I'm relatively new to the "scouting world", or whatever you want to call. I've busted my ass for the last couple years to get where I am in the baseball universe, but at the same time I'm not even remotely close to as "plugged in" as others are when it comes to something like this. That being said, I do have a few contacts that I've reached out to in preparation for this article. The Tigers have the No. 20, 39, and 58 picks in the first couple rounds of the draft. They will have 3 chances to make picks who will almost certainly be automatic Top 6-7 prospects in the Tigers' depleted system. So, using what information I've been able to glean from my contacts, as well as just doing my own scouting and research, I wanted to give a list of names of guys I think the Tigers might be targeting with those first 3 picks.
No. 20 Overall (1st round)
RF Aaron Judge, Fresno State.
This is one of the names I keep hearing and seeing the Tigers connected to at No. 20. And, to be honest, he's one of my personal favorites. He's 6'7", 240lbs, and currently plays CF for Fresno St. He's a guy with very good athleticism, especially for his size. He'll be a RF in pro ball, but he profiles as an above-average defender out there with a plus arm. He also has massive, 70 grade raw power. Now, he doesn't come without concerns. Some people are REALLY concerned about the hit tool. Some scouts describe him as have a short swing with really strong wrists; others describe him as having a really long swing that will get decimated in pro ball. Personally, I like him. I'm not the scout that others are, but sometimes you just have to ignore others and listen to what you think. And I think that Judge is worthy of the No. 20 pick. 20 is also a spot where I think he'll be available, as most projections I've seen have him in the 18-25 range.
RHP Ryne Stanek, Arkansas.
This might be a bit of a reach, because Stanek could be gone long before the Tigers pick. However, he hasn't been dominant this season and that is causing him to slide down draft boards a bit. He'll throw his fastball in the 92-95 range, occasionally touching 96-97, but doesn't command the pitch as well as he should/could. He throws both a slider and a curve; with the curve being the better of the 2 pitches and showing plus potential. The slider is more horizontal than true 2-plane, but it still shows solid-average potential. Overall, Stanek has the upside of a #2 starter, but it's more likely that he settles in as a solid #3.
RF Austin Wilson, Stanford.
He has similar projection to Aaron Judge, being that most scouts see him as a future RF with 70 power and above-average defense. However, he's a better athlete than Judge and has a better projection with the bat (above-average rather than just average in Judge's case). He's been injured this season, which has caused him to slide down draft boards some, but I still think that he goes in the Top 15 picks somewhere. But, it's possible that he slides to the Tigers so that's why he's on this list.
RHP Chris Anderson, Jacksonville.
Anderson looks the part of a Tigers pitcher; standing 6'4" and weighing in at 225 pounds. He'll feature a plus fastball sitting 92-95 for most starts, but the weapon here is his plus (maybe a half grade better than plus) slider that is a true knockout pitch. He also shows a solid change, which gives him a good 3 pitch repertoire. If he can refine his command, he might have a #2 starter ceiling, but like Stanek, it's far more likely that he settles in as a #3 who can eat innings while still getting strikeouts. Anderson might be a reach for the Tigers at #20, as most boards I've seen have him in the 25-30 range, but he certainly does fit the mold of a Tigers' righthander.
3B Eric Jagielo, Notre Dame.
One of the few names that I've actually seen in person, I may be higher on Jagielo than others. He's a left-handed hitter that projects as above-average at the plate with plus power, which should translate to .275-.280 batting averages with 20-25 HR's at his peak. Some scouts feel that he'll have to move across the diamond to 1B, which naturally decreases his profile significantly. However, I think he can stick at 3B. I liked what I saw from him both at the plate and in the field. I think he can be a solid defender with a plus arm at 3B, and due to the polish of his bat, he could move relatively quickly through the system.
RHP Andrew Thurman, UC-Irvine
Thurman is an interesting prospect, in that he doesn't have any "wow" pitches, but he also has some of the best command in the draft. He'll work with an average fastball in the 90-93 range, scraping 94, but he commands it very well. It doesn't have much life at the plate, but enough to where, when coupled with his command, he can miss the fat part of the bat. He also offers a curve; slider; and changeup, with the change being the best of his offspeed pitches. What's interesting is that all 3 of his secondaries should be average or better, giving him a diverse 4 pitch repertoire that will all play in professional ball. He doesn't have a tremendous upside, probably topping out as a solid #3 pitcher, but due to his command polish he's someone that should just decimate the low minors and move rather quickly.
