Tigers Arizona Fall League Update - 10/17

In the first installment of a weekly look a the Tiger's prospects participating in the Arizona Fall League, I will take a look at the offense provided by Chris Shelton, Curtis Granderson, and Ryan Raburn, as well as the pitching exploits of Mark Woodyard, Lee Rodney, and Rick Kirsten.

Any worries that a season of lost development for Chris Shelton would hurt his swing, and set him back offensively are currently being set to rest in a big way. Through Friday's games, Shelton was posting a .478/.480/1.087 line. No, that is not a typo; Chris Shelton is slugging 1.087 through the first 6 games of the AFL. With 3 homeruns, 3 doubles, and a triple in his first 23 at-bats, Shelton is showing Tiger fans why he was worthy of such praise after his December Rule 5 selection.

Off to slightly slower starts, Ryan Raburn and Curtis Granderson aren't quite picking up where they left off the Eastern League season. Raburn is hitting only .235 with a homerun in his first 17 at-bats, while Granderson .182 in 11 at-bats. Curtis showed up in Arizona a few days late after having an in-grown toenail removed, a problem that had been plaguing him for a large portion of the season. Both players will likely begin to hit as the fall season progresses; it may just take a few games to get back in the groove.

Toeing the rubber for the Rafters, Mark Woodyard and Lee Rodney have both logged significant innings out of the bullpen in the first week. Both players have pitched well, save for one outing each. Rodney was off to a great start before he gave up 7 runs on 8 hits in 2-1/3 innings on Wednesday, and Woodyard has been great since giving up 3 runs in 1-1/3 innings on opening day. Both players need to find consistency in this fall season to give them any shot at the 2005 Detroit bullpen. Rick Kirsten has made one relief appearance so far, but is expected to be a starter at some point. The Tigers have hopes of grooming Kirsten for the Toledo rotation in 2005, and would like to see him begin working on this with the Rafters this fall.

Overall, it was a pretty successful first week for these Tiger prospects. It is difficult to come to any conclusions after only one week, but at this point, there are encouraging signs as they move forward.

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