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Tigers Draft Report Card

By Jim Callis

Best Pro Debut: RHP Mike Steele (29) struck out 41 in 27 innings at short-season Oneonta while going 2-1, 2.70.

Best Athlete: SS Exavier Logan (3) is a raw athlete with blazing speed. His hitting ability and his arm strength at short aren’t nearly as good, which may force him to make a position switch.

Best Hitter: OF Miles Durham (5), who got through just three games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League before hamstring problems ended his pro debut. He had similar trouble at Texas Tech.

Best Raw Power: C Forrest Johnson (13), though he didn’t get the opportunity to show it this summer. A broken hamate bone in his left wrist has delayed his debut until 2001.

Fastest Runner: Logan can fly through the 60-yard dash in 6.35 seconds. Durham, when he’s fully healthy, wouldn’t be far behind him.

Best Defensive Player: 3B Hugh Quattlebaum (25) is a solid if not spectacular defender. He also batted .301 at Oneonta.

Best Fastball: RHP Matt Wheatland (1) has a 90-94 mph sinker that draws comparisons to that of Kevin Brown. On the right day, RHP Mark Woodyard (4) has an electric fastball, but his mechanics are far from consistent.

Most Intriguing Background: Wheatland and Rangers catcher Scott Heard, coming out of the powerful Rancho Bernardo High program in San Diego, became the third pair of high school teammates to go in the first round of the same draft.

Closest To The Majors: Wheatland shows a lot of polish for a high school pitcher, but the Tigers have no plans to rush him. They signed few players from major college programs and those they did sign are not expected to provide any immediate help.

Best Late-Round Pick: Johnson. Detroit has faith in his hitting ability but isn’t sure if he’ll be a catcher, outfielder or first baseman. OF Ryan Neill (22), who hit .274-5-39 with 16 steals at Oneonta, has more offensive promise than most of the players in this crop as an unheralded player out of Oral Roberts.

The One Who Got Away: RHP Ryan Schroyer (16), who throws 92-93 mph and has a tight curveball, is part of college baseball’s best recruiting class at Arizona State.

Assessment: The Tigers focused on the middle of the field with this draft, stocking up on catchers, pitchers, shortstops and center fielders. Wheatland and LHP Chad Petty (2) were a nice start, but Detroit didn’t pick up much in the way of offense. As noted above, there also isn’t much from this draft class that will provide immediate help.

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