Why the Detroit Tigers shouldn’t draft a 1st round pitcher in the 2022 MLB Draft

Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Jackson Jobe throws live batting practice during spring training Minor League minicamp Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland.
Detroit Tigers pitching prospect Jackson Jobe throws live batting practice during spring training Minor League minicamp Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022 at Tiger Town in Lakeland. /

The Detroit Tigers lack hitting depth in their farm system

The 2022 MLB Draft is just under a month away, and the Detroit Tigers have the 12th overall pick. This is widely considered to be a position player heavy draft, especially at the top.

Most of the top college arms in the class have recently undergone Tommy John surgery and have seen their draft stock plummet. There are also a lot of high-upside prep hitters in this draft. You’d be hard pressed to find a mock draft right now that has a pitcher going in the top 10.

Most recently, MLB Pipeline’s Jonathan Mayo has the first pitcher going to the New York Mets at 11th overall, one pick ahead of the Detroit Tigers. He has them selecting a local product in Orchard Lake St. Mary’s’ Brock Porter. He has the Tigers taking Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung with the very next pick.

Having Porter go before the Tigers pick would be ideal, as it would save them from themselves. It is absolutely paramount that the Detroit Tigers don’t take a pitcher in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft.

Porter has cemented himself as the best pitcher in this class, but that’s not the point. The Tigers can’t take a high school arm in the first round two years in a row when they lack depth among their position players in the minor leagues.

The Detroit Tigers have taken a pitcher in the first round in five of the last seven drafts, including last year when they took Jackson Jobe third overall, passing on the consensus best player in the draft in high school shortstop Marcelo Mayer. Mayer was selected by the Boston Red Sox with the next pick.

Obviously 2018 first overall pick Casey Mize just underwent Tommy John surgery, so the jury is still out on him. Same with 2016 first-rounder Matt Manning, who is still recovering from bicep tendinitis. 2015 first-rounder Beau Burrows’ most memorable moment as a Tiger was when he vomited on the mound, and now he is no longer with the organization. Lastly, 2017 first-round pick Alex Faedo has had a solid start to his big league career, but it’s only been eight starts.

If Porter is still on the board when the Tigers pick, it’s hard to see Al Avila and company passing on him. Director of pitching Gabe Ribas could do some serious work with him. But they have plenty of pitching depth in their system. They need impact bats.

They also don’t pick until 51st overall following their pick at 12, then they don’t pick until 117. They traded the 71st overall pick to the Tampa Bay Rays as part of the Austin Meadows deal, and they lost their third-round pick when they signed Eduardo Rodriguez. They need to take hitters while the good ones are still on the board. It’s much easier to find pitchers later in the draft.

Tarik Skubal was a ninth round pick in 2018. Beau Brieske was a 27th round pick in 2019. The Tigers are in a position where they can afford to wait to take pitching.

The Detroit Tigers can’t keep making the same mistakes. That’s how they got into this mess. It’s time to load up on bats. They need to restock the farm system with impact hitters to supplement their pitching depth.

Next. Recalling Each of the Current Detroit Tigers’ First MLB Hits. dark