#50 – Daniel Zell – Relief Pitcher
Zell has the raw stuff to be a successful starting pitcher, he just doesn't have the durability to log the innings necessary. As a reliever, Daniel has excelled and could move quickly up the organizational ladder. Good, left-handed relievers are always in high demand, and the Tigers may have a very good one coming through their pipeline.
#49 – Donnie Kelly – Infielder
Missing the entire 2004 season with a shoulder injury really derailed Kelly's track to the Major Leagues. A player that has always hit for a high average and commanded the strike zone well, Kelly came back stronger and more powerful in 2005. Donnie is not a gifted defensive player, and will have to continue to hit at AAA to get a shot in the show.
#48 – Ryan Raburn – Second Baseman
Hope was held out for a long time that Raburn would add some polish to his game and become a legitimate infield prospect. Unfortunately, he just keeps taking steps in the wrong direction. The huge fall in the rankings can be attributed to continued struggles in the field and the general appearance that he was overmatched this season at AAA. Raburn's best shot at a big league job is to sell himself as a versatile player with some pop in his bat.
#47 – Vincent Blue – Outfielder
Blue is finally starting to transition his tools to production. The 2005 season saw a drop in his strikeout rates, as well as consistently driving the ball to the gaps more often. Vincent still lacks the instincts on the bases and in the field that he will need to become a complete player. As a toolsy speedster, the Tigers knew it may take some time before Blue developed, and it appears their patience may be paying off.
#46 – Garth McKinney – Outfielder
McKinney is a five-tool talent that often gets lost in the shuffle of the Tiger system. Since joining the organization, Garth has consistently displayed impressive power, and is slowly beginning to become a more complete offensive player. The high strikeout totals will likely be a persistent issue with McKinney, but if the rest of his game continues to develop, the strikeouts may not matter.
#45 – Wilkin Rodriguez – Outfielder
Rodriguez is a bit of an unknown in prospect circles, but he warrants mention as a player to keep an eye on. Another speedy outfielder that needs to add strength to continue advancing, Rodriguez will have to impress quickly since he's already 22 and just coming stateside. He'll get a shot at centerfield with Oneonta in 2006, but he needs to see time in West Michigan next year to have a chance.
#44 – Daniel Sandoval – Catcher
Another newcomer to this list, Sandoval joined the GCL Tigers in June and promptly began stealing at-bats from second-year players Cole Miller and James Skelton. Sandoval is slight of build at only 5'11" and 170 pounds, and will need to add strength as he matures. Daniel is a strong defensive catcher, whose bat could ensure he gets plenty of attention in the coming seasons.
#43 – Matt O'Brien – Starting Pitcher
Rated as one of the best senior signs in the 2004 draft, O'Brien never donned a professional uniform until the New York-Penn League started up this season. Matt fought through some mild shoulder injuries last season, and came back to demonstrate why he was a highly regarded draft choice. O'Brien is a polished pitcher with both the "stuff" and maturity to move quickly through the Tiger's system.
#42 – Juan Francia – Infielder
Prospects often get forgotten after repeating levels multiple times. This is a fate Francia is desperately trying to avoid. After spending three seasons with West Michigan, Juan finally moved up to Lakeland, where he took his offensive game to another level. By demonstrating very good plate discipline and outstanding speed, Francia earned a mid-season promotion to AA-Erie.
#41 – Agustin Guzman – Second Baseman
The first of many 2005 draftees to make this list, Guzman rides an impressive junior college display to his spot on this list. At 17-years old, Guzman is extremely raw and inexperienced. The 2005 GCL season was a difficult experience for Agustin, but despite his struggles, Guzman displayed impressive control of the strike zone and flashed the tools that make him such an impressive prospect.
On Tuesday, TigsTown will release prospects 40 through 31.
Questions? Comments? Contact TigsTown's Minor League Editor at Mark@TigsTown.com.