Day one saw the Detroit Tigers draft three college pitchers – Jonathan Crawford in Round 1, Corey Knebel in Competitive Balance Round A, and Kevin Ziomek in Round 2 – and day two began with a continuation of that trend.
The Tigers selected Jeffrey Thompson, a right-handed pitcher out of Louisville, in the third round (94th overall). Thompson is a very large man, checking in at 6-6, 245 lbs. From MLB.com’s scouting report:
He has dominated hitters this year and had a 28-inning scoreless streak in March. But scouts wonder how well his stuff will translate as a professional. Thompson’s fastball sits in the low-90s, and he mixes it with a good slider and changeup. His fastball doesn’t have much action, though his arm angle allows him to throw it downhill and create groundballs. Despite his size, Thompson has a loose, easy delivery.
The fourth round saw the team take right-handed pitcher Austin Kubitza out of Rice University with pick number 126 overall. This pick made the Tigers five-for-five in selecting college junior pitchers in this year’s draft.
Rice University has generated a fair amount of high-end pitching talent in the Draft over the years. While Kubitza doesn’t appear to be a Jeff Niemann or Philip Humber type, he’s shown an ability to match up against the best pitchers in the college game, serving typically as Rice’s Friday starter. He’s done so basically using two pitches, a fastball that sits in the upper 80s and will touch 90 mph with a ton of sink and a nasty slider he has confidence in to throw in any count. He does have a changeup, but never uses it. That lack of a third pitch, along with some command issues, has most thinking he’s best suited in a bullpen role in the future.
Here’s a video of Kubitza, as by Tweeted by Paul Wezner who asks viewers to note the quality of the slider at the 40 second mark: