Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Going into any season, there are any number of breakout candidates given the talent level that has been seen but hasn't yet turned into production on the field. Guys like Ryan Perry and Cale Iorg, given their immense talent, have a great chance of turning it up a notch in a big way. But someone I'm really looking at to take a jump in 2009 is Audy Ciriaco. Ciriaco has all the tools but hasn't yet been able to put them altogether on the field. If Ciriaco can get the mental aspect of the game down and let his tools do the talking, he could be in line for a big season that ranks him among the best in the Tigers' organization.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
It's always difficult to pick just one player that appears primed for a breakout. Guys like Rick Porcello and Wilkin Ramirez -- despite fantastic seasons in 2008 -- could still break out further in 2009, but it wouldn't be any fun to pick something like that. Instead, let's look to someone a little further from the radar. Despite being a third round pick in 2005, outfielder Brennan Boesch has routinely flown below the radar because of some relatively uninspiring performances in West Michigan and Lakeland the last two years. There were signs of life in the middle of last season, as he slugged better and drew a few more walks, indicating that his once heralded lefty swing and batting eye may slowly be returning. It is reasonably likely that he could find himself in Erie for the 2009 season, which would be the best home hitting environment he has faced in his professional career. Despite the generally pitcher friendly nature of the Eastern League, he could see a breakout performance on the stat sheet. There's still a ton of raw talent there, and we may just see it begin coming to fruition in 2009.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I know it maybe somewhat of an obvious pick, but I'll go with Ryan Perry, provided he doesn't break camp with the Tigers. Perry's stuff has been well-documented, and if he winds up in the minor leagues, I see no reason why he shouldn't be a dominant closer at either Toledo or Erie. If all goes well, it wouldn't surprise me to see him to get his shot in the big leagues later in the season.
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