Toledo Mud Hens
Needs: C, MIF, SP
Toledo needs to shore up it's catching situation as Hector Pena is currently their only legitimate option big league option. At 2B, William Simpson faces free agency and may, or may not, re-sign. Diory Lopez is miscast at 2B and will be hopelessly lost there. At 3B, Odalis Sojo's all-world cannon of an arm is off-set by a very sloppy glove and Toledo needs to start a search for a capable SS to replace Jolbert Jacquez now. Now for the good news. Toledo appears to be as set in the OF as any team in the league. They have many outstanding options, and all are young and improving. Toledo also has a talented young foursome of SP making their way to the big team, but nobody after that. They need another 2 or 3 SP's to give themselves room to breathe.
Draft Expectations: Moderate
The standard 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, however their first pick happens to be the 2nd overall. Without any extra picks to count on, the importance of a good selection with his 1st pick is vital for this draft to be a success.
With the lowest payroll in the league, Toledo is positioned to make the most of it's search for prospects this season. Moderately high amounts allocated to all scouting departments will ensure they will get a shot at most top end talent that is out there. Add an obscenely high prospect budget, and we can expect to see Toledo pull down a number of good prospects this year, both domestic and foreign.
Round 1 Pick 2 SS Dock Sanders
Dock Sanders is a solid, if unspectacular, choice at number 2 overall. He is listed as a SS, which should not be a problem as he ascends through the minors, but will become a problem as he reaches the big team. At that point he would benefit greatly from a move to 3B. He is not a basestealing threat, but will be more than capable at running the bases. His elite contact rating coupled with a plus batting eye will keep his batting average quite high, and the strikeouts down. Very nice effectiveness splits to go along with moderate power means he will probably be a doubles hitting machine with 15-20 HR power. Get ready opposing infields because the line drive is coming your way!
ML Projection: 15-20 HR/50 2B/.320-.330 BA/10 SB
Round 2 Pick 59 RP Ozzie Blake
Another safe/solid pick at no. 59, Blake will be a workhorse out of the bullpen for many years to come. As a sinkerball pitcher with a high groundball/flyball ratio, he will be coveted by many teams, and will have little trouble finding a home throughout his career.
ML Projection: 70-80 IP/5 W/.250 OAV/2.80-3.20 ERA
Round 3 Pick 91 3B Jerry Collins
Collins is one of those players who always seems to be just on the verge of making it. Often referred to as a 4A player, he will probably gain many frequent flyer miles as he shuttles back and forth between the big team and AAA.
ML Projection: Spot duty/injury replacement
Round 4 Pick 123 SS Henry Giles
An outstanding find at pick 123, Giles is a defensive phenom at SS. At Vanguard high school, he holds the distinction of being the only player in school history to both hit for the cycle and complete an unassisted triple play in the same game. His nickname there was "Henry Potter", an obvious reference to his defensive wizardry. Under proper instruction, he should easily rise through the minor league ranks to become Toledo's premiere utility infielder. The only drawback to Giles is his knack for being injury prone. But as a defensive substitute, this is not as great a concern as it would be if he were a starter.
ML Projection: Utility infielder
Round 5 Pick 155 LF Buck Ginter
Two words. Raw. Power. He should personally end the careers of several young, fragile minor league pitchers. He is the type of player who will fill the stands of minor league stadiums with fans who have hopes of watching him not only leave the stadium, but leave the county as well. At some point, a team in need of a power infusion into their lineup may actually give him a shot at the bigs, but probably only for some very brief stints.
ML Projection: spot duty/pinch hitter
Hidden Gems: none foreseeable
Overall Grade: B+
The theme of Toledo's draft seemed to be one of always making the solid, safe pick. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and for a team looking to rebuild, Toledo appears to be on the right track.