It’s that time of year again. In fact, the 2013 MLB draft is just a week away, so it’s time to start looking at some of the guys that could be potential Detroit Tigers in the upcoming draft. I’m not sure how many I am going to get to for you all, but I will do my best to get you as much information as possible.
Disclaimer #1: Between my full time job, and my writing responsibilities at a couple different places which includes watching minor league baseball, I just don’t have time to watch college ball and high school baseball. So I have not seen these kids in person. I have watched video on many of them to get my own impressions, but that leads me to my second disclaimer.
Disclaimer #2: I am compiling these scouting reports by using a variety of sources. One of the things about giving scouting reports on high school kids and college kids is that they just don’t get seen as much as minor leaguers or pro players. With high school pitchers going once a week, sites such as Baseball America might see a pitcher once, and then rely on reports from real scouts in baseball. Since outlets like this have better information than I do, but may have seen a guy on a good or bad day, I prefer to combine multiple sources in order to give you all an overview on these players. Some of the places I will use are my friends and colleagues at Bullpen Banter, Scout.com, Baseball America, and Minor League Ball, but there may be more. Essentially my approach is to combine and condense information, as well as sprinkle in my own thoughts. Hope you enjoy.
Without further delay, I wanted to go through some of the guys the Tigers are tied to most. Here they are:
Alex Gonzalez, RHP, Oral Roberts
I do believe that if Gonzalez is on the board when the Tigers pick they will select him. I don’t have any particular inside info on that other than he pitches in a region the Tigers select a lot of players from. His upside isn’t as high as some, but he looks the part of a future mid rotation starter. His fastball reportedly ranges from 90-94, with multiple places reporting good ability to manipulate his fastball with a little but of cut and sink. Gonzalez also throws a sharp slider that generates swings and misses, has toyed with a curve, and also throws a change. I did see some video on Gonzalez and physically, he looks strong with an athletic build. His delivery looks sound, though I felt he could stand to get a little better extension.
Phil Bickford, RHP, California HS (Oaks Christian)
Bickford is a kid that gained some serious momentum in the past month or so across baseball. So much so, I think he goes a couple spots before the Tigers pick, and maybe as high as the early teens. Still, he is a Tigers kind of arm. Bickford features a low to mid 90’s fastball out of a 3/4 delivery. His best secondary pitch is a slider that seems to have some plus potential, but lacks consistency, and sounds more like a sweeping breaking ball rather than a sharp slider. He also shows good command and a solid feel for his change up. Physically, he is tall and lean with sturdy legs, so there could be an expectation he sits mid 90’s in a couple of years as a pro.
Ryne Stanek, RHP, Arkansas
The Tigers do love themselves some SEC players, and especially some Razorbacks at the top of the draft. In recent years they have gotten themselves Drew Smyly and James McCann in the 2nd round. Stanek has seen a pretty big fall this season, mostly due to consistency. At one time, he was considered a top pick in this draft along with Mark Appel, a former Tigers pick that got away. Stanek has a strong arm, and can pepper fastballs regularly in the mid 90’s. At times he has shown a plus slider, as well as a solid change up. People don’t seem to be in love with his delivery, and although he can throw strikes, command isn’t the best. Still, the power fastball that has been in the upper 90’s could be intriguing enough for the Tigers to take him if he is there.
Jonathan Crawford, RHP, Florida
Crawford has been on a yo-yo like ride in the past six months. Late last year, he was considered in a top 10 type prospect, and then seemed to fall out of favor early this spring potentially dropping out of the first round. Now, he has kind of bounced back in the late teens to early 20’s area where the Tigers pick. Crawford features a low to mid 90’s fastball and a slider that can be above average at times. His change up has also improved to the point where it is a usable third pitch for him. His size is a question mark. While his frame is durable, he is on the short side, and does struggle to repeat his delivery, affecting the consistency and command of his arsenal. He has touched 99 in the past, so there is some late inning potential here should he not work out as a starter.
Aaron Judge, OF, Fresno State
Judge is a massive kid at 6’7″ and 260 lbs. Built more like a NFL TE than a baseball player, Judge is actually blessed with a good deal of athleticism. He is a good runner, more on balls hit in the gap than straight base stealing speed. He also has a strong arm that profiles nicely in right field. His hit tool is a big question mark though, as most everything I have come across stresses that Judge is going to be a big strikeout guy. He muscles baseballs, rather than mashing them through bat speed, which should raise a red flag. Long swing, muscling the baseball, reminds me of a right handed version of Tigers recent draft pick Aaron Westlake. Judge also plays in a conference that isn’t particularly strong. The Tigers have been on him for a while, so if Gonzalez and Stanek in particular are gone, Judge may be the pick.
Tim Anderson, SS, East Central CC (MS)
Anderson is a fast riser based mostly on the fact he is still learning to play baseball, after focusing on basketball for most of his life. Anderson has some really nice raw tools, his speed and defensive ability have above average to plus potential, showing really good athleticism up the middle. He has a good arm that should be good enough for SS, but could be a plus defender at 2B. Offensively, there is still some rawness to his game, and his hit tool is his biggest question. He shows good bat speed, which gives Anderson some power projection. His overall tools and what looks like a steep learning curve could prompt the Tigers to pop Anderson with their first pick.