2004 Lakeland Prospects of the Year

It wasn't a great season in Lakeland for the L-Tigers, as the team struggled, largely in part because of the struggles of a number of top prospects. However, despite the team struggles, there were a few bright spots - including the continued development of a young pitcher, as well as a breakout performance in the field.

SS Tony Giarratano

Tony Giarratano didn't even spend much time time in Lakeland – getting just 202 at bats for the L-Tigers, but he was one of the most impressive prospects in all of the Florida State League for those 202 at bats. Giarratano was solid but unspectacular with West Michigan before his promotion, but once he made the jump up, something clicked and Giarratano started blasting the ball. Unlike most of his other teammates at Lakeland, Giarratano was making solid contact and out-shining a number of more "name" prospects. Giarratano would probably be getting even more publicity if not for his season-ending shoulder injury in August. But nevertheless, Giarratano's Lakeland performance elevated him to one of the top prospects in the organization.

AVG: .375
HR: 5
RBI: 25
SB: 14
OPS: .926

SP Joel Zumaya

It's rare that a player can see his vital statistics go down, and still be considered as improving – but that's exactly what happened with Joel Zumaya this season. As just a 19-year old, Zumaya battled his way through his 2nd full season of professional baseball – coming away with another solid year against tough competition in the high-A Florida State League. Zumaya's ERA went up and his K:BB ratio went down, but he was able to stay healthy all year long, all the while showing the ability to pitch later into games (something he struggled with in 2003). It's also worth mentioning that Zumaya put up respectable numbers, facing much tougher competition as a player younger than most of his competition. It wasn't a spectacular season from Zumaya, but it was good enough to earn pitching prospect of the year for the L-Tigers.

ERA: 4.36
SV: 0
K/BB: 108:58

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