The Detroit Tigers used their first pick in the 2017 Rule 5 Draft to select outfielder Victor Reyes from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Many people thought the Detroit Tigers would use the Rule 5 draft to bolster their bullpen. They were frequently connected to flame-thrower Nick Burdi of the Minnesota Twins, who would have missed the first half of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The Tigers went a different direction, selecting Arizona outfielder Victor Reyes with the first pick.
Reyes, 23, hit very well at Double-A last season. In 479 at-bats he hit .292 with 18 stolen bases and a 110 wRC+.
He hit .303 with 20 stolen bases the season prior at High-A.
The switch-hitter profiles more as a fourth outfielder with speed. His power is still developing, but his contact-oriented swing will likely play very well at the cavernous Comerica Park. Likewise, his speed will help him develop into a strong corner outfield defender.
Additionally, Reyes is capable of playing center field if necessary.
At 23 years old, the Tigers saw a player who is ready to contribute at the major league level sooner rather than later. Reyes may never develop into a superstar, but in an offense that lacks speed and left-handed hitting (even after the signing of Leonys Martin) Reyes should find himself earning plenty of at-bats.
Elsewhere in the Rule 5 Draft
The Rule 5 draft concluded with a former Tiger hearing his name called.
Left-handed reliever and former Tigers center fielder Anthony Gose was selected by the Houston Astros.
Gose signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.
He is trying to reach the major leagues as a relief pitcher.
It looks like he will get his chance with the defending champion Houston Astros, who desperately needed a left-hander in their bullpen.
Gose can hit 95+ mph with his fastball, so the Astros are gambling that he will be able to find some success on the mound despite limited experience as a pitcher.
The Rule 5 draft is a great, inexpensive way for teams to find controllable big-league talent. Here’s to hoping Reyes finds his role in Detroit and helps the ballclub as the rebuild continues.