#7 - Cody Ross

While the majority of the Tigers minor league talent is currently working its way up the ladder of the organization, the Tigers aren't without any top prospects among the higher levels of the farm system. The top position player is OF Cody Ross, who is knocking at the doorstep and pushing for roster spot – right now.

The Tigers drafted Cody Ross directly out of high school in the fourth round of the 1999 amateur draft. The Carlsbad, New Mexico native came straight out of high school, and has improved at each stop for the Tigers – giving even more hope that he can potentially be an everyday player for the Tigers. Ross has been widely compared to current Tiger right fielder Bobby Higginson for his hard-nosed attitude, the only difference being Ross is a bit of a rarity – he throws left and bats right.

Ross spent the 2003 season tearing up the International League for the Mud Hens. Ross showed good totals across the board, with only his RBI totals dropping from the year before (which can be attributed more to the talent of the rest of his teammates). After the AAA season, Ross got the call-up to Detroit; unfortunately it was cut extremely short as he suffered a torn ACL in only his second game with the big league club. However, Ross has made a remarkable recovery and is currently at full speed in spring training.

Ross projects to be much like the man he could very well replace; Bobby Higginson. He's a solid fielder, he can hit for average and power, can take a walk, and can even swipe a base if you under-estimate him on the base paths. For all of that, while some feel Ross is destined to be more of a fourth Outfielder, he could just as easily be a long term starter in one of the corner spots for the Tigers for many years.

The Tigers initial plan was to bring Ross back slowly from the injury, and let him take his time, probably spending at least half the season in Toledo again, just to make sure his knee was at full strength. However, Ross has made an amazing comeback, and wants to start out in Detroit for opening day. The only dilemma the Tigers currently face is that they already have their starters in the corners, as well as a promising fourth Outfielder in Craig Monroe – leaving Ross very little playing time. Despite his wishes, barring an amazing spring, Ross will probably head back to Toledo, at least temporarily until they can clear a spot for him.

Ross might not turn many heads, but after he just goes out on the field and produces. Ideally, he'd be in a position where he could be brought along slowly and not forced into playing time. However, realistically his only shot in Detroit will come after a player gets moved out; meaning pressure will get placed automatically as he forced a trade to open up playing time. However, despite all that, Ross should see himself as a starter in the majors for a very long time, as long as he's not expected to be a world beater.

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