The Detroit Tigers land their first outfielder in the 7th round.
The Detroit Tigers have selected outfielder Seth Stephenson out of the University of Tennessee in the seventh round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
Seth Stephenson was easy to miss on an incredibly talented Tennessee squad this season. Four other Volunteers hitters were drafted in the first six rounds, including fellow outfielders Drew Gilbert (28th) and Jordan Beck (38th). He’s the fifth position player the Tigers have drafted from Tennessee in the past decade, joining former first rounder Christin Stewart, and current prospect Andre Lipcius, among others.
A Texas native, Stephenson spent his first two years after high school at Temple College, and as a sophomore he played shortstop and batted .383 with 30 extra-base hits (9HR) and 31 stolen bases in 51 games. He committed to the Vols in 2020, and briefly appeared in the 2021 Cape Cod League, going 7-for-21 with a double and a triple in seven games.
Stephenson immediately stepped into the leadoff role with Tennessee. He hit a home run in his first game with the team, manned left field for 47 games (he also played some CF and 2B), and hit .339/.408/.508 on the season, with 25 stolen bases in 30 tries.
Stephenson was not ranked on the MLB Pipeline list or at Prospects Live, but he did come in at #426 on Baseball America’s list($) of the top 500 draft prospects. They praised his 70-grade speed and his quick bat, and suggest he could move over to center field in pro ball. Stephenson has also shown signs of having a pretty good arm.
Stephenson is often listed as a switch-hitter, but he seems to be batting right handed in every video available online. He’s just 5’9 and 165 pounds, so power won’t be a big part of his game. His solid bat-to-ball skills lead to some aggression at the plate (41K, 15BB), and he has some trouble making contact with quality breaking balls.
Overall, Stephenson profiles as a bottom-of-the-order slap-and-dash hitter who can cause havoc on the basepaths and provide a bit of value on defense thanks to his speed and versatility.