Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Lakeland Flying Tigers 2008 preview

Deran has posted the Flying Tigers opening day roster at Lakeland Flying Tigers Blog. I was particularly interested in seeing who would be on the Lakeland roster as I will be going there to watch a series in May. It will be a very strong team to open the season and here are some of the most interesting prospects:

Rick Porcello is the top prospect in the Tigers system and one of the best in baseball. Drafted in the first round last year out of Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey in 2007, he fell to the Tigers at pick 27 because of signability issues. The 19 year old right-hander has been compared to Justin Verlander but still has a ways to go before he will pitch in the majors. He throws his fastball in the mid 90s and touches 97 and also has a curve ball, slider and change-up. For a pitcher his age, he has good command of all his pitchers. He is going to be a very exciting pitcher to follow over the next couple of years.

Scott Sizemore had a streaky year at West Michigan in 2007 and ended up batting only .265 but with a solid 73/60 BB/K ratio. He later bounced back finishing among the leading hitters in the Arizona Fall League batting .356 with a .994 OPS in 21 games. The 23 year old Sizemore is an adequate defender with average range and arm at second base. He could move up to AA fairly quickly if he hits well for the Flying Tigers.

Cale Iorg, the son of former major leaguer Garth Iorg, was taken by the Tigers in the 6th round last year and given a $1.5 million signing bonus. He hasn't played ball the last couple of years as he had been doing Mormon missionary work in Portugal. He last played as a freshman at Alabama in 2005. The scouting report on him is that he is a good defensive shortstop with a smooth swing and some power potential. The Tigers think the 22 year old Iorg can develop into a regular big league shortstop but it might take a while to shake off the rust.

James Skelton is one of my favorite Tiger prospects. At 5-11, 165 pounds Skelton is not your typical catcher. The 22 year old backstop Skelton has a good arm and solid all around catching skills. Offensively, the left-haded batter hit .309 with a very good 55/53 BB/K ratio at West Michigan in 2007. He also has good speed for a catcher. He is not expected to develop a lot of home run power but did have 33 extra base hits in 2007.

Some other players to watch at Lakeland are pitchers Duane Below, Jonah Nickerson and Freddy Dolsi, first baseman Ryan Streiby and outfielder Jeramy Laster. The complete roster is listed below. For more news and discussion of the Flying Tigers, check out the following sites:

Lakeland Flying Tigers Blog
Flying Tigers official website
Take 75 North
Tigers Minor League Baseball Blog

Starting Pitchers
Rick Porcello
Duane Below
Jonah Nickerson
Matt O’Brien
Luis Marte
Guillermo Moscoso (DL)
Jeff Gerbe (DL)

Freddy Dolsi
Gabe Benitez
Brendan Wise
Derek Witt
Angel Castro
Ed Clelland
Nick Martin

James Skelton
Jeff Kunkel

Ryan Streiby 1B
Scott Sizemore 2B
Cale Iorg SS
Shawn Roof util
Louis Ott util
Santo De Leon SS
Michael Bertram 3B-1B

Brandon Timm
Justin Justice
Jeremy Laster
Brennan Boesch

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