TigsTown Top 50: 30-21

TigsTown officially kicks off its release of the organization's Top 50 prospects with a week long, five part series, releasing ten prospects each day, leading all the way to the debut of the top prospect in the organization. Wednesday, we examine prospects 30-21.

#30 – Michael Hollimon – Shortstop
The talk surrounding Hollimon since high school has been that he is an elite talent, but has yet to put it all together. That edict may have changed after his professional debut in the New York-Penn League. Hollimon displayed impressive power, reasonable strike zone judgment, and improved defense during his brief season. At 23-years old, Hollimon will need to move quickly, and prove he can handle advanced competition to have a legitimate shot at a big league job.

#29 – Josh Rainwater – Starting Pitcher
Jay Sborz and Josh Rainwater were the start of Dave Dombrowski's attempt to load the Tigers system with power arms. Sborz has stumbled along the way, but Rainwater appears to be coming into his own. After overcoming a knee injury, Josh cut down his walks, maintained a very good strikeout rate, and had stretches of utter dominance with West Michigan. At only 20-years old, Rainwater's future is extremely bright.

#28 – Juan Tejeda – First Baseman
Sometimes, pure hitters that don't look like good athletes, never get the respect they deserve. After battling through various injuries the first two months of the year, and listening to skeptics question his abilities, Tejeda decided to let his performance demand respect. At every stop of his minor league career, Juan has hit the ball for average and power, driven in runs by the truck load, and commanded the zone well. Look for Toledo to be next up on his list of challenges in 2006.

#27 – Randor Bierd – Starting Pitcher
Bierd is surrounded by uncertainty heading into the off-season. After suffering an arm injury late in the summer, Randor was shut down in hopes of curtailing the problem. If healthy, Bierd has the size, presence, and arsenal to become a dominating pitcher. Despite being extremely raw, Randor is a pitcher who could advance quickly, having already made spot starts as high as AA-Erie.

#26 – Chris Robinson – Catcher
This University of Illinois product is the organizational hope as the successor to Ivan Rodriguez. Drafted in the third round of this year's draft, Robinson has a relatively advanced approach at the plate, and should hit for average and get on base at a decent clip quickly. There is some potential for future power to develop, but Robinson will never be considered a true power threat. Overall, Robinson is a solid offensive prospect, with outstanding defensive tools.

#25 – Eulogio de la Cruz – Relief Pitcher
In an effort to give de la Cruz more innings to work on his location and off-speed offerings, the Tigers moved him into the Lakeland rotation for a portion of the 2005 season. The move appeared to be paying dividends as Eulogio improved his command and consistency before being moved back to the bullpen late in the year. The owner of a blazing fastball and improving change-up, de la Cruz will need better control to fulfill the promises his fastball has made.

#24 – Jack Hannahan – Third Base
Some players just can't catch a break. After overcoming off-field demons to get his baseball career and life back on track, Hannahan was putting together a fine season for the Mudhens, before injuries stymied his progress. Always considered an elite defender at the hot corner, Jack's offensive game has stagnated after destroying the lower levels. Hannahan could probably help a Major League bench right now, but it's doubtful that shot will ever come in a Tiger uniform.

#23 – Brendan Wise – Starting Pitcher
Wise is a raw, Aussie hurler who the Tigers feel could be a diamond in the rough. Brendan is the owner of an extremely projectable frame, and a relatively advanced pitching approach for a 19-year old. Wise demonstrated outstanding control in his professional debut and the organization believes that further instruction could turn him into a top-notch prospect. Look for this youngster to move further up the list next year.

#22 – Will Rhymes – Second Baseman
Rhymes did his best to make us believe he was the reincarnation of Roberto Alomar during his first professional season, but don't expect results like that to continue. Rhymes has a well-rounded offensive and defensive package that should serve him well as he moves up the ladder. After displaying surprising power, phenomenal strike zone control, and the ability to hit for a high average, Will has set the bar high as he heads to the Midwest League in 2006.

#21 – Andrew Kown – Starting Pitcher
The 2005 season was one in which Kown took his lumps, literally and figuratively. After being struck with a line drive early in the season, Kown battled inconsistency on his way to posting middling numbers. Andrew's lanky frame, delivery, mentality, and raw stuff remind some of former Tiger, Jeff Weaver, but he has a ways to go before he reaches that level of prospect status. Next season will be critical for Kown's overall development.


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