verlander at 13.
Skillset/Future: In the 2004 Futures Game, Jose Capellan made noise with that fantastic fastball, but didn’t show more than 2-3 curveballs in his whole inning. He had fallen in love with his heater, and while it was heavy, it was simply not enough. The Brewers, who acquired Capellan over the winter, were forced into converting him into relief. In the ’05 All-Star contest, Zumaya consistently hit 99 on the gun, but threw his fastball in 11 of his 12 pitches. His curveball, the twelfth pitch he threw, was quite good, but it appears Joel does not trust that or the change up he rarely throws. To avoid a future in relief, and to maximize his potential, Zumaya must gain confidence in his secondary offerings.
Skillset/Future: On the mound, Verlander offers it all. His 6-5 frame is a fantastic pitcher’s body, and provides the tilt that his great fastball provides. His power curve is also quite possibly the minors best, and was the driving force behind his dominance in the Florida State League. Justin also offers a show-me change up, but given his two-pitch arsenal, he barely needs it. Verlander’s arm tired at the end of the longest season of his life, causing the Tigers to have to put him on the DL. The organization must approach Justin with caution, but once the reins come off, look for the Old Dominion record holder to do some great things.
Even if you disagree with the relative rankings, the fact that the Tigers have two prospects to legitimately get excited about is a pleasant change. The fact that non-Detroit people are enthused is a huge change given the organization’s recent history. Unfortunately, those were the only two Tigers to make the list, showing that the Detroit still needs more depth. A third Tiger, Cameron Maybin was listed as honorable mention.