TigsTown Top 50: 30-21

TigsTown moves closer and closer to releasing its top ten prospects. On Wednesday, prospects 30 through 21 are released. Who has jumped up into the top 30 after a strong season? Find out inside.

#30 – James Skelton – Catcher
Skelton has slowly become more and more of a legitimate catching prospect. As an extremely raw high school player in 2004, James took some time to come around, but now that he's started to turn the corner, scouts are taking notice. His wiry frame allows him to be agile behind the plate, and generate surprising power at the dish. Watch him closely to see how he handles his first taste of full-season ball in 2007.

#29 – Chris Cody – Starting Pitcher
The only plus tool boasted by Cody is his exceptional make-up. Cody is a determined pitcher and an extreme competitor. His stuff plays largely below average, but he has the makings of a plus-plus change-up and he compliments that with good command of his fastball and curveball. Chris is one of those youngsters that may survive as a pro – despite fringy stuff – simply because of his grit and determination.

#28 – Matt Joyce – Outfielder
The Tigers have loved Joyce's skills since playing against him while he was in college. Joyce has solid tools across the board, but won't blow anyone away with any specific asset. His numbers in 2006 were deceiving, as his home park killed his numbers. Moving to a more neutral environment in 2007, should allow more fans to realize that Joyce is someone worth watching.

#27 – Brett Jensen – Relief Pitcher
Following a successful four-year career closing games for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Jensen will try to prove that his average fastball/slider combo and side-arm delivery will be enough to continue locking down the late innings of professional games. Jensen has the experience of four years at a big time collegiate program behind him, and the Tigers would do well to challenge him quickly.

#26 – Mike Rabelo – Catcher
Since leaving the University of Tampa as a 4th round choice of the Tigers in 2001, "Rabs" has been widely considered a disappointing prospect. In 2006, Mike took a huge step forward and showed that he still may have what it takes to become a solid big league backup. His bat progressed, and he showed enough defensively to merit attention as a possible replacement for Vance Wilson, when his contract expires.

#25 – Brendan Wise – Starting Pitcher
Early in the season, Wise appeared to be taking a step backwards, as his control had deserted him and he was getting knocked around the park. Then something clicked again. Wise finished his second professional season strong, and has positioned himself for a leading role in the Whitecaps rotation in 2007. With good control of a low-90s fastball, and progressing off-speed pitches, he could be one to watch in the coming seasons.

#24 – Ramon Garcia – Starting Pitcher
Since coming stateside prior to the 2005 season, Garcia has been absolutely electric. Despite less than inspiring raw stuff, Ramon has demonstrated an ability to pitch, and a work ethic that allows him to improve consistently from one start to the next. A mid-season arm injury will speak volumes as to whether we can expect him to continue improving, and it also may determine if his future is in a rotation, or as a dominating bullpen arm.

#23 – Alexis Espinoza – Outfielder
For the first time ever, the Tigers had a team (jointly with Florida) in the Venezuelan Summer League, and they made sure their debut left a mark. Espinoza – signed in 2005 – was one of the league's most dominant offensive players, displaying true five-tool talent, and the raw athleticism scouts love. At only 17-years old, Alexis could land anywhere from a return trip to the VSL or all the way stateside for a debut in the GCL in 2007.

#22 – Eulogio de la Cruz – Relief Pitcher
Despite spending the second half of the season splitting time between the Erie and Toledo rotations, "DLC" still projects as a reliever in both the short and long term. Eulogio has dialed his fastball back a couple of notches, not trying to consistently hit triple digits, in order to gain more control. While he is throwing more strikes, they are not located well within the zone. If his change-up and slider can take another step, you could see Eulogio scream towards the Top 10 next season.

#21 – Wilkin Ramirez – Third Baseman
Ramirez is one of the most maddening and talented prospects in the entire system. With all the talent in the world at his finger tips, he has yet to put together that season that will make you believe in his superstar potential. Ramirez has big time offensive potential, and the athleticism to be a plus defender. His defense has been very shaky, and may facilitate a formal position switch to the outfield in 2007.


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