TigsTown MLN: Low Levels, Plus More on the 'Wolves

Wrapping up the week, we take a look way down on the farm, focusing on some of the new additions and younger players in short season A ball as well as down in Lakeland for the rookie club. Plus, are the SeaWolves really looking to be on the move, or is it simply a pipedream from a hopeful small town mayor?

The O-Tigers continue to lead their division, entirely on the momentum of their bats, really doing so despite having a ton of high caliber position player prospects on the club.

So how exactly is this club putting up the numbers that they are? Well, part of it is the emergence of a few more experienced players that are simply hitting the cover off the ball. Shortstop Michael Holliman has been spectacular in the first month of action, posting a .282/.381/.556 line. Of course, at 23, Holliman is not a true prospect, despite being drafted this past spring by Detroit. Now, if he can move up and continue putting up similar numbers, the Tigers might yet have something.

One guy who has been producing and can be considered a prospect is his infield mate, third baseman Cory Middleton. Middleton has posted a .282/.368/.462 line, while continuing to learn the fine points of third base, the position he was shifted over to shortly after being drafted last spring. Middleton, who is just 19, is a member of TigsTown's top 50 prospects and will be one to watch as he remains a level behind Wilkin Ramirez.

Down to the GCL Tigers, things haven't been as bright as of late, as the team has struggled to put together wins. The offense has struggled (as is typical with young 18 year olds facing good pitching on a regular basis for the first time), but this team has really struggled as of late, putting up just over three runs per game over their last 16 games.

One sad part has been the lack of the Tigers top draft pick, Cameron Maybin. The Tigers believe they have made a very fair offer, and have little plans of budging from their stance; believed to be at a little more than $2 million. That presents a problem when Maybin believes he is worth at least $3 million, despite falling all the way to 10th.

Maybin's advisor Brian Goldberg has yet to show a willingness to back off from their demands, unfortunately that appears to have stemmed from the demands of his family, who believe he was worthy of the top overall selection.

At some point, the family will have to decide what its true intentions are. Should the family sacrifice the money to allow Cameron to get into camp? Maybin did sign a letter of intent to play at Southern University, but that doesn't appear to be a realistic option for Maybin, as he can do little more to prove his status, and would likely only hurt himself by slowing his ascension to the majors and possibly getting the reputation of being difficult to work with. The situation could continue to drag on, but expect Maybin to eventually sign on the dotted line.

And finally, we turn to the Erie SeaWolves and their status with the city of Erie. According to Kevin Mortesen, spokesman for Mandalay Baseball Properties, "Mandalay Baseball Properties continues discussions with the city of Erie concerning a renewal of the lease at Jerry Uht Park." Mortesen said Mandalay would not comment on the rumored move of the team to Holyoke, Massachusetts.

However, Mortesen made it clear that Mandalay is a professionally run organization (read: they're in the game to make money). Mortesen pointed out the impressive growth of two of their other teams in Dayton and Frisco, and believes that business model will be applied to all teams in the future.

"Dayton has 17 full time members in their entertainment department alone, including four full time camera men that broadcast the game on the video board," Mortesen stated. And he continued, "but as of now, Erie simply doesn't have the facilities to make such a change possible."

Again, Mortesen refused comment on any particular discussions, but it seems fairly obvious that if the city of Erie can't commit the money to improving Jerry Uht Park into the impressive facility they want (and feel they need), they won't hesitate to look at relocating the franchise. So, to say it bluntly, while Holyoke may not be the place for the SeaWolves to go, where there's smoke, there's fire.

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