Detroit Tigers MLB Draft: Team adds necessary catching prospects in Joey Morgan and Sam McMillan

Apr 24, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; A view of the Detroit Tigers logo on the on deck circle at Comerica Park. The Indians won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; A view of the Detroit Tigers logo on the on deck circle at Comerica Park. The Indians won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila added some much-needed catching depth in the 2017 MLB draft with third-round pick Joey Morgan and fifth-round pick Sam McMillan.

Detroit Tigers fans have seen some quality home-grown catchers in past seasons.

Alex Avila and James McCann have both proved to be above-average performers at times.

As of last season, the team had three different catching prospects of note in Kade Scivicque, Grayson Greiner and Arvicent Perez.

Now, Scivicque is in Atlanta’s organization after moving in the Erick Aybar deal last season. Greiner and Perez, two defense-first catchers, have struggled at the dish this season.

Greiner is hitting just .206 with a .297 on-base percentage at Double-A Erie, while Perez is batting .245 with a .274 on-base percentage for Advanced-A Lakeland.

Defensive catchers generally don’t have to hit too much in the Majors, but Greiner (24) and Perez (23) will need to start hitting more to continue to move up the ladder.

With Greiner and Perez struggling at the plate and McCann having a down year defensively (had a DRS of 9 last year, at -1 in 2017), some more catching options for the future probably wouldn’t have hurt.

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New catching prospects

The Tigers brought in a pair of catchers early on the second day of the draft.

University of Washington catcher Joey Morgan and high school backstop Sam McMillan were taken in the third and fifth rounds respectively.

Baseball America ranked Morgan as the ninth-best catcher in the draft, while placing McMillan 117th. Both players ranked among Baseball America and’s top 200 overall prospects. had the following to say about Morgan:

"“There has been little question about Morgan’s defensive ability. He has excellent catch and throw skills, with an above-average arm that plays up even more because of his quick release and accuracy. He moves well behind the plate and works very well with pitchers.”"

The same publication wrote this about McMillan:

"“None of McMillian’s tools jump out as plus, but the sum of all his parts make him an intriguing catching prospect. He has a solid hit tool, making consistent hard contact.”"

Both catchers should leapfrog Greiner and Perez in the team’s prospect rankings. Long-term, this should help the team’s outlook behind the plate significantly.

The Detroit Tigers two newest catching prospects should also help the club if James McCann fails to stick over the long haul.

It’s still early in the season—and in general— but McCann’s struggles this year haven’t been encouraging.

The backstop is hitting for more power, with his ISO up from .137 to .208. However, last season’s gold glove finalist in the American League has seen his rSB drop from 7 to -2, while also

If those defensive numbers become more of a trend over time and McCann’s batting average doesn’t pick up, the team may eventually need a replacement for the 27-year-old down the line.

Next: Closer look at second-round pick Reynaldo Rivera

In Morgan and McMillian, the Detroit Tigers have two solid options.