Curtis Granderson – Detroit Tigers
Position: Outfield Height: 6-1 Weight: 180 Born: 3/16/81 Bats: Left Throws: Right
Granderson was selected in the third round of the 2002 amateur draft, out of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). The Tigers selected Granderson after he was named the Horizon League's Player of the Year, finishing second in the nation with a .483 batting average. In his final season with the UIC Flames, Granderson set school single-season marks in batting average, hits, and runs, while also finishing as the career leader in runs scored. His success on the diamond dates back further than his tenure with UIC; while in high school, Granderson was named Chicago Tribune All-State Honorable Mention. Curtis also lettered three years as a member of his high school's basketball team.
Coming out of UIC, Granderson was thought to be a player with limited upside, who was probably about as good as he would ever be. Many scouts were concerned that he didn't have a single outstanding tool he could rely on to carry him through the minors. Instead, Granderson seems to perform all facets of the game well, getting the job done at a high level, and helping his team win ball games. His pure stroke at the plate has translated well to the professional ranks, as he has continued to hit for average as well as moderate power. His walk rate is improving as he adjusts to each league, and he continues to make himself a better ball player. Curtis doesn't possess the blinding speed many would suggest the Tigers need in centerfield, but his great instincts and ability to track the ball, allow him to cover significant ground in the outfield. Overall, his defense in center has been a pleasant surprise for the Tigers. All in all, Granderson has exceeded those early expectations set forth by many within the scouting community, and continues to prove his abilities with every game he plays.
Curtis hasn't experienced any major injuries at this point in his career. Some minor trips to the disabled list in the last two seasons should be of little concern going forward.
After a rocky start to his 2004 season, Granderson has finally adjusted to life in Double-A. With his average dipping as low as .265 at various points this season, Curtis has now lifted his average up over .300, and shown increased power and patience in recent weeks. His recent success has elevated his name to the top of organizational prospect lists, and increased hopes that he can contribute in center in the coming years. It is unlikely Granderson will see time in Detroit this season, since he is not on the 40-man roster, but continued success in the minors in 2005 could see him in Detroit at some point next year. The organization holds out hope that he can handle centerfield at the major league level. If he can, he'll be a contributing player in Detroit for many years.