With the 135th overall pick in the 2021 MLB Draft the Detroit Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Tanner Kohlhepp from the University of Notre Dame.
Detroit’s run on right-handed pitching continues in the 5th round with Tanner Kohlhepp, a hard-thrower who moved around in college but settled in at Notre Dame in 2021. Our writer Jon Erkkila (Yoop) nailed this pick in our Mock Draft 2.0.
Who is Tanner Kohlhepp?
Tanner Kohlhepp was a quality shortstop and pitcher coming out of high school in Wisconsin, and he began his college career at the University of Tennessee. He struggled throwing strikes for the Vols, and transferred to Iowa Western Junior College for the 2020 season. Strikes were still a bit of an issue in JuCo, but he transferred to Notre Dame for the 2021 season and became a weapon out of the bullpen for a strong Fighting Irish squad.
Tanner Kohlhepp Scouting Report
Tanner Kohlhepp has a good arm with a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s and has reached as high as 99MPH. He also throws a low-80s slider and a changeup that have both shown average potential in the past. Though he worked as a reliever in 2021 (he pitched in 40% of Notre Dame’s games) there’s a chance he can start in pro ball.
Kohlhepp’s fastball is more of sinker than the sort of high-spin bat misser teams prefer, and his limited track record and history of control issues point to a probable bullpen role in pro ball.
Irresponsible Tanner Kohlhepp Player Comp
With a sinker that can reach the upper 90s, a slider that can help him miss bats, and a history of control issues, there’s a little bit of Kyle Funkhouser in Tanner Kohlehpp’s profile. He’s also reminiscent of the last pitcher Detroit’s selected from Notre Dame, Brad Bass.
Draft Pick Analysis
The Detroit Tigers continue to add the pitching depth they sorely need. Tanner Kohlhepp doesn’t have a huge ceiling, but he certainly has an interesting arm, and there’s still a bit of upside if you squint. Kohlhepp is also 22 already, and though he can technically return to school, he should save the Tigers a bit of money.