The Tigers didn’t make a selection in the major league phase of today’s Rule 5 draft, however, they did make a couple of trades for some picks, and picked up a player in the minor league phase. In trades with the Red Sox and the Mets, the Tigers acquired 2B Jeff Kobernus and pitcher Kyle Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft. In the minor league phase, they selected OF Eliezer Mesa from the A’s system. Let’s take a look at what the Tigers got in terms of talent.
We do have to keep in mind that just because Kobernus and Lobstein were acquired via trade, does not mean the Tigers can send them to the minors. They still need to keep the players on the 25 man roster all year if they want to keep them. David Dombrowski did indicate he had a couple of players in mind yesterday when asked about the Rule 5 draft. Kobernus and Lobstein must have been it.
Kobernus is a 24 year old second baseman who has above average speed, and it is probably his best tool, stealing 95 bases the past two seasons in the minors. With the bat in his hands, Kobernus shows above average contact ability, and has a line drive stroke, however, Kobernus has little to no power at the dish. That is a little surprising given that he is a bigger 2nd baseman at 6’2″ and 210lbs. Also, despite owning a knack for making contact, Kobernus isn’t what you would call a patient hitter. In fact, his BB rates are below average for the type of hitter he is. Defensively, Kobernus is solid at 2nd base, and could hold the position down if needed, but the profile here isn’t anything more than an occasional fill in. I don’t think the Tigers got their future 2nd baseman here.
Lobstein was a 2nd round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays at one time, and is still just 23 years old. A pretty big and physical pitcher, Tampa believed Lobstein would develop more velocity at some point, but he just hasn’t. In fact, he probably has lost a few mph off of his fastball since his high school days. Lobstein sits around 87-89 with his fastball, and is able to throw it for strikes to both sides of the plate. He also contains a curve ball and change up. His curve does show as above average at times, but often is too flat, and doesn’t throw it with enough command. Lobstein does have a good change, and it probably works as his best pitch, throwing it with solid deception. Lobstein, while he does have control, doesn’t show good command of his arsenal. In effect, he throws too many hitters strikes and not enough pitcher strikes. Despite being a starter in the minors his whole career, it is assumed that if Lobstein is going to stick on the Detroit’s roster, he is likely to be in a relief role.
Eliezer Mesa is a 24 year old outfielder that is already in his fourth organization now that he is with the Tigers. Mesa is an athletic talent, but has never been able to put together his good tools into production on the baseball field. He runs really well and can go get it in the outfield, but the approach at the plate lags behind. At this point, he looks more like organizational filler than anything, but is the type of guy worth selecting in the minor league phase of the Rule 5.
*In order to acquire Jeff Kobernus, the Tigers they traded away long time farm hand Justin Henry.