[Editor's Note: I thought we'd move this over from the FanPosts for the sake of discussion, since demondeaconsbaseball has been following the process so closely for Minor League Ball. We'll have more analysis of the Tigers' draft - I know a couple of people who feel quite differently on Detroit's second-round pick, for instance - from around the blogosphere later on.]
2009 Detroit Tigers Draft: Day 1 Exit Analysis
So since I covered the Tigers in the mock draft over at Sickels' site, I figured that I'd cover them in the real draft as well. Below the jump is my analysis of Day 1 of the 2009 MLB Entry Draft. Updates will be made in the comments as the draft progresses.
The Tigers have a gutted farm system. We all know that. After trading for Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis last year, the cupboard is bare, especially since we've promoted our consensus #1 prospect to the big leagues (Rick Porcello). What's left isn't exactly inspiring. Our current best prospect is either Casey Crosby or Cale Iorg. Crosby has an electric arm but control issues and an injury history. Iorg has no plate discipline to speak of.
The system also has a few pretty good catching prospects in Alex Avila and Dusty Ryan, both of which will probably see some time in the show as either starters or backups. Second baseman Mike Hollimon also deserves a nod. Note that the system is devoid of position prospects and starting pitchers outside of these three. This is definitely an area where Detroit needs improvement.
What the Tigers have in spades is relief pitching. After spending our top four picks on college relievers last year, it makes sense that we have a bunch of solid players for future Tiger bullpens. Throw in players like Casey Fien, Freddy Dolsi, Clay Rapada and Zach Simons, and we've got relief pitching in spades. This has it's advantages- relievers are a volitile commodity, and it's always nice to be able to stock a bullpen quickly. Unfortunately, it's hard to get much for relief prospects in trades, so it's unlikely that Detroit will flip any of these guys for any major needs.
Pick #9: Jacob Turner, RHP, MO HS
I don't like this pick as much as I want to. Turner is a good player- heck of a fastball and very projectable. He's a Chadd guy all right. What I don't like is that his breaking pitches lag behind his fastball, and he's got command issues and delivery flaws. It's really hard to fix delivery problems (see Dontrelle Willis), and any player that keeps fastballs up in the zone is going to be punished eventually.
That being said, Turner really isn't a bad pick on his own merits. What makes this a bad pick is who we passed up on. Tyler Matsek, the lefthanded prep prospect from California, was selected at #11. Aaron Crow, indy ball righthander and former first rounder, was chosen at #12. Grant Green, shortstop from USC was chosen at #13. Alex White, UNC right hander, was chosen at #15. All four of these pitchers, in my mind, would have been a far better choice than Turner.
Why? Matsek was the top lefthander in the draft, Crow was an electric arm last year and is an electric arm this year, Green was the top infielder in the draft (and arguably second highest position player) and Alex White was a dominant starter at UNC, one of the best baseball schools in the nation.
Now, bear in mind that I'm not a scout. I haven't watched a bunch of video of all of these players, and I'm not in the heads of Tigers brass. But I can't for the life of me decide why we passed up on Matsek, Crow, Green or White (or even Shelby Miller, chosen at #19). It's not signability- none of these players are going to be had cheaply, not even Turner. Forgive me for questioning David Chadd, but I'm not one to only concern myself with tall kids with good fastballs. And if I was concerned with tall kids with good fastballs, I would have gone Matsek, Crow, White or Miller.
This pick is forgiveable, but disappointing.
Pick #58: Andrew Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma St.
This pick is unforgiveable. Remember how I wrote all about Detroit and it's depth in relievers? Well, guess what Oliver will be doing for the rest of his career. He's got a very good fastball, and very good fastball command. Combined with a devastating change, he's a great prospect, one that reminds me of Fernando Rodney. The problem is that Oliver has no breaking ball to speak of, dooming him to the bullpen. That's what's so unforgiving here.
For the love of all that is good and holy, take someone like Brody Colvin. Sure, he's got mechanical problems, but he's got a hell of a fastball and a good breaking ball- he may even be better than Turner in the long run. Now, Colvin could be coming in Round 4- he hasn't been picked yet. But the point is not that he hasn't been drafted, but that this pick has been squandered on yet another reliever. Hell, if you want to save money, overdraft a solid position player like Kyle Seager, UNC 2B/3B. He went early third round, but he projects to play a solid 2B or 3B while hitting for average. But don't pick a reliever here.
Pick #89: Wade Gaynor, 3B, Western Kentucky Univ.
This pick is a slight overdraft- Gaynor probably would have been available in round 4 tomorrow.. Based on his line, Gaynor has decent power and hits for high average. His plate discipline is pretty good (35 walks to 41 strikeouts), but I'd like to see more advanced scouting reports on him, especially his defense. This pick doesn't really faze me- the Tigers clearly liked him enough to overdraft him, and we do need third basemen in the system. If anything, this is my favorite pick of the first day, pending further information on his defensive abilities.
I'm not happy with David Chadd right now. Passing on Matsek/Green/Crow/White/Miller isn't exactly what I was hoping for today, even though Turner is solid, and drafting ANOTHER reliever should have been flat out forbidden by Dombrowski. That being said, I'll wait until tomorrow to call for Chadd's head.