Needs: C, OF
Orber Furcal does a more than adequate job at, and behind, the plate, but with a low durability rating, he desperately needs another capable catcher to help shoulder the load. The infield is already loaded with talent. Any more talent added there will only mean somebody is going to be used as trade bait, likely to add SP's. The outfield is surprisingly thin considering all the infield talent 50below has, but he does have a couple of young studs coming up through the system. Another one wouldn't hurt. 50below is also largely set on the mound as well. While his big league rotation currently looks a bit thin, he has obviously been addressing this problem in recent years, and quality help is coming up through the system.
Draft Expectations: Moderate
Two 1st round picks in the top 25 could make this either a very successful, or a disastrous draft for 50below. The remainer of his picks are all standard, but he should be able to come away with 3 future big leaguers.
Trenton's payroll is near the bottom of the league, allowing 50below a great deal of flexibility, which is a good position to be in considering he has those two 1st round picks. He has chosen to conduct his scouting in the high school ranks, and to also take his chances with the internationals. With a 20 million prospect budget, he is obviously looking at signing some serious talent, one way or another.
Round 1 Pick 20 2B Jonathon Hamelin
Sweet pickup with #20 overall. Hamelin's outstanding range will win him plenty of gold gloves over his long, award-winning career. He has star-power written all over him, and what he can't get accomplished with his glove, he'll take care of at the plate. The only thing lacking is speed on the bases, but with his top-notch batting eye, and significant power, he will be a force in the middle of the batting order.
ML Projection: 35-40 HR/.290-.310 BA/5-10 SB
Round 1 Pick 22 SP Zeus Britton
2 for 2 and having a great day at the plate, 50below has brought home his second stud in as many picks. Seeing Briton go at 22nd overall made me immediately go downstairs and slap both my chief scout and my director of player personnel around (considering my first pick was the sandwich pick at no. 21). Briton is a tailor-made number 2 ML starter. Not quite ace stuff, but pretty darn close. He has 3 plus pitches to choose from, and has impeccable control. Outstanding durability and stamina means he will go deep into many games, and will probably hold the franchise record for complete games when he is done. Good velocity and splits to go along with his control means a good shot at 200k's every year.
ML Projection: 250+ IP/200 K/15-20 W/.240-.250 OAV/
Round 2 Pick 78 RP Ernie Ledee
A solid ML RP. All the right numbers are in all the right places. Outstanding control/velocity splits will offset a slightly low left/right split. Two superior pitches (and vicious ones at that: sinker and cutter) are the primary contributors to an outstanding groundball/flyball ratio. Look for him to spend 15 seasons in somebody's bullpen.
ML Projection: 70-75 IP/3-5 W/5 SV/.230-.240 OAV/
Round 3 Pick 110 SP/RP Chili Ashley
One of those "almost there" 4A guys. He has 4 very nice pitches, but falls just a bit short in most of the essential categories. He will probably live out most of his career in AAA, but may get a few call-ups.
ML Projection: Emergency replacement
Round 4 Pick 142 SS Louis Padgett
Outstanding defense, but virtually no offense. His ability to spend any time in the bigs will depend largely on the patience of some owner putting up with virtually nil production from one of the slots in his batting order.
ML Projection: Defensive Infield replacement
Round 5 Pick 174 SP Steve Vander Wal
Another pitcher with some nice pitches, but not enough raw talent behind those pitches to climb the ladder to the top. Final stop will either be AA or AAA.
Hidden Gems: None Foreseeable
Overall Grade: A
50below's grade is based primarily on his first two picks. All too often we see owners with more than one 1st round pick squander at least one of those precious picks, but not 50below. He got outstanding bang for his buck. Forget that he didn't really find the players to fill his most pressing needs, he simply got the best two players that were available in the draft at that time. Besides, with all his talent now, he can trade to fill his needs.