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MLB Draft 2016: A mock draft tracker for the Detroit Tigers' No. 9 overall pick

Here's who the experts think the Tigers will take at No. 9 overall in the 2016 MLB draft.

The Detroit Tigers haven't given fans much reason to care about the MLB draft in recent years. Between a four-year reign atop the AL Central and multiple seasons of forfeiting first round picks to sign top free agents -- not to mention trading the prospects they did have for major league talent -- the farm system has generally been an afterthought in Detroit.

Needless to say, we're out of practice. The Tigers have the No. 9 overall pick this year, their highest since selecting right-handed pitcher Jacob Turner ninth in the 2009 draft. Various draft experts around baseball have been creating mock draft after mock draft over the past month, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that there is a lot of variability in the top of this year's draft. While there aren't any surefire superstars in the bunch -- there's no Bryce Harper to be found this year, sadly -- the top tier of this 2016 class is believed to be rather deep. No matter who the Tigers take, they should end up with a solid prospect.

Here's who the experts have pegged to land in Detroit over the past month.

May 2: A.J. Puk at No. 1 in latest MLB mock draft
Tigers pick: Riley Pint, RHP, St. Thomas Aquinas High School (KS)

Pint is one of the more intriguing prospects in this year's draft, and possibly the most controversial among the top selections. He has a monster fastball that has gotten as high as 102 miles per hour, according to some reports, but generally has no idea where it's going. His mechanics aren't great, and some believe he's sacrificing said mechanics to sell out for velocity. It's hard to blame him for that, since higher velocities generally leads to higher signing bonuses, but there is major boom-or-bust potential here.

May 12: Kyle Lewis at No. 1 in latest MLB mock draft
Tigers pick: Pint

There's no doubt that the Tigers love velocity, and Pint features as much of it as anyone else in the draft. Multiple draft experts, including ESPN's Keith Law, have said that the Tigers will not pass on Pint if he falls to No. 9. He has been linked with several teams in the top 10, including as high as the Colorado Rockies at No. 4 overall. The Miami Marlins, who draft seventh, are also rumored to be enamored with Pint.

May 19: A.J. Puk at No. 1 in latest MLB mock draft
Tigers pick: Matt Manning, RHP, Sheldon High School (CA)

Oh hey, another high school pitcher with a huge fastball. The Tigers opted for power when they drafted Beau Burrows with their first round pick in 2015, and many experts believe they will do the same in 2016. Manning has shot up draft boards this spring thanks to a fastball that has reached 99 miles per hour. He is the son of former NBA player Rick Manning.

May 26: First round shakeups in latest MLB mock draft
Tigers pick: Pint expert Jonathan Mayo hits the nail on the head when he says "The Tigers love their arm strength, and while they might prefer a college pitcher who throws hard, that player doesn't exist at this point in the first round." Pint is a major project for whoever selects him, but ultimately has ace potential.

June 3: Puk, Senzel, Lewis are top 3
Tigers pick: Manning's Jim Callis adds fuel to the Riley Pint fire by claiming "There's no way Pint gets past Detroit," but predicts that the San Diego Padres pull the trigger on the flame-throwing righthander a pick earlier. Manning wouldn't be a bad consolation prize if the organization is hell-bent on taking a high school arm with the highest upside possible. Callis also hints that college arms like Dakota Hudson, Zack Burdi, and Justin Dunn could be options here.

ESPN Insider

May 18: Keith Law's 2016 MLB mock draft 1.0
Tigers pick: Blake Rutherford, OF, Chaminade College Prep High School (CA)

A position player! Keith Law doesn't pay much attention to the prep outfielder in his first mock of the year, but Baseball Prospectus' Chris Crawford says "there's zero effort in Rutherford's swing" and means that in the best way possible. Already 19 years old, he's much older than a typical prep player, but is still a raw talent with plenty of upside. It's possible he could play center field, but more likely he slots into right as he fills out a bit.

May 28: Keith Law's 2016 MLB mock draft 2.0
Tigers pick: Pint

"This is Pint's floor," Law says. There are too many experts saying this for it to not be true.

