Detroit Tigers: Best draft picks by Round in team history
Round 5 – Lou Whitaker
(Honorable Mention: Jack Morris)
The fifth-round was extremely kind to the Tigers in the mid-1970’s, with the Tigers grabbing second baseman Lou Whitaker in 1975 and Hall of Fame starter Jack Morris in 1976.
Whitaker went on to become one of the greatest players in Tigers history, and arguably one of the biggest Hall of Fame snubs of all-time. Alongside Alan Trammell, Whitaker spent 19 years in the Motor City. He racked up 2,369 hits, 244 home runs, 143 steals, five All-Star games, three Gold Glove awards, four Silver Slugger awards and the 1978 Rookie of the Year award.
His lack of support on the Hall of Fame ballot has been disappointing, particularly after seeing Trammell and Morris finally get their due. Someday Whitaker may join Trammell and Morris and become the second two-bagger, after Charlie Gehringer, to get inducted.
Morris pitched for the Tigers from 1977-1990, winning 198 games and tossing a staggering 154 complete games. His Hall of Fame case was a tricky one, as his numbers don’t hold up to more modern standards, although he was widely appreciated by his contemporaries.
Other Fifth Round Picks
It’s pretty remarkable that a Hall of Famer is Detroit’s second greatest fifth round pick – although the list drops off pretty rapidly after that.
Alex Avila, Ryan Raburn, and Robert Fick are the only other players with a career bWAR over 1.0. Current Tigers reliever Buck Farmer (-1.6) is a fifth round pick as well, although he has some work to do to improve his place on this list.
Among recent selections, catcher Sam McMillan (2017) and outfielder Cam Gibson (2015) stand out as potential contributors down the line. Gibson, the son of Tigers legend Kirk Gibson, is an under-the-radar prospect in Detroit’s system who is worth keeping an eye on.