Draft Reviews: Detroit Tigers

2008 Draft Slot: 21st overall
Top Pick: Ryan Perry, RHP, University of Arizona
Best Pick: Ryan Perry
Keep an Eye On: Alex Avila, C, University of Alabama (Fifth round)
Notes: The Tigers organization did not select many high-ceiling players, if any. What it did do was grab a whole whack of hard-throwing college relievers, many of whom could make it to the Majors quickly… and the Tigers desperately needed depth. Ryan Perry is already pitching in the Majors, although he should probably be in Double-A right now working on his fastball command and control.

2007 Draft Slot: 27th overall
Top Pick: Rick Porcello, RHP, New Jersey high school
Best Pick: Rick Porcello
Worst Pick: Cale Iorg, SS, University of Alabama (Sixth round)
Notes: Keep an eye on LHP Casey Crosby, who was drafted out of an Illinois high school in the fifth round. He’s back pitching well after missing most of 2008 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Infielder Cale Iorg has a famous family name but he does not make enough contact. He’ll be lucky to carve out a career as a MLB utility player. Only two years after being drafted out of high school, Rick Porcello is already pitching in the Majors, but he should be in Double-A. The organization is trying to Bonderman him. Porcello, though, should not have been available with the 27th pick but clubs were scared off his signability.

2006 Draft Slot: Sixth overall
Top Pick: Andrew Miller, LHP, University of North Carolina
Best Pick: Andrew Miller
Worst Pick: Ronnie Bourquin, 3B, Ohio State University (2nd round), or Brennan Boesch, OF, University of California (third round)
Notes: Andrew Miller has not been nearly as advanced as expected but he was sent to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera deal. Miller is still trying to prove himself to be a No. 5 starter thanks to a lack of command/control. 1B Ryan Strieby and 2B Scott Sizemore were nice finds in the fourth and fifth rounds.

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2009 Draft Slot: Ninth overall
Draft Preference (2006-08): Best talent, but a fast mover
MLB Club Need: Shortstop, Left field, Starting Pitching
Organizational Need: Depth everywhere
Organizational Strength: Relief pitching
Notes: The club needs to find some high-ceiling talent. The club has not done an overly good job of finding talent in the later rounds of the draft. The 2008 draft tossed some good arms into the mid-to-upper minors, but the ceilings seem to stop around set-up man with most settling in at middle reliever.

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

7 Responses to “Draft Reviews: Detroit Tigers”

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  1. Mike R says:

    I was against Porcello in the majors in the beginning, but we were really in a bind. I’m so-so on it now due to my thoughts that a pitcher only has so many quality pitches in their career — might as well get the best quality as unlike hitters, pitcher’s don’t tend to be better in their primes.

    That said, him and Perry should be in Double-A. Perry being in the bullpen is a flat out mistake and I don’t even think he’s the best college reliever we took — I prefer Robbie Weinhardt. Better control, equal stuff.

    I’m an Alex Avila fan, as well.

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  2. Jeff says:

    Saying Porcello belongs in AA is wrong IMO
    Did anyone see him pitch last night? He sure looked like a Major Leaguer to me!

    Its funny to me that all the teams that got rated good on this site, because of thier great minor league systems, only are rated that way because they are to CHEAP to actually let thier players play in tthe bigs…

    But then a team like the Tigers, gets rated low because 1. They supposedly willbe affected by the economy so much even though thier owner ate a $14 million contract to try and win, gave away the centerfield advertising, and lets the GM bring up guys to win when they are able to contribute not bring them up later to stall thier clocks… and 2. their minor leagues are devoid of big name talet, but only because THIER FREAKING TALENT IS IN THE BIGS ALREADY!!!

    Who would you rather be? The O’s or Rangers with great rankings on your minor league system on the internet, or the Tigers with thier talent actually contributing in the bigs!!!!

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    • Kevin says:

      Saying Porcello belongs in AA is not wrong at all. You can only get by on using two pitches for so long, and Porcello’s curveball is garbage right now. He’ll get a ton of grounders, but hanging his secondary pitches and having them getting crushed isn’t going to help his confidence any.

      He needs to go down to AA, get his secondary stuff fine tuned, get his K rate up, then come back to the bigs. As it is, he’s getting by on a lot of luck, and his FIP is pretty scary because he isn’t fooling anyone.

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  3. brett says:

    Agreed. FSN interviewed Ken Knapp before the game yesterday and he said the two things Porcello needs to work on are (1) Spotting his fastball and (2) Finding a reliable secondary pitch.

    Fastball location is a typical answer from Knapp, but if your own pitching coach thinks you need a second pitch, you have no business being in the majors. This could easily hurt the Tigers for the next five years.

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    • Nick says:

      Who is Ken Knapp? Is he related to Tigers Pitching Coach Rick Knapp?

      I don’t expect Porcello to be with the Tigers all year in any rate. Especially with Willis on anxiety medication and looking like *gasp* a league average pitcher.

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  4. Nick says:

    I think this is a good article. However, I feel like if you’re going to tell us to watch Alex Avila, you should tell us a little something about Alex Avila.

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  5. NATHAN says:

    Porcello may be up longer than expected especially after watching Galarraga struggle, it seems the league has figured out to stop swinging at his sliders that usually end up out of the zone forcing him to rely on an average fastball/sinker. If Bonderman can regain his arm stregth, it may alleviate the need to keep Porcello up, but its looking looking like another year for Bondo to completely regain his heater. Hey, they could always lure The Gambler out of “retirement”…

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