Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
It's important to not put too much stock into just a couple of outings, however, it's certainly an encouraging start. In 2006, Kyle Sleeth couldn't get anyone above rookie-level ball out, struggling mightily in Lakeland. So, when Sleeth can prove to be effective at a big-league level (even if early in spring training), it has to be taken as an encouraging sign that Sleeth's arm isn't a lost cause yet. He still has a long ways to go and will have to prove that he can be effective night-in and night-out before the Tigers can begin to view him once again as a legitimate option for the big league club, however, it's definitely encouraging to see where Sleeth is at this point in time after a 2006 to forget.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
Honestly -- as harsh as it may sound -- I don't make much of his start. While it is encouraging to hear that he's pain free and throwing easy with all four of his pitches; things still aren't all rosy. I've been getting mixed reviews on his previously dominating fastball, with speeds ranging from the 86-88 range, all the way to 90-92 with regularity. In addition, while he's now throwing strikes, he's not necessarily back to throwing quality strikes, missing spots within the zone. All that said, Kyle is light years ahead of where he was at the close of last season, and the progress is a nice sign, but I think he's still a long way off of contributing at the Major League level. A successful season for Sleeth will involve pure health and moderate success as high as AA. As of now, it appears someone has jammed something in to prop open the closing window of Sleeth's career, its just a question of whether he can squeeze through.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'm taking a we'll see type approach to Sleeth. He reportedly was in the low-90's yesterday, and if you couple that with the way he pitched against the Indians on Sunday, it's very encouraging. Obviously, health will be the paramount issue for him this year, and how he holds up during the season will be a big factor (especially if he stays as a starter), but if his stuff returns to what got him picked third overall in 2003, the Tigers will either have another arm for the future, or a potential trade chip. It will certainly be interesting to see what will happen with Sleeth, and I'll be keeping a close eye on how he does in 2007.
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