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Detroit Tigers Draft Report Card

By David Rawnsley

Best Debut: 1B/C Eric Munson (1), the third overall pick in the draft, led Class A West Michigan comfortably in home runs with 14 despite playing only a half-season. LHP Randy Leek (18) was second in the short-season New York-Penn League with a 1.56 ERA, while RHP Greg Watson (26) led the league with 19 saves.

Best Athlete: Six-foot-6 RHP Dayle Campbell didn’t pitch this summer after reporting with a sore elbow. Campbell threw 95-96 mph in pre-draft workouts and is a 6.6-second runner in the 60. He played primarily in the outfield at Los Angeles Pierce JC.

Best Hitter: The Tigers regard Munson’s bat so highly that they appear unconcerned whether he will be able to catch or move to first base.

Best Power: Munson was rated as the top college power prospect, and 3B Neil Jenkins (3) was rated the No. 2 prep power prospect. Neither disappointed in their debuts. Munson should have no trouble with the adjustment to wood, and Jenkins showed no problem there, either. He hit .297-2-15 with a robust .523 slugging percentage in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Fastest Runner: OF Corey Richardson is slender and lacks upper-body strength but runs 60 yards in 6.4 seconds.

Best Defensive Player: Richardson’s speed gives him excellent range in center field.

Best Fastball: RHP Stephen Bess (16) jumped to West Michigan on the strength of his 94-95 mph fastball. He struck out 46 in 36 innings but needs to develop a better breaking pitch.

Most Intriguing Background: A number of teams elected not to draft Jenkins due to his diabetic condition, which has thus far not been a factor in his performance on the field. Munson was a high school teammate of Athletics rookie Eric Chavez.

Closest to the Majors: Munson is being paid a big league salary as part of the four-year deal he signed in June, so the Tigers will move him as quickly as possible. He was playing in the Arizona Fall League. He will definitely move quicker as a first baseman than as a catcher.

The One That Got Away: The Tigers signed all the players they made a hard run at, though they had to go back to ownership for more money to sign Jenkins in the third round for $900,000 after Munson signed his major league contract.

Best Non-Draft Sign: Dominican SS Ramon Santiago, one of the organization’s stars of instructional league last fall, excelled in all phases in the GCL and at Oneonta. At age 17, he hit a combined .326-3-25. Santiago overcame a spring shoulder injury.

Summary: The Tigers went for power–deep, light-tower power–in Munson and Jenkins. They went deep into their corporate wallet to sign both sluggers, too.

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