Needs: CF, SP, RP
At catcher, future star Darren Ferguson continues to learn on the fly, backed up by capable youngster Miguel Latos, who was a rule 5 pick up. The situation is similar at 1B, where young slugger John Martin will be around for many years. He will be backed up by another capable newcomer, Marcus Meadows, who will fill in at either 1B or the COF when needed. At 2B, young developing star Larry DeJean has already grown by leaps and bounds. It is certain he will be around for a very long time. At 3B, youngster Ronald Martin is currently learning the ropes, but he will probably be moved back to his natural position at shortstop in the very near future to make room for the explosive arrival of blue chip phenom Art Krause. Dennis Embree is also an exceptional defensive 3B, but is somewhat challenged offensively, relegating him to a utility player role. At SS, Martin will be pushed by two other talented youngsters, Ellie Leach, and Carlos Mercedes. In the outfield, LF is manned by one of the few veteran position players on this team, Jared Davis. He does a solid, if unspectacular job, both offensively and defensively. When he reaches the end of the line, young slugger Andy Jacobs will be waiting in the wings. In CF, veteran Stretch Stokes is aging quickly and pre-maturely, precipitating an immediate need to find his replacement. Young J.P. Martin is a good utility OF, but can't be counted upon to carry the full load at CF. The short-term answer here may be to move displaced SS Carlos Mercedes to CF, where he can platoon capably with Martin, until a full-time replacement can be found. In RF, aging veteran Doug Priest will soon be replaced by young stud Roland Soriano, who should be a fixture for many years. The starting rotation, which at first glance has many options, is actually in dire need of a new leader to replace departing long-time ace, and face of the franchise, Stu Magee. The bullpen is also going through a transition period, but does already have some promising arms rising through the system.
Draft Expectations: Low
The standard 5 picks in the first 5 rounds, starting with overall pick number 21. With this, holer should hope to get one solid future MLer, and feel fortunate if he gets anything more.
Tacoma is in the bottom third of the league in player salary, well below the league average. Holer has chosen to sink most of his additional funding into his various scouting departments, and ignore his training and medical budgets. This is a choice he is quickly beginning to regret, and one which will probably be rectified next year.
Round 1 Pick 21 SP Chris Montague
A pretty ordinary late first round pick, Montague will fit into Tacoma's rotation as a steady number 3 or 4 starter. Although not the ace that holer desperately needs, Montague represents a continued deepening of the starting pitcher gene pool holer has to choose from. He has good control/velocity splits, and solid L/R splits. With 3 ML quality pitches, and a strong groundball/flyball ratio, Montague does not really have any glaring weaknesses and should be a reliable member of the rotation for many years.
ML Projection: 200-210 IP/15 W/.240-.260 OAV/3.00-3.50 ERA
Round 2 Pick 77 2B Keith Matthews
Matthews could possibly find work as a utility IF/OF, but it is far more likely he will only see limited action on sparse occasions as an emergency replacement.
ML Projection: Emergency Replacement
Round 3 Pick 109 CF Barry Knight
A brilliant fielder, Knight is also capable of getting on base against right-handed pitching. Once on base, he can cause all kinds of problems for the opposition with his speed and base running. His overall rating is only as low as it is because of his low durability rating. In summary, he would make an excellent candidate as a Utility OF.
ML Projection: Utility Outfielder
Round 4 Pick 141 LF/1B Fausto Marrero
Very similar to Knight, except that his much inferior fielding skills makes it highly unlikely he will ever see the major leagues. Ceiling AA
Round 5 Pick 173 C Matty Leonard
Maybe the best bang for his buck that holer got in this draft. Leonard is an excellent pick at number 173 overall. He is both capable defensively, and is a strong hitter. He would make a poster boy back up catcher. Like Barry Knight, his overall rating is only so low because of his low durability.
ML Projection: Backup Catcher
Hidden Gems: None Foreseeable
Overall Grade: C
Although holer made the attempt to cover his greatest needs of both finding an ace and a centerfielder, he didn't get very far with his results. To be fair, finding an ace when you pick at number 21 overall is a pretty tall order. In the end, he had a pretty ordinary draft, with pretty ordinary results.