Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The easy choice here is obviously uber prospect Rick Porcello - the kid is already good enough to be in the back of a big league rotation, shows remarkable poise and control, and his stuff is good enough that he's an ace in the making. So, with Porcello an obvious choice to even a non-observer, I'm going to go a different direction, and pick Casper Wells. Wells turned the corner in a big way in 2008, posting 27 homers between two levels, and putting on a show late in the Arizona Fall League. He's the type of prospect that hits enough to be a corner outfielder, but has the defensive instincts and ability that he could play center, which makes him an ideal candidate to be coming off the bench because of his bat and versatility. Much like Clete Thomas last spring, I expect Casper to get a long hard look by manager Jim Leyland, who has always valued the versatility trait when it comes to his core bench players.
Mark Anderson, Managing Editor
There's an easy answer here, and that's Rick Porcello. The buzz is already building, and though he wasn't flawless in his spring debut this week, there were still rave reviews. Porcello has the ability to work as a league average starter at the back of a Major League rotation, right now. That may sound far-fetched, but it really is true. Given then questions surrounding the starting rotation in Detroit, it is inevitable that the buzz will escalate to a fever pitch each time he takes the mound and doesn't allow a run. All that said, and several things would have to break perfectly for this to become more than just buzz. If we are looking for a player that truly could create a buzz and possibly make the Opening Day roster, that person may be Ryan Perry. People continue to down play his readiness for the big leagues as well, but with high-90s heat and a slider/change combo that can give hitters fits, he has the raw stuff to compete at the highest level immediately. If Jim Leyland sees a few good outings from the youngster, he could cling to him as a potential member of a bullpen in flux.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'll go with someone who has already made an impression against some of the Tigers hitters in Rick Porcello. In throwing batting practice last week, Jim Leyland and Miguel Cabrera both raved about Porcello's stuff, and although I don't think he'll be heading north with the Tigers, there is a possibility he could make his debut in the big leagues sometime later in the season.
If all goes according to plan, Porcello could be in the rotation for good next year.
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