Prospect Profile: Curtis Granderson

Once thought to be a player with limited upside, Curtis Granderson has quickly made a believer out of those doubters, especially with his breakout 2004 campaign with the Erie SeaWolves. Since then, Granderson has done nothing to show otherwise, impressing the Tigers in his September call-up as well as his performance in the Arizona Fall League.

Curtis Granderson
Position: Outfielder Height: 6-1 Weight: 180
Born: 3/16/1981 Bats: Left Throws: Right

Background
Granderson was selected in the third round of the 2002 amateur draft, out of the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC). The Tigers selected Granderson after he was named the Horizon League's Player of the Year, finishing second in the nation with a .483 batting average. In his final season with the UIC Flames, Granderson set school single-season marks in batting average, hits, and runs, while also finishing as the career leader in runs scored. His success on the diamond dates back further than his tenure with UIC; while in high school, Granderson was named Chicago Tribune All-State Honorable Mention. Curtis also lettered three years as a member of his high school's basketball team. As a pro, Granderson has continued to post good numbers, finally breaking out in a huge way in 2004. Curtis finished his first taste of AA by posting a .303/.407/.515 mark, and garnering big time prospect attention.

Scouting Report
Coming out of UIC, Granderson was thought to be a player with limited upside, who was probably about as good as he would ever be. Many scouts were concerned that he didn't have a single outstanding tool he could rely on to carry him through the minors. Instead, Granderson seems to perform all facets of the game well, getting the job done at a high level, and helping his team win ball games. His pure stroke at the plate has translated well to the professional ranks, as he has continued to hit for average as well as moderate power. His walk rate is improving as he adjusts to each league, and he continues to make himself a better ball player. Curtis doesn't possess the blinding speed many would suggest the Tigers need in centerfield, but his great instincts and ability to track the ball, allow him to cover significant ground in the outfield. Overall, his defense in center has been a pleasant surprise for the Tigers. All in all, Granderson has exceeded those early expectations set forth by many within the scouting community, and continues to prove his abilities with every game he plays.

Performance

Year

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

SLG%

OPS

2004

Erie

462

.303

19

21

93

95

80

.515

.922

2004

Detroit

25

.240

1

0

0

8

3

.360

.681


Health Record
Curtis hasn't experienced any major injuries at this point in his career. Some minor trips to the disabled list in the last two seasons should be of little concern going forward.

The Future
After posting dominating numbers in the Eastern League in 2004, Granderson was thought to have an outside shot at the starting centerfield spot in Detroit. Despite a very good Arizona Fall League performance, and a solid spring, Granderson was optioned to AAA-Toledo where he will man centerfield for the Mudhens. With the Tigers giving Craig Monroe his shot in center, Granderson could be recalled at any time with good performance. Curtis possesses the necessary skill set to be a very successful Major League centerfielder, and the work ethic to continue improving as he faces more advanced competition. Granderson will likely be a fixture in Detroit by Opening Day 2006, and could patrol the vast expanses of Comerica Park's outfield for years to come.


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