Last week saw some truly outstanding pitching performances, and one frighteningly poor outing. We’ve also seen one college outfielder and one college catcher continue to perform well enough to begin creeping into the conversation for the Detroit Tigers with the 3rd overall pick.
Note: Does not include results from Friday, March 12th.
Detroit Tigers College Pitching Draft Targets
Kumar Rocker – (6IP, 2H, 0ER, 1BB, 11K) – There’s not a ton to say about Kumar Rocker these days. His fastball/slider combination is just too good for college hitters, so MLB scouts are left to nitpick his body, command, fastball characteristics, and other offerings.
Jack Leiter – (5IP, H, ER, 3BB, 11K) – Leiter seems to have edged ahead of Rocker in the eyes of many evaluators, as he’s essentially matching Rocker in terms of performance while potentially offering slightly more upside. He may not be available when the Detroit Tigers pick.
Jaden Hill – (0.1IP, 5, 8ER, 2BB, 0K) – Yikes. This was about as ugly as it gets, and getting bombed by Oral Robert is the sort of thing that could really damage Hill’s draft stock.
Ty Madden – (9IP, 2H, 0ER, 2BB, 14K) – Ty Madden put together the most complete outing of the week, setting another career high in strikeouts and putting the team on his back in a 1-0 complete game victory. His sinker/slider combination may not fit what most modern teams are looking for, but he’s a legitimate option for the Detroit Tigers.
Richard Fitts – (5IP, 7H, 5ER, 1BB, 2K) – Fitts has struggled in his last two outings, and last week he ran into a buzzsaw named Sal Frelick. There are some whispers he may not be 100%, so that will be something to watch.
Gunnar Hoglund – (5.1 IP, 5H, 3ER, 2BB, 7K) – Hogland hasn’t really dominated in any outing this year, but he continues to look like a very solid first-rounder with potential mid-rotation upside.
Now let’s discuss some other noteworthy performances from last week, including a few Big Ten hurlers making their season debuts.
Jordan Wicks – (6IP, 5H, 0R, 0BB, 8K) – Jordan Wicks is boring in the best way. He doesn’t light up the radar gun, but he’s got a nasty changeup and he just goes out, throws strikes, and keeps runs off the board.
Joe Rock – (6IP, 5H, 0R, BB, 12K) – Joe Rock continues to make his case as a potential first rounder. The competition isn’t elite — last week it was Wisconsin-Milwaukee — but his low-90s fastball, above-average slider, and uncomfortable angle should play against most teams.
Sean Burke – (6IP, 2H, 3ER, 2BB, 13K) – Maryland’s Sean Burke has barely pitched in pro ball thanks to Tommy John surgery in 2019, but he had four strong starts in 2020, and he was excellent in his first 2021 outing. Michigan State scratched out some runs, but he showed first-round potential with a low-90s fastball and two potentially plus breaking balls.
McCade Brown – (7IP, 3H, ER, 0BB, 12K) – Another Big Ten arm with precious little experience, McCade Brown authored a dominant Big Ten debut, stifling Rutgers with his low-90s fastball and above-average curve.
Ben Casparius – (8IP, 3H, 0ER, 3BB, 11K) – Ben Casparius was a two-way player for North Carolina, but so far he’s focusing on pitching at Connecticut, and it seems to be a good decision. He has the stuff to go in the top few rounds if he can keep improving his command.
Andrew Abbott – (5.2IP, 2H, ER, 4BB, 14K) – Abbot was a reliever for his first three seasons in Virginia, but he’s been starting this year and he dominated Florida State last week. He doesn’t have great size and his stuff is fairly average, but he has some deception and a terrific track record.
Bryce Miller – (7IP, 4H, 0ER, 0BB, 15K) – Bryce Miller was also a reliever for his first few years in college, but he has joined the Aggies’ rotation and looks like a potential first rounder. He absolutely dominated New Mexico State last week, and his stuff was strong.
