Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
As always, a number of players surprised, including Mike Hollimon holding his own at Erie, while Eddie Bonine emerged as a legit prospect, and Duane Below blew through the Midwest League. But it's hard to look past Deik Scram and his impressive '07 season and not think twice. Scram had a nice debut season with Oneonta, but among the West Michigan outfielders, Scram was considered by many the afterthought. Instead, he was the most productive of the group, excelling at the plate with a .327 average and an .863 OPS despite playing in a pitching-dominated league and a pitcher-friendly park. What's more, Scram continued that success after his promotion with Lakeland, continuing to maintain a solid average with excellent on base numbers. It's hard to look past Scram as the surprise of 2007.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
The Tigers have had plenty of surprises on the minor league front in 2007; from Michael Hernandez's emergence as a serious power threat, to Deik Scram becoming one of the system's most productive players, to James Skelton making noise as the potential catcher of the future in Detroit. However, none of that compares to the leap forward taken by lefty Duane Below. As a 19th round selection out of Lake Michigan Community College in 2006, Below was thought to be a bit of a project, needing to refine some things to become a serious prospect. It didn't take long for those refinements to happen, as he burst on the full-season scene with a 13-5 record for West Michigan; backed by a 2.97/1.28 line and 160 strikeouts in just 145-2/3 innings. Below's success has him on the prospect radar, and he is definitely the minor league surprise of the season.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm going to go with Deik Scram as the biggest surprise. Although he had a nice debut with Oneonta after signing last year, I don't think many people expected him to hit .311 between two levels with 21 stolen bases. Although he tends sometimes to get lost lost in the shuffle in the outfield mix, Scram is certainly making a name for himself as one of the top prospects the Tigers have in the outfield.
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