Born: 9/2/1984Bats: Right Throws: Right
One of two draft and follow players the Tigers signed prior to the 2004 draft, Ryan justified the organizations investment immediately. Taken in the 48th round of the 2003 draft, Ryan had displayed moderate numbers in his freshman season at Merced Junior College, posting a 0.256 batting average, with 11 doubles and 14 runs batted in. With a commitment to attend Oklahoma State following his sophomore season in hand, Ryan put together an outstanding campaign in 2004. Dusty finished the season ranking in the top ten in the Central Valley Conference in batting average (0.398), homeruns (6), RBI (41), slugging (0.617), and on-base percentage (.477). Fortunately, the Tigers were able to sign him away from his commitment to OSU, sending him on to Oneonta to start his professional career. Ryan had a very successful start to his career, posting a .274/.369/.433 line in the offensively difficult NYPL. The 2005 season was a disaster for Ryan, as he struggled from the outset, ending the season serving as Chris Robinson's backup to finish the year with West Michigan. The Tigers wisely assigned Dusty back to the Midwest League to try and improve his performance. Thus far, things have been going very well, as Ryan has regained his 2004 offensive form.
Obviously, the offensive potential exists; it's just a matter of how well this potential will translate to the professional game. Ryan has above-average power potential, and has shown the ability to hit for decent average to this point. He has a short, compact, and powerful stroke, but his swing does become too long on occasion when he starts swinging for the fences. Ryan has demonstrated an advanced approach at the plate, showing a willingness to be patient and take walks, something he must maintain has he moves up the ladder. With some additional strength and continued work on his strike zone judgment, Dusty has the potential to become an offensive monster, capable of driving the ball to all fields with authority. Defensively, Ryan shows above average catch and throw mechanics, with a powerful arm. Ryan also demonstrates surprising quickness behind the plate, and the agility to block the ball well. There are some concerns about his ability to remain at catcher due to his large frame, but for now, all indications are that he can handle the position well.
Performance Year Team AB H 2B HR BB SO AVG OBP SLG 2006
*Stats are updated as of 5/18/06*
To date, Dusty has not experienced any significant injuries that will affect him moving forward.
With Ryan starting out strong this season at West Michigan, fans should be renewing their hope for him as a catcher of the future. Ryan has the most offensive potential of any catcher in the system, and he's no slouch defensively either. The Tigers drafted Chris Robinson in the 3rd round last year with hopes that he would be able to move quickly through the system. His offense is far less than ideal, and it still may be wise to consider Dusty Ryan the most likely guy to hold down the receiver spot over the long term. Dusty certainly has some work to do, as he's quite raw and must become more consistent, but his ceiling is too high to ignore. Look for him to put together a very solid campaign in the Midwest League, and it's possible he could get a shot in Lakeland before the year is done.