Minor League Players of the Month: June

The first month of summer was not necessarily a high point for the Tiger's minor league system. With few high points of note throughout the various levels, the biggest peak of them all may have been the fortunate circumstances that allowed Cameron Maybin to fall to the Tigers with the tenth pick. With that, on to the players of the month.

As history has shown us, Ryan Raburn heats up with the weather, and that trend did not disappoint in 2005. Throughout June, Raburn posted a .308/.385/.467 line while upping his walk rate and maintaining better contact rates. As Raburn has continued to pound the ball since returning to full health last season, he continues to make the case that his offense may be able to carry his suspect defense at the Major League level. With continued performance similar to his last two months, don't be surprised if Ryan gets another taste of Detroit late this season.

Since the beginning of the season, fans have been thoroughly disappointed in the performance of one of the organization's top run producers, Juan Tejeda. Tejeda is repeating AA-Erie this season in hopes of taking the next step in his development. Unfortunately, Juan has battled nagging injuries for the better portion of the year; limiting his effectiveness. That was until June rolled around and Tejeda put up an impressive .318/.376/.435 line. Despite his solid performance last month, there is really nowhere for Tejeda to go with Carlos Pena manning first at Toledo, and a bevy of players taking care of the DH duties. Tejeda will have to continue to produce if he wants a shot at the Mudhen infield in 2006.

The Lakeland Tigers continued the trend of little competition for the Player of the Month Award, with Danilo Sanchez posting very impressive numbers throughout June. After slugging .597 with 3 homeruns and 7 doubles in only 19 games, Sanchez has started to make a case for a promotion to Erie. A slugging percentage like that in the pitcher friendly parks of the Florida State league is very impressive, and warrants a second look. Sanchez is often an overlooked prospect in the Tiger's system, but with more performances like this, he could garner quite a bit of attention as the season progresses.

With probably the only performance the could rival the acquisition of Cameron Maybin as the highlight of the month, West Michigan's Nick McIntyre went crazy for 26 games in June. The Purdue product finished the stretch with a .409/.454/.509, trying to help bolster the ‘Caps offense on his own. Nick suffered through a miserable 2004 season, but appears to be bouncing back in a huge way this season. If promotions start happening above him within the system, Nick could find himself moving up the ladder, trying to continue his success at higher levels.

Despite the sparseness of the elite performances in June, those that proved worthy of consideration, did so on the back of incredible months. Hopefully the heat waves brought by late summer will help several other prospects to match these award winners, raising the all around level of play throughout the system. Next month, look for the addition of players from the Oneonta Tigers and GCL Tigers to the list.

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