May 15, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Detailed view of an official MLB baseball in a glove in the Atlanta Braves dugout prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Baseball America released their expert draft today – a mock draft in which four of their editors make successive picks – for the first round (including the compensation round) of Thursday’s MLB draft. The Tigers own only one pick in this range – pick 20 – but they do also own three other picks in the first three rounds (39, 58, and 94). At any rate, it was John Manuel’s turn to make a pick when the Tigers came to the top of the board at 20, and he selected shortstop Tim Anderson.
"We keep hearing the Tigers are one of the teams on [Eric] Jagielo, and he’d be a fine selection at 20. That said, I know you can’t pick for need, but when you have Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, plus Nick Castellanos in the minors, I don’t think it makes sense to draft a college third baseman here. So I’m taking East Central (Miss.) CC shortstop Tim Anderson, believing the Tigers will develop an up-the-middle athlete who fits talent-wise and in terms of value at the 20th pick"
Manuel is absolutely right (and is certainly more of an expert than me) in saying that you can’t really pick for need in the baseball draft, but Tigers could certainly use a top-level middle shortstop prospect in their system. The Tigers just don’t have much in the way of future major leauge talent around the infield positions in the minor leagues, and either Jagielo or Anderson would be nice to add.
MCB’s own John Verburg also profiled Anderson as a possible Tigers target in his first draft scouting report post (you can also see the second group of names here). Here’s what he was able to compile on the athletic shortstop:
"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."
We’ll have to wait until Thursday to find out who the ultimate pick will be, but for now enjoy MLB.com’s Draft Report Video on Tim Anderson. He prospects of being drafted by the Tigers appear to be quite real.