The time has come yet again to announce the top players in the organization for 2009. Check inside to see who won the Ryan DeWitt Minor League Player of the Year and Brian Bluhm Minor League Pitcher of the Year awards.
Ryan DeWitt Minor League Player of the Year: 2B Scott Sizemore
.308/.389/.500, 39 2B, 17 HR, 66 RBI
Scott Sizemore came out strong after being drafted out of Virginia Commonwealth in 2006, but a wrist injury in 2008 completely halted his progress. Things got rolling again this season as Sizemore tore through the Double-A Eastern League to start the year. In 225 at-bats, the Tigers top second base prospect hit a robust .311/.405/.542 in his first taste against advanced pitching. His time in Erie included 17 doubles, four triples, and nine home runs, while walking 34 times. After his red hot start, the Tigers pushed the 24-year old Sizemore to Triple-A where he continued to torch the opposition. On the back of 21 more doubles, another triple, and eight more home runs, Sizemore totaled a .306/.379/.472 line to forcefully announce his candidacy for a big league job in 2010. As if the Tigers' impending decision on whether or not to bring back incumbent second baseman Placido Polanco
wasn't difficult enough, Sizemore's dominating performance has made things even more challenging. Expect to see Sizemore make his Major League debut next year, and he should be an offense-oriented second baseman for many years.
Brian Bluhm Minor League Pitcher of the Year: LHP Casey Crosby
10-4, 2.41 ERA, 117 K, 48 BB, .195 BAA
As though it is the theme of this year's TigsTown organizational awards, Casey Crosby was also taking the 2009 season as an opportunity to come back from a major injury. After undergoing Tommy John surgery after signing in 2007, Crosby only appeared in three games for the GCL Tigers in 2008 as he began his return from surgery. The Tigers assigned him to West Michigan to start the 2009 season, and he rewarded their faith with a dominating season. Crosby posted a 5-2 record and 3.68 ERA while striking out 68 in only 58 2/3 innings prior to the All-Star break. Crosby used his mid-90s heater that touches 97 with great regularity, and when he began commanding it better around mid-season, his season turned from another step in the road back from injury, to a dominating season making him one of the top pitching prospects in the game. After the mid-summer classic in the Midwest League, Crosby again posted a 5-2 record in ten more starts, but this time he notched a 0.78 ERA in 46 innings, with 49 strikeouts and only 14 walks. Crosby's superb second half run has vaulted him to the front of the Tiger prospect rankings, and could see him jump all the way to Double-A Erie for the 2010 season.