10. Wade Gaynor – Third Baseman
The Tigers third round pick in this year's draft, Gaynor has power in his bat, a good approach at the plate, and good speed for someone his size. Despite some questions about his ability to stay at third base, his bat may be able to play just about anywhere.
9. Brandon Douglas – Second Baseman
After a whirlwind professional debut in 2008, that included some games at Double-A, Douglas has settled in nicely at West Michigan this season, hitting everything in sight. His slugging has dipped of late, but he's hitting for average, working counts, and coming along as a defender at the keystone. He could be pushed aggressively in 2010.
8. Alfredo Figaro – Right-handed Pitcher
Figaro has changed dramatically over the last two years, becoming a more mature and confident pitcher, though one still possessing the overpowering arsenal that got him noticed in the first place. Improved command of the strike zone, and a willingness to attack hitters are reasons Figaro could be a big league contributor very soon.
7. Cody Satterwhite – Right-handed Pitcher
Taken in the second round in 2008, Satterwhite is a prototypical Tiger pitching prospect; owning a huge arm and aggressive mentality. With a fastball that consistently works at 94-96 and touches even higher, Satterwhite simply must harness his stuff to begin regularly blowing away opposing hitters.
6. Ryan Strieby – First Baseman
Strieby burst on the scene in 2008 with a monster year at High-A Lakeland, and after missing the end of the season with an injured wrist, he was back this year and crushing Double-A pitching. There are some lingering issues with the wrist that must be sorted out, but Strieby has impact power and could be a force in the big leagues.
5. Alex Avila – Catcher
I think it is safe to say that those who may have believed this was purely a nepotism pick were dead wrong! Avila is a hitting machine, and probably the purest hitter in the entire system. He can use the hold field, hit with extra-base power, and control the strike zone, all while showing improved defense behind the plate. Avila could be ready by mid-2010.
4. Casey Crosby – Left-handed Pitcher
After missing most of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Crosby is back and pitching like a man possessed in 2009. His power arm from the left side is a rarity in baseball circles, and as he learns to command his heater more effectively, he could really take off. Crosby has solid #2 potential, and a late 2011 timetable is not out of the question.
3. Cale Iorg – Shortstop
The numbers are not necessarily pretty so far this season in Double-A, but many scouts are still firm in their belief that he has All-Star potential. Iorg is the system's best defensive infielder, with truly elite level fielding abilities at shortstop. He also has above-average speed, good power, and baseball instincts that are off the charts. Pitch recognition will be the key for Iorg, and if it comes, he could see his prospect status soar.
2. Scott Sizemore – Second Baseman
The only thing holding Sizemore back on this list last fall were lingering questions about how he would come back from a wrist injury that cut short his 2008 season at Lakeland. Those questions were answered straight out of the gate, as he started hitting Double-A pitching with authority, and hasn't stopped despite a promotion to Triple-A. Sizemore is on the verge of big league readiness, and he could be a fixture in Comerica Park next year.
1. Wilkin Ramirez – Outfielder
The tools that have been talked about for so long were finally evident on the field throughout the 2008 season. Ramirez is still the most purely gifted player in the organization, with power and speed to spare, along with an improving ability to recognize pitches and control the strike zone. If things continue to click for the still young Ramirez, he could be a star in the big leagues.