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Tigers will have No. 18 overall pick in 2017 MLB draft

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The Tigers’ draft position improved thanks to a couple of free agent signings elsewhere around baseball.

MLB: ALDS-Toronto Blue Jays at Texas Rangers
Thanks to Ian Desmond, the Tigers have a better pick in next year’s MLB draft.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Tigers have not been shy about forfeiting draft picks in exchange for signing top free agents in years past. They went without true first round picks for three consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2012, and lost out on their second and third round picks in the 2016 MLB draft.

This year, the tables have turned. Thanks to two other free agent signings around baseball, the Tigers will have the No. 18 overall pick in the 2017 MLB draft. They were previously slated to draft at No. 20, but moved up after the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent outfielders Ian Desmond and Dexter Fowler, respectively. Both Desmond and Fowler had declined qualifying offers earlier in the offseason, which required their new teams to forfeit a first round pick upon signing them to a contract. The Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs — Desmond’s and Fowler’s former teams, respectively — received compensation picks that come after the conclusion of the first round.

The Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Matt Manning with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft. It was their highest selection in seven years, when they took righthander Jacob Turner at No. 9 overall in 2009. Their first round pick in 2017 is still much higher than in recent years; other than the Turner and Manning picks, the Tigers have not drafted as high as No. 18 overall since a five-year run of top-10 picks ended after the 2006 season.

Fortunately, plenty of talent can still be found at No. 18 overall. Outfielder Blake Rutherford was the 18th pick in last year’s draft after many considered him a potential top-10 selection. Young stars Corey Seager and Sonny Gray were selected 18th by their current teams in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Here is the full list of first round picks in 2017:

  1. Twins
  2. Reds
  3. Padres
  4. Rays
  5. Braves
  6. Athletics
  7. Diamondbacks
  8. Phillies
  9. Brewers
  10. Angels
  11. White Sox
  12. Pirates
  13. Marlins
  14. Royals
  15. Astros
  16. Yankees
  17. Mariners
  18. Tigers
  19. Giants
  20. Mets
  21. Orioles
  22. Blue Jays
  23. Dodgers
  24. Red Sox
  25. Nationals
  26. Rangers
  27. Cubs
  28. Blue Jays (compensation for Edwin Encarnacion)
  29. Rangers (compensation for Ian Desmond)
  30. Cubs (compensation for Dexter Fowler)