Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB Draft Report Card
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Best Pure Hitter: 2B Jace Jung (1) ranked as the No. 9 player in the class and had a chance to go among the top 10 picks, but slipped just outside of that to the Tigers at No. 12. He was rated the fifth-best pure hitter in the college class and has a chance for plus hitting ability, with a long track record of strong on-base skills to go with it. Jung made his debut at High-A West Michigan where he managed a 106 wRC+ primarily via a .373 on-base percentage and 18.7% walk rate.
Best Power Hitter: Jung (1) earned plus power grades out of the draft in addition to his hitting ability, and over 136 college games he hit 39 home runs and 32 doubles—good for a .647 slugging percentage. It was mostly doubles power for Jung in his 30-game pro debut, but his 90th percentile exit velocity (103 mph) was still the best in Detroit’s draft class in that sample. 1B Andrew Jenkins (9) also has solid raw power and his average exit velocities in his debut were solid. If he can make more contact he’s an interesting name as well.
Fastest Runner: OF Seth Stephenson (7) is a plus-plus runner who stole 25 bags in 30 tries (83.3%) with Tennessee during the spring and then went a perfect 9-for-9 during his pro debut with Low-A Lakeland. OF Dominic Johnson (13) is a plus runner and SS Peyton Graham (2) is an above-average runner but was a fantastic baserunner with Oklahoma—he stole 34 bags in 36 tries (94.4%).
Best Defensive Player: Both Johnson (13) and Stephenson (7) have the wheels to cover plenty of ground in center field. Both of the shortstops the Tigers drafted—Graham (2) and Danny Serretti (6)—are more reliable than flashy defenders who could also wind up fitting at another position long term.
Best Fastball: RHP Troy Melton (4) has a plus fastball that sat 93-95 mph with San Diego State this spring and touched 98. Another good option is RHP Patrick Pridgen (15), who racked up a ton of strikeouts with Florida International (112 in just 71.2 innings, a 32.7% rate). Pridgen made his pro debut this summer and sat 93-94 mph with plus vertical ride on his fastball.
Best Secondary Pitch: LHP Jake Miller (8) has flashed a plus changeup in the low-to-mid 80s that got good results in a brief pro debut.
Best Pro Debut: Serretti (6) was terrific in his debut. He was initially assigned to Low-A Lakeland but pushed to High-A West Michigan and then got into six games with Double-A Erie in mid-September. Serretti slashed .315/.474/.472 across all three levels with a 174 wRC+ and showed strong plate discipline (18% strikeout rate, 21% walk rate) and contact ability.
Best Athlete: Graham (2) is a strong athlete who moves well for his size (6-foot-3, 185 pounds), and runners like Stephenson (7) and Johnson (13) could also make a claim for this category.
Most Intriguing Background: Jung (1) became the second member of his family to be drafted in the first round. In 2019 his older brother Josh was selected with the eighth overall pick by the Rangers and he also came out of Texas Tech. While Josh can boast a higher draft spot, Jace can counter with a higher signing bonus ($4,590,300 vs. $4,400,000) at family dinners.
Closest To The Majors: Serretti (6) has put his name into consideration for this category after a strong pro debut and already testing himself in the upper minors, but the safe bet still feels like Jung (1)—who has the physicality, tools and offensive track record to fit into the quick-moving college player mold.
Best Late-Round Pick (Or NDFA): LHP Joe Adametz (14) has a long track record as a polished strike-thrower with Liberty, and he came off an excellent 2022 campaign after returning from Tommy John surgery: 2.51 ERA in 86 innings and 16 starts, with 84 strikeouts and 25 walks. He’s got a solid-three pitch mix and has been a heavy groundball pitcher who could take a step forward if he can find a bit more power.
The One Who Got Away: RHP Drew Conover (20) was the only player the Tigers didn’t sign in their 2022 draft class. Conover struggled with control (15.8% walk rate) and results (5.73 ERA) as a reliever with Seton Hall, but he pitched in the Cape Cod League after the season and was impressive with a mid-90s fastball from a low slot—he posted a 1.50 ERA over 18 innings with 18 strikeouts and five walks. Conover will pitch with Rutgers in 2023.