Given the Tigers recent performance, draft day may be the highlight of the season so far. The draft kicks off tomorrow at 2pm. Below is a roundup of some of the mock drafts and who the Tigers might be taking:
Baseball Prospectus | Articles | Future Shock: Mock Draft 2008
21. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have established a track record for taking players that slip due to signability concerns, especially power pitchers. Once again, one should be available to them: California high school star Gerrit Cole has a violent delivery, some major questions about his maturity, and Scott Boras as an agent. At the same time, Cole also has the best arm strength of any high school pitcher in the draft, having touched triple digits on the radar gun in a late-season playoff start. If there is one thing scouting director David Chadd loves, it’s big guys who throw hard, and Cole fits that description, giving the Tigers yet again another talent far superior to the time he’s selected.
Selection: Gerrit Cole, RHP, Orange Lutheran HS (CA)
21. TIGERS. After spending $12.6 million on 2004-06 first-rounders Justin Verlander, Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller, Detroit didn’t plan on busting slot last year. Then Rick Porcello fell all the way to Tigers at No. 28, and they invested another $7 million. They could be willing to spend heavily on Hosmer, but less likely to do so on Cole, who’s not nearly as polished as Porcello. Detroit could address its beleaguered bullpen with a quick fix like Cashner, or take one of the top high school arms.
Projected Pick: ANDREW CASHNER.
21) Tigers: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane: Tigers feel they receive a steal here.
21. Detroit — Josh Fields, RHP, Georgia
This is the first potential landing spot for Gerrit Cole, a Boras advisee and probably the best pure arm in the high school crop this year, but Detroit also is looking for bullpen help, and Fields has now stuff, is a year or two older than the other relievers in the class and is a Boras advisee as well.
21. Detroit Tigers: Ethan Martin, RHP, Stephens County HS, Toccoa, Ga.
The Tigers have been willing and able to do just about anything with their top picks and it’s automatically assumed that any “signability issue” types could slide to them. Barring that, they would have interest in high school talents like Collier or Lawrie, or strong college arms like Perry or even Rice’s Bryan Price. Instead, they’ll go with a prep arm with a ton of upside in Martin.
Last week’s projection: Casey Kelly
I’m hoping that the team doesn’t go with a reliever. Drafting for need in baseball is pretty ill advised given the development time typically involved. Unless one of the relievers is far and away the best player on their board I’d hope they’d go in a different direction.
Gerrit Cole has the signability/Boras factor. But he doesn’t appear to have the same type of mechanics and composure that Rick Porcello had and I don’t know that he’s as gamble-worthy.
Several of the mock’s had catcher Jason Castro available when the Tigers would be picking at 21 and would be happy to see them go that route.
UPDATE: BA’s latest mock has the Tigers going with Cole. Interestingly Kelley slides down to 29.