MLB baseball will hold it’s annual amateur draft this year on June 4th thru the 6th. The Tigers won’t be taking part in the 1st round or the supplemental round, as they have once again signed a type A free agent in lieu of a first round pick. This is the 2nd year in a row in which the Tigers have given up their first rounder. Of course, it netted them Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder, so I think they are plenty okay with that.
There is definitely going to be less excitement heading into the draft for the Tigers this year. In previous years, even without a first round pick, teams could go drastically over recommended slot values and pay for talent. This season however, under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams must adhere to their bonus pool, or face penalties for going over it. The Tigers have the 2nd lowest bonus pool in all of baseball, due to their signing of Prince Fielder. Not only do they lose that pick, they lose the money that is slotted for that pick.
For a breakdown on the money each team has, and the penalties associated, check out this quick look by Baseball America.
Essentially the Tigers will have to fit 9 picks in for bonuses of just under 2.1 million dollars. If it was 200k a piece, it doesn’t sound all that bad, but that’s rarely how the draft works. Essentially if the Tigers want to buy a high school kid out of a commitment for a million in the 2nd round, they essentially are stuck with college seniors the rest of the way out. It will be interesting to see the strategy with which the Tigers take into this.
Overall, the 2012 draft is considered pretty pedestrian, though I don’t think it is as bad as some seem to be suggesting. It isn’t particularly heavy on any aspect, though there is a weakness in college hitters.
So, what direction do the Tigers go in? Well, I think you are going to see quite a few college guys once again by the Tigers, with maybe a high school position guy or two thrown in there. With such a small bonus pool, we might even see a couple of college relievers selected to grab a 300K type of player here and there. Position wise, while teams rarely draft for need, the Tigers do look like if they are going to “overspend” for a bigger bonus guy, it might be for pitching. Their farm system, outside of Jacob Turner and a couple of guys that can’t throw strikes, isn’t rich in high end pitching talent.
Over the next couple of weeks, I do plan on exploring some of the possibilities that could be around when the Tigers make their first selection, so I will be profiling some players for you all.
The Tigers don’t draft until 86, so it might be like throwing darts. Hopefully I profile a guy or two the Tigers eventually take.
Check back soon, as I should be starting those shortly.