Tigers Draft Report Card

Analyzing Detroit's 2008 draft class




QUICK TAKE
After paying big money to sign Justin Verlander, Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller and Rick Porcello with their last four first-rounders, the Tigers adhered to MLB's slot recommendations in 2008. They loaded up on power arms, led by Ryan Perry, though all four could be relievers.
POSITION PLAYERS

BEST PURE HITTER: C Alex Avila (5) uses the whole field and batted .305 in low Class A. Whether he can stay behind the plate remains to be seen, but he works hard and the Tigers say he has shown improvement.  >>  BEST POWER HITTER: Avila or SS Brandon Douglas (11). After drilling 17 homers at Alabama in the spring, Avila went just deep once as a pro, partly the result of West Michigan's ballpark. Douglas is more of a doubles hitter than a home run threat.  >>  FASTEST RUNNER: OF Andy Dirks (8) and Douglas have plus speed.  >>  BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER: Dirks or Douglas. Dirks is a legitimate center fielder, though there are some questions as to whether Douglas will stick at shortstop with his average range and arm strength. He's versatile enough to play anywhere in the infield or outfield.

PITCHERS

BEST FASTBALL: The Tigers spent their first four picks on righthanders who can light up a radar gun. Ryan Perry (1) cracked 100 mph seven times in one instructional league outing. Cody Satterwhite (2) and Scott Green (3) hit 97 after turning pro, while Brett Jacobson (4) maxed out at 95. RHP Jared Gayhart (12), who was primarily an outfielder at Rice, has a 92-94 mph fastball and should add velocity as he concentrates on pitching.  >>  BEST SECONDARY PITCH: Perry's slider is more consistent than Satterwhite's, and Detroit likes Perry's changeup enough to consider developing him as a starter.

ODDS AND ENDS

BEST PRO DEBUT: RHP Robbie Weinhardt (10) reached high Class A while going 3-1, 1.76 with four saves and 48 strikeouts in 41 innings. He pitches to both sides of the plate with a 92 mph fastball with good life and a hard breaking ball. Jacobson went 2-2, 1.52 with a 31-5 K-BB ratio in 30 innings in low Class A.  >>  BEST ATHLETE: Douglas rates an edge over Dirks because he has a little more pop.  >>  MOST INTRIGUING BACKGROUND: The Tigers drafted both of assistant GM Al Avila's sons, Alex and 2B Alan (47), who now attends Nova Southeastern (Fla.). RHP Mark Sorensen's (32) father Lary was an all-star pitcher, while unsigned C Eric Roof's (46, back at Michigan State) father Gene and uncle Phil both played in the majors.  >>  CLOSEST TO THE MAJORS: Perry, Satterwhite, Weinhardt and Jacobson all could progress quickly in relief roles. The Tigers may handle Perry like the Mariners handled Brandon Morrow, speeding him to the majors as a reliever and later turning him into a starter.  >>  BEST LATE-ROUND PICK: Weinhardt or Douglas, who finished the year playing in  Double-A.  >>  THE ONE WHO GOT AWAY: Detroit signed its first 17 picks before failing to land RHP Scott Weismann (18), who took his 88-91 mph fastball and good curve to Clemson.