Matt Righter (21) signed after his senior year at Johns Hopkins and the right-hander pitched with three different teams in his debut, with a stretch of six scoreless innings over five appearances at West Michigan highlighting his '04 debut.
Righter returned to West Michigan in 2005, where he had a solid sophomore season as a swingman, going 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 27 games (10 starts). Righter played basketball in college and has an average fastball with a curve and a circle changeup.
Righter did a solid job when called upon to start and he has a chance to nail down the final spot in the rotation, but could also return to the bullpen next year at Lakeland.
Like Clelland, Brian Hensen has emerged as a solid lefthander out of the bullpen. After making two appearances in the GCL, Hensen was promoted to Lakeland and did a nice job, going 1-1 with a 2.43 ERA in 20 games. He worked 29 2/3 innings and allowed 25 hits with just five walks issued and 11 strikeouts.
Hensen made a return to Lakeland in 2005 and his numbers weren't nearly as good (2-1, 3.77 ERA in 43 games). In 62 innings, he allowed 69 hits, but his control was very good, as he walked only 17 batters with 36 strikeouts. Hensen got a cup of coffee at Erie with two scoreless innings and he should start there next year.
First baseman Josh Lee (30) was selected out of McMurry University in Texas, where he was a second-team All-American as a senior for the Division III school. Despite having four years of college baseball under his belt, Lee is raw at the plate, but does offer power potential and is athletic enough to move off of first base should the need arise.
Lee hit just .228 with three homers and 10 RBI's in 114 at-bats at the GCL in his pro debut. Last year, his average got just marginally better at 239, but he hit seven homers and drove in 63 runs. If Lee is going to have success at the higher levels, his BB/K ratio must improve from the 24/116 number he had last year.
Lee has an opportunity to start at Lakeland next year, but with Jeff Larish's polished bat in the fold, Lee may return to West Michigan, should Larish start at Lakeland.
Leonardo Grullon (31) from South Florida first gained notice from the Tigers at a tryout camp at Lakeland, where his above-average speed stood out. Grullon hit .217 with three home runs and a tram-leading 20 RBI's for the GCL Tigers in his pro debut. He also stole nine bases.
Grullon didn't see much playing time at Oneonta, getting just 98 at-bats, but he still he hit four homers and drove in 19 runs. The outfielder has a high ceiling, but is still very raw and remains a work-in-progress in all facets of the game.
Nate Bumstead (32) is accustomed to having success as a pitcher. He won a state championship as a prep player in Las Vegas and went 13-2 with a 206 ERA as a sophomore at the College of Southern Idaho.
After moving on to LSU, Bumstead went 21-7 in his final two years and was a big reason why the Tigers reached Omaha in both of his seasons there. After signing with Detroit, Bumstead blew away the New York-Penn League by going 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 11 games. In 57 2/3 innings, he allowed 47 hits, walked just 15 hitters and fanned 75.
Aggressively pushed to Lakeland in 2005, Bumstead responded with a stellar season, going 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA. He worked 160 2/3 innings and allowed 136 hits with 58 walks issued and 111 strikeouts. Bumstead doesn't throw hard, as his fastball sits resides in the mid-80's, but it has great movement and he has passed every test thrown at him. Bumstead will head to Erie next year and try to push his way into the Tigers' future plans.
The biggest surprise from the 2004 draft was that the Tigers were able land Dallas Trahern (34) away from a commitment to Oklahoma. Trahern was a lock to land with the Sooners, but when pitching coach Ray Hayward was fired, Trahern changed his mind and signed in July.
Trahern was impressive in his pro debut, posting a 0.59 ERA in the GCL and followed with a 3.58 ERA at West Michigan. Trahern led the Whitecaps in innings with 156, but allowed 158 hits and fanned just 66 batters despite owning a 90-92 fastball and a good breaking ball.
Given the quality of his stuff, Trahern shouldn't be as hittable as he was with the Whitecaps and he will need to put more hitters away as he moves up.
Jason Avery covers the draft and all amateur baseball topics for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Jason@TigsTown.com.