Signing Deadline Wraps Up All-Star Haul For Tigers

DETROIT — Who could blame David Chadd for being excited about his team's haul in this year's draft?

After all, even without a first-round pick, the Tigers drafted and signed Evan Longoria, Huston Street and Cliff Lee.

While that may be hyperbole, the three deals the Tigers made moments before this year's signing deadline brought three players into the system that Chadd, the vice president of amateur scouting, described as similar to those three stars.

The Tigers signed Florida high school third baseman Nick Castellanos, the 44th overall pick, with a contract that included a bonus worth $3.45 million, the highest given to a choice outside the first round.

"I hate to draw comparisons," Chadd said in a conference call announcing the signings. "But with his body type, approach at the plate and defensive ability, the first guy who comes to mind is Longoria."

Detroit also signed righthander Chance Ruffin, who was picked four spots behind Castellanos, to a contract worth $1.15 million. Ruffin had 97 strikeouts in 65 innings at Texas this spring, and he went 6-1, 1.11 with 14 saves.

"I see him as a back-end bullpen guy," Chadd said. "He's similar to Huston Street."
The Tigers' haul also included lefthander Drew Smyly, a second-round pick who received a $1.1 million bonus after going 9-1, 2.80 with 114 strikeouts in 103 innings as a sophomore at Arkansas.

"Making comparisons to the pros, he reminds me of Cliff Lee," Chadd said, focusing on the youngster's command and top-notch slider.

The Tigers signed all but one of their draft picks in the first 10 rounds. The only player who didn't sign was fourth-rounder Cole Green, a righthander from Texas.


• Among the notable Tiger signees are catcher Patrick Leyland (eighth round), the son of the major league manager; righthander Drew Gagnier (17th), the brother of Tigers prospect L.J.; lefthander Shawn Teufel (25th), the son of former big leaguer Tim; and outfielder Bo McLendon (39th), whose father Lloyd is the Tigers' hitting coach.

• Among those who didn't sign with the Tigers was righthander Ricky Knapp (44th), the son of Detroit pitching coach Rick, and righthander Ben Verlander (46th), the younger brother of Tigers righthander Justin.