Prospect Profile: Ryan Raburn

Raburn hopes to get another shot in the spring

Not every player can claim to be a five tool player, capable of doing everything the best can do. Luckily for the rest of those prospects, including Ryan Raburn, one good skill can help one get all the way to the big leagues. For Raburn, that skill is his bat capable of crushing the ball on any given pitch.

Ryan Raburn
Position: Second Baseman Height: 6-0 Weight: 185
Born: 4/17/1981 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Raburn was drafted twice in a three year span, first by the Devil Rays in 1999 (18th round), then again by the Tigers in the 5th round of the 2001 draft. The University of Florida product started off with a bang, knocking a strong .363/.423/.696 line with Oneonta. Following a horrible ATV accident after the 2001 season, Raburn was limited to just 180 at-bats, and a .228 average in 2002. It wasn't until the 2004 season that Raburn proved to be completely healthy, and back to his high octane offensive ways. Ryan was red-hot in August and September last season, ending the year with a .301/.390/.533 line with AA-Erie. After a cup of coffee with Detroit at the end of 2004, Raburn returned to Toledo for the 2005 campaign. Ryan appeared overmatched for much of the year, and didn't show the defensive or offensive progress the Tigers were hoping to see.

Scouting Report
Raburn's numbers suggest a better player than his skill set would indicate. Defensively, Ryan can't seem to find a position that suits him. After playing outfield while at Florida, the Tigers promptly moved him to the hot corner, where he proved he did not have the reactions or arm to handle the position. Prior to the 2003 season, Detroit decided to give him a shot at second base, hoping he could find a home and continue his development. Raburn's progress has stagnated at the position, and he still lacks the range and instincts to be a truly successful middle infielder. In the batter's box, Ryan has proved he can hit when healthy, but will need to improve his bat speed to continue to succeed at higher levels. Raburn has natural power and a solid understanding of the strike zone. His high strikeout totals will not be a concern if he continues to walk 50-60 times per season and hit for power. Raburn's offensive skill set was exposed at AAA in 2005, and he will need to get back to controlling the strike zone with aplomb to have any chance at a Major League job.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

AAA

Toledo

471

.253

22

19

64

109

45

.323

.437


Health Record
Raburn suffered some serious hip injuries as a result of his ATV accident. He has completely recovered, and has come back to be as good as he previously was. Ryan missed some time early in the 2004 season due to an injured thumb, but after healing, Raburn experienced no lingering problems.

The Future
After struggling in 2005, Raburn is at risk of being dropped from the 40-man roster, in what could be a busy off-season for the Tigers. While the organization still remains intrigued by Raburn's offensive potential, he'll need to re-establish his previous stroke to compensate for his poor glove. If that doesn't happen, he could be destined to a 4-A career with intermittent stops on various big league rosters. If Raburn catches a few breaks over the next couple of years, he could be a slightly less versatile version of Shane Halter, with similar offensive potential. The 2006 season should prove significant in determining Ryan's future with the Tigers.

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