Position: Second Baseman
Hollimon joined the Tiger organization as a 16th round choice out of Oral Roberts in 2006. The third time he had been drafted, this was Hollimon's final chance to turn pro. As a high school senior, he was dubbed one of the top players in the country, only to fall to the 32nd round because of high bonus demands. Hollimon was a 4-time All-State selection, 2-time High School All-American, and was a member of the 2000 US Junior National Team.
As a freshman at Texas, Michael was a member of the Big 12 All-Freshman Team and a Collegiate Baseball Freshman All-American, on the heels of a campaign that saw him post a .262/.375/.376 line. Aside from his freshman awards, Hollimon was also named 2nd Team All-Big 12. Michael's freshman success did not translate to further success with the Longhorns, but he was still drafted by the Minnesota Twins after his junior campaign. Hollimon transferred to Oral Roberts for his senior season, where he put together a banner year in the Mid Continent Conference, taking home the Conference Tournament MVP and the Mid Continent Player of the Year.
In his professional debut, Hollimon was one of the most dominating players in the New York-Penn League. After posting a .277/.389/.559 line that included 36 extra-base hits, and was named the TigsTown Oneonta Player of the Year. The success did not stop with his first taste of full-season ball, as Hollimon picked up right where he left off. Despite not taking home any monthly awards, he was again named the TigsTown West Michigan Player of the Year. Hollimon's campaign put him on the map, particularly the fact that he ranked in the top ten in six essential offensive categories; 1st in triples (13), 9th in home runs (15), 2nd in walks (77), 6th in OBP, 5th in slugging, and 3rd in OPS.
Coming out of high school, Hollimon was considered a 5-tool infield talent that could develop into an elite player with more development and experience. Unfortunately, while in college, Hollimon's tools never caught up to the high school hype. Hollimon has solid tools across the board, and projects to be slightly above average both offensively and defensively. At the plate, Hollimon has a smooth, clean stroke from both sides of the plate, and generates easy power to all fields from the left side. He is a much better overall hitter from the left side, but with additional work he could improve right-handed. He has a tremendous understanding of the strike zone, and is more than willing to take a walk. He struggles with good breaking balls, and must begin recognizing them better in order to cut down his strikeout totals.
In the field, Hollimon has average range and solid instincts. He has the raw tools to be a plus defender, but despite diligent work, they have yet to develop. His arm is above average, and his throws are consistently accurate, even while on the move. He can make all the plays required of a shortstop, and he excels on the double play with quick hands and the athletic ability to avoid oncoming runners. His speed is above-average, and he uses it well in the field.
Hollimon has the ceiling of an elite shortstop, but he has some significant kinks to work out in order to reach that peak. He's a touch on the old side, and should be pushed aggressively to find out if his bat can handle advanced pitching.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A
Hollimon has avoided major injuries to this point in his career; suffering only minor, nagging injuries.
Early indication has Hollimon skipping High-A Lakeland in 2007, and heading straight to AA for his first real test as a pro. With Brent Dlugach moving on to Erie as well, Hollimon is likely to move over to second in order to challenge his bat. He should be able to handle either short or second at the highest levels, but his bat is the critical piece in the puzzle at this time.
There is little doubt Michael has the tools to become a top notch player, and if he handles Erie this season, he should become more of a fixture in prospect discussions. Carlos Guillen's knees have been balking for a couple of years, and Placido Polanco is not likely the long term answer at the keystone, leaving Hollimon in prime position to grab a spot on the Tigers roster as soon as some time in 2008.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.