Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Dusty Ryan's success in 2008 has certainly been a pleasant surprise, emerging from prospect no man's land to cement himself as a top catching prospect in the organization, and a legitimate option at the big league level. But it's important to not get too far ahead of ourselves. Ryan, for all that has been said about his 2008, struggled mightily in the prior years before. This season could absolutely be Ryan turning the corner, but it also could just be a blip on the radar, with a return to the norm (that being, his past few years) coming. Dusty's limited experience at the upper levels of the minor leagues also could very well indicate a longer adjustment period in Detroit, making it a slow progress before he can produce at 100%. Dusty's emergence has been a pleasant surprise this year, and he should have every opportunity to make the big league club next spring, but expecting him to start is likely getting way too far ahead.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
Dusty Ryan may very well be a viable starting option in Detroit, just not in 2009. I'm as pleased as anyone, and as optimistic as anyone about his future potential, but Dusty has never demonstrated an ability to adjust quickly to significant changes in the level of competition he's facing. For the 2009 season, I strongly believe Dusty could be an excellent apprentice that provides exceptional defense behind the plate and some occasional pop up to bat, but I don't see him being ready to play everyday. The rigors or handling a big league pitching staff, cutting down big league runners, and trying to study the opposing pitchers, would likely be overwhelming for all but the best catching prospects in the game. With a year of learning under his belt at the big league level, he could be the Tigers starting catcher of 2010 and beyoned.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
Although Dusty Ryan has had a solid year, I could see him being more in a platoon role if he makes the team next year. Ryan struck out 122 times between Erie and Toledo, and has fanned five times in his first 12 at-bats with the Tigers, so making more contact would certainly be on his to-do list. I could very easily see the Tigers start him out at Toledo next year to see if he continues to make progress with the bat, but if the team could give him a long look next spring, especially if the Tigers have to cut payroll and aren't able to find another catcher either via free agency or in a trade.
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