Five to Watch: Toledo

Casual Detroit Tiger fans may enjoy seeing a minor league game, but aren't necessarily certain who, or what to be looking for when they go to a game. Not to worry, as has you covered. Not sure who to take a long look at who may be emerging in Detroit over the coming years? Read on for the players to watch for the Mud Hens.

1. 1B/DH Chris Shelton. Shelton may already be known by many Tiger fans, but those same fans probably have yet to see Shelton actually hit, seeing as he spent most of 2004 riding the Tigers' bench as a Rule 5 pick. Watch Shelton when he's at the plate, easily one of the most sound and disciplined hitters within the organization. He rarely over-swings, and could very well put up big numbers for Toledo. His defense on the other hand . . .

2. CF Curtis Granderson. Granderson won't wow you with his speed on the basepaths or in the field, his raw power or any one particular tool. But rather, Granderson will go about his business, get to every ball he should, wait for his pitch at the plate and at the end of the day go a long way toward helping the team win a ballgame. There's a reason scouts are convinced Granderson can shift seamlessly into the Tigers' outfield.

3. SP Kenny Baugh. The Tigers' former first round pick fell victim to over-use when he was in college at Rice, and suffered serious setbacks with the Tigers because of it. Baugh's velocity still has yet to fully return to where it was when he was drafted (and likely never will), but Baugh has learned to pitch without the hard fastball. Baugh can now use his three pitches effectively to get hitters out, without having the ‘stuff' he once had.

4. 2B Ryan Raburn. Raburn has proven he has his bat back, after pounding Eastern League pitching last season. The bigger question with Raburn is if he'll be able to adjust as pitchers learn to keep him off balance, instead of simply allowing him to sit back and crush the pitch he may be sitting on. Also a point to watch is Raburn's defense at second base, as this will be his second season at the spot, and while he was fairly rough last year, he'll need to show improvement if he hopes to one day make an impact at the spot in the majors.

5. SP Colby Lewis. Lewis won't be at Toledo to start the season, but should make his appearance with the club soon enough. Lewis was a starter with the Texas Rangers before he was sidelined with an injury. The Rangers hoped they could sneak him through waivers to clear a spot on the roster, but Dave Dombrowski snagged Lewis instead. In the Dombrowski mold, Lewis is a big bodied, hard thrower that could be ready to make an impact in Detroit by midseason should an opening in the rotation appear.

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