Detroit Tigers Weekly Draft Report: King Henry

Louisville catcher Henry Davis scores against Vanderbilt.
Louisville catcher Henry Davis scores against Vanderbilt. /

The Detroit Tigers Weekly Draft Report jumps off schedule slightly this week. Instead of releasing every Saturday, we’re bumping to Monday to offer more timely information. As a result, stats for this week will be a bit beefier because they include the past two weeks of action.

And what a couple of weeks it was! We’ve seen wild comebacks, walk-of homers at both the prep and college level, and a dominant no-hitter from from a player the Detroit Tigers would love to draft with the third overall pick.

Let’s get to it.

Detroit Tigers College Pitching Draft Targets

Season Totals

Kumar Rocker – (16IP, 5H, 2ER, 3BB, 13K) – Rocker finally gave up a few runs last Friday to South Carolina, but the week before he authored one of the more impressive starts of the college baseball season, giving up just 2 hits over 8 scoreless innings against a good Oklahoma State team.

Jack Leiter – (14IP, 2H, 0ER, 4BB, 23K) – Leiter was very good, but not terribly efficient against Oklahoma State two weeks ago, but last weekend he produced what may be the defining moment of the 2021 college baseball season when he struck out 16 South Carolina Gamecocks on the way to a no-hitter. All 16 punchouts came via his fastball, and the only blemish on his box score was a lead-off walk to begin the game.

Jaden Hill – (14IP, 13H, 6ER, 4BB, 8K) – Hill came into the season needing to answer questions about his durability, and he has shown progress there, still hitting the mid-90s velocity late into each of his last two outings. But it’s the stuff that has become the issue now. It looks great at times, but Hill just doesn’t seem to miss bats, and that could push him out of the first round.

Ty Madden – (13.1 IP, 7H, 3ER, 6BB, 14K) – Madden has also had some issues with missing bats, such as in his outing against South Carolina two weeks ago, but overall he’s been everything the Longhorns could have hoped, and he seems likely to be at least a top-20 pick.

Gunnar Hoglund – (14 IP, 7H, 0ER, 2BB, 27K) – Hogland continues to make his case to be the 3rd college pitcher off the board this year. He overwhelmed Louisiana Monroe two weeks ago (6IP, 2H, 14K) but he was arguably better against Auburn this weekend (8IP, 5H, BB, 13K). He may actually throw a few too many strikes, but that’s a good problem to have.

McCade Brown – (12 IP, 5H, 4ER, 6BB, 24K) – If there’s one pitcher who might strong arm his way into top-10 consideration it’s Brown, who had a spectacular outing a week ago against Penn State (7IP, 0H, 2BB, 16K) but followed it up with a bit of a dud against Purdue (5IP, 4ER, 3BB, 8K). At his best Brown shows a mid-90s fastball and a plus breaking ball.

Detroit Tigers College Infield Draft Targets

Season Totals

Henry Davis – (12-for-26, 3 2B, 2HR, 5BB, 4K, 7R, 9 RBI, 3SB) – It’s officially time to begin thinking of Henry Davis as a potential top-five pick (if you weren’t already). He hits, he hits for power, he controls the strike zone, he steal bases, and he has a cannon of an arm from behind the plate. Would the Detroit Tigers take Davis at 3rd after drafting Dillon Dingler last year? Absolutely, if they think he’s the best hitter in college baseball, and right now that’s the way he’s performing.

Adrian Del Castillo – (7-for-20, 2B, 3B, HR, 4BB, K, 4R, 2 RBI) – Adrian Del Castillo has remained steady but unspectacular so far this year, often being outperformed in the box score by his older brother Christian. He seems more likely to stick behind the plate now, and he offers impressive offensive potential for a catcher, but he has seemingly been passed by Davis.

Matt McLain – (9-for-30, 2B, HR, 3BB, 9K, 5R, 5 RBI) – Matt McLain is sort of in the same boat as Del Castillo. He did hit his second home run of the season, but so far there hasn’t been much of an impact with his bat, and the rest of his game has been so-so as well.

Alex Binelas – (6-for-26, 2B, 2HR, 2BB, 10K, 6R, 9 RBI, SB) – The struggles continue for Binelas, who could be slipping all the way out of the first round. He still offers some interesting tools, but as a probable first baseman in pro ball, he needs to be much more productive than he has been.

Ryan Bliss – (13-for-34, 2B, 4HR, 3BB, 4K, 10R, 7 RBI) – Auburn’s undersized shortstop is showing heretofore unknown pop and it’s making his season look very strong. He’s likely to slide to second base, and he’ll probably never show more than fringe-average power in pro ball, but his bat-to-ball skills and performance will certainly get him looks in the first few rounds of the draft.