Detroit Tigers College Infield Draft Targets
Adrian Del Castillo – (4-for-16, 2HR, 2K, 2R, 6RBI) – ADC finally hit a few home runs last week, but he still hasn’t been performing the way many expected. He’s likely an average defender at best, so he could fall out of the top 10 if he doesn’t pick up his performance soon.
Matt McLain – (5-for-17, 2B, 3BB, 3K, 7R, 2RBI, 2SB) – Matt McLain remains steady, albeit unspectacular. He’s been setting the table well for the Bruins, and still projects as a top-10 pick, but he doesn’t look like a real impact talent.
Alex Binelas – (5-for-23, 3 2B, 3BB, 5K, 3R, RBI, SB) – Binelas seems to be shaking off his brutal start, but as a corner infielder he really needed to rake all year to get drafted near the top. Right now he looks more like a second rounder.
Henry Davis – (7-for-20, 2 2B, HR, 2BB, 3K, R, 4RBI) – Davis is one of the biggest risers early in the season thanks to outstanding performances to go along with impressive skills. He has a great eye at the plate, and a cannon of an arm behind it.
Cody Morissette – (9-for-21, 2 2B, 2HR, BB, 3K, 4R, 5RBI) – Morissette is sort of a poor-man’s McLain, putting together steady games for the Eagles while moving around the infield. He’s probably best at second base, and may sneak into the back of the first round.
Hunter Goodman – (6-for-20, 2 2B, 2HR, 5BB, 6K, 2R, 4RBI) – Goodman has been one of college baseball’s premier power threats for three years, but he’s an aggressive swinger and there are questions about his defense.
Luca Tresh – (5-for-16, 2HR, 2BB, 6K, 5R, 6RBI) – Another catcher with big pop, Tresh has come out of the gates strong this year, and could be climbing into consideration in the top few rounds.
Dominic Keegan – (5-for-10, 2 2B, 3B, HR, 2BB, 2K, 4R, 2RBI) – Keegan has had a wild ride in college ball, including a scary blood clot issue and a COVID-19 diagnosis. But he’s done nothing but hit this season, and he could be tried at other positions, including catcher, in pro ball.
Detroit Tigers College Outfield Draft Targets
Jud Fabian – (3-for-12, 2B, 2BB, 3K, 2R) – Fabian kept the strikeouts in check last week, but he still owns a 29% strikeout rate so far this year, and he’s going to need to reel that in to avoid falling into the Jeren Kendall/Casey Martin bin of college hitters with tools but scary hit projections.
Sal Frelick – (10-for-18, 2 2B, 3HR, 4BB, 0K, 7R, 7RBI, CS) – Frelick has just been a monster for the Eagles so far this season, and he looks like the front-runner among position players for the Golden Spikes award. Last week he hit two homers off Auburn ace Richard Fitts, and then he capped off an epic comeback with a huge 3-run bomb. He’s looking like a potential top-15 pick.
Colton Cowser – (3-for-13, 2B, 6BB, 5K, 3R, SB)
Ethan Wilson – (6-for-22, 2B, 3B, 3BB, K, R, 3RBI) – Still waiting on Cowser and Wilson to start hitting. Neither seem like options for the Detroit Tigers now, though perhaps as second rounders.
John Rhodes – (7-for-22, 2 2B, HR, 5BB, 4K, 8R, 4RBI) – Rhodes continues to draw interest thanks to his strong production, but Kentucky hasn’t faced much stiff competition so far.
Christian Franklin – (4-for-10, 2B, 4BB, 5K, 3R, 4RBI, CS) – Franklin is an exciting outfielder who has performed well, but he faces the same swing-and-miss questions as Fabian.
Justice Thompson – (4-for-17, 2HR, 2BB, 8K, 4R, 3RBI, SB) – Speaking of swing-and-miss issues, that seems to be the main question about North Carolina’s pop-up outfielder Justice Thompson. He has all the other tools, but scouts will need to see him control the strike zone more.