The Detroit Tigers surprised fans and media members alike when they selected Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Victor Reyes with the first pick in the 2017 Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Many believed (and hoped) they would take Minnesota Twins reliever Nick Burdi with the first pick, but the hard-throwing righthander went to the Philadelphia Phillies instead.
Who is he?: Reyes is a 23-year-old outfielder who was signed out of Venezuela by the Atlanta Braves back in 2012. He spent three years in the Braves farm system before moving to the Diamondbacks in exchange for a competitive balance draft pick in 2014. Reyes has spent the last three years in Arizona’s farm system. He hit .292/.332/.399 with four home runs and 29 doubles at Double-A Jackson last season, his first taste of that level.
In terms of prospect rankings, Reyes has received some modest buzz. He was named Arizona’s No. 11 prospect before the season by Minor League Ball’s John Sickels, and is currently the No. 18 prospect in their system according to MLB.com. FanGraphs’ KATOH projection system labeled Reyes as one of the top outfielders in this year’s Rule 5 draft.
How does he fit on the roster?: Reyes will join a muddied outfield picture in 2018. The Tigers already have Leonys Martin and Mikie Mahtook in the fold, with JaCoby Jones and prospects Michael Gerber and Christin Stewart also in the picture. Reyes needs to stay on the Tigers’ 25-man roster all season, otherwise he will need to be offered back to the Diamondbacks before being optioned to the minor leagues. The Tigers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster, but they declined to take another player in the second round of the draft.