Detroit Tigers add another '23 draftee speaking volumes about draft philosophy

The Detroit Tigers recently traded for Blake Dickerson, a 2023 MLB Draft pick of the San Diego Padres. However, this trade says a lot more about draft philosophy.

Detroit Tigers prospect Blake Dickerson throwing during a MLB Draft Combine event.
Detroit Tigers prospect Blake Dickerson throwing during a MLB Draft Combine event. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers made a trade as the organization started to get moving on Spring Training. The team's trade involved picking up another prospect from last summer's First-Year Amateur Draft. While the Tigers have some exciting pieces of their own from their draft class, they added more.

The Detroit Tigers pulled the trigger on a trade with the San Diego Padres to acquire Blake Dickerson, kicking some international bonus pool money the other way. Dickerson is a 12th-rounder from last season's draft, hailing from Virginia and being drafted as a prep player.

He was a player who was high on draft boards and was able to get some interest, forgoing his Virginia Tech commitment. During Spring Training, when Scott Harris was meeting with the media, he talked about this deal with a little more substance.

Dickerson played with Max Clark and Kevin McGonigle, who were both first-round picks in the 2023 MLB Draft. Dickerson fell a bit in the draft, being taken in the 12th round. But Harris notes that Dickerson was someone that the Tigers had been tracking ahead of the draft.

Detroit Tigers trading for Blake Dickerson keys in on the draft philosophy.

On the flip side, Dickerson was also pegged as attending school and honoring his commitment to playing college ball at Virginia Tech. However, the Padres were able to get a deal done. However, things changed in 2024 when the Padres were looking to add in some more international bonus pool money.

The Tigers were invested in what Dickerson brings to the table after following him ahead of the draft. However, they also were interested in the upside and long-term as a projectable left-handed starter. Plus, the Tigers' pitching development has been better than in recent years, so adding in someone like Dickerson with high-upside was essential to Harris and company.

The way Harris put it, they are investing in the strikes, the raw stuff, and the human -- with the hope that the Tigers will be able to extrapolate future value from Dickerson.

What does this mean for the Detroit Tigers draft philosophy?

Dickerson was someone the Tigers were hoping to grab last year. He's someone the team hoped they could have drafted as well if things worked out. However, it says something about the team looking to invest in high-profile prep players they feel strongly about.

The team could have taken Wyatt Langford with the third overall pick in 2023, but they didn't. It's something that the Tigers fans will continue to have to sit with for quite some time. But, they opted to take Clark and put stock in a projectable prep player instead.

They took eight prep players in their 2023 MLB Draft Class, but more importantly, four of their first six picks were prep players. They went prep-heavy early, with players that have profiles that I'm betting the amateur scouting staff really stamped their approval on.

It's intriguing and tells a lot. When the Tigers make their picks in 2024, it will be interesting to see how the prep players factor in once again.