The Detroit Tigers have taken a very predictable draft strategy under David Chadd, the club's scouting director (now vice president of amateur scouting) since 2005. That predictable, conservative approach continued in day two of the 2015 MLB amateur player draft, as the Tigers selected college players with seven of their eight picks.
The Tigers led off the day by drafting right-handed pitcher Drew Smith, a hard-throwing sophomore from Dallas Baptist University. The 21-year-old Smith is a bit undersized at 6'2" and 173 pounds, but scouts believe he has physically maxed out his frame.
This physical maturation was a consistent theme throughout the day, and has been consistent over the past several years. Under Chadd, the Tigers have honed in on college talent with little projection remaining in the higher rounds. While some have faulted this approach, the Tigers have leveraged as much value out of those low-risk picks as any team in baseball, whether it be through trades or big league performance. Drew Smyly, Alex Avila, and Andy Dirks were all college draftees that panned out for the Tigers, while players like James McCann and Buck Farmer are on the cusp of doing the same.
The Tigers don't often opt for raw high school talent in the early rounds of the draft, but they grabbed a couple of players with upside on day two. Cam Gibson, the son of former Tiger great Kirk Gibson, was the Tigers' fifth round pick. Every MLB team drafts family members of current and former players, but this was a solid draft decision by the Tigers. Gibson has plenty of speed -- some scouts have even given him a 70, or double-plus grade -- and has the same aggressive mentality of his father.
The Tigers' lone high school draftee of the day came in the seventh round. Nick Shumpert, a shortstop from Colorado, is a raw talent with plenty of upside. The son of former major leaguer Terry Shumpert, Nick has both speed and power at a middle infield position. Scouts question how much he will hit at the professional level, though, and he could ultimately move to second base. Shumpert could be a tough sign for the Tigers, as he is committed to the University of Kentucky, his father's alma mater.
A lack of toolsy upside does not necessarily mean that the Tigers did not get solid value for their picks. They picked up LSU catcher Kade Scivicque in the fourth round, an All-American who made significant strides in his game in college. Given the Tigers' recent track record with developing catchers (all from the SEC, no less), Scivicque could be in good hands. The Tigers were also praised for drafting lefthander Matt Hall in the sixth round, a player that many experts thought would go higher in the draft.
Round 3: Drew Smith, RHP, Dallas Baptist
Like every pitcher out of Dallas Baptist, Smith can reach the high-90s with ease. Smith's fastball was clocked as high as 99 miles per hour last season, when he struck out an underwhelming 33 batters in 41 1/3 innings. He also possesses a sharp curveball that will get better with more reps. While Smith got by with the two pitches in college, there is a chance that the Tigers could try him out as a starter at the professional level. This would lengthen his time to the majors considerably, especially if he starts to work on a third pitch.
Round 4: Kade Scivicque, C, LSU
A lightly recruited catcher heading into college, Scivicque played for two seasons at Southwest Mississippi Community College before transferring to LSU. The big jump in competition didn't phase Scivicque, who hit .304/.377/.467 in 2014. Scivicque got even better this year, hitting .347/.391/.518 with 26 extra base hits in 222 at-bats. D1 Baseball's Kendall Rogers was complimentary of his defensive skills, and our friends at And the Valley Shook agreed.
@blessyouboys A fantastic blocking catcher. Plucked from outta nowhere in HS and made himself into a value pick. Y’all got a good one.— Pod KATT (@valleyshook) June 9, 2015
Oh, and he has some major pop in his bat.
Round 5: Cam Gibson, CF, Michigan State
Gibby the Younger doesn't have the power that his father did, but he has speed to burn. A legitimate 70-grade runner, Gibson has the wheels to play center field at the next level, but he is still very raw, particularly for a player with his bloodlines. His instincts may limit him to a corner outfield spot. Gibson's swing is a bit long, but he has excellent hand-eye coordination and could develop into a solid leadoff-type hitter if things click.
Round 6: Matt Hall, LHP, Missouri State
A teammate of sandwich round pick Jon Harris, Hall was one of the guys the Tigers were universally praised for drafting on Tuesday. He doesn't have premium velocity with his fastball, and probably won't get much higher than 90 miles per hour in a starter's role. He may eventually be shifted to the bullpen, but Hall already has an advanced breaking ball, which should help him put up solid numbers in the low minors.
Round 7: Nick Shumpert, SS, Highlands Ranch High School (CO)
It comes as no surprise that the only high school pick of the day was the most intriguing to those following the draft. Shumpert has plenty of upside, particularly as a middle infielder who could eventually hit for power. There are questions about his hit tool and raw approach at the plate, and the debate over whether he can stick at shortstop is already raging. Shumpert also has plus speed, which can be difficult to project if he adds weight as his body fully matures.
Round 8: Dominic Moreno, RHP, Texas Tech
A right-handed reliever with a near-sidearm delivery, Moreno could move quickly through the farm system. That deceptive delivery helped him hold opponents to a 1.85 ERA and .257 batting average with the Red Raiders this season. He racked up 71 strikeouts in 58 1/3 innings, a major increase from his first two seasons in Lubbock.
Round 9: Trey Teakell, TCU
Another reliever from the Big XII, Teakell has been absolutely dominant at the back of TCU's bullpen this season. He has held opponents to a 1.51 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 47 2/3 innings, striking out 44 batters to just eight walks. Teakell is the second Weatherford High School alum drafted by the Tigers this year, and the second TCU player to join their ranks. Teakell has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s and a sharp 12-6 curveball.
Round 10: Cole Bauml, CF, Northern Kentucky
Canadian native Cole Bauml hit .350/445/.663 in 163 at-bats for Northern Kentucky this season, leading his club with eight home runs and 25 doubles. Bauml played for two seasons at Northern Kentucky after two seasons at Trinidad State Junior College in Colorado.