The Tigers joined the rest of baseball yesterday in the 2012 draft, selecting right hander Jake Thompson with its first pick in the 2nd round at number 91.
Thompson, who is a big bodied high school pitcher from Texas, doesn’t offer much physical projection at this point, leading many to believe his fastball that touches 94 isn’t going to get considerably better. He does however flash some potential with his breaking ball and change up, and if all goes well, he could be a mid-rotation candidate at some point. It isn’t likely that he becomes a quick mover, so it may take some time before we can judge the quality of this pick completely.
In the 3rd round, the Tigers went with speedy high school SS Austin Schotts, also out of Texas. Schotts, who is projected as a CF at the big league level carries one plus tool in his speed. He also shows a good ability to control the zone, and could hit for average as well. Some believe that he could develop average power as well if he develops more strength, considering he shows good bat speed presently.
The 4th round started what would be 12 consecutive college picks by the Tigers getting hard throwing righty Drew Verhagen from Vanderbilt. Verhagen has a mid 90’s fastball, but lacks any other consistent offering at this point. He did get better at the end of the year, and flashed a good change up more often as the season went on. Many believe command will always be an issue with Verhagen however.
5th round Jordan John is a lefty reliever out of Central Florida, who touches the low 90’s with his fastball. 6th rounder Jordan John is a command and control lefty, who at best profiles in the back of the rotation or long relief. Hudson Randall is short on stuff, but knows how to attack hitters. Jeff McVaney and Jeff Stewart, a pair of outfielders are good athletes, but lack the hit tool necessary to project as every day players. Catcher Bennet Pickar is short on the bat, but a quality defensive catcher in the Bryan Holaday mold. Charles Gillies and Julio Felix have quality arms with fastballs in the low 90’s, but lack the full repertoire at this point to consider them as much more than long shots at this point.
As much as I would like to get on my high horse, and derail the Tigers scouting department for a poor job so far, I’m not really sure they could do much considering the low draft budget the new CBA left them with. Prince Fielder in effect is their draft. However, I am not going to let them off the hook completely, because this isn’t a good draft despite the relative weakness of the draft in 2012.
It seems as if the Tigers organization has punted the draft for two years straight now, and in the long run, I don’t think that is a good strategy. The development and scouting staff needs work, and we may see that now that the Tigers can’t vastly overpay for talent that falls into their lap.
Rounds 16 through 40 are going to be held today starting at noon.