Detroit Tigers: Recapping Every 2016 Draftee’s First Professional Season

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Detroit Tigers
Jun 3, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Tigers sit onto of the scoreboard at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Niko Buentello

Round Drafted: 18th
Position: First Baseman

Detroit generally hasn’t tended to stock up on first baseman considering Miguel Cabrera has been entrenched at the position for the better part of the last decade.

Outside of the intriguing Will Maddox, Will Allen and Dominic Ficociello are perhaps the Tigers’ best first base prospects. Allen is 24 and just reached West Michigan last season, while Ficociello batted .248 in Erie during the 2016 campaign.

All that being said, Detroit selected Buentello in the 18th round of the draft.

The former Auburn standout batted .236 in the Gulf Coast League, but showed promise with a .338 on-base percentage, 23 runs scored, 23 walks, 17 RBI, 13 doubles, five home runs and four stolen bases in just 52 games.

Dustin Frailey

Round Drafted: 19th
Position: Outfielder

Avila and the Detroit Tigers returned to the outfield well in the 19th round of the draft, taking Dustin Frailey.

The outfielder showed solid table-setting skills in his first season, drawing a high number of walks and stealing 12 bases.

However, the 22-year-old did hit just .195 in the Gulf Coast League. So on one hand, Frailey didn’t have the best time swinging the bat. On the other hand, he did post a superb .403 on-base percentage.

Clate Schmidt

Round Drafted: 20th
Position: Pitcher

Schmidt had been drafted twice before the 2016 draft, but opted not to turn pro on both occasions. Detroit previously selected him in the 36th round in 2012, while the Boston Red Sox made him a 32nd-round pick in 2015.

Now with the Tigers, Schmidt made his professional debut with the Connecticut Tigers in the New York-Penn League.

Over 21.2 innings, the right-hander struck out 17 while allowing 11 earned runs. While the runs (4.57 ERA) weren’t ideal, the pitcher did give up just one home run.

Schmidt started one game and finished six for the minor league club.