The Detroit Tigers Weekly Draft Report is starting to feel a bit of draft fever, but thankfully we can calm that a bit by looking at one of the weakest position groups in the class, corner infielders.
In most years we see about five corner infielders go in the first 50 picks, and college third basemen are traditionally the best bet to have productive MLB careers. Unfortunately, the 2021 draft is very light on college bats at the hot corner, and we may see just two or three corner infielders taken in the top 50 picks.
That’s not a huge deal to the Detroit Tigers, who have taken a boatload of corner bats in the last two drafts, but you can never have enough boppers. Before we get into the list, feel free to check in with earlier updates here: College Preview, High School Preview, Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4&5, Week 6, Week 7, Top 5, Catchers
Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – Top College Corner Infield Options
As we mentioned above, the Detroit Tigers have spent a lot of draft capital on corner infielders in the past year, with Spencer Torkelson, Gage Workman, Colt Keith, Nick Quintana, Andre Lipcius, and Ryan Kreidler probably all fitting best at first or third. But obviously not all of those players will work out, so it makes sense to at least keep track of this year’s top corner bats.
Alex Binelas – Alex Binelas had a terrific freshman year for Louisville in 2019, and he came into this season with an outside shot of getting drafted in the first ten picks. But a brutal start to the year, and a move down the defensive spectrum from third base to first base, will probably knock him out of the first round.
Zack Gelof – Gelof probably doesn’t have a plus tool, but he shows a well-rounded profile with a chance to play above-average defense at third base while providing above-average power production, and even a little bit of speed.
Kyle Manzardo – Manzardo is a quality hitter who is almost certainly limited to first base in pro ball. His solid lefty stroke will get him drafted on day two, and if a team thinks he has plus power potential he could go as early as the second round.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand – Encarnacion-Strand spent his first two seasons in junior college, but he has stepped into a Power 5 conference and impressed with his offensive ability, though he’s a bit aggressive at the plate, and he’ll have to work to stick at third base.
Niko Kavadas – Kavadas was eligible last year but went undrafted, so he returned to South Bend. He’s been one of the best offensive performers in college baseball this year and helped lead Notre Dame to a top-5 ranking. He has easy plus power, but he’s limited to first base and possibly DH, so he’ll have to hit a ton in pro ball.
Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – Secondary Corner Infield Options
If the Tigers do elect to target a corner bat it seems likely they’ll do so later in the draft, and the names above could all be options. Schwartz and Boissiere have both proven to be terrific college hitters, though neither shows above-average power at the moment. At 6’4 Schwartz could grow into more pop, while the 6’1 Boissiere has a little more defensive versatility.
Keegan and Obertop are interesting hitters with some swing-and-miss concerns and limited track records, but they could be appealing in the draft because they have both played some catcher. Bobby Seymour is a senior who will be nearly 23 at draft time, but he’s been a quality hitter in college, and he’s finally starting to tap into his power.
Detroit Tigers MLB Draft – High School Corner Infielders
Izaac Pacheco – A high-school shortstop, Pacheco is vaguely reminiscent of Joey Gallo as a lefty with big-time raw power, strikeout issues, and surprising athleticism. He should have the hands and arm to handle third base in pro ball and could be the first corner bat off the board.
Wes Kath – Kath is another big lefty who plays shortstop in high-school, though he isn’t quite as athletic or powerful as Pacheco. Kath arguably had a better summer showcase circuit, however, and he had a terrific senior season, even taking the mound for his team’s final out of the year.
Colson Montgomery – Montgomery is a big, athletic lefty with a pretty swing and room on his frame to project more power in the future. Montgomry is a gifted basketball player, but his future is brighter on the diamond, where he could develop into an above-average defender at third base with above-average power.
Tommy White – White was a regular on the summer showcase circuit and got plenty of exposure on the IMG Academy baseball team. He has the bat speed, strength, and aggression to do a lot of damage, though he’s stretched at third base and may ultimately fit best at first.
Luke Leto – Once considered a top shortstop and a potential top-ten pick in the 2021 draft, Luke Leto has seen his stock tumble after lackluster performances on the showcase circuit and an overall decline in athleticism. He now fits best in a corner, though he could also get drafted as a pitcher. Either way, it now seems likely he’ll make it to campus at LSU.