Detroit Tigers: Draft Review

General Manager: David Dombrowski
Farm Director: Glenn Ezell
Scouting Director: David Chadd

2006-2009 Draft Results:
First three rounds included
x- over-draft signees ($200,000+)

2009 1st Round: Jacob Turner, RHP, Missouri HS
2. Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State
3. Wade Gaynor, 3B, Western Kentucky
6x- Daniel Fields, SS, Michigan HS
30x- James Robbins, 1B, Washington HS

Following up the success that the organization had with Rick Porcello, the club nabbed another advanced high school arm in Turner. The right-hander did not make a pro appearance after signing, but he’ll likely begin his career in low-A ball at the start of 2010. He has No. 1 starter potential, but he’s probably not going to get to the Majors as quickly as Porcello did.

The club nabbed a couple of college players – Oliver and Austin Wood (5th round) – who should move quickly, especially if they’re kept in the bullpen. Oliver did not appear in a game during the regular season, but he did get into 10 games in the Arizona Fall League. In 15 innings, he allowed 12 hits and struggled with his control with nine walks. On the plus side, he struck out 15 batters. He uses a low-to-mid-90s fastball, cutter and change-up. Wood, another lefty, made just four appearances during the regular season, including three in high-A. In six total innings, he did not walk a batter or give up a homer. Wood’s repertoire includes an 88-91 mph fastball and a solid change-up.

Third-round pick Wade Gaynor had a rough debut in short-season ball, and he hit just .192/.281/.282 with eight steals in 234 at-bats. He was hurt by a .235 BABIP. Over-draft signee Fields did not appear in a regular-season game, but the organization has a lot of hope for the shortstop. He walked away from a scholarship with the University of Michigan for a $1.6 million bonus, but he’s still raw in many facets of the game. Keep an eye on ninth round pick John Murrian. The catcher had a solid debut in short-season ball by hitting .296/.356/.468 in 186 at-bats. Entering the draft, he was considered a solid hitter who had below-average power. He took to wood bats quite well, though, and posted a promising ISO of .172. Murrian also has a good defensive reputation.

2008 1st Round: Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona
2. Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Mississippi
3. Scott Green, RHP, Kentucky

The 2008 draft was all about adding pitching depth to the system – and choosing players that could move quickly into the barren upper levels of the organizations. First-rounder Perry did just that and spent a good portion of the season in Detroit where he showed some rough spots with a 5.55 BB/9 rate and a 4.52 FIP. He needs to add polish to his control, as well as the command of his slider. Satterwhite spent the ’09 season in double-A where he also struggled with his control and posted a walk rate of 4.93 BB/9. He has good overall stuff and should help out the MLB team soon. Green had a nice year in high-A ball, although he missed some time. In 36.0 innings, he posted a strikeout rate of 8.75 K/9 and showed better control than some of the other pitchers in the draft with a 3.50 BB/9.

Fourth rounder Brett Jacobson, another college reliever, was traded to Baltimore in the Aubrey Huff deal in ’09. The best reliever of the bunch may turn out to be Robbie Weinhardt (10th round). He reached double-A in ’09 and has shown inconsistent control at times, but he strikes out a lot of batters (9.19 K/9 in 31.1 double-A innings) while maintaining a ground-ball rate around 50%.

Fifth-rounder Alex Avila has exceeded all expectations and reached in the Majors in ’09 after hitting well in double-A. He also showed intriguing patience and power potential this past season; Avila hit five homers in 61 MLB at-bats (.311 ISO). He could be the catcher of the future for the organization. Infielder Brandon Douglas (11th round) has also been better than advertised after dealing with injuries in college. Already 24, he projects as a big-league utility player at the very least.

2007 1st Round: Rick Porcello, RHP, New Jersey HS
1S. Brandon Hamilton, RHP, Alabama HS
2. Danny Worth, SS, Pepperdine
3. Luke Putkonen, RHP, North Carolina
5x- Casey Crosby, LHP, Illinois HS
6x- Cale Iorg, SS, Alabama

The ’07 draft had some ups and some downs. Porcello rocketed to the Majors and had a Rookie-of-the-Year-worthy season. Crosby has been hampered by injuries but he got back on track in ’09 with a 2.80 FIP in 24 low-A starts. Putkonen also had a solid ’09 season. Both Worth and Iorg have been disappointments, and both were rushed to the detriment of their careers. Hamilton’s control has been all over the map in his three-year career and he posted a walk rate of 5.55 in low-A ball in ’09. His ERA was ugly at 7.09, but his FIP was a little less so at 5.15. The organization probably wishes that it had signed 41st rounder D.J. LeMahieu, an infielder who was the Cubs’ second-rounder in ’09 and hit very well in his debut.

2006 1st Round: Andrew Miller, LHP, North Carolina
2. Ron Bourquin, 3B, Ohio State
3. Brennan Boesch, OF, California

First-rounder Miller was used in a trade with Florida to acquire Miguel Cabrera (and Dontrelle Willis). Both Bourquin and Boesch have been disappointments, although the latter prospect showed potential in ’09 with solid power numbers (.235 ISO) in double-A. The club did score with its fourth-round (Ryan Strieby) and fifth-round (Scott Sizemore) selections. Both players could play big roles with the club in 2010, with Sizemore earmarked as the starting second baseman. Closer prospect Casey Weathers would have been a great sign out of the 25th round. He went in the first round to Colorado the following season.

Up Next: The Detroit Tigers Top 10 Prospects




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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.


4 Responses to “Detroit Tigers: Draft Review”

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  1. Eric Cioe says:

    Seems like the tools-and-stuff-first approach has been hit and miss for the Tigers. Mostly hits for the pitchers, I guess, and mostly misses for the position players. Dombrowski has said that he’s focusing on getting the big league club a better plate approach overall, so maybe that will translate into fewer Cale Iorg “toolbox with no offensive results” types of players.

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  2. Jeff says:

    I think using Oliver as a reliever is a mistake. His secondary stuff kind of disappeared in his Junior year, but I’d give him at least a year to see if he can re-establish his curve or improve his slider and change enough to make him viable in the rotation. His fastball is pretty impressive, and I think the Tigers got very good value at that spot.

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  3. Larry Smith Jr. says:

    The Tigers added Boesch to their 40-man roster the other day ahead of the Rule V draft. Perry struggled with command but he did better after returning from Toledo. He began the year with the team, looked horrible, went down to Toledo, and came back. After coming back he seemed to be much better. His first time around it seemed like every time he threw the ball it had to potential to kill someone, including possibly fans seated behind the third base dugout.

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  4. Latest news, reports and events >> Why divergent opinions matter so ... says:

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