Position: Shortstop/Second Baseman
Hollimon joined the Tiger organization as a 16th round choice out of Oral Roberts in 2005. 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 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; first in triples (13), ninth in homeruns (15), second in walks (77), sixth in OBP, fifth in slugging, and third in OPS.
Hollimon again put together an outstanding season in 2007, despite skipping High-A Lakeland and advancing straight to Double-A Erie. As the starting second baseman for the Seawolves, he again scattered his name across league leader boards, ranking fourth in runs (91), seventh in doubles (34), ninth in RBI (76), and tenth in walks. With his success, Michael was promoted to Triple-A Toledo for a handful of games down the stretch, recording four hits (two for extra bases) in nineteen at-bats. In addition to all of that, Hollimon was sent to play in the Arizona Fall League, and later played for Team USA.
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 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 at both shortstop and second base. He has the raw tools to be a plus defender at either position, but there is a greater likelihood that he sees such development at the keystone. His arm is above average, and his throws are consistently accurate, even while on the move. He took quickly to turning double-plays from second base, and quickly gained the trust of the coaching staff in Erie. Hollimon has demonstrated additional versatility, working out at both third base and the outfield for Team USA. His speed is above-average, and he uses it well in the field.
Hollimon has the potential to contribute at the Major League level in any number of roles. With most positions in Detroit blocked, Hollimon may best profile as an offensive minded utility player, capable of filling in for extended stretches at multiple positions.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% AA
Hollimon suffered a dislocated shoulder this spring, and will miss the start of the 2008 season. The injury did not affect his throwing arm, and should not have any substantial lingering effects. Aside from this freak injury, Hollimon has demonstrated durability throughout his professional career.
Despite missing the first few weeks of the season, Hollimon is destined for the Toledo roster in 2008. He will likely slide right into the everyday second base job once healthy, and unless he is called to Detroit, there is little to suggest he will relinquish that role any time soon.
Hollimon may be hard pressed to see significant time in Detroit this season or next, but there is little doubt he is ready for the big league challenge. If healthy, the Tigers could make him a key component of a deadline deal to fill needs in a pennant push, but with Brandon Inge's tenure in Detroit likely running out, he could become extremely useful in 2009. Hollimon is never going to be a star, but he should be able to carve out an extensive career at the big league level.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.