Position: Second Base Height: 6-0 Weight: 180
Born: 4/17/1981 Bats: Right Throws: Right
Raburn was drafted twice in a three year span, first by the Devil Rays in 1999 (18th round), then again by the Tigers in the 5th round of the 2001 draft. The University of Florida product started off with a bang, knocking a strong .363/.423/.696 line with Oneonta. Following a horrible ATV accident after the 2001 season, Raburn was limited to just 180 at-bats, and a .228 average in 2002. It wasn't until the 2004 season that Raburn proved to be completely healthy, and back to his high octane offensive ways. Ryan was red-hot in August and September last season, ending the year with a .301/.390/.533 line with AA-Erie. His September call up to Detroit did not go particularly well, but the Tigers remain high on him.
Raburn's numbers suggest a better player than his skill set would indicate. Defensively, Ryan can't seem to find a position that suits him. After playing outfield while at Florida, the Tigers promptly moved him to the hot corner, where he proved he did not have the reaction or arm to handle the position. Prior to the 2003 season, Detroit decided to give him a shot at second base, hoping he could find a home and continue his development. Raburn has started to improve at the position, but still lacks the range and instincts to be a truly successful middle infielder. In the batter's box, Ryan has proved he can hit when healthy, but will need to improve his bat speed to continue to succeed at higher levels. Raburn has natural power and a solid understanding of the strike zone. His high strikeout totals will not be a concern if he continues to walk 50-60 times per season and hit for power. Raburn was exposed at the plate in his first exposure to the Major League's last fall, and will need to make the necessary adjustments this season to set himself up for a shot at a job in 2006.
Performance Year Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB SLG% OPS 2004
Raburn suffered some serious hip injuries as a result of his ATV accident. He has completely recovered, and has come back to be as good as he previously was. Ryan missed some time early in the 2004 season due to an injured thumb, but after healing, Raburn experienced no lingering problems.
The 2005 season will see Raburn man second for Toledo of the International League. Ryan will need to continue his hot hitting from last season to establish himself as more than just a reasonable prospect. Raburn has drawn comparisons to Jeff Kent for his offensive contributions while playing second base, but it is unlikely he will ever reach that ceiling. With Omar Infante improving so drastically in 2004, Raburn's path to the Major Leagues appears to be blocked. The most likely scenario for Ryan to see Major League time in the near future is to serve as trade bait netting the Tigers some help this season.