DSL Tiger Player of the Year: Outfielder Jose Cruz
After an abysmal 2005 season as an 18-year old in the DSL, Cruz rebounded nicely to help lead the offensive players for the Tigers. Cruz finished the summer with a .253/.421/.302 line, along with 16 steals in 19 attempts. Despite a severe lack of power, Cruz got on base at exceptional rates, ranking 3rd in the DSL in walks, and 6th in on-base percentage. Thanks to being on base so frequently, Jose finished the season ranked 7th in the league in runs scored, with 49 in 65 games. Jose really turned it on in August, notching a .320/.452/.333 line, and taking home the TigsTown Player of the Month Award. Cruz is the prototypical burner outfielder that gets on base and wreaks havoc. His small stature does not suggest any bump in power as he matures, but improved contact rates could still allow him to develop into a useful outfielder. It's possible Cruz could get a shot to come stateside in 2007, but he may benefit more from one more year in the DSL.
DSL Tiger Pitcher of the Year: Starter Luis Marte
A new addition to the Tigers system, Marte made an enormous splash this summer, ranking in the DSL's top ten in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Marte's 1.38 ERA and 0.86 WHIP are only small indicators of the dominance he exerted on his DSL counterparts. Pitching as a 19-year old getting his first taste of professional baseball, Luis managed to strikeout nearly 12.5 batters per nine innings, while only walking two hitters and allowing less than 6 hits over that same span. Marte will almost certainly get a crack at the GCL in 2007, following in the footsteps of previous DSL graduates, Eleasar Aponte and Alfredo Figaro. Luis hangs his hat on his big time fastball that can touch 95 with good movement, and he continues to develop two adequate secondary offerings; a curveball and change-up. While still raw, he is certainly a player worthy of watching heading into next season.