TigsTown Midseason Top 50 Countdown: 50-41

It's that time again! Just past the midway point of the minor league baseball season, TigsTown.com releases its Midseason Top 50 Prospects. Starting with 50 through 41 on Monday, we'll release the next ten throughout the week, culminating with the top 10 prospects in the organization on Friday.

50. Kevin Whelan – RHP – Oneonta
A 4th round choice in this year's draft, Whelan is an inexperienced pitcher, with the potential to become a top notch reliever. As Kevin learns more about pitching theory, and hones his control, he could move up this list considerably.

49. PJ Finigan – RHP – West Michigan
Finigan is another recent draftee of the Tigers, and joins the organization after a successful two-way career at Southern Illinois. As with Whelan, PJ is an inexperienced pitcher, who the Tigers project to improve quickly with more experience. Finigan's overall tools compare favorably with those of 2004 draftee Andrew Kown, and as he gains polish, he could become a very nice starter.

48. Cristhian Martinez – RHP – Lakeland
After a very nice season with West Michigan in 2004, Martinez was poised to continue his successful run with the Lakeland Tigers in 2005. Unfortunately, after only a few appearances, Martinez went under the knife for Tommy John surgery, ending his season prematurely. If Martinez can regain his average velocity, and more importantly his command, he could resurrect his prospect status.

47. Cory Middleton – 3B – Oneonta
Middleton has flown under the radar thus far in his brief career. A high school draftee in 2004, Cory has very good power potential, and the ability to craft himself into a fine defensive third baseman. A converted shortstop, Middleton has the quickness and arm strength to play the position successfully. As his offensive game improves, Middleton could become a very intriguing corner infield prospect.

46. Matt O'Brien – RHP – Oneonta
Matt was selected in the 2004 draft, but never saw action last season as shoulder problems prevented him from taking the hill. O'Brien was considered a 5th to 8th round talent, only falling because of the concerns surrounding his shoulder. After spending the summer and offseason recovering and refining his arsenal, O'Brien appears ready to tackle his professional debut with the Oneonta Tigers.

45. Garth McKinney – OF – Lakeland
Falling one spot since this past offseason, McKinney is posting almost exactly the same numbers as he did last season. With a fair amount of homeruns, a low batting average, and a ton of strikeouts, Garth is not showing the progress the organization hoped he would. Unless something clicks soon for McKinney, he could end up in minor league oblivion very quickly.

44. Rob Henkel – LHP – Toledo
The oft-injured Rob Henkel has been a very frustrating prospect for both the Tigers organization and his previous employers, the Florida Marlins. Henkel missed much of last season with yet another injury, and has continued to miss time in 2005. since coming off the disabled list earlier in June, Henkel has been promoted to AAA-Toledo, while also moving to the bullpen. Hopefully the move to the pen, and subsequently reduced workload, will help Henkel remain healthy and able to contribute.

43. Stephen Young – 2B – West Michigan
Young has struggled with the transition to full-season ball, but the tools are still present to become a solid infield prospect. The beginning of the season was positively abysmal for the Princeton product, but since then, Young has come around, posting reasonable numbers while still adjusting to the stiffer competition of his new league.

42. Josh Kauten – RHP – West Michigan
Josh was considered a bit of a sleeper in the 2004 draft, and the early returns from 2005 were justifying that claim. Kauten was posting very solid numbers in the Midwest League prior to straining his intercostal muscle, an injury he still has not returned from. If Kauten can return to form following this muscle strain, he could solidify himself as a consistent member of that second tier of pitching prospects within the system.

41. Andrew Kown – RHP – West Michigan
Kown's 2005 season has been a bit of a disappointment to this juncture. After taking a hard hit ball off the face, Kown has struggled to maintain his consistency on the mound, ranging from brilliant to mediocre, and everything in between. Entering this season, Kown was thought to be a pitcher with the potential to move quickly, but as his control has escaped him at times, it seems it may take him a bit longer to develop.


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