2011 TigsTown Awards: Prospects of the Year

After wrapping up the full season teams and awards, it's time to hand out the hardware to the player and pitcher that shined the most in 2011, as TigsTown names the 2011 Ryan DeWitt Minor League Player and Brian Bluhm Minor League Pitcher of the Year awards.

Ryan DeWitt Minor League Player of the Year Award

3B Nick Castellanos















The Tigers top pick in the 2010 draft, they paid him a handsome sum of $3.45 million in the supplemental round, and he entered the season as the team's top position player prospect. Castellanos got off to a tough start to his first full season, batting just .179 in his first month. He settled in as the weather warmed and never hit below .300 the rest of the season, peaking with a scorching hot .375/.406/.521 line in June. His .312 batting average placed him 14th in the Midwest League and could have been higher had he gotten off to a better start. Even with the tough start, Castellanos finished tied for second in the league with 36 doubles, ranked eighth in the league with 76 RBI, and set a new West Michigan franchise record for hits with 158; a mark that also led the Midwest League. One NL talent evaluator emphasized Castellanos' bright future saying, "That kid can flat out hit! The power will come with him and his natural hitting ability is outstanding." Still rough around the edges on defense, the Tigers are hopeful that Castellanos can make enough strides with the glove that his bat can dictate his timeline to Detroit and hopefully make him the club's third baseman of the future.

2011 Brian Bluhm Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award

LHP Drew Smyly















After signing too late to make his professional debut in 2010, Smyly debuted with Lakeland this spring and by late summer earned a promotion to Double-A. While with the Flying Tigers, Smyly posted a 7-3 record in 14 starts with a 2.58 ERA, less than a hit per inning, and a 3.67-to-1.00 strikeout to walk ratio. When the Tigers decided to promote the young left-hander to Double-A in the second half, Smyly turned things up a notch and absolutely dominated the Eastern League. In eight appearances (seven starts) with the Seawolves, Smyly had a 4-3 mark and outstanding 1.18 ERA. He allowed just 32 hits in 45 2/3 innings while walking 15 batters and striking out 53. For the entire 2011 season, Smyly allowed just two home runs – one at each level. While he lacks the big time projection of some other top pitching prospects in the FSL and Eastern League, scouts still recognized his potential, with one AL scout calling him "a veritable lock to be a #4 or #5 starter." Another scout from a National League club called Smyly a "pleasant surprise that could pitch in the big leagues as soon as late 2012."

In 2007, TigsTown named the awards after a pair of outstanding Tigers fans. You can read more about Ryan and Brian here: TigsTown Awards Named

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