6th round - SS Brent Dlugach
A veteran of the college ranks, Dlugach was the Tigers 6th round selection. After signing with the team (financial terms not disclosed), he debuted for the Tigers in short season-A Oneonta, struggling some. At 6' 5", Dlugach doesn't appear to be a natural Shortstop, but has better natural ability at the position than what he showcased in '04. What Dlugach does need to worry about though is his bat, as he hit just .213 for the O-Tigers. More concerning was his lack of patience, a trait many organizations hope college players enter the organization with, as he struck out 59 times in 183 at bats, including just 8 walks. Dlugach will probably get the promotion to West Michigan, but will need to show better than he did in 2004.
7th round - SP Chris Carpenter (unsigned)
Carpenter became the lone pick of the Tigers top 10 selections to not come to terms with the club, as instead of joining the organization he followed through on his commitment to attend Kent State. The loss of Carpenter hurts, but the club is optimistic about late-round steals, Nate Bumstead and Dallas Trahern.
8th round - SP Lucas French
After coming to terms with the Tigers (his deal included a $92,000 signing bonus), French made his debut with the organization for the GCL Tigers. The young lefty had a solid first season, with a 2.74 ERA in 11 games (10 starters) for the club. French is still very young, but has already demonstrated good command and an ability to strike the opposition out (49 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings). Still being young, French will probably start 2005 in extended Spring Training, before making his debut in short season A Oneonta.
9th round - OF Brandon Timm
Timm was offered a $62,500 signing bonus from the Tigers to skip college, which is exactly what he did. Timm had a very typical year for first year players as he kicked off his pro campaign with the GCL Tigers. Timm hit .232 in 125 at bats, but it wasn't all bad. Timm showed patience at the plate (18 walks), and a little bit of speed on the basepaths (7 steals). Much like French, Timm will probably hang around Lakeland for extended Spring Training after camp breaks before heading to the New York Penn League and the Oneonta Tigers.
10th round - 3B Cory Middleton
Another high schooler, Middleton received $55,000 from the Tigers to bypass college and start his professional career. Middleton had a hot start to the year before cooling later on, but still showed plenty of promise. Middleton played Shortstop in high school, but played both Shortstop and Third Base with the GCL Tigers - a sign that the Tigers might be willing to give him a try at short despite many scouts' belief that long term he's destined for the 'hot corner'. Middleton finished out with a .234 batting average, but did sport a .366 slugging percentage, including 4 Home Runs. Middleton, like most youngsters, needs to improve his patience (32 strikeouts to just 5 walks), but that should come with time. Like Timm, expect Middleton to start out in extended Spring Training before playing with either the GCL Tigers again or moving up to Oneonta - much of which could depend on the status of highly-touted prospect Wilkin Ramirez, and where he starts off in 2005.