Number 3 Worst Detroit Tigers Draft – 2009
In terms of total WAR accumulated, this is the 2nd worst draft in Detroit Tigers history. But, as always, there’s a bit more to the story than just one number. The Tigers had the 9th overall pick that year, and though it has subsequently been reported that they were one of the teams highest on a New Jersey outfielder named Mike Trout, they opted to take Missouri prep right-hander Jacob Turner. And for a while that looked like a fine choice. Turner was signed to an MLB deal and shot through the minors in just two seasons, making his MLB debut two months after his 20th birthday. He looked the part in his debut, pitching into the 6th inning and striking out six while allowing just two earned runs. He struggled afterward, but he still held enough prospect cachet to be the main piece in Detroit’s 2012 trade for Aníbal Sánchez and Omar Infante.
Turner always looked like he should be good, and he kept getting chances, but for whatever reason it never clicked for him. He finished his big-league career with a -2.6 WAR, the 4th worst for a first-round pitcher drafted in the 21st century. Oklahoma State LHP Andy Oliver was at one point considered a potential top-10 pick, but he slid to the Tigers in the second round. He also shot through the minors and debuted in 2010, but he posted a 7.11 ERA in seven MLB starts for the Tigers and never reached the majors again.
Detroit missed on their third (Wade Gaynor), fourth (Edwin Gomez), and fifth (Austin Wood) picks, and they were strangely aggressive with sixth-rounder Daniel Fields, sending him from U of D Jesuit high school in Michigan to High-A Lakeland in his first pro season. He did reach the majors for one game, going 1-for-3 with a double and two strikeouts. The other players from 2009 to make the bigs were lefty starters Adam Wilk (11th round) and Giovanni Soto (21st round). Wilk pitched in eight games for the Tigers and recorded a 6.66 ERA, while Soto was traded for Jhonny Peralta and later pitched in six games for Cleveland, becoming the only player from this class with a positive WAR (0.2).