Prospect Profile: Byron Gettis

The Tigers picked up Byron Gettis off the waiver wire at the conclusion of the 2004 season. But unlike most waiver acquisitions, Gettis isn't exactly floating around the big leagues hoping for one last chance. The imposing figure was Kansas City's 2003 Minor League Player of the Year, and after an impressive showing in the winter Puerto Rican League, is looking to make an impact with the Tigers.

Byron Gettis
Position: Outfielder Height: 6-0 Weight: 235
Born: 3/13/1980 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
After passing up a full scholarship to the University of Minnesota to play quarterback, Gettis signed as an undrafted free agent with the Kansas City Royals in 1998. Gettis struggled with the transition to pro ball, needing two years at each level to become acclimated. That trend continued through his first five years, before he busted out during the 2003 season at AA-Wichita, to the tune of a .302/.377/.473 line in 140 games. After a small amount of regression during the 2004 season, Gettis was released by the Royals, and claimed off waivers by the Tigers. With an already crowded Major League outfield, it is likely Byron will start the year in right field for Toledo.

Scouting Report
Gettis is a very good athlete with a strong work ethic, a good "baseball smarts." Despite his hard work, things do not always come easy for Byron, but he has yet to find a level at which he cannot succeed. Gettis can hit for average and power, and has improved his strike zone judgment at each stop along his minor league path. There are some holes in his swing, but with increased patience, he is proving he can overcome those weaknesses. Despite his athleticism, Gettis is a rather slow player, who won't cover much ground in the outfield. As a right fielder, Byron can demonstrate enough range and a strong enough arm to be a sufficient defender. There is a lot of uncertainty with respect to Gettis' offensive game, as he could become a stud run-producer, or he could flounder as a fourth or fifth outfielder.

Performance

Year

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

SLG%

OPS

2004

Wichita

58

.362

4

2

11

12

8

.569

1.017

2004

Omaha

179

.257

7

4

19

61

33

.363

.729

2004

Kansas City

39

.179

1

0

1

14

8

.256

.583


Health Record
Gettis has not sustained any injuries at this time. There is some concern about the amount of weight he carries on his 6-foot frame, but until it proves to be a problem, all should be considered okay.

The Future
Byron was recently optioned to AAA-Toledo, where he will almost certainly spend the better portion of the 2005 season. Playing half of his games in a neutral park, the organization should get a very good feel for Gettis' overall abilities. Unless he proves able to handle left field at some point, Gettis is likely to find himself blocked from reaching Detroit any time soon. With Magglio Ordonez locking down right field for at least the next 5 years, and Chris Shelton likely taking over for Dmitri Young at DH, Gettis may end up getting Major League time with another organization in the long run. Either way, this is another example of the solid, low-risk, high-reward moves the Tigers should be making on a frequent basis.


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