Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Every year there are players you expect have a shot at breaking out, and don't quite make the leap, but the one guy I really had high hopes for in 2008 was Audy Ciriaco. Getting another year of experience and development I thought would help Ciriaco's immense tools start to show on the field, and taking into account that he was then repeating West Michigan, I thought he had a great shot at emerging as a top prospect for the 'Caps. Ciriaco did make some improvements, but unfortunately the progress wasn't nearly enough, especially considering how poor his 2007 season was to begin with. I still haven't given up hope on Ciriaco, but for a guy that has the tools that Ciriaco does, a breakout has to truly show in the stat line.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There are a couple of players I expected to see take a significant step forward, including guys like Audy Ciriaco, Brennan Boesch, and Hayden Parrot. But the guy I really expected to refine things and prove his Major League readiness was right-hander Virgil Vasquez. Vasquez has never been a dominating starter, but rather a guy with solid stuff and exceptional durability. After struggling with the command of his off-speed stuff in his brief 2007 big league trial, I expected some minor refinements with the arrival of AJ Sager as Pitching Coach in Toledo, and for him to become another option for the Tigers to call upon. That didn't happen as Vasquez's control escaped him for much of the season, and he generally took a large step away from the Major Leagues in 2008. There were some signs of life late in the season as he began to get back to his typical results, but with roster space appearing to be at a premium this winter, the Tigers opted to risk losing him via waivers; and did just that, to the Boston Red Sox.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I would've expected more out of outfielder Brennan Boesch. When he was selected in the third round in 2006, he had solid tools with good upside, but he had an awful year at Lakeland by hitting .249 with seven homers and 64 RBIs to go with 90 strikeouts and 36 walks in 417 at-bats. Boesch will be 24 next April, so it will be imperative for him to start showing that promise that led him to be a premium-round pick, or he could fall by the wayside.
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