Tampa Bay Don Ceasars
Needs: 1B, SP
Tom Hardtke has the main catching duties well in hand for Tampa for the foreseeable future. As long as they keep filtering through high quality defensive back-ups to share the load, there is no need for concern. Once again, Tampa is another team that loads up on middle infielders, and then chooses the two corner infield positions from amongst them. As stated in another review, it is rare to find a player that is both gifted defensively, and a monster offensively. Usually, those players are only available in the top 5 or so picks in the draft. In other words, cebola is in need of a big bat in his infield. Derrick Grissom, who is due to make the jump, will help with this, but an even bigger bat is needed to anchor the middle of the order. In the outfield, cebola is already set with a surplus of talent. If anything needs to be looked at, it is the eventual replacement of Eugene Moreno in RF. The main area where Tampa could really use some help is with the starting rotation. They have very few prospects on the way up to take over from the staff currently in place, and the current staff could use some upgrades anyhow. The bullpen is in pretty good shape, so any help here would simply add depth.
Draft Expectations: High
Three first round picks, including the 10th overall, and 7 picks in the top 5 rounds means cebola should expect some good quality players to come out of this draft.
Tampa sits in the bottom third of the league in player payroll, meaning they have some significant funds to spread around to the various other departments. Cebola had a very unique way of dispersing his funds, but one that I can fully understand and appreciate. He has managed to accumulate several highly talented prospects over the last few seasons, so he completely maximized his training and medical budgets to help the development of those prospects he already has in the system. The down side to this strategy is that he has to completely sacrifice elsewhere. The areas he chose to slash were high school, and advance, scouting.
Round 1 Pick 10 2B Keith Rivera
Fortunately for Tampa, they found that exception to the rule and drafted stud infielder Rivera, who is one of those rare defensively talented sluggers. Even more amazing is that they found him at pick number 10.
ML Projection: 30-35 HR/.300-.330 BA/15-20 SB
Round 1 Supp Pick 46 LF Santos Chavez
Chavez is a solid hitter and will make a home for himself on virtually any ML team. Although he won't hit for an especially high average, he has a knack for getting timely and productive hits, especially against right-handed hitting. Although capable of holding down a full-time job in LF, it is more likely he will platoon and be used for situational pinch hitting assignments.
ML Projection: 10-15 HR/.250-.260 BA/15 SB
Round 1 Supp Pick 56 2B/LF Richard Petrick
Petrick is a strong base runner, and a solid hitter against left-handed pitching. In fact, he compliments the selection of Chavez quite well. Much like Chavez, he would be best used in a platoon situation.
ML Projection: 5 HR/.270-.290 BA/30 SB
Round 2 Pick 67 RP Morgan Alston
A solid RP, Alston will add depth to an already capable bullpen. The only flaw to his game is a propensity to sometimes leave the ball up in the strike zone, resulting in a few too many long balls. He is otherwise very reliable, and consistent.
ML Projection: 60-70 IP/.230-.260 OAV/2.80-3.30 ERA
Round 3 Pick 99 RP Willie Sadowski
Another solid, if unspectacular RP, Sadowski sometimes has trouble locating the strike zone, which can lead to some big innings. Overall, his numbers are good enough to eat plenty of relief innings, and allow his more talented teammates to stay fresh for the closer, more important, games.
ML Projection: 70-90 IP/.260-.280 OAV/3.50-4.20 ERA
Round 4 Pick 131 1B/LF Rico Nieto
A surprisingly good hitter found at pick 131, Nieto has the bat to contribute on some of the lesser talented teams in this league. Unfortunately for him, Tampa has far too much talent ahead of him, and he will only get a fair opportunity if he is moved to another team.
ML Projection: 15-20 HR/.240-.260 BA/5 SB
Round 5 Pick 163 IF Larry Cooper
Not enough hitting ability to make it past AA.
Hidden Gems: RP Yoo-Nah Irabu?, RP Kelly Steenstra?
Overall Grade: A
In Keith Rivera, Tampa got both the big bat they needed, and a talented infielder to go with it. Although they failed to address the need for starting pitching, they managed to pick up a staggering 6 future ML prospects, plus a couple more long-shots further down the draft. If only the rest of us could add that much depth in a single draft, and cebola managed this with very little funding put into either high school, or advance scouting.