If you follow the baseball draft at all, one thing that is obvious that should jump out at you is, teams really need to hit on their first round picks. As we can see from the disappointment lists that I’ve been running, missing on your top pick can lead to trouble down the road. The Tigers missing on the first rounders for much of the 80’s and 90’s led to them struggling for a lot of that period. Since David Chadd took over as Scouting Director in 2005, the 1st round picks have been a mixed bag like any organization, though David Dombrowski has done an exceptional job of getting value from guys like Andrew Miller.
There is a substantial drop off in the success rates from first round picks to second round picks. Not only just in sheer numbers of guys that make it, but in impact as well. Matt Garrioch did a nice chart on success rates for draft picks here.
Baseball scouting and skills is one of the most difficult things to predict, and good scouting departments get value in other rounds. I think the Tigers have done a fair job at that, and I don’t necessarily want to take the monumental undertaking of looking at every club, I just wanted to see who Chadd has gotten in his tenure, and analyze the value it looks like the Tigers will get from those picks.
I of course will start with 2005, when the pick was Christopher Robinson.
Robinson was a catcher selected out of Illinois, and while he technically wasn’t a 2nd round pick, he was the Tigers 2nd pick that year. I can give them a little slack because this is a 3rd rounder here. Robinson never materialized, even after the Tigers traded him to the Cubs. His offense was a little lackluster, and defensively he was never good enough to make it on that alone.
2006: Ronnie Borquin
Borquin was a 3B that the Tigers drafted out of Ohio State. Borquin had many issues that stopped him from ever really getting above A ball, including some off the field issues. Borquin was suspended 50 games for testing positive for some amphetamine. Dubbed as a guy with a potential above average hit tool, Borquin never really hit at a rate to overlook all of the off the field stuff, plus he wasn’t a big power guy. Not a good pick at all.
2007: Danny Worth
It’s hard to criticize this pick too greatly. Danny Worth has already spent some time in the big leagues and has basically turned out what he projected to be. A solid defender at multiple positions, that doesn’t hit for any power, and will probably live around the .230 range. As more of a gambler, I would like to see a little more ceiling on my picks, but it’s not like this was a huge miss.
2008: Cody Satterwhite
People were a little concerned about Satterwhite and his delivery before the 2008 draft, and those concerns have been proven to play out. Satterwhite has barely pitched the past couple of years because of some big time shoulder injuries, and while he is still plugging away, it is going to be a tough road for him going forward. There has been a loss of velocity which had made him the intriguing pick in the first place.
2009: Andy Oliver
The one thing about reviewing these things at this point is they are an unfinished product, at least Andy Oliver probably is. If he is a finished product, and some believe he is, than the Tigers can’t be satisfied with the way things are turning out here. Oliver at the time seemed like a good selection though. He was once a top 10 prospect overall, and getting him in the 2nd round should of been good value. Hasn’t worked out so far, but doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t at least get a power lefty out of the deal.
2010: Drew Smyly
The Tigers do like themselves some Arkansas Razorbacks the last couple of years. Smyly though in the early going looks like a real quality selection for Chadd and company. Smyly rocketed through the system with ease last season, and could potentially be in the mix for the 5th starter spot. His ceiling doesn’t look huge, but he looks like a sure fire major leaguer for years to come.
2011: James McCann
This was actually the Tigers first pick, but it was the 2nd round. McCann to me looks like a back up catcher, possibly a starter for a lower division team, but I am personally not that high on him. Doesn’t make me right, and this could turn out to be a heck of a pick. We shall see.
I did go over some of the A.L Central opponents during the same time frame, and it doesn’t appear that the Tigers did much worse nor much better really. Even Kansas City who has a tremendous farm system doesn’t necessarily look great in the 2nd round. They did have one season where Wil Myers was their 2nd pick in the 3rd round. Cleveland probably got the best player in Jason Kipnis and Minnesota got some value in Kevin Slowey and Joe Benson. Minnesota has gotten two guys who rank pretty well in their system in Madison Boer and Niko Goodrum as well.
I think the only thing I can conclude from looking at these picks is this….the 2nd round is exactly what I thought it was….a crapshoot. Drew Smyly might be the only guy the Tigers might get any real value out of, but that isn’t necessarily abnormal.