2004 Erie Prospects of the Year

It was a good season for the Seawolves, marking their first playoff appearance in 3 seasons. But even better than the playoff appearance was the emergence of a number of prospects for Erie in 2004. With so many stepping up, there were a number that deserved consideration for the title Prospect of the Year - but only one hitter and one pitcher played well enough to earn the name.

2B Ryan Raburn

Erie had a number of hitters step up for them in the 2004 season – but possibly none more so than 2B Ryan Raburn. Despite switching positions in the offseason from Third Base to Second Base, and missing the first 6 weeks of the season with a dislocated thumb – Raburn went on an absolute tear for the Seawolves, especially in the second half of the season. The 23-year old showed the bat that he displayed when the Tigers first drafted him back in 2001, before his near-career-threatening ATV accident. Raburn simply swung hard at everything, and by the end of the year – was making contact more often than not. His strikeouts were still high (96 K's in 366 at bats), but you can't argue with his OPS of over 900 and his .301 average. Raburn was rewarded with a September call up to the Tigers. And while he's struggled with contact, he's shown promise plenty of promise. Raburn will probably return to the minors next season, but if his hard hitting continues, the Tigers will be hard pressed to keep him out of the big leagues.

AVG: .301
HR: 16
RBI: 63
OPS: .923

SP Preston Larrison

Preston Larrison had a 2003 he'd like to forget, over-throwing every time he came to the mound, trying to make the jump from AA to the big leagues with each appearance at the mound. However, in 2004 Larrison put those struggles behind him to step up as a reliable starter for the Seawolves. Larrison's record wasn't one to brag about (just 5-4), but his 3.05 ERA certainly wasn't a downer. However, what could be considered a downer for Larrison was an elbow problem that creeped up near the end of the season – which has in turn sidelined until late 2005 because of Tommy John surgery. And while this injury used to be career threatening, Larrison is expected to make a full recovery and return to pitching at full strength by the 2006 season. Now, if Larrison can continue to display an ERA like 2004 in the future, the Tigers will have another solid pitching prospect to look to for help with their future pitching staff.

ERA: 3.05
SV: 0
K/BB: 59:36

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