#21 - Ryan Raburn

The Tigers selected 3B Ryan Raburn in the fifth round of the 2001 draft, and looked like they had a found a stud, as he hit .361 for Short Season Oneonta that summer. However, an ATV accident almost cost Raburn his career, and now he's working to regain his pre-injury form.

Ryan Raburn was selected in the fifth round of the 2001 Draft out of South Florida University. Raburn started off in short season and had an excellent season, but a devastating hip injury in an ATV accident cost Raburn his entire 2002 season. Raburn returned in 2003 but didn't have the same effectiveness. His injury combined with the production of Eric Munson for the Tigers and the presence of 3B's Scott Moore and Kody Kirland in A-ball will probably bring about a move to Second Base.

Raburn's numbers weren't very spectacular, as he hit .222 with 12 HR's and 56 RBI. Raburn's OPS wasn't overly impressive either, sitting at a very mediocre .726. However, it was Raburn's first season back after a serious injury and many believe he'll be able to add some more production with an extra year between the injury.

Raburn's defense has never been spectacular, but the Tigers hope he can be at least adequate at Second Base. Raburn's main attribute is his obviously his bat, so assuming his average rebounds and his defense up-the-middle is respectable, Raburn has a shot at taking over as the Tigers Second Baseman within a couple of seasons.

Raburn will more than likely start the year at AA-Erie, either as the starting Second Baseman or starting Third Baseman, depending on what the Tigers feel will work out best. He'll definitely be given every shot to make the switch to Second Base, but if he's struggling the defensively the Tigers would rather see him pay attention to his bat and putting together a solid season at the plate.

Raburn's stick is his ticket to the bigs, so showing he can successfully come back from this injury and bring his average back up will be the key to this season. If Raburn returns to his 2001 form, he could very well see himself competing for a starting job with the Tigers as early as next season, but definitely by 2006.

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