TigsTown Draft Notebook: Two Weeks to Go

With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, the Tigers have just two weeks to make a final determination as to which draft choices they want to make a final run at getting signed before the new August 15 deadline.

Being a teammate of a blue-chip prospect certainly get you noticed. Charlie Culberson got taken in the supplemental first round by the Giants after he got plenty of exposure from scouts coming in to see left-hander Josh Smoker. With first-rounders Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez as teammates at Chatsworth (Ca.) HS, Bobby Coyle had an opportunity to go in the early rounds had he not been strongly committed to Arizona, but slid to the 19th round where Cleveland drafted him.

The same holds true for Owasso (Ok.) HS left-hander Matt Hoffman, who got a lot of exposure with the emergence of shortstop Peter Kozma this spring. Hoffman has reached 92 with his fastball, and his changeup has the chance to be a plus pitch in time, but he slid to the 26th round due to his commitment to Oklahoma. His late-round status hasn't stopped the Tigers from making him a significant offer, which he presently is mulling over, but no final decision has been made.

The college summer leagues are wrapping up play, and one of the biggest events for scouts began play last weekend in Wichita. The National Baseball Congress World Series features 42 teams from across the country, and the Tigers have two players that are represented there.

Fresno State's Steve Susdorf (27) hit .320 for the Santa Barbara Foresters, who captured the California Collegiate League title with a gaudy 42-8 record this summer. The Foresters are also the defending champions at the NBC World Series, and should they have a repeat performance, the Tigers won't have much time to try and get Susdorf signed, as the tournament runs through August 12.

After playing with the Liberal Beejays in the Jayhawk League, Tanner Rindels (36) will be playing with the El Dorado Broncos in Wichita. The Tigers drafted Rindels after a stellar sophomore year at Seward County (Ks.) CC, and they have some interest in signing him, but both sides are far enough away on money that unless something dramatic changes over the next two weeks, Rindels will be headed to Texas Tech.

One of the bigger surprises this summer has been the epic struggles of Dominic De la Osa (10) in the Cape Cod League. After hitting .378 with a team-leading 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases for Vanderbilt this spring, De la Osa has hit just .126 in 87 at-bats. Even more disturbing is that he has just three extra-base hits this summer. Vanderbilt juniors are always difficult signs, and it appears that he will be the third straight Commodore junior the Tigers will lose after Warner Jones and Casey Weathers didn't sign.

I mentioned in this space that Casey Crosby (5) would be pitching at the Connie Mack Regional that was held in Battle Creek last weekend, but unfortunately, a paperwork snafu with the correct roster didn't allow Casey and his teammates to make the trip and compete for a spot at this week's Connie Mack World Series, which is being held in Farmington, New Mexico.

As far as the negotiations between the Tigers and the big left-hander go, both sides are continuing to wait until other over-slot deals are announced before proceeding, but everything seems in place for the Tigers to add one of the top prep left-handers available in this year's draft.

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