Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers 2020 MLB Draft Grades: The Upside Sells

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila looks on during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Complex on February 14, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 14: Detroit Tigers Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Al Avila looks on during Spring Training workouts at the TigerTown Complex on February 14, 2019 in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers’ fans celebrated a draft night victory. Where does this stack up for the team’s direction?

As I write this, I promise not to be a wet blanket when it comes to the Detroit Tigers’ draft. I will be as realistic as possible and point to the team’s history of drafting as a point of reference. With that being said, let’s look over the whirlwind of the last few days post-draft of grades, hot takes, and what our staff thought of the draft.

Experts Give High Grades on Detroit Tigers Draft

CBS Sports gave the Detroit Tigers an “A” for their draft class. Here’s their write up on why they deserved an “A”.

“The Tigers held the No. 1 pick and they locked themselves into an A when they used it on Torkelson, a future middle-of-the-order anchor. They then added a very good all-around catcher in second-rounder Dillon Dingler, a consistent college performer in outfielder Daniel Cabrera in Competitive Balance Round B, and they flat out stole Arizona State infielder Gage Workman in the fourth round. Workman was seen as a possible first-round pick coming into the season. Torkelson was arguably the best player in the draft and Detroit added three other late first-round/early second-round talents in Cabrera, Dingler, and Workman. Great, great draft for the Tigers.”

Carlos Collazo of Baseball America ($) sees the Tigers becoming one of the top 10 farm systems after this draft.

“Torkelson is the star of this class, and rightfully so, but the Tigers did an exceptional job taking advantage of their draft position and putting plenty of quality hitters around him. It’s hard to not see Detroit’s system as top-10 worthy after this draft.”

The MCB Staff Takes

Myself, Jacob Boes, Jon Welter, and Jon Erkkila did a draft roundtable on Thursday night you can find on the link to listen on the “Tigers SRD” podcast feed. Welter is a big fan of Gage Workman and Dingler and the upsides they present for Detroit. Trei Cruz, who I thought the Tigers should look at in the third round, is an infielder that could play anywhere on the diamond based on his family pedigree. His good eye at the play and overall athletism could make him a solid infielder, providing he can continue to develop his hitting tool.

With the pick of Colt Keith, the Tigers drafted a high school player with tremendous upside. He could end up playing anywhere Detroit will need him. For Daniel Cabrera and the history the Tigers have with LSU players, that was a natural fit. His solid defensive skills will bode well for either corner outfield spots.

Overall, as a staff, we were all excited about the draft. Dan Hasty had a great swing comparison of Spencer Torkelson to a former Chicago White Sox great, Paul Konerko.

“Torkelson Gate”

Watergate was the scandal that involved former President Richard Nixon wiretapping the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate headquarters.  Now with every scandal, we add “gate” to every word of any type of strange news or what constitutes a scandal.  The events below do not constitute as a scandal, just a strange part of the draft.

When Rob Manfred announced him as a third baseman, not at first base, we all scratched our heads.  He never played third but Detroit has an interest in playing him there. To me, it does not matter. He signs he hits, everyone is happy.

Final Thoughts about the 2020 MLB Draft

As the feeding frenzy begins tomorrow on unsigned players, the dark cloud that has been hanging over when the season will start. The same old song and dance between the owners and players continue about games played and profit is getting old to fans and it takes the shine off the Detroit Tigers’ draft a bit. Just make a decision and move on. (Easy for me to say, yes, I know)

Another part I did not understand was also just the complete and utter silence from the Detroit Tigers draft night. Al Avila, who has taken so many shots on social media from fans and his critics, was radio silent. No one from the front office spoke until 1 pm the next day. I keep discussing baseball needs good public relations and better marketing. That aspect should have been handled by Detroit. Fans are STOKED about this draft. They made the harshest of critics actually give them praise.

Look, I am a blogger and a fan of the Detroit Tigers. I get paid to write about this team and for the most part, do a podcast for free. I appreciate every opportunity to talk about the team. I simply ask just this. Strut. You may not strut because this may be new to the front office to have this kind of draft but also, they may have on their collective brains to get this draft right. Critics may be universal on one thing, Detroit’s track record of developing positional players has been lacking. But for Pete’s sake, take a damn victory lap.

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