organizational prospect rankings for the Detroit Tigers earlier this month. The porti..."/> organizational prospect rankings for the Detroit Tigers earlier this month. The porti..."/>

Looking Back At Baseball America’s 2011 Projected Lineup


Baseball America released their organizational prospect rankings for the Detroit Tigers earlier this month. The portion of this yearly report that I find to be the most entertaining is their projected lineups. They take a look at the current players and prospects, and take a guess at what the team’s lineup will look like four years into the future.

After reading through this year’s version, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at what they projected the 2011 lineup to be after the 2007 season.

The first thing that surprised me was exactly how much player movement the organization has seen. It looks like only six of the fifteen players will still be in the organization in 2011.

I’m also surprised that James Skelton made the list as at catcher. Part of that is because he was a decent prospect, but I think the majority of the reasoning is that the Tigers were very thin at the catcher position as an organization. Skelton was claimed by Arizona in the Rule IV draft before the 2009 season, but he hasn’t seen any time above Double-A.

Miguel Cabrera had just been acquired by Detroit, and though Baseball America was correct that he didn’t have a future at the hot corner, they elected to slot him in left field, a position he had played at times in Florida. Instead, Carlos Guillen was projected to be the first baseman.

The left side of the infield was projected to be patrolled by Edgar Renteria, at shortstop, and Cale Iorg, (who was the #2 prospect in the system at the time) at third base. Unfortunately, things didn’t really work out for either of these guys. Renteria, of course, returned to the National League after only the one season, and Cale Iorg has yet to realize any of his offensive potential.

Placido Ploanco, a former fan favorite, was projected to the second baseman, and I think many Tiger fans still wish he was going to be.

In the outfield, both Granderson and Joyce have been traded away. Joyce was dealt to Tampa Bay for Edwin Jackson, who in turn was traded to Arizona in the three team deal that sent Granderson to New York, and brought Coke, Jackson, Scherzer, and Schlereth to Detroit. I don’t think we can definitively call this a fantastic deal yet, but the early returns look very very good.

Magglio Ordonez was slated as the DH, and although the Tigers very well may bring him back, he would probably be asked to play outfield on most occasions.

Things are pretty disappointing on the pitching side. The rotation of Verlander, Porcello, Willis, and Bonderman probably looked silly-good at the time, but in the mean time, Bonderman’s arm fell off and Willis forgot how to throw strikes. I remember thinking at the time that the Tigers could have four or five pitchers each win fifteen plus games. My how times change. Verlander, Scherzer, and Porcello isn’t a bad foundation though.

Joel Zumaya was the projected closer, and the job may well have been his had he been able to stay healthy.

They did an OK job with the prospects. Joyce isn’t starting in Detroit, but he hit pretty well for Tampa Bay last year; he’ll be starting down there next year. Porcello still has work to do, but I still like his chances to be a top tier pitcher. They missed on Iorg, and Skelton. Both have struggled to make their way up the minor league ladder.

So was the projection accurate? Pretty hard to say. There’s no way that Baseball America could have (or should have) predicted all of the trades, and there were a number of guys that were not offered contracts to return. It’s nearly impossible to rate how well they did at projecting the Tigers. Still, I think it’s fun to look at.