The 6 worst drafts in Detroit Tigers History
Number 4 Worst Detroit Tigers Draft – 2003
As if losing 119 games that year wasn’t bad enough, the Tigers also had to go out and blow the 2003 draft, too. Detroit held the third overall pick that year and used it on Wake Forest RHP Kyle Sleeth. It was a perfectly acceptable pick at the time, as Sleeth had a storied college career and the stuff of a top-five pick. He held his own in his pro debut at High-A, but he was battered for a 6.30 ERA upon his promotion to Double-A. The Tigers tried to get him to iron out his mechanics, but he went down with Tommy John surgery in 2005, and he never regained his stuff or his command when he returned, and he retired after 2007.
The rest of the draft didn’t go any better for the Tigers. Their second-round pick was high-school pitcher Jay Sborz, who spent eight years toiling in the minors before making a single disastrous outing in the big leagues. Third-round pick Tony Giarratano was a gifted defender at shortstop, and though he didn’t have much power he had all the other tools to potentially be an everyday regular. He played in 15 MLB games in 2005 but hit just .143 with one home run. Then, like Sleeth, injuries completely derailed his career and sent him to an early retirement after the 2007 season.
The other Tigers draft picks from 2003 to make the majors were Virgil Vasquez (7th round), who posted an 8.64 ERA over 16.2 innings for the Tigers in 2007, Brian Rogers (11th round), who was traded for Sean Casey in 2006, and catcher Dusty Ryan (48th round), who had a couple strong weeks for Detroit at the end of 2008, but never did much after that. By WAR, Ryan (0.1) was the best pick of the draft, though one could argue Brian Rogers provided the best value by landing Casey in a trade.