Detroit Tigers News

Tigers take two Hard Throwers back-to-back in first day of the Major League Baseball Draft

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It went down to the wire when it became the Tigers turn to select with the ninth pick in the draft. With Tyler Matzek, the best prep lefty still on the board, and many top collegiate arms available, the Tigers turned to Amateur Scouting Director David Chadd, who has a fantastic track record with pitchers to make Jacob Turner the ninth pick in the 2009 Draft. Chadd, who was a big part of bringing in Jon Lester in Boston, Josh Beckett in Florida, and the likes of Andrew Miller and Rick Porcello in Detroit has been pretty darn good at this gig. Throw in hard throwing Ryan Perry, alongside current Major Leaguers Cameron Maybin, Dustin Pedroia, Brandon Moss, Cla Meredith, Jon Papelbon, and Matt Murton and you can see the recent success. Chadd, who took over in 2004 for the Detroit Tigers as the director of Amateur scouting has one simple philosophy. You just can’t go wrong with pitching.

"“You can never have enough pitching.”"

So with the ninth pick, the Tigers kept the trend going, selecting Missouri Prep arm Jacob Turner. Turner, like many of the top selected Tiger arms in the recent past, have a common denominator. A lights out fastball. Turner, who Baseball America believes has the best prep four seamer, continued to climb draft boards with solid performances a month before the draft day. Turner sports a 92-94 MPH fastball, that peaks at 98. He has been compared to current Tiger Rick Porcello, because his delivery is pretty fluid from the 3/4 arm slot. At 6’5″ Turner can tower over hitters, and uses a decent changeup alongside a spinning curveball that fools hitters.

Two knacks against Turner is his inability to command his breaking pitches. As a young pitcher, it is something that can definitely be worked on. The second is a small head jerk in his delivery, that could be dangerous and possibly and injury waiting to happen. Scouts are clear that he isn’t Rick Porcello or Josh Beckett just yet, but he could develop into those types of talent. His agent is Scott Boras, and he will be targeting near seven million for his prep arm. Turner has worked with a couple former Major Leaguers at Westminster Christian Academy. Catcher Mike Matheny alongside former pitchers Todd Worrell and Andy Benes have given Turner advice.  Worrell, Turner’s former pitching coach, had this to say about his former ace.

"“He’s got the whole package . . . As a pitcher, he’s 6-5 with a perfect pitcher’s body and a live arm.”"

Turner, like last year’s Missouri prep star Tim Melville and current tigers starter Rick Porcello has committed to North Carolina. Unless for some reason a deal can’t be met, the Tigers will most likely offer Turner the seven million that he is looking for.

The Second Round Man–    

David Chadd and the gang kept the trend of hard throwing righties going in the Second round of the 2009 draft by selecting Andy Oliver, a starter for the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2009. Oliver was considered a premiere arm before the 2009 season, some scouts even considered him the second best starter behind Strasburg in San Diego. Oliver had a tremendous 2008, but couldn’t find a groove in 2009, partially because of an ongoing battle to get reinstated into the NCAA after his former agents, The Baratta brothers, leaked that they counseled him as a prep arm that was drafted by the Twins. The leak was in retaliation of Oliver switching to Scott Boras as his agent (Yes, yet another Boras client).  Andy Oliver is a lefty who stands at 6’3″ with you guessed it, a nasty fastball. His cheese, which averages between 92-95 and hits up to 98, looks a lot faster to the batters eye because of his hesitation delivery.  Oliver has used his fastball a lot more often in 2009 because he hasn’t been able to find consistency with his average curveball and change. Scouts believe that at worst, Oliver can become an effective reliever with just his current fastball. Look for the Tigers to mold Oliver’s curve though, because it has some promise if he can figure it out. Oliver is not afraid to throw inside, which will be key as he makes his journey to the Major Leagues. 

Tigers get Offensive in the Third– 

With the 89th Overall pick, the Tigers took an all around offensive threat in Wayne Gaynor, a third baseman for the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. The Hilltoppers, who reached the NCAA regionals for the first time this season were led offensively by Gaynor, who hit 25 bombs this season to go along with 21 steals. Gaynor became the first 20-20 hitter in Western Kentucky history this season. As a sophomore, Gaynor hit above .380, but scouts think that his hand movement at the dish will cause him to become a hitter that doesn’t have a high average. The Hilltopper third baseman doesn’t have the best fielding numbers at third, which could suggest an eventual move defensively.  He has great power from the right handed side, and what scouts love is his bat speed.

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