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The Draft Haul

June 10, 2010

John Stroba-Writer

One of the most important things that a baseball franchise can do is to have good drafts. A good draft allows a team to stockpile cheap talent and allows a team to stretch their budget even more if they get prospects that can actually contribute on the MLB level. A good farm system can also be a cornerstone for a huge trade (like a Miguel Cabrera deal), or to get that one guy that can put you over the top. The Tigers did not have a first rounder this year (because of the Jose Valverde signing) but did have two supplemental first rounders (courtesy of Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney signing elsewhere). And the Tigers in recent years are known for going over slot. Down below will be thoughts on the Tiger picks as far as scouting reports have them.

Nick Castellanos 3b (HS): Castellanos is thought to be one of the best hitters in the HS draft class. He does have a very projectable body that looks like he will be a very good power hitter once he does fill out and figure out how to use his big body with total efficiency. Currently he plays SS, but as he fills out will probably move to 3b. A very high upside here looking at a multiple All Star, if he maxes out his ability. He does project as a good defender as well. The reason he fell down so far is because he is thought to be a near lock to play ball for the University of Miami (one of the top Division I programs). So it will probably cost the Tigers top 10 money in order to get this guy signed. The Tigers would not have drafted him if they did not think they could not sign him. If they do sign him it will be quite a coup for them.

Chance Ruffin RP (Texas): Ruffin is a guy that did have marginal major league stuff, but his makeup and mentality (son of former Major Leaguer Bruce Ruffin) to make it work. However, being moved to the pen did jump his stuff up a good 3-4 mph. He was the closer for Texas this year and did pitch in some big moments. Probably not going to be a closer with the potential closers stacked through the Tigers system (Zumaya, Perry, Schlereth, Weinhardt to name a few), but he could be a very good setup man for them.

Drew Smyly LHP (Arkansas): A bit of a departure for the Tigers here. Dave Dombrowski teams tend to like guys that can really bring the heat and might have a bit of an issue with their control. The logic being here when they do it (like Justin Verlander) you get a very nice starting pitcher potentially an ace as well. A strikeout pitcher can make a defense look better than it is, because the team will be handling less chances than with a control pitcher that relies on the defense behind him. Smyly is a lefty that does not have great power (guys like Andrew Oliver are extremely rare), but does have 4 pitches that he can throw for strikes a fastball, curve, cutter and a change up. Pretty much all the pitches grade out as average with maybe the fastball (if he can stay in the 91-93 mph range) might be a tick over average. This is the kind of guy that fills out the back of a rotation. The upside is that he could move quickly through the farm system if he gets off to a very good start.

Rob Brantly C (UC-Riverside): Brantly does have an interesting bat. In college he does show an idea what is a strike zone is (and that is pretty rare for most Tiger prospects). Pretty good speed and a solid enough arm. Hit for average. Not the best at receiving pitches either, which is a bit of a surprise considering his athletic build. His swing needs some work, scouts talk about shortening his stride and keeping everything together. A lefty hitter, which if he can stay as a C, is really going to boost his value some. He does have below average power now, but scouts think if they can correct some of his hitting flaws then he could be an above average power hitter. There is a lot of ifs in here, and Brantly is a draft eligible soph and that gives him a good bit of leverage as well.

Alexander Burgos LHP: A JUCO player so there is nothing in a way of a free scouting report (not unusual for JUCOs though) another pitch to contact guy (just like Cole Green drafted a round before him). A fringey upper 80s fastball with supposedly good secondary stuff. Then again aren't all lefties with that kind of stuff supposedly have good secondary stuff? it sure seems like it.

Holaday C (TCU): MLB lists his first name as John the scouting report does say Bryan. Whatever. The basic scoop on this college senior is that he is a very good defender with a plus arm. Raw power with good gap power already. He does have the look of a backup but if things break right he could be a decent starter. A right handed hitter and perhaps and interesting platoon mate for Avila several years down the road.

Corey Jones 2b (Cal State Fullerton): Jones does seem to be more athletic than the average college 2b, his natural position is SS. Given the Tigers needs he could move back to that spot, especially if Scott Sizemore becomes entrenched at 2b. Barring that scouts do like his live bat, and he is starting to understand the concept of a strike zone. He might have some pop in the bat at the pro level. Hopefully he signs soon and start making a big impact.

Patrick Leyland C (HS): The son of current Tiger skipper Jim Leyland. Scouts like his ability defensively and his offensive potential, but he does have a way to go on both accounts. Considering that Detroit is spending an 8th round pick here it could tell us a couple things about Leyland and the draft. Obivously , Leyland is a pretty good product that needs a lot of time and instruction. Also, it could signal how the draft overall is not that great. It will be interesting to follow and see if the kid signs here.

Outside of those it is always fun to watch those with some bloodlines get drafted in Detroit (or your favorite team as well). This year that list includes Drew Gagnier RHP (his brother LJ is currently pitching for Toledo), Drew is said to have better stuff than his brother but much wilder as well. LF Bo McClendon (son of current hitting coach Lloyd McClendon). RHP Ricky Knapp (son of the Tigers current pitching coach) and RHP Ben Verlander (little brother of current Tigers ace Justin Verlander).


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