June 3: Keith Law's 2016 MLB mock draft 3.0
Tigers pick: Dakota Hudson, RHP, Mississippi State

Hudson is a hard-throwing righthander from an SEC school, which makes him a perfect match for the Tigers. While we often say this in jest, Hudson has had a monster 2016 season, holding opponents to a 2.35 ERA in 103 1/3 innings for the Bulldogs. This is the first time in his college career that his results have matched his lofty potential. His numbers have fallen off a bit lately, but he's still expected to go in the top 10-15 picks thanks to a wicked fastball-slider combination.

Baseball America

May 6: Mock Draft 2.0
Tigers pick: Hudson

Baseball America's John Manuel is in lockstep with everyone else. "If Pint somehow falls here, assistant GM David Chadd will make it happen with his deep ties to the Wichita area," he writes. However, in BA's second mock, Pint goes much earlier, at No. 3 overall to the Braves. Meanwhile, Hudson has seen his stock rise immensely over the past year, with impressive performances at the Cape Cod League and early in the 2016 college season. Baseball Prospectus' Chris Crawford calls him "a potential mid-rotation starter, with high-leverage reliever as a potential fallback."

May 13: Mock Draft 3.0
Tigers pick: Manning

"Detroit valued power arms under Dave Dombrowski, and little appears to have changed since Dombrowski’s departure," writes Baseball America's Hudson Belinsky. While it's a bit too early to tell if this is the case, those with connections to the draft process have been all over the "Tigers draft guy who throws really hard" hype train. Hudson drops all the way to No. 15 in this mock draft.

May 27: Mock Draft 4.0
Tigers pick: Nick Senzel, 3B, Tennessee

Projected by some to go as high as No. 2 overall, Senzel seems like he would be a steal for the Tigers at No. 9. They have not shied away from Scott Boras clients in the past, though many of those instances were under the old slotting system where owner Mike Ilitch's financial might could change players' minds about whether to go back to school.

Anyway, Senzel should be a solid two-way player who could play either second or third base at the professional level. The Tigers have ties to the Tennessee program already, with 2015 draftees Christin Stewart and A.J. Simcox currently in the system. Most experts think he won't get past Cincinnati at No. 2, though.


May 5: A Way-Too-Early 2016 MLB Mock Draft
Tigers pick: Hudson

FanGraphs' Scott Moore gives a quick rundown on Hudson, stating "Hudson’s fastball touches 97 with some run and sink and also features a nasty high-80s slider with solid break." It's a sexy profile, especially for a pitcher who could presumably move through the system quickly. His curveball and changeup are lacking behind, but developing even one of those could make him a solid starter at the major league level.

Purple Row

May 6: Purple Row projects the first 10 picks

Tigers pick: Ian Anderson, RHP, Shenendohowa High School (NY) or Joey Wentz, LHP, Shawnee Mission East High School (KS)

Our friends at Purple Row have been putting together mock drafts over the past month as well, and the contrast in opinions is interesting. Anderson is a prep righthander who is living primarily off his fastball, with the slider and changeup lagging behind. This isn't uncommon for high school players, who can dominate most of their competition on velocity alone, but it does make for a risky profile.

Wentz has a similar profile, but may get a look as a position player thanks to some massive raw power. He has shot up draft boards during the 2016 season, and his fastball touches as high as 95 miles per hour.

May 20: Complete first round mock draft including compensation and competitive balance picks

Tigers pick: Kyle Lewis, OF, Mercer

Based on everything I have read about the 2016 draft class, this isn't happening. Whether he goes third overall to the hometown Atlanta Braves or slightly after, the odds seem long that Lewis will make it all the way to Detroit at No. 9 overall. He looks the part of a conventional power hitter, standing 6'4, and scouts have been impressed with his advanced approach at the plate. Even with some swing-and-miss potential in his game, Lewis is arguably the best college bat in this class.

June 3: Our final mock draft of the first 45 picks, from Round 1 to Competitive Balance Round A

Tigers pick: Pint

Seems, fitting, right? There's still no guarantee Pint makes it past the first eight teams in this draft, but I think we can safely say he won't make it out of the top 10.

Special thanks goes to the staff at Purple Row, who came up with this awesome post idea well before I did.