Tigers Prospect Profile #39: Kyle Ryan

After jumping up prospect charts following the 2011 season, Kyle Ryan repeated the Midwest League with West Michigan in 2012 and wasn't quite able to duplicate his success, but did prove durable over the full year. What does the lanky left-hander bring that keeps him ranked in the 30's for the second year in a row?

Kyle Ryan
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-6
Weight: 195
Born: 9/25/1991
Bats: Left
Throws: Left

Acquired: 2010 MLB Draft, 12th Round
Ranking History: #75 (2010), #36 (2011)

Ryan received a $100,000 signing bonus to sign out of the 12th round in the 2012 draft, forgoing his college commitment and joining the Tigers. He debuted that summer with the GCL Tigers, starting 12 games and finishing with a 4.17 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54 innings.

The Tigers pushed the 19-year old Ryan to Low-A West Michigan in 2011 where he started 24 games and tossed 137 innings. He finished the year with a 6-10 record but a solid 3.15 ERA.

Despite his success in the Midwest League, the Tigers sent him back to West Michigan for the 2012 season where he started 28 games for the Whitecaps, pitching 158 2/3 innings. Despite his experience with the league, his ERA jumped by over half a run, his hit rate went up and his strikeout rate went down.

Scouting Report
Ryan has a long, loose frame that offers plenty of projection as he continues to reach physical maturity. The 21-year old Ryan has added strength each of the last two off-seasons, allowing him to maintain his velocity deeper into starts.

Ryan's fastball sits at 89-91 mph and will touch 92-93 on occasion. At some points during his starts, his fastball will dip to 87-88. While Ryan's fastball lacks significant movement, he generates good leverage to the plate, allowing his fastball to cut through the zone at a steeper angle, making solid contact difficult for many hitters. He elevated the fastball more in 2012, decreasing that leverage and causing him to get hit harder at times.

Ryan's curveball stagnated a bit in 2012. He still showed an ability to spin the ball but showed little progress with consistency or his ability to mix up the looks on the curveball, throwing it both in and out of the strike zone.

The Tigers continue to work on developing a quality change-up to round out his arsenal, but progress has been slow. His change-up remains a below-average pitch but there is some hope that it could advance and be a solid offering.

Unlike many young pitchers, Ryan May actually throw too many strikes. He pounds the zone with all three pitches, frequently living too close to the heart of the strike zone. He needs to work low with his fastball to maximize the value gained from his height and long arms. Working low will also be advantageous to the effectiveness of his change-up, helping even a below-average pitch play up a half tick.

Ryan has projection remaining in his body and his arsenal. With improved consistency and additional strength, he could enhance his profile and peak with a ceiling as a number four starter. As he stands now, scouts view him as more of a number five starter or swingman.














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Health Record
Ryan handled his increased workload well in 2012 and has had no significant injury concerns during his professional career.

Scouts were really intrigued by the progress Ryan made from 2010 to 2011. When he stagnated a bit in 2012, expectations were tempered and he was turned in more as a back end starter.

The Tigers will almost certainly send Ryan to High-A Lakeland to start the 2013 season, and given the difficult offensive environment in the Florida State League, we may not get a true feel for his progress until he faces advanced hitters in Double-A.

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