Chuck Biscuits - Cobb Times Herald
This years draft was generally considered by many to be a giant pile of worthless prospects, but there were a few difference makers to be had for those who put a lot of money and time into draft preparations. Here is a team by team look to see who was successful, and who was not.
--The Sharks took LF Trevor Collier with the #25 pick in the draft. Collier is a great clubhouse guy with a funny sense of humor and is known for his pranks and jokes, but his hitting skills are only above average, and his glove is typical of what you would see for a LF. He might make it to the big leagues as a backup, but it's hard to see him as a starter for a team as talented in the OF as the Sharks. 2nd round pick C Sam Lee actually has a much brighter ML future than Collier, with above average catching skills, and is a very good hitter with an incredible batting eye vs. left handers. He should be a great platoon player. 3rd round pick Albie Barrett has great control but his inability to effectively pitch to righties will probably keep him in the minor leagues, along with the rest of the Sharks draft picks after him.
--RP Kevin Singleton was selected with the #22 pick by the Pitbulls, and is a finesse pitcher who is great at keeping the ball down. His control and pitches are good enough to offset his average splits and get him to the majors as a setup man. The same could be said of second round pick RP Alex Saturria, who has a very similar skill set to Singleton. 3rd and 4th round pick SS prospects Edwin Ward and Marv Sodowski both have major league gloves and minor league bats. The rest of the Pitbull draft is made up of minor leaguers. There were no stars here, but definitely some solid role players.
--The Loggers scored in a big way at the #13 pick with their selection of SP Julius Olmos, who looks to have all the skills needed to be a front of the rotation starter. Olmos has great control, pretty good splits, nice velocity, and an above average pitch selection. Supplemental pick Ernie Hamilton should also make the majors as a back end starter with his impeccable control and incredible pitch selection, which should offset his average splits. Pitchers Warren Lange and Vicente Benitez might see time in the bigs as bullpen guys. The rest of the Logger draft is nothing to write home about. But four pitchers who could see the majors in a draft as devoid of talent as this one is some nice work indeed.
--The Sabercats selected SS Cliff Hooper with the #16 pick in the draft. Hooper is one of those great stamina/durability guys who can play every day, but only in an average way. His glove is only just suited to SS work, and is probably better suited for 3B, and his bat is only average. He does have some power, but that is about it. All told he will be an ok backup, but probably shouldn't start. Supplemental pick RP Jody Harris was a pretty nice pickup, and has great control, velocity, pitches, and keeps the ball down as well as anyone in the game. His splits are pretty decent, so he should have a good future as a setup man in the majors. Supplemental pick CF Benny Kirwan should be a decent major leaguer as well, with good splits and power, and great range and a good glove. The rest of the Sabercats draft yielded fringe players or career minor leaguers.
--The HoundDogs used the #15 pick in the draft on SS Mark Belle. Belle has an excellent glove, and slightly above average hitting skills. He won't be an all star, but should be serviceable in the majors as a backup or utility man. 2nd round pick RP Torey Lee is a AAAA type who might make the majors as an injury replacement. 3rd round pick Allen Grossman was a steal though, with great RP skills and enough durability to pitch 30-50 innings in a season, he was a great find by the HoundDogs. Otherwise there wasn't much of note in the Columbus draft, not a horrible draft, but certainly not the best this season either.
--The Steamers continued their tendency to employ players named Mule (see Mule Parker on the ML squad), and selected RP Mule Holmes with the #28 pick in the draft. Holmes has very nice splits and superb control, 3 pitches, and nice velocity. The only concern is his durability, which in combination with his stamina might limit his contributions during the season. Supplemental pick Brett Gray is a fringe ML guy at best, and probably will spend most of his career in the minors. 2nd round pick C Warren Vernon is a defensive catcher with the ability to only play 60-70 games a year, and has a completely anemic bat. None of the other top picks of the Steamers signed, leaving this to be a pretty barren draft for Cleveland.
Fargo Fug Nuts
--The Fug Nuts took CF/2B Shea Pierre with the #31 pick in the draft. Pierre is pretty much what you would expect for a player taken at that position, pretty much average across the board and likely to live life as a ML backup. Supplemental pick RF Sparky Price is a nice contact hitter and should make the majors at some point. Supplemental pick SS John Lowery has an awesome glove, and can hit just enough to justify a spot in the majors, and could start for an NL team in the future. 2nd round pick CF Russell O'Toole is a nice defensive CF with some speed, and could be a ML backup. After that the Fargo draft is pretty much role players and minor leaguers, but this wasn't a bad draft by any stretch for the Fug Nuts.
--The Almendares first round pick, RP Brant Ford, is currently on the fence about signing with Florida, as he has a lucrative hockey future to consider as well. That leaves the highest signed pick honors to Bronson Michaels, a 2nd rounder who is a slap hitting LF with good skills vs. lefties. His abilities vs. righties leaves something to be desired, but he should see platoon duty in the majors at some point. The rest of Florida's top picks are relief pitchers who are pretty much career minor leaguers, with major stamina issues. If Ford signs this grade goes up a bit, but right now it is a one player draft for Florida.