Prospect Profile: Dusty Ryan

Ryan will backstop the Whitecaps in 2005

After signing with the Tigers, Dusty displayed his abilities in the short-season New York-Penn League. After a successful debut, Ryan will look to carry his act to West Michigan where he will likely garner most of the time behind the plate.

Dusty Ryan
Position: Catcher Height: 6-5 Weight: 210
Born: 9/2/84 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
One of two draft and follow players the Tigers signed prior to the 2004 draft, Ryan is justifying the organizations investment immediately. Taken in the 48th round of the 2003 draft, Ryan had displayed moderate numbers in his freshman season at Merced Junior College, posting a 0.256 batting average, with 11 doubles and 14 runs batted in. With a commitment to attend Oklahoma State following his sophomore season in hand, Ryan put together an outstanding campaign. Dusty finished the season ranking in the top ten in the Central Valley Conference in batting average (0.398), homeruns (6), RBI (41), slugging (0.617), and on-base percentage (.477). Fortunately, the Tigers were able to sign him away from his commitment to OSU, sending him on to Oneonta to start his professional career. Ryan had a very successful start to his career, posting a .274/.369/.433 line in the tough NYPL. Dusty displayed good power, solid strike zone judgment, and very good defensive skills in his debut campaign.

Scouting Report
Obviously, the offensive potential exists; it's just a matter of how well this potential will translate to the professional game. Ryan has above-average power potential, and has shown the ability to hit for decent average to this point. Dusty normally displays a short, compact, and powerful stroke, but his swing does become too long on occasion when he starts swinging for the fences. Ryan has demonstrated an advanced approach at the plate, showing a willingness to be patient and take walks. With some additional strength and continued work on his strike zone judgment, Dusty could become an offensive monster, capable of driving the ball to all fields with authority. Defensively, Ryan shows above average catch and throw mechanics, with a powerful arm. Ryan also demonstrates surprising quickness behind the plate, and the agility to block the ball well. There are some concerns about his ability to remain at catcher due to his large frame, but for now, all indications are that he can handle the position well.

Performance

Year

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

SLG%

OPS

2004

Oneonta

157

.274

11

4

26

52

24

.433

.802


Health Record
To date, Dusty has not experienced any significant injuries that will affect him moving forward.

The Future
After a solid campaign in the tough New York-Penn League, Dusty will likely move on to West Michigan to start the 2005 season. With an abundance of catching prospects littering the lower levels of the Tigers farm system (Joel Roa, Justin Barnes, Cole Miller, Cody Collet, Andrew Graham, etc.), it may prove difficult for Ryan to find consistent at-bats. It will be imperative that Dusty take advantage of all his opportunities, and works hard to continue developing on his own. Both the offensive and defensive potential are there for Ryan to emerge as an elite catching prospect in the coming years, but keep in mind that the developmental curve for catchers is often much slower than other position prospects. It may be a while before he reaches the more advanced levels of the Tigers system, but remember, he is not even 20 years old yet.

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