After weeks of waiting, the day has finally arrived. TigsTown.com announces its Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Year for 2005. In 2004, Curtis Granderson and Virgil Vasquez took home the hardware - who will it be in 2005?
A 2004 in which the bottom fell out for Brent Clevlen was pushed aside, as it was time for a fresh start in 2005. Repeating at high-A Lakeland, Clevlen put those doubters to rest with a spectacular comeback year, a year that was good enough to earn him the Florida State League's Most Valuable Player award. And as impressive as Clevlen's stats were in '05, take out a rocky two month stretch from May and June when his swing got long, and suddenly his splits are an astronomical .342/.428/.551, put together it gives him an OPS near 1.000. As it was, the 21-year old Clevlen still put up an OPS above .870 while proving to be the only player in the Tiger organization to drive in 100 runs in 2005. With his production, he's clearly re-established himself as one of the top prospects in the Tiger organization, as well as one of the better prospects in all of baseball.
After an announcement in October of 2004 that the Tigers had decided to break off talks with first round pick Justin Verlander, it was thought a day like today would never come. But just one year later, TigsTown names Justin Verlander as its pitching prospect of the year, after absolutely dominating the opposition in High-A Lakeland and AA Erie. Verlander kicked off his season with Lakeland, where he simply over-matched the opposition, posting a miniscule 1.67 ERA. He was never able to truly establish himself at Erie because of two spot call-ups to Detroit as well as the Futures Game at Comerica Park, but in his 32-plus innings of work, Verlander allowed just one run. Clevlen is one of the better prospects in all of baseball; 22-year old Justin Verlander is arguably the best.