The first round of the draft
Here’s the thing, teams don’t necessarily need a high draft pick in the first round to find impact or a star talent—they just need a first rounder, if that.
Often times, the star players are found outside of the first few picks
The 2012 draft, which was headlined by Correa, featured seven first-rounders who currently own a WAR over 5.0.
Correa predictably leads the pack. However, he’s followed by Corey Seager (18th-overall pick), Addison Russell (11th), Marcus Stroman (22nd), Michael Wacha (19th) and Lance McCullers (5.8). Baltimore right-hander Kevin Gausman is the only other top-five pick on the list.
Moving back a year, the 2010 draft has had seven players with lifetime WARs currently sitting north of 10.
2009 and 2013
The 2009 and 2013 drafts are perhaps the best examples of how impact players can be found outside of the first few picks.
The 2009 edition of the draft obviously saw Strasburg go first overall. However, it also saw Mike Trout selected 25th.
Meanwhile, of the top six first-rounders in the 2013 draft in terms of WAR, only two were top-10 picks.
One player who will likely see his career WAR rise over the coming seasons is Aaron Judge. Judge is having a monster season for the Yankees in 2017, and was taken by New York with the 32nd pick back in 2013.
The Detroit Tigers’ own Michael Fulmer was the 44th-overall pick by the Mets in 2011.
Staying in the first round
Given the unpredictably and uncertainness of where impact players have been drafted in the first round over the years, the Tigers simply need to pick in the opening round to have a shot at landing promising talent.
Considering the organization is moving away from inflated contracts, it seems unlikely that the Detroit Tigers will be signing any free agents who would cost a draft pick any time soon.
Because of this, the team should have a chance to partially restock the farm system every year.
In some instances, there are diamonds in the rough later in drafts.