Detroit Tigers trade for former 12th-rounder with a ton of untapped value

Blake Dickerson may have been a 12th rounder, but he was given 4th or 5th round grade pre-draft in 2023. The Detroit Tigers may have a diamond in a rough.
Draft prospect Blake Dickerson during a high school baseball game at the 2023 MLB Draft Combine.
Draft prospect Blake Dickerson during a high school baseball game at the 2023 MLB Draft Combine. / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers recently made a trade with the San Diego Padres, bringing in a new face for the organization on the prospect side of things. The Tigers acquired left-handed pitcher Blake Dickerson from the Padres in exchange for $500,000 of international bonus pool money.

It seems like a menial trade with little stake in it, but the Detroit Tigers were able to pick up a 2023 draftee in the process, which is worth something. The team acquired Dickerson, who has spent very little time with the Padres organization since he was drafted during the 2023 MLB Draft as a 12th-rounder.

Dickerson, a Virginia native, shined on the prep scene and was selected in last year's draft. He was extremely high on some draft boards with a lot to like. On Perfect Game's 2023 draft board, Dickerson was all the way up at 124th on the board. There's something to be said about Dickerson being that high and falling to the 12th round.

It's sometimes cut and dry where the best players are the first off the board; with slot money involved, some players can fall/rise in different scenarios. Dickerson was labeled 124th on the draft board, which is somewhere in the fourth or 5th round range.

Instead, he was drafted in the 12th, signing for $500,000, which was a high number at that point in the draft, with the Padres going over slot to get him, signing him away from Virginia Tech. However, the Tigers paid that back in international bonus pool money to acquire him, which is an interesting note.

Detroit Tigers taking a chance on Blake Dickerson says a lot.

The trade means that the team is investing in the long-term with Dickerson. He's yet to throw an affiliate-ball game and will come to Detroit looking to foster his development in a new organization. It's a $500,000 investment that could reap some serious benefits.

It also speaks to the new regime's philosophy, which seemingly wants to change the landscape of the farm system. Detroit adds another former prep arm to the mix with this move, and Dickerson has plenty to like about him.

Dickerson's a 6-foot-6, 210-pound frame that projects well if he can add more muscle mass to his thinner and slender build. There's room to fill it out; he should be in good hands with the Tigers' development staff. He moves well, given his size, with a clean move down the slope and efficiency in using his longer levers well.

It's a whippy arm stroke, a bit shorter through the back, but he's quick to accelerate through release from a higher three-quarters arm slot but stays on-line well. Dickerson works 90-92 mph on the fastball but projects for more in the tank with added strength, and just as time goes on, he continues to grow into the frame.

The fastball plays up in the zone and has good IVB numbers, being able to miss barrels and cause problems for opposing hitters. He also shows a sharp-breaking slider in the low- to mid-80s that has some tilt & good sweep to miss barrels. The southpaw also has a good changeup to round out the arsenal.

Dickerson threw strikes in his prep days. He played his travel ball for Baseball U Prospects and shined on the circuit nationally, especially when he came down to Jupiter for the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in 2022. He was committed to Virginia Tech but ultimately signed with the Padres after being drafted.

Outlook for Blake Dickerson with the Detroit Tigers.

It's going to be a long road to Detroit. Well, in actuality, he could move fast if he can find success pitching in the lower levels of the organization. But he's just 19 years old with plenty of development left. The long-term projections are good and bode well for him.

He projects as a starter now, with that long and gangly frame that could use more muscle mass, something to work on in 2024. However, with a three-pitch arsenal that relies more on the fastball/slider, he could become a more than effective reliever for Detroit down the line.

As most prospects do, he will push to make it as a starter, but Dickerson could shift to the bullpen with his frame and stuff if needed. While the trade was mostly swept under the rug and most folks looked the other way, Dickerson could have some real value if things click for him on his Road to Detroit.