The Tigers #10 prospect is another of many from the Erie Seawolves. First Baseman Juan Tejada came into the season having had productive seasons each of his first five years with the organization. Unfortunately, the problem the 22-year old had was that his career high in Home Runs was 11 – not a good number for a first baseman, who is obviously expected to produce power. With age and his body filling out, the power has finally come, and with it Tejada has jumped up the charts as far as prospects are concerned. Thusfar in 2004 with AA Erie, Tejada has 16 Home Runs and 66 RBI, and is currently sporting a slugging percentage of .515. Tejada's defense is solid but not spectacular, but with the growing frustration with Tiger 1B Carlos Pena, Tejada might be getting an opportunity much sooner than expected.
Up to the 9th prospect, this particular prospect has had a big turnaround after a rough 2003. Preston Larrison, originally a 2nd round draft pick in 2001, is back on track after what appeared to be a stall out in 2003. Larrison briefly challenged for a spot in the Tiger rotation in 2003; and then went downhill from there, over-throwing and trying to make the jump up to the big leagues. The result? Is fastball lost its sink, everything stayed up in the zone, and he got hit hard. But now Larrison is more relaxed, and pitching better. Pitching for a second year with AA Erie, Larrison is 5-4 with a 3.09 ERA. His strikeout numbers aren't back to where they used to be (his K/9 IP ratio is 4.43, as opposed to 6.88 in 2001), but the most important thing for Larrison is getting outs. Hopefully with time his strikeout numbers will return. But in any case, Larrison appears to have made the comeback that he needed to after a 2003 season in which most would like to forget.
Coming in at #8 is another player that hasn't quite produced up to his expectations – but will stay near the top of the list solely due to his potential. 3B Scott Moore was the Tigers top selection in the 2002 amateur draft, but struggled in 2003 at West Michigan, hitting .239/.315/.363. Some of that can be chalked up to inexperience, and one of the toughest hitting parks in all of minor league baseball. In 2004, there hasn't been drastic improvement – his defense has still been poor (26 errors), and his average is actually lower than 2003. But his slugging percentage is up (.382), he's almost doubled his Home Run total from 2003 (now at 11), and he's already taken more walks in 2004 than he did in all of 2003. Moore might take some time to fully develop, and he might need to make the move to the Outfield – but Moore is still a legit prospect in the Tiger farm system.
The #7 prospect is another member of the Erie Seawolves and yet another member of the rotation. Matt Roney isn't officially a prospect – after a pitching a full season with the Tigers, he's not eligible for prospect status, cannot be considered for Rookie of the Year when he returns to the big leagues, or anything like that. But, his ability qualifies him for the list. Roney has tailed off in 2004 after an extremely hot start, but still sports an 8-7 record with a 4.44 ERA. He also has a K:BB ratio of over 3, and has just one wild pitch. He probably doesn't have as high of a ceiling as fellow Rule V pick (who has now returned to the Tigers to aide their need for bullpen help) Wilfredo Ledezma, but he'll definitely be back with the Tigers, and unless his July skid continues, it'll be sooner rather than later.
At #6 is the first of two Erie Seawolves Outfielders in the top ten. After the trade of Cody Ross to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Granderson has been considered the closest Outfield prospect to the majors. His 2004 season has done nothing to change that, as he has done everything asked of him, and done it well. Granderson's slugging percentage has gone down a bit (from .458 to .430), but his average has held steady, and his on base percentage has jumped from .352 to .382, his defense has been just as good, and he's emerged as a leader for the Seawolves this season. Spending most of his career hitting in the #2 or #3 hole, Granderson will probably continue on that track all the way up through the majors, where he could push for a starting job as soon as next season.