Detroit Tigers have to at least consider Chase Dollander.
Listen, it might sound ludicrous to suggest taking a pitcher, and I understand it may not be the most practical, but it has to be considered. It will be hard to leave Chase Dollander on the board at third overall if he is still there.
Before we get into what Dollander would bring to the organization, let's talk about how we got to this point. The Detroit Tigers went into the inaugural MLB Draft Lottery slated to pick sixth if it were a normal year.
However, the Tigers were able to reverse the odds of most Detroit sports teams and jump up to third overall in the 2023 MLB Draft. This leaves them in the market to add one of the top talents in a draft class that appears to have some real top talents at the top.
Either way, the Tigers were in a position to add a quality player. The obvious solution is to pick up a proven college bat and hope to add some firepower to the organization's top prospect list. In fact, for MCB's first draft coverage, we chose four position player draft prospects, and we looked at Wyatt Langford, an outfielder from the University of Florida who was slated to be a Tigers pick at sixth before the Lottery changed things.
But it will be hard to leave Dollander on the board if he is available. I find it hard to believe the Tigers would be able to do that unless Dylan Crews is still on the board as well. There has to be at least a discussion around selecting Dollander at third overall when the Tigers are on the clock.
Dollander is 21 years old and has spent the last two seasons at the collegiate level. According to Perfect Game USA, he went undrafted out of high school, where he played prep ball as a top-tier right-handed arm in Georgia.
He ended up at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga., where he spent his freshman season. He pitched in 12 games, 11 of them being starts. He pitched to a 4.04 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP and was able to punch out 64 opposing hitters over 49 innings pitched.
After his freshman season with Georgia Southern, Dollander entered the transfer portal and found his way to Knoxville to join Tony Vitello's Tennessee Volunteers. Dollander transformed his craft and came out firing in his sophomore campaign.
Last summer, Dollander would make 14 starts and two relief appearances to total 79 innings pitched for the Vols' staff. He pitched to a 10-0 record, a 2.39 ERA, a 0.80 WHIP, and was able to punch out 108 opposing hitters.
Quite the improvement from the right-handed pitcher who's slated for another exceptional performance in 2023. He's got an uber-athletic delivery with an explosive arm. There's plenty to like with Dollander's mound presence as well.
I've seen some Jacob deGrom comparisons online. While I do not want to stamp that on him 100%, there are some similarities to deGrom that are present in Dollander's delivery. The right-hander has the looks of a future elite big-league arm.
Dollander has a mid-90s fastball that gets up into the upper-90s. His slider has late bite to it and gets some horizontal break to it. It's his best-offspeed pitch that misses bats and can be very deceptive out of hand. He's also got a curveball in the mix with some more tilt to it, getting better depth to it. He also has a changeup to round out his repertoire.
The pitchability is exceptional and continues to improve. If he goes out and posts another Spring of dominant outings, it will be hard to ignore him at pick no. 3 if he's available. While they should be thinking about a proven bat, Dollander deserves a conversation.