TigsTown MLN: Three More in the Fold

With the start of the short-season leagues, the Tigers have managed to get many of their picks into the fold so they can start playing. Since the last update, the Tigers have signed four more of their picks, including their third and fourth round choices.

Just after the previous update, both Christopher Robinson and Kevin Whelan signed on the dotted line.

Despite the hope of fans that Whelan would move quickly through the system, he was assigned to Low-A Oneonta. Whelan has the potential to be a very good high leverage reliever, but he is an inexperienced pitcher who must learn the intricacies of his craft. If he can catch on quickly, harnessing his fastball, he could move relatively quickly.

While Robinson has yet to see any game action, it is likely he will be reporting to West Michigan of the Midwest League, hopefully helping a somewhat anemic offense. The platoon of Dusty Ryan and Andrew Graham for the Whitecaps hasn't exactly produced even mediocre numbers. The hope is that Robinson could be aggressively pushed by the organization, while still helping stabilize a young team under the expectations of a 2004 League Championship.

In addition to two of their top picks, the Tigers also brought Auburn junior, Michael ‘Clete' Thomas on board. Thomas is a traditional five-tool talent who has never lived up to his immense potential. Coming out of high school, many felt Thomas had the potential to become one of the top collegiate talents in the country, only to have him stagnate during his development. Clete was considered to be somewhat of a difficult sign as many thought he would return to Auburn in hopes of improving his draft stock. Thomas was assigned to the Oneonta Tigers, where the Tigers hope professional coaching will help further his development.

The last signing of the past week was Army catcher Schuyler Williamson. Williamson was forced to go through some unique processes in order to work around his military commitment. With Williamson signed, it further clouds the catching picture in the low minors. The Tigers already had several catchers vying for playing time between Oneonta and the Gulf Coast League Tigers, and the addition of Schuyler to the O-Tigers squad leaves even less at-bats for some of his fellow backstops.

Overall, the Tigers have moved quickly to sign many of their picks from the 2005 draft. Talks are continuing with top talents like Cameron Maybin, Tony Pechek, David Adams, and Zach Putnam, and the Tigers hope to bring some of them aboard soon. As more players sign, expect plenty of roster shuffling throughout the lower rungs of the system.

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