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Detroit Tigers MLB Draft History And Projections

As we approach the 2018 MLB Draft on June 4, we’ll break down each major league team’s recent draft history, picking out tendencies where applicable, highlighting the team’s 2018 draft pool and also touching on the organization’s most successful recent draft picks.

Additionally, each team is listed with potential draft targets. These players either fit the typical modus operandi of the organization or are players who have been specifically linked or rumored as fits with a team throughout the spring. Baseball America will continue to add and subtract players from the potential draft target section as we continue to gather information in the final weeks leading up to the draft. Players are listed with a line of skinny to get a quick idea of who they are, but our full scouting reports will give a more complete picture of a player.

It’s also worth pointing out that while in some cases a team might appear to have a clear tendency with certain demographics (i.e., high school pitchers or college hitters), the sample we are looking at is small enough that teams could simply be following a best player available strategy and the results are showing something that’s not an overarching scouting philosophy. It’s more likely that tendencies can be discovered at the extremes, rather than slight apparent preferences in the last five years.

Here is a breakdown of the recent MLB Draft history of the Detroit Tigers:

Detroit Tigers MLB Draft History

General Manager: Al Avila
Scouting Director: Scott Pleis
2018 Bonus Pool (Rank): $12,414,800 (3rd)

2018 MLB Draft Order:

1st Round: 1st

2nd Round: 44th

3rd Round: 79th

4th-40: 1st in each round.

First Round Picks Since 2013:

2017: Alex Faedo (18th)

2016: Matt Manning (9th)

2015: Beau Burrows (22nd), Christin Stewart (34th)

2014: Derek Hill (23rd)

2013: Jonathon Crawford (20th)

Best Recent Pick (2010-2017 Drafts):

The Tigers have picked earlier than No. 18 in the first round just once this decade (No. 9 pick in 2016), which at least partially explains why there are so few standout selections for the team in that period. That said, LHP Drew Smyly (2nd round, 2010) turned in several solid seasons as a starter—mostly with the Rays—before going down with Tommy John surgery in 2017.

Recent Tendencies (Last Five Years/Top Five Rounds):

The last five years have seen the Tigers go to the college ranks frequently, and go after pitchers with regularity. The team ranks among the top three in both college player percentage (76 percent) and pitcher percentage (64 percent) in the top five rounds.

Looking at the first round and the supplemental first round, the Tigers aren’t quite has college heavy as the five-round sample would indicate, having selected three high school players (Derek Hill, Beau Burrows and Matt Manning) out of the team’s seven first round/supplemental first round selections.

The Tigers haven’t picked No. 1 since 1997, when the team selected (surprise) college righthander Matt Anderson out of Rice. Justin Verlander was the Tigers’ most recent top-five selection, taken with the second overall pick out of Old Dominion in 2004.

All of the history suggests that scouting director Scott Pleis will go the same route with the No. 1 overall pick this year and take the top college arm—Auburn righthander Case Mize—who is also the one player to really stand out with his performance this spring. However, a lengthy injury history could create some hesitation depending on the results of his medical this year.

Potential Draft Targets:


RHP Casey Mize — The clear No. 1 pick in this year’s class combines a varied arsenal of plus offerings and exceptional command

LHP Matthew  Liberatore — A projectable lefthander who’s been up to 96 mph at times, Liberatore has three potential plus pitches and good feel for each

IF Nick Madrigal — A speedy infielder with exceptional bat-to-ball skills, Madrigal has a long track record of hitting and plus defensive potential as well 

RHP Brady Singer — A high-probability major leaguer with middle-of-the-rotation stuff and one of the longest track records in college

IF Jonathan India — One of college baseball’s most impressive performers, India is solid across the board and is tapping into unprecedented power this spring

1B/3B Alec Bohm — A corner infielder with immense power in his bat, Bohm has a sound plan and approach in the batter’s box

C Joey Bart — The top catcher in the class, Bart has an all-around game, including plus raw power and tantalizing defensive tools

OF Jarred Kelenic — Solid in every area, Kelenic is one of the best pure hitters in the prep class and scouts are expecting more power to come

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