Sticking With Power

Tigers take another big arm, and two more Boras clients




QUICK TAKE
RHP Jacob Turner will cost a lot to sign, but he's an exceptional talent value at No. 9. LHP Andy Oliver (second round) and OF Daniel Fields (sixth) are two more difficult signs with a lot of upside. The Tigers know from experience (Justin Verlander, Andrew Miller, Rick Porcello) that exceeding slot recommendations can pay off handsomely.
—JIM CALLIS
DETROIT—In a draft that was heavy on pitching at the top, it should be no surprise that the Tigers took yet another big guy who throws hard with their first-round pick.

It's no secret the organization has an affinity for pitchers with great velocity. So with the ninth overall selection, the Tigers took righthander Jacob Turner, who is 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, out of Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis. He had a 0.60 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 58 innings during his senior season.

"The Tigers organization is pleased to select Jacob Turner today," scouting director David Chadd said. "He has a power arm and we're excited to add a pitcher of his caliber and potential to our system."

Turner is similar to recent Tigers first-round selections like righthander Justin Verlander (2004), lefthander Andrew Miller (2006), righthander Rick Porcello (2007) and righthander Ryan Perry (2008). He's big and he throws hard. His fastball sits around 92-94 mph and tops out at 98.

Baseball America rated Turner as the best high school pitcher in the draft, and the No. 5 prospect overall. His bonus demands caused him to fall a bit, however. Turner is committed to North Carolina and is represented by Scott Boras, but the Tigers have shown no fear in dealing with Boras in the past. Porcello also was a Boras client, and he signed a major league contract worth a guaranteed $7 million. Turner was rumored to be seeking a similar deal.

The Tigers took another Boras client in the second round, though he should be a significantly easier sign. Oklahoma State lefthander Andy Oliver had an inconsistent season, perhaps showing the effects of a battle with the NCAA over his eligibility (which he ultimately won).

Oliver is durable, but his secondary pitches will need to become more reliable in order for him to thrive in pro ball.

TIGER TALES

• In the fifth round the Tigers took lefthander Austin Wood from Texas, who gained notoreity for his 13-inning, 169-pitch effort in the 25-inning game against Boston College in NCAA regional play.

• Later in the draft the Tigers took several players with baseball bloodlines. In the 18th round, they selected catcher Eric Roof from Michigan State, the son of Tigers roving instructor Gene Roof and nephew of longtime minor league manager Phil Roof. In the 42nd round they drafted Central Florida CC righthander Nick Avila, son of Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila. And in the 48th they took righthander Jake Porcello, the brother of Rick, out of Seton Hall Prep, the same school his brother graduated from just two years ago. Jake is expected to play at Seton Hall University.

• Detroit took an intriguing player in the 15th round in California high school righthander Mark Appel, who is 6-foot-6 and also was a prep basketball standout. Appel figures to be a tough sign with his commitment to Stanford.