20. Clete Thomas – Outfielder
Thomas has slowly made strides since coming to the Tigers out of Auburn a few years ago. He has worked diligently to improve his defensive skills, sports a powerful arm, and solid hitting ability. His power has lagged behind, but there is still some hope that as he comes to physical maturity, he will find the gaps a bit more.
19. Scott Sizemore – Second Baseman
On the heels of a streaky full-season debut at West Michigan, Sizemore is raking in the Arizona Fall League. He has always been known for his bat in the infield, and he is demonstrating why. He will have to continue to hit to advance, but scouts are coming around on his overall ability.
18. Brandon Hamilton – Right-handed Pitcher
Having pitched in only a few pro games, it is a little difficult to know what to expect from the Alabama prepster. The Tigers made some minor tweaks to his delivery, and the early returns were very positive. Anyone with a fastball that can touch 96 and a wipeout slider has the potential to become something promising.
17. Burke Badenhop – Right-handed Pitcher
Burke just continues to get outs no matter where he goes. Despite a tumultuous situation in Lakeland, Badenhop pitched extremely well leading up to a promotion to AA-Erie where he continued to baffle hitters. His middling arsenal won't wow the casual observer, but the results are what really count.
16. Charlie Furbush – Left-handed Pitcher
Furbush's first year at the Division I level was a little less impressive than many expected, but the former D-III star gained a couple of ticks back on his velocity as a pro, and the results were outstanding. Working in the West Michigan rotation as they headed towards the championship, Furbush dominated his opponents and looked like a potentially impressive lefty prospect.
15. Jordan Tata – Right-handed Pitcher
Tata had previously peaked near the top five of these rankings, but the increased depth of the system and a slight step back with his overall stuff has led to a fall. Tata is no longer pumping 94-95 mph cutters, and his breaking ball hasn't advanced as once hoped. He is however, still getting outs and just needs to prove his long-term health to get a legit shot at the Detroit bullpen.
14. Alexis Espinoza – Outfielder
Espinoza backed up his phenomenal debut season with another TigsTown.com VSL Player of the Year award in 2007. After continuing to flash impressive raw power for someone his age, expect to see him stateside to start the 2008 season. The big question now, can he follow the path of fellow Venezuelan Gorkys Hernandez and get off to a hot start?
13. Matt Joyce – Outfielder
Joyce was within a few games of being demoted from AA-Erie to Lakeland, but he turned things around and put together a solid season after skipping High-A altogether. Joyce is a well-rounded player with excellent defensive skills, a strong arm, above-average power, and a good approach to the game. There is a believe that it's not if, but when, for his Major League chances.
12. Yorman Bazardo – Right-handed Pitcher
The Tigers acquired Bazardo in a deal that sent disappointing outfielder Jeff Frazier to the Seattle Mariners last off-season. Working from the Toledo rotation, Bazardo impressed the Tiger brass and continued to perform at a high level after his promotion to Detroit. With the departure of Jair Jurrjens and the struggles of Andrew Miller, Bazardo should have a very good chance at winning the fifth starter slot next spring.
11. Deik Scram - Outfielder
The Oklahoma State coaching staff once told me that if things finally clicked for Scram, ‘It could be scary.' Well, that appears to have happened as Deik smoked the ball throughout his time in the Midwest League, and continued to find holes after a promotion to Lakeland late in the year. Scram has a complete tool set with great speed and above-average power potential.