Detroit Tigers College Outfield Draft Targets

Season Totals

Jud Fabian – (12-for-36, 3 2B, 4HR, 4BB, 13K, 11R, 11 RBI) – Hits finally started falling (and clearing the fence) for Jud Fabian, though he still swung and missed plenty. He’s still a probable top-15 pick because of his impact potential, but there’s more risk here than teams would like.

Sal Frelick – (9-for-32, 3 2B, 3B, HR, 3BB, 3K, 6R, 3RBI, SB) – Frelick cooled off slightly in the last two weeks, but he’s still spraying the ball over the park and scoring plenty of runs. He’s almost certainly a top-15 pick, and there’s some speculation he could be tried at second base in pro ball.

Colton Cowser – (9-for-31, 2B, 4HR, 4BB, 7K, 9R, 8 RBI, 3 SB) – After a slow start to the season Cowser finally started putting things together recently. If he can keep up this level of production he might once again threaten to go in the top ten.

Ethan Wilson – (11-for-26, 5 2B, 2HR, 5BB, 4K, 5R, 6RBI, SB) – Ethan Wilson also seems to be rounding into form after dealing with injury to begin the year. He’s back to manning left field and hitting the ball hard.

John Rhodes – (6-for-26, 2B, 2HR, 4BB, 5K, 7R, 7RBI, SB) – Rhodes couldn’t get many hits to fall last week, but he did damage when he could and continued to reach base at a solid clip.

Christian Franklin – (6-for-25, 2B, HR, 4BB, 8K, 6R, RBI, 2 SB) – Christian Franklin had a rough go of it a few weeks ago against Louisiana Tech, but he got right against Alabama as SEC play began, despite his team getting demolished in game one.

Robby Martin – (15-for-34, 3 2B, 4HR, 4K, 11R, 19RBI, SB) – Nobody has been hotter over the last two weekends than Martin, who raised his batting average by 100 points and knocked in a small village worth of runners. He’s an aggressive hitter who doesn’t walk much but can do damage when he makes contact.

Detroit Tigers High School Draft Targets

We haven’t done many prep updates so far, for a handful of reasons. First, it can be pretty hard to keep track of all the relevant players. Some high school teams have been playing for more than a month, while others haven’t even started their seasons.

High-school stats are hard to come by, and the uneven competition renders them mostly useless. And outside of the top handful of players, it can be very hard to know which prep players will even be signable.

The Detroit Tigers will probably take at least one high-school player in their fist six picks, but for our purposes we’re just going to focus on the kids who have a chance to go at the third overall pick.

There have been some big events — the Florida Preseason Classic, the Super 60 Pro Showcase, and the PG High School Showdown — but it’s somewhat rare for high school players to climb into the top 10 during the spring of their draft. So we’re largely working with the same names we mentioned in our high school preview.

Jordan Lawlar – SS – Dallas Jesuit – Dallas Jesuit keeps track of stats like a Division I college team, so we know Lawlar is hitting .418 with 5 doubles, 2 triples, 2 home runs, 14 walks, 13 strikeouts, and 22 steals in 22 tries. Those are the kind of impressive numbers we would expect from a probable top-3 pick, but the skills matter more. Lawlar continues to show a potential plus hit tool, plus run times, and all the defensive chops to stick at short. And last week he has flashed his power potential at a very opportune time:

Marcelo Mayer – SS – Chula Vista Eastlake – California’s Marcelo Mayer isn’t far behind Lawlar as a prospect, and is a real option for the Detroit Tigers with the third pick. He may be Lawlar’s equal as a hitter, only with more power potential thanks to a 6’3 frame. He doesn’t quite have the speed of Lawlar, and that frame leads to a bit more concern about a move to third base, but he’s a premium prospect no matter where he plays.

Khalil Watson – SS – Wake Forest HS – One of the big risers over the summer, North Carolina’s Khalil Watson is yet another prep shortstop with top-ten talent. He’s a bit undersized, but he should get to at least average power thanks to a good feel for hitting and tremendous bat speed. He’s also an easy plus runner with the athleticism and arm to stick up the middle on defense.

Brady House – SS – Winder-Barrow – We finish with Brady House, who was the biggest prep name in the class, but slid down some boards after an inconsistent summer. He’s back to terrorizing prep pitchers this spring, and he still shows impressive tools. He has some of the best raw power in the entire class, and though he probably moves to third base in pro ball, he’s a good enough athlete to make shortstop work for a few more years.