Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Ryan was a 12th round pick of the Tigers in 2010 from just up the road in Auburndale, Florida. The lanky left-hander signed quickly for a reported bonus of $100,000.
The Tigers kept Ryan close to home for his first professional experience, assigning him to the rookie-level Gulf Coast League right out of the gate. He tied for the league lead in games started (12) and finished the summer with 4.17 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 54 innings of work.
Living so close to Lakeland, Ryan spent much of his off-season training with the staff at the TigerTown complex. He worked hard on his conditioning and strength throughout the winter and was fortunate enough to spend a large chunk of the early camp days watching many of the big leaguers work on the back fields and mounds; gaining a better understanding of his job as a pro player.
Ryan was a nice find by the scouting department as a long, loose kid with plenty of projection on his 6-foot-5 frame. He added quite a bit of muscle to his frame over the winter, and while still thin, he looks more well built than he did last summer.
Ryan's fastball rests in the 88-90 range and can get to 92 mph with some regularity. There have been some unsubstantiated reports of him reaching as high as 94 mph on occasion. That type of velocity may be in his future if he continues to get stronger and improve his arm speed.
He's toyed with adding some sink or some cut to his fastball in order to give it a different look from his four-seamer. As is the case with almost all teenagers, Ryan's command is still shaky, but he works in the strike zone and shows the ability to locate at times. He releases the ball from a high-3/4 arm angle that gives him good plane to the plate and gets the ball out of the hitting zone quickly.
Ryan's curveball flashes as an average pitch at times and at least a couple of scouts felt comfortable throwing a future 55 or 60 grade on it last summer. He shows some feel for a change-up with good arm speed and some control, but the pitch is still very much a work in progress.
He is a good athlete that understands his mechanics well and takes well to instruction. He is eager to learn more every time he steps on the field and his coaches consider him a pleasure to work with.
There is a huge ravine between what Ryan is now and what he could become once he starts tapping into the potential many see in him. His ceiling is a number three starter, but he is probably three-plus years from being on the big league radar.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A
Ryan hasn't had any trouble early in his career. If the work ethic he displayed last winter is any indication, he has the potential to stay strong and develop into a workhorse pitcher.
The Tigers didn't hesitate to push Ryan to full-season ball this spring, assigning him to West Michigan. They entered spring training with the intent of sending him there, and he pitched well enough throughout the spring to warrant the decision.
It's not going to be a flawless ride this season in the Midwest League, but Ryan should demonstrate that he has legitimate potential as a prospect, and he could vault well into the Top 50 heading into 2012.
He is likely to move a level at a time the next two years, and the earliest he should be approaching Detroit is likely 2014.
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