Merry Christmas, prospect lovers! Today is Monday, June 12, and the first day of the 2017 MLB draft. Starting at 7:00 p.m. ET, teams will make their first two selections of this year’s draft, with the final 38 rounds coming on Tuesday and Wednesday.
We here at Bless You Boys have been hard at work previewing this year’s draft class. While projecting who each team will take with their first pick is a tough, tough business, we have tried to profile as many potential draft picks as possible leading up to the Detroit Tigers’ first selection, at No. 18 overall.
While our writers have interjected a bit of opinion here and there when previewing this year’s crop of amateur talