2004 Toledo Prospects of the Year

From the start, Toledo wasn't expected to have a lot of top prospects on their squad – especially after the preseason trade of Cody Ross to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Nonetheless, some players still considered prospects emerged, with a pair of guys stepping up to claim the player and pitcher of the year awards for Toledo in 2004.

OF Marcus Thames

Despite the fact that Thames appeared in just 64 games for the Mudhens, Thames still runs away with the Prospect of the Year award. Before getting called up to the Tigers, Thames was having arguably the best offensive season of any hitter in minor league baseball, simply hitting the cover off the ball. His OPS, an astounding 1.145, demonstrates his demolition of the opposition in 2004. Thames was hitting so well that the Tigers couldn't leave him in the minor leagues any longer, being forced to call him up in June. And while Thames hasn't been as productive with the big league club as he was down the road in Toledo, Thames has had a solid season. Despite limited at bats, through September 21st, Thames has hit .243 with 8 Home Runs and 29 RBI, as well as sporting an OPS of .806 – which puts him more than 70 points of this season's Right Fielder, Bobby Higginson. Thames has no set future, but expect Thames to return to the organization next season, and be given an opportunity to win the everyday job as one of the corner Outfielders – although he'll face stiff competition from Higginson, as well as Rondell White and Craig Monroe.

AVG: .329
HR: 24
RBI: 59
OPS: 1.145

RP John Ennis

The Toledo pitching staff didn't really have any standout prospects. Pitchers like Andy Van Hekken and Shane Loux could probably still be considered prospects, but didn't really emerge as standouts with their 2004 seasons. Rather, the pitcher that stepped up most was one with little notoriety, but nonetheless a pitcher that did his job throughout the 2004 season. Ennis started the season in the rotation, but moved to the bullpen after 13 starts, in an attempt to stabilize a shaky group. Ennis did that and more, as he moved into the closer's role when Franklyn German made the move back up to the big league club. After the designation of Danny Patterson for assignment, Ennis got his first glimpse of life with the Tigers for a couple of weeks in August. He returned to the Mudhens shortly after, but was recalled after the conclusion of Toledo's season. He's had mixed results with the big league club, currently sporting an 8.25 ERA, but has allowed only a run or less in his last 7 outings. Ennis will probably get an opportunity next spring to compete for a job in the Tigers bullpen, especially considering the group's shaky 2004 performance.

ERA: 3.59
SV: 10
K/BB: 77:36

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