Detroit Tigers draft board: 3 prep favorites & 3 college favorites
By Tyler Kotila
Detroit Tigers have to consider cold weather arm George Klassen.
The Detroit Tigers need to make sure they jump on flame-throwing right-handed pitcher George Klassen if he is there late in the 2023 MLB draft. The University of Minnesota product is no stranger to the cold weather baseball that the midwest brings, and he still is able to throw 100 mph.
It would be a shame for the Detroit Tigers not to do their due diligence on a player like Klassen. He deserves to be on their draft board for the 2023 edition. He's got the makings to be something special in a pro organization, given that he gets into the triple digits on the heater.
While Klassen may not profile out to be a seven-inning shutdown starter, he throws heat and has the relief profile to be a considerable part of a team's bullpen down the line. The right-handed pitcher works from a long and slender 6-foot-2, 170-pound frame.
He works out of the wind-up with an old-school over-the-head full-windup. The hands end up around/below the letters as he gets a higher leg lift up around the letters before riding the slope downhill. Tons of extension in the front side moving down the slope with long levers to help get it done.
Out of the stretch, it's a simpler operation. Leg lift above the belt before working down the mound with a quick and whippy arm action. Tons of trunk tilt with some head whack through release. But it's understandable, as he's working up above the 100 mph mark and holds the upper-90s as a starter for the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Klassen's fastball will hold the upper-90s and reach up to 100 mph and above at times as a starter. Which leads me to believe he could be more consistently around 100 mph in a shorter outing. The fastball has some arm-side life to it, running a ton.
He pairs it with a slider that has sharper and later bite to it that helps him get it done. The slider works the mid-80s, and he can break it off for strikes and tunnel it off his fastball well. It's a fastball/slider operation that projects as a reliever, but there's plenty of intrigue with Klassen.
He has not been amazing for the Gophers, but it would be worth a later pick to help add a hard-throwing backend bullpen arm to the organization. Klassen has pitched in nine games, eight of them as a starter. He has managed a 5.35 ERA with 27 walks and 32 strikeouts.
The biggest knock on Klassen is command and being able to fill up the zone. But there's reason to believe he would be a late-round backend relief option. After all, he's going to throw triple digits. The command is shaky but worth taking a chance on late if he's still available.