MCB Top 30: #24 Will Rhymes

Proper Name: William Daniel Rhymes
Born: April 1, 1983 in Williamsburg, Va.
High School:
College: William & Mary
Ht.: 5-9 Wt.: 155
Bats: L Throws: R

At 25 years old, 5’9” Tiger middle infielder Will Rhymes is used to being overlooked. Often compared to shortstop David Eckstein, because of his grit and peskiness as a left-handed hitter, Rhymes had a break out year in 2008 during his second stint with Double-A Erie. Rhymes hit .306 in 131 games adding 21 doubles and a hefty 60 RBIs for the Seawolves.

After “using baseball to get into a good school,” Rhymes turned it up as an all conference player at William and Mary. The undersized second baseman was even able to get some hits off of former conference rival pitcher Justin Verlander of Old Dominion.  It was after his junior year though, that Rhymes caught the Tigers eyes.

After hitting .308 in the Cape Cod league, The Tigers drafted Rhymes in the 27th round of the 2005 draft. From then on, it has been a challenge to prove his worth in the minor league system. As Jon Paul Morosi of the Detroit Free Press put it:

Rhymes’ fiery disposition can be evident during a rough day at the plate — “I’ve been known to go through a few helmets a year,” he said, smiling — and he has an unyielding desire to succeed. And Rhymes thinks his size has helped his baseball career.

“I don’t feel like it restricts me in any way,” he said. “I’m not sure what I’d do better if I was bigger. I might have more power, but I feel like it might actually have the opposite effect in terms of athleticism and playing defense.”

Could 2009 be the year for Rhymes? It’s a high possibility. With Mike Hollimon out most of the season, Rhymes could be the first call-up if someone were to be injured or struggle at the plate.

Scouting:

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Though he doesn’t have the top tier talent to be an everyday major league player, Rhymes makes up for it with his great hand-eye coordination and ability to make things happen on the basepaths. In 2008, Rhymes had compiled a .362 on base percentage, while stealing 17 bases. Being a scrappy player, Rhymes won’t strike out too much (only 66 in 516 ABs last season) and his defense is above average at the second base position. He has the presence and coordination to play shortstop, but because of size and lack of arm strength, he seems more suited for the second base position.

Ultimately Rhymes projects to be a utility man at the major league level, who could be used as a defensive replacement or even a pinch hitter and have success in this league. What scouts and the Tigers love about Rhymes is his ability to make things happen on the basepaths. Rhymes in his minor league career so far, has a 81% stolen base success rate. That is something the future of this team could use, considering they have not had that type of presence in recent years.

Topics: 2009 Tigers, MCB Top 30, Will Rhymes

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