Detroit’s Prospects

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.

On Zumaya:

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.

On Verlander:

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.

detroit tigers, baseball, minors, prospects


  1. Tim D

    January 12, 2006 at 4:50 pm

    The more I read the more Zumaya sounds like a closer. Not a bad thing. I hope DD will curb any attempts to turn Verlander into a 200 IP stud right away. Nice to hear such encouraging words on Maybin. I would also guess they will let him start at Grand Rapids assuming he’s healthy. If he keeps his head above water it will be a good sign. I’ll be watching his stats game by game.

    Has anybody heard how Sleeth’s rehab is going?

  2. billfer

    January 13, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    One of the popular things about Zumaya=closer is that his delivery is supposedly violent. While I have no doubt this was true at one time, I think it has been refined.

    Now the issue of a heavy reliance on the fastball and lack of a 3rd pitch are different issues altogether.

  3. BigMax

    January 13, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    I was in the 7th row behind home plate at that futures game. Zumaya’s fastball was probably the best I’d ever seen for velocity and movement (with the exception of a couple of Matt Anderson pitches). In several years at those seats it was the most amazing rising fastball that I have seen.

    He didn’t throw other pitches in that game because the fastball was unhittable (even for players who caught up to Verlander)…I’d hate to see him wasted on a 3 or 4 innings per week role.

  4. Jeff M

    January 15, 2006 at 12:30 am

    He didn

  5. Boston Fan in Michigan

    January 15, 2006 at 4:00 am


    I’m happy about our minors, I am. Very much better than they used to be. And I’m awfully glad our pitchers are so highly touted, and not just by us nutjobs who wear the D on our hats.

    But we need position players in the system like the Lions need new ownership.