Detroit Tigers Draft Update: 5 players to consider at No.3

Starting pitcher for the tigers Paul Skenes on the mound as the LSU Tigers take on the Tennessee Volunteers.
Starting pitcher for the tigers Paul Skenes on the mound as the LSU Tigers take on the Tennessee Volunteers. / SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA
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4. Chase Dollander, RHP

Detroit Tigers, Chase Dollander
Tennessee pitcher Chase Dollander (11) pitches against Vanderbilt during the first inning at Hawkins Field in Nashville. / George Walker IV / / USA

One of the bigger surprises of the 2023 season has been the performance of Tennessee's Chase Dollander. At the beginning of the 2023 season, I had labeled Chase Dollander as the best arm in the draft class. This was going into the season expecting Dollander to go out and absolutely shred the opposition.

On the other hand, Chase Dollander has not quite been himself this season, struggling to get things going at the level he performed at in 2022. It seems like his slider has not been as sharp as it looked in the past, and with the lack of his slider, hitters have been able to hunt fastballs.

Here's a great thread from a former colleague and great baseball mind, Cam Lanzilli, who dives deeper into Dollander's struggles. (Little bit of a plug here... if you are interested in pitching and learning more about pitching, do yourself a favor and follow Cam Lanzilli and Ascent Pitching on social media. Tons of easy-to-understand content that will educate you a ton.)

What Lanzilli is saying here, to give it some simple context is that Dollander's throwing more of a dead-zone fastball, struggling to get the movement on it that he has seen in the past. So with a dead zone-fastball and a breaker that he's unable to throw for strikes, it's become easier to find success against the high-profile arm for dominant hitters.

Spit on the breaker and hunt fastballs. Now it's not that easy; Dollander is still a high-level prospect who has shown he will be an excellent member of a big-league organization. The Vols' pitcher has still been good, just not quite as good as he's been in the past.

Dollander has made seven starts in 2023, where he has accumulated 39.0 innings pitched. He's managed a 3.92 ERA, and a 1.13 WHIP, with 11 walks and 56 punchouts. So do not get it twisted. Dollander has taken a regression in his performance and may not be performing at the same level he was last season, but he has still been worthy of high-level draft buzz.

The making of a big-league starter is there; the thing is going to be getting him back on track. Any big league org has to feel that they can do that. Plus, there's a ton of intrigue in the abilities of Dollander as an athlete.

Super efficient mover with a tremendous and projectable body/frame to be a big league arm. He's gotten Jacob deGrom comps with the way he rides the slope, which is a huge hat tip to the college arm. If The Tigers miss out on Skenes and opt to take a pitcher over one of the stud college bats, Dollander would be a solid addition to the organization's future plans.