Prospect Profile: Tony Giarratano

Tony Giarratano wasn't drafted with the same potential or promise as a number of other players within the organization. But after less than two years in the system, Giarratano has sky-rocketed to the top of the rankings and may just be knocking on that big league door real soon.

Tony Giarratano
Position: Shortstop Height: 6-0 Weight: 180
Born: 11/29/1982 Bats: Both Throws: Right

Background
Giarratano, sometimes referred to as TonyG, was taken in the 3rd round of the 2003 draft out of the University of Tulane. While at Tulane, the slender shortstop followed up an exceptional freshman campaign by diving into the traditional sophomore slump. Not only did Tony struggle during the collegiate season, but he also struggled mightily during the Cape Cod League season, turning off many scouts along the way. After a solid showing in 2003, the Tigers were convinced Giarratano would make a fine professional shortstop. During his debut in the New York-Penn League, Tony posted an .845 OPS in 47 games. Making the logical jump to West Michigan in 2004, Tony started off modestly before a promotion to Lakeland, where he went absolutely nuts. Before a season ending injury, Giarratano was in the midst of posting a .376/.421/.505 line for the L-Tigers.

Scouting Report
Despite being slight of build, Giarratano possesses surprising pop, and could develop more as he learns to loft the ball more. Tony uses a quick, compact stroke to snap his bat through the strike zone, rarely seeming overmatched by any fastball, and able to adequately adjust to breaking pitches. Giarratano has an advanced approach at the plate and can recognize pitches well enough to maintain above average plate discipline. During his time with Lakeland last season, Tony saw his walk rates drop due to increased aggressiveness at the plate. Giarratano will need to find a more adequate balance between that aggressiveness and better discipline to continue to succeed at higher levels. In the field, Tony is an outstanding defender at the highest end of the defensive spectrum. TonyG has excellent range, good footwork, extremely soft hands, and a strong arm. Giarratano has all the defensive tools necessary to be a Gold Glover at short, and with continued offensive success, he could become one of the top middle infield prospects in the game. Tony's ceiling is as high as anyone's in the entire system, and with added strength and experience he could make the leap to stardom this season.

Performance

Year

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

SB

CS

OPS

2004

West Michigan

165

.285

6

1

13

22

25

11

3

.735

2004

Lakeland

202

.376

11

5

25

38

16

14

8

.926


Health Record
Giarratano missed the end of the 2004 season as a result of a separated shoulder that required surgery. Luckily, the injury affected his left (non-throwing) shoulder, and after completely healing over the offseason, there should be no significant symptoms moving forward.

The Future
The 2005 season couldn't have started any better for Tony as he has had an exceptional spring with the big club in Lakeland. With little shot at making the Tigers roster out of spring training, Giarratano's only goal this spring was to make a great first impression on his way back down to the minors. He certainly did that with a .341 average and a .561 slugging percentage in 41 at-bats this spring. Giarratano will likely report to AA-Erie to start the season, but the organization will not hesitate to promote him to Toledo in a timely manner. Tony is gaining momentum among analysts who think he could have a shot at a full time job in Detroit as early as 2006, possibly moving Carlos Guillen over to third. It will take an outstanding 2005 season to put him in a position to make the leap to the Major Leagues, but nothing is impossible.


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