Prospect Profile: Kyle Sleeth

Kyle Sleeth was quite heralded when the Tigers made him the third overall pick in the 2003 amateur draft. Some hoped Sleeth would take the minor leagues by storm and move quickly through the ranks, and while he did make it to AA Erie by midseason, he didn't quite have the success everyone had hoped.

Kyle Sleeth
Position: Right handed Pitcher Height: 6-5 Weight: 205
Born: 12/20/1981 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Sleeth was the Tigers first round choice (3rd overall) in the 2003 draft out of Wake Forest. The Tigers made Sleeth the first pitcher taken in the draft, knowing he was by far one of the most polished starters available that summer. While at Wake Forest, Sleeth tied an NCAA record by winning 26 straight decisions. After signing late in the 2003 season, the Tigers gave Kyle the fall and winter off from game action, and invited him to Major League camp in 2004. After impressing the front office last spring, Sleeth was assigned to High-A Lakeland to begin his professional career. Despite solid numbers, Kyle struggled with consistency during his first pro test. After 11 starts, the Tigers promoted him to Erie, where his struggles increased. Kyle posted a 6.30 ERA in 13 starts (80 innings) as the organization tweaked his mechanics to try and alleviate the strain being created by throwing slightly across his body. Having only logged 134 innings during the regular season, Sleeth participated in the Fall Instructional League, where he began to regain his form as a top starter.

Scouting Report
Sleeth's high ceiling stems from his dominating arsenal that includes a plus fastball and slider, along with a curveball and change-up. Kyle's fastball sits consistently in the 92-94 mph range, topping out at 97 on occasion. His fastball also has some late life that makes solid contact difficult, and provides enough deception that he doesn't have to be perfect with his location. Sleeth's slider/curveball combination make a potentially electric duo that should lead him to the top of a big league rotation. Kyle throws his slider hard, reaching the mid-80s with consistency, and his curveball has out-pitch potential. The change-up that provides a significantly different pace than his power pitches, needs work, but has the ability to develop into an average offering. Sleeth is a good athlete who should be able to repeat his mechanics regularly once he gets used to the alterations made by the Erie staff. Sleeth projects as a #3 starter at a minimum, and could become a staff ace if all his pitches continue to develop. Mastering his new delivery will be the key to future success for Sleeth, and the 2005 season could be huge for his overall progress.

Performance

Year

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

2004

Lakeland

5-4

3.31

11

11

0

65

18

68.0

1.15

2004

Erie

4-4

6.30

13

13

0

57

34

80.0

1.59


Health Record
Kyle has experienced no major injuries to date, but will continue to have his innings and pitch counts monitored to try and avoid any future problems.

The Future
Sleeth will head back to AA-Erie this season where he will continue to refine his mechanics through the help of coach Mike Caldwell. While Sleeth has the potential to be an electric starter, it may take some additional time to complete his adjustment to the pro game. Kyle is likely to spend the majority of the year with the Seawolves, and with good performance could see some time in Detroit in September. The 2005 season will give a great indication about how quickly we can expect to see Kyle compete for a rotation slot in Detroit. If I were a betting man, I would wager on Sleeth seeing significant time in Detroit at some point during the 2006 season.


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