Five to Watch: West Michigan

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 TigsTown.com 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 Whitecaps.

1. 3B Wilkin Ramirez. Ramirez may well have the best power potential of any player in the Tigers farm system, let alone just the Whitecaps. Ramirez missed all of '04 with a shoulder injury, but is back now, healthy, and appears to be ready to have a huge season. Ramirez's power numbers may be somewhat depressed due to the large park, but don't take that as a sign that Ramirez is over-hyped. The potential is there. And point of note, Ramirez is just 19 years of age.

2. SP Dallas Trahern. No one thought Trahern would be a Tiger, after being drafted in the 34th round of the amateur draft. But then a coaching change shifted his focus, and suddenly the Tigers got a top 5 round talent in the 31st round. Trahern, also just 19 years of age, will look to build on a season last year in which he carried an ERA well under 1 at just 0.59. Trahern also has the size to project to be a solid starter with a good fastball already in the making.

3. SP Jay Sborz. The Tigers 2nd round pick of 2003, Sborz makes a jump to the full season Whitecaps after two seasons with the GCL Tigers. A rather large guy, Sborz already possesses a mid 90's fastball that has excellent movement, and at such a young age, it's possible that could go up as his body matures. Sborz biggest issue will be his control, as the Tigers have worked to calm his violent delivery while keeping his fastball at its current velocity. Sborz has enormous upside; he just needs to display progress with his control.

4. OF Jeff Frazier. The Tigers 2004 third rounder, Frazier can just flat out hit. After being an All American at Rutgers, Frazier didn't get much of a chance to display that ability after a broken hand sidelined him just 79 at bats into his professional career. While Frazier doesn't appear to be physically imposing, Frazier has a beautiful swing with surprising pop, and could rack up plenty of gap hits in the spacious Fifth Third Ballpark outfield this summer.

5. RP Collin Mahoney. Mahoney isn't the next best prospect on the team, but rather, one that could one of the most exciting to watch. Mahoney didn't even become a pitcher until his senior year of college, when his coaches suddenly discovered his triple-digit fastball and moved him to the bullpen. Mahoney's control isn't quite there yet, but player's with his upside don't come along very often, and if the Tigers can teach him proper technique and get him to harness that fastball as well as develop a reliable off-speed pitch, Mahoney could quickly become a weapon in the Detroit bullpen.


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