Burke Badenhop, RHP
Taken in the 19th round of the 2005 First-Year Player Draft out of Bowling Green, Badenhop had a strong first full season in 2006, throwing 171 innings for Class A West Michigan in the Midwest League. He continued to be a workhorse this past season, throwing 154 innings before pitching well in the Arizona Fall League. In his career, Badenhop has a 2.89 ERA. Pitching for advanced Class A Lakeland, he finished fifth in the Florida State League this past season with a 3.13 ERA, a year after placing ninth in the Midwest League with a 2.84 mark. MiLB.com's Tigers Organizational Pitcher of the Year, Badenhop got a promotion to Double-A Erie when the since-traded Jair Jurrjens got called up to the big leagues. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, he features a heavy sinking fastball that induces a ton of ground balls. He also throws a slider and a changeup. He's got excellent command, yielding just 94 walks in 402 innings.
Eulugio de la Cruz, RHP
De la Cruz signed with the Tigers out of the Dominican Republic in 2001. He's always thrown hard, but he hasn't always known where it was going. Cranking a fastball that has hit triple digits in the past, he's struck out 397 in 429 2/3 career Minor League innings, with a 3.62 ERA. He's also walked 198. Throughout his career, he has both started and relieved. De la Cruz performed both roles in 2007, starting for Double-A Erie then moving into Triple-A Toledo's bullpen. He got six games of big league relief work when he was called up to Detroit in the middle of June. The stocky right-hander has two secondary pitches -- an outstanding curve and a changeup -- that could mean he could start, but many look at his power arsenal and his command issues and see short reliever in the future.
Cameron Maybin, OF
One of the elite prospects in the game, Maybin ranked No. 3 overall on MLB.com's Top 50 prospects rankings that were released recently. The center fielder truly is a five-tool talent who is just beginning to scratch the surface in reaching his potential. The No. 10 overall pick in the 2005 Draft, Maybin made it to the big leagues at age 20 this past season after just 192 Minor League games. Beginning with his 2006 season in the Midwest League and continuing at every stop he's made, Maybin has stood out as one of the best players on the field. He can flat out get the ball in center field, has plus speed that helps him defensively and on the bases. If there is one knock on Maybin, and it's not a big one, it's that he's had some trouble staying healthy. He played in 101 games in that debut season of 2006, then just a combined 115 this past season. His time in the Arizona Fall League was cut short by a shoulder issue that bothered him for most of the season. That being said, Maybin is one of the most exciting all-around talents to knock on the big league door in a long time, and he has almost limitless potential to become one of the game's true superstars.
Andrew Miller, LHP
Miller has pitched a total of 16 games in the Minors, and it's doubtful he'll spend any more time there now. The 6-foot-6 southpaw was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2006 Draft, sliding a few spots when the consensus top arm in that class had high bonus demands. He made just three appearances in Lakeland before getting rushed to the big leagues as a lefty reliever to help the Tigers in their playoff push. He returned to a Minor League rotation in 2007, beginning with seven starts in Lakeland. He made four absolutely dominant starts for Double-A Erie (0.59 ERA). Miller made his first big league start in the middle of May, firing six shutout innings. He had other moments like that in his 13 big league starts, though his performance was understandably uneven. When he's on, Miller features a fastball that he can get up into the mid- to upper-90s and a plus, plus slider that made him a bullpen option in the big leagues so quickly after being drafted. Throw in an improving changeup, and Miller's future definitely lies in a big league rotation.
Mike Rabelo, C
Rabelo was taken by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 2001 Draft out of Division II power University of Tampa. He's never been much of a hitter, with a .263 career average and .673 OPS throughout his Minor League career. It's been the switch-hitter's work behind the plate, not at it, that's enabled him to work his way up through the Tigers system and into the big leagues in 2007. He threw out 39 percent of would-be base stealers in 2006. He played in just 51 games, supporting the durable Ivan Rodriguez, this past year, but it's clear Rabelo's future role will be as a defensive-minded backup.
Dallas Trahern, RHP
During this fall, Trahern worked closely with Team USA pitching coach Marcel Lachemann on his tempo on the mound and maintaining consistent mechanics on his delivery. That could help him improve on a career that already has seen him post a 3.40 ERA in just over 500 innings. He was a 34th-round pick in the 2004 Draft, as he appeared headed to the University of Oklahoma. The Tigers were able to get him signed, and he's made steady progress up the system's ladder, reaching Triple-A this past season at age 21. Trahern is an extreme ground-ball pitcher, with a 3.58 GO/AO ratio in 2006 and 2.64 mark this past year. He gets hitters to beat a hard, heavy sinking fastball into the dirt, mixing in a slider and changeup along the way. He's been extremely durable, throwing at least 145 innings in each of his three full seasons.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.