TigsTown Midseason Top 50 Countdown: Top 10

Who gets the honor of being named TigsTown.com's Top Prospect at the midseason mark in 2005? Has Curtis Granderson hung on, or has Justin Verlander's impressive start jump him past the centerfielder? Find out inside, along with the rest of the top ten.

10. Ryan Raburn – 2B – Toledo
Raburn holds steady at number ten, despite a very poor start to the 2005 season. Raburn has since come back to life, heating up just as the weather has. Ryan has unusual power for a second baseman, in the mold of Major League veteran Jeff Kent. Raburn has made some progress in his defense at the keystone, but he will need to continue his improvement to make the big leagues.

9. Jordan Tata – RHP – Lakeland
Jordan has flown up the charts since this offseason, thanks in large part to a very impressive season at High-A Lakeland. If it weren't for the utter domination of Justin Verlander with the L-Tigers, Tata would likely have received a lot more hype. With Verlander gone, it is likely Tata will start to get the publicity he certainly deserves.

8. Humberto Sanchez – RHP – Erie
Since returning from a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2004 season, Humberto has had his share of ups and downs. Sanchez still struggles with his control, but seems to be refining it with each start. If he can remain healthy and pinpoint his fastball with more consistency, Sanchez could find himself in Detroit within the next couple of years.

7. Kyle Sleeth – RHP – N/A
Sleeth struggled mightily after his promotion to Erie last season, and it appears his troubles were more related to injury than talent. Sleeth's 2005 season debut was delayed with what was described as a forearm strain, only later to go under the knife for Tommy John surgery. Kyle will miss the remainder of this season, and likely the beginning of next season as well.

6. Wilkin Ramirez – 3B – West Michigan
One of the Tigers most high profile Latin prospects, Ramirez has started to let his immense talent show through after returning from shoulder surgery. The super-talented youngster has had some difficulty with contact, but has also demonstrated promising power and surprising speed. Look for Ramirez to have an outstanding second half as the Whitecaps make a push to repeat as Midwest League Champions.

5. Cameron Maybin – OF – GCL Tigers
The Tigers top pick in the 2005 draft, Maybin is still unsigned, but there is little indication that he will not come to terms with the team. Cameron is a legitimate five-tool talent who carries lofty expectations well. If the Tigers can get him some at-bats this year, Maybin will be better for it, and Tiger fans will likely be thrilled with what they see.

4. Tony Giarratano – SS – Erie
Giarratano impressed manager Alan Trammel in spring training, and that impression was a large reason he was brought up to help when Omar Infante struggled at the plate, and shortstop Carlos Guillen had difficulty coming back from knee surgery. Tony proved that he wasn't quite ready for the big show, but hopefully he can use the time as a learning experience in his return trip to AA-Erie. Giarratano has the tools to be an very good shortstop, and with Guillen holding that spot for at least the next two years, the Tigers can take their time with him.

3. Joel Zumaya – RHP – Erie
The two biggest knocks on Zumaya over the last two years have been his control and violent delivery. Well, Mike Caldwell seems to have corralled both of those problems this season. Zumaya's delivery has become smoother with less effort, while not sacrificing velocity, and his control has made enormous leaps in the last month. Joel's strides this season may put him in position to challenge for a rotation spot in 2006.

2. Justin Verlander – RHP – Erie
So far, so good for the Tigers top pick in 2004. Verlander has answered every question that surrounded him prior to the season, displaying outstanding control, elite velocity, and a strong breaking pitch. A strong case could be made for Verlander in the top spot, and with continued performance this season, he could be there in our next edition. Through half a season, Justin looks like an elite starter and he could be ready sooner than many expected.

1. Curtis Granderson – OF – Toledo
Granderson holds onto his top spot, despite some stiff competition from Erie's dynamic duo. Curtis has seen increased strikeout rates this season, in his first taste of AAA, but the rest of his numbers have held strong against tougher competition. With a second half surge, and a drop in his strikeout rates, Granderson will almost certainly challenge for a starting outfield spot in 2006.


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