TigsTown MLN: The First Draft Update

It's been nearly two weeks since the biggest day in many amateur baseball players lives, and the Tigers have made quick work bringing many of these promising youngsters into the fold.

While negotiations are ongoing with first rounder Cameron Maybin, the Tigers have managed to bring 7th round choice Patrick Finigan of Southern Illinois into the organization. Both Finigan and 8th round pick, Brendan Wise, could be sleepers from this draft.

The Tigers were aggressive in targeting their 10th through 14th round choices. Righties Kevin Ardoin, and Anthony Claggett will likely help anchor the Oneonta rotation and bullpen respectively in the coming weeks. These two hurlers come from opposite ends of the spectrum, Ardoin as a four-year year varsity player boasting 47 career starts and a 3.80 ERA, while Claggett only pitched one year of relief for UC-Riverside, appearing in 20 games and posting a 4.01 ERA.

Claggett's raw talent intrigued the Tigers, and they feel he could become a top notch relief prospect. Two experienced college outfielders, Matt Joyce and Casper Wells were selected in the 12th and 14th rounds respectively. Both players posted very impressive numbers throughout their college careers, and will be looked upon to help lead the Oneonta offense in 2005.

In the 13th round, the Tigers selected Sacramento CC's Louis Ott, a player many thought was headed to Oklahoma University. With the departure of the OU head coach, Ott was suddenly less interested in heading to the Big 12. With Ott's signing, that makes two successive years the Tigers have robbed top recruits from Oklahoma, stealing Dallas Trahern from the Sooners late in the 2004 draft. Astute research like this by the Tigers is the way to add top flight talent to the system via late round picks.

Two more four-year seniors that signed in the past two weeks, shortstop Michael Hollimon and right-hander Burke Badenhop will provide experience to the lower rungs of the Detroit system. Both players will likely head to the New York-Penn League for the remainder of the summer.

Possibly the most important signing to date for the Tigers has to be that of 18th round choice Agustin Guzman. The second baseman out of Baton Rouge CC is one of the most talented players the Tigers selected in 2005. At only 17 years old, playing in a rather competitive junior college conference, Guzman posted an extremely impressive .459/.535/.945 line (Ed. Note: no, that is not a typo, he had an OPS near 1.500). Many feel as though Guzman has only scratched the surface of his offensive upside, and this signing by the Tigers immediately adds to the depth of this draft class.

In a draft heavy on experienced collegiate talent, the Tigers also came to terms with later round selections Matthew Norfleet (22), Mark Haske (23), Jake Baxter (25), Will Rhymes (27), Ryan Roberson (30), Tim Robertson (31), Chris Torres (32), Loren Fraser (33), and Jeffrey Hahn (35). With the extensive experience of this group, it is likely that all of them will contribute heavily to the NYPL's Oneonta Tigers.

Two players to keep an eye on out of this group are Norfleet and Haske. Norfleet was both a dominant starter and reliever at Tennessee Wesleyan, while Haske has the defensive ability and underrated offensive skill to follow in the footsteps of both Tony Giarratano and Brent Dlugach.

While talks are ongoing with many of the organizations other draft choices, those of note include 17th rounder Warner Jones out of Vanderbilt. Early indications were that Jones may return to Vandy in an attempt to improve his draft stock, but later word has implied that Jones could be heading to Oneonta for the summer.

The Tigers are also finding that late round signability picks David Adams and Zach Putnam may be more willing to listen to offers than many teams first thought.

As the weeks pass, the Tigers are sure to announce more and more signings. Check back next week for an update on this years draft class.

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