No. 38 Overall (Supplemental Round--Acquired from Marlins)
CF Ryan Boldt, MN High School
Boldt would have been in the conversation at #20, but he recently had arthroscopic knee surgery which has pushed him down the board. He has a strong commitment to Nebraska, meaning that whoever takes him will have to pay over-slot if they hope to sign him. He's a guy who flashes all 5 tools, but none of them earn 7 grades. He projects to play CF at a plus level with an above-average arm; and has consistent plus speed that will occasionally flash higher. He's aggressive at the plate with more of a line-drive swing than one with the loft to project for power, but with development he could develop average power. Overall, he looks like a future leadoff hitter with plus D in CF, but with no real holes in his game. He won't wow you, but he does everything really well.
LHP Marco Gonzales, Gonzaga
Gonzales is a mystery to me. His profile isn't really that of a surefire first rounder, being that he's a smallish lefty with an average fastball. But his command is so good, and he's so polished, that's he's one of, if not the, safest pick in the draft. His ceiling tops out as a good #4 starter, but the likelihood of him reaching that ceiling is high. He's someone who could go in the back half of the first round to a team looking for a "safe" bet that they might save some money on; or teams could shoot for the higher-upside talent and Gonzales could slide as a result. I really don't think he'll be there at #39, but if he is, I really believe the Tigers should snatch him up.
OF/3B/1B DJ Peterson, New Mexico
Peterson is a guy who has a strange profile. He projects as a plus hitter with above-average power, which is great, but it's really likely that he moves to 1B once he gets to pro ball. He plays 3B right now, but he doesn't have the footwork, quickness, or athleticism to stay there in the pros. He could potentially transition to a corner OF, but with an average arm, it looks like LF is where he would profile best. Due to his hitting ability, I doubt he's there at #39, but he's an interesting player to watch.
SS Tim Anderson, East Central CC
In a draft really, REALLY short on guys who project to stay at SS in pro ball, Anderson is one of the few who does. That being said, his bat doesn't have more than average potential, and it's not like he's a plus defender at SS either. He's close to a 7 runner, but that's the only standout tool he has. Other than that, he looks to be average or slightly above across the board (with power being the exception). Typically, that looks like a 2nd-3rd round pick, but in a draft so devoid of true SS's, he might get overdrafted. I don't really think he's a guy the Tigers should take, but he should be there at #39 to consider.
LHP Matt Krook, California HS
Krook is a guy I really like, in part because I love tall lefty's. He's currently around 6'3", but he has some projection remaining on his body, and his fastball already touches 94 while sitting in the 89-92 range. I watched some film on him, and while film study isn't the same as in-person scouting, I was able to glean a couple things. He gets really good plane to the plate; he has a legitimate hammer curve; and he shows really good feel for the change up. He's a guy you have to dream on a bit, but if you squint, you can see a lefty with a plus fastball, plus-plus curve, and solid changeup with solid durability and athleticism. A team may fall in love with him and take him much sooner than #39, but I think he has a shot to get to the Tigers there.
No. 58 Overall (2nd Round)
LHP Tom Windle, Minnesota.
Windle is another guy who won't wow you, but he projects to be a lefty with plus command/control and 3 solid pitches. He'll sit in the average 89-92 range with his fastball, but commands it well and is able to get good plane with his 6'4" frame. His slider is fringy, but with some refinement in pro ball it could get to the solid-average range. His changeup is his best pitch, showing above-average projection and can get swings and misses. His delivery isn't really ideal, and some teams may be scared off thinking that he's destined for the bullpen. I don't think his delivery is all that bad; he generates his velocity more with his arm than his hip rotation or drive, which is a bit worrisome, but I don't see any giant red flags. He could be a league average starter, and if the Tigers believe in his ability to stay in the rotation, he's a no brainer at #58 in my view.
SS Dustin Peterson, Arizona HS
The younger brother of DJ (who I talked about earlier), Dustin shows more athleticism than his brother but his profile may limit him to 2B. Like his brother, he looks like he could be an above-average to plus hitter in pro ball, but without near the same power projection. Dustin plays SS in high school right now, but he looks like a 2B at the next level, which pushes him down draft boards. He'll be an above-average defender at 2B or 3B, but I don't think he has the arm to handle 3B long term.
OF Phil Ervin, Samford.
Ervin kind of reminds me of Tyler Collins, not in a player comp or physical comp, but in the sense that neither of them profile as any more than solid every-day players, and more likely as really good 4th OF's. Ervin is smaller, standing 5'11", but he's too slow to stay in CF. He doesn't have the arm to stick in RF, so it looks like he's a LF long term. He shows both above-average hit and power projections, but he'll have to rake considering his profile limits him to LF. He could be a guy teams pop on earlier than this to save some money, but he'd be a solid pick at 58 for the Tigers.
Ok, that's it for now. I'll probably do this again in a couple weeks as the draft boards become clearer. Hope you enjoyed it!