The Detroit Tigers Minor League affiliates seasons are now officially in the books. With another season completed, the time has come for me to announce the 2011 MCB Down on the Farm All-Star Team.
In an effort to reward less talked about prospects, only players that did not receive a call-up to Detroit this season were eligible. While you may recognize some of the names, remember these awards aren’t a pronouncement of the Tigers top prospects. The awards were based heavily upon the best overall statistical season per position.
Similar to previous years, the breakdown of the roster will consist of one player per position, a designated hitter, five starting pitchers and five relievers.
2011 MCB Down on the Farm All-Star Team: LHP Casey Crosby
TEAM: AA-Erie SeaWolves
STATS: 131 2/3 IP 9-7 4.10 ERA 1.51 WHIP 8.3 H/9 5.3 BB/9 8.9 K/9 0.5 HR/9
Casey Crosby was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of Kaneland High School in Illinois. Crosby fell in the draft due to signability issues but the Tigers were willing to take a chance and able to eventually sign him for $748,500. The 6’5″ southpaw has been labeled as high as number two in their team prospect rankings. However, his rather lengthy injury history has both fans and scouts a bit skeptical. Care for a recap? Crosby missed the entire 2008 season due to Tommy John Surgery that occurred shortly after the draft. In 2009–his only injury-free season–Crosby posted a 2.41 ERA in 24 starts, while averaging better than a strikeout per inning for the West Michigan White Caps. His performance that season earned him the Detroit Tigers Minor League Pitcher of the Year Award. In 2010, Crosby found himself on the shelf again though. This time it was with elbow soreness in his left arm. Unfortunately, he managed to log just 12 1/3 innings over three rehab starts in the GCL that season. Despite entering the season just 22-years-old, Crosby skipped Advanced-A Lakeland and pitched for the AA-Erie SeaWolves last season.
Crosby features a mid-90s fastball that can hit in the neighborhood of the upper 90s. His fastball is complimented by a power curveball that projects a tick above average and a serviceable change-up. His secondary stuff flashes better than its reported, but he’s often inconsistent with it. That’s not surprising really either, considering he was seen as pretty much all fastball coming out of high school. His progress is even more surprising when you factor in all of the development time lost due to injuries.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS:
A simple glance at the numbers and you’d likely be left unimpressed with Crosbys 2011 campaign. Diving inside the numbers, there was actually a lot to be excited about last season though. Crosby logged a career high 131 2/3 innings last season. He also continues to strikeout nearly a batter per inning. Unfortunately Crosby surrendered nearly a hit per inning and issued 5 walks per nine. The home run numbers were a tad high too. Perhaps he was just knocking off the rust. The hitter friendly confines of Jerry Uht Park likely didn’t help Crosby much either.
The majority of Crosbys fate lies within whether or not he can remain healthy. Despite being drafted in 2007, he has yet to play in consecutive seasons. His season had several peaks and valleys because of his inconsistent secondary offerings. However, the “stuff” is there. I still think he’s widely considered as a quality front to middle of the rotation starter if all goes well. I still believe his floor remains a quality late inning reliever too. Of course both his ceiling and floor heavily rely on him both staying healthy and polishing his secondary offerings.
Crosby should begin the 2012 season in AA-Erie in my opinion. At 23-years-old, he definitely wouldn’t be old for the level. However, I see the Tigers continuing their aggressive ways, promoting Crosby to AAA-Toledo. Congratulations to Casey Crosby for an outstanding season.
2011 MCB Down on the Farm All-Stars
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