Originally written on Tigers Weblog  |  Last updated 11/23/11

Last week the Tigers set their 40-man rosters in order to protect players from the Rule 5 draft. In addition to the big league club and high-level minor leaguers, the roster includes 5 prospects whose names I mentioned many times throughout last season: Casey Crosby, Matt Hoffman, Tyler Stohr, Avisail Garcia, and Hernan Perez. In this fist-part post, I’ll examine the potential of two of the five.

Casey Crosby (LHP)

In 25 starts at Erie, Crosby went 9-7 with a 4.10 ERA. He tossed 131.2 innings while striking out 121, walking 77, and allowing a .253 average against. Crosby’s numbers seem relatively pedestrian. The most significant aspect of his stat line is that he was able to throw all year without being shut down due to injury. Crosby underwent Tommy John surgery in 2008 and missed most of 2010 with persistent elbow pain. Crosby has a live arm with a mid 90’s fastball from the left side. He has the stuff to be a top ½ of the rotation pitcher but needs to master his control issues. If his arm holds up through 2012, Crosby will be competing for a starting spot in 2013.

 Matt Hoffman (LHP)

The 23-year-old lefty appeared in 49 games for Toledo as a middle-reliever. Over 62.1 IP, Hoffman K’ed 46, walked 23, and was hit at a .253 clip. His ERA at AAA was a respectable 3.18. Hoffman is an intriguing prospect because he has shown steady improvement each year and hasn’t hit his ceiling yet. The best way to statistically evaluate this improvement is to look at his tremendous year-to-year improvement in ERA at the same levels: in 2008 he finished the year at West Michigan with a 4.60 ERA. He started 2009 there and posted a 1.12 ERA before being promoted to Lakeland. He finished the year at Lakeland with a 6.79 ERA. The next year, 2010, he produced an impressive 1.59 ERA before being promoted to Erie and then Toledo.  Hoffman produced solid numbers in the AFL: 3 1/3 innings giving up just one hit and no runs or walks. Hoffman should blossom into a quality middle-reliever (think Bobby Seay, but good at baseball) sometime in 2013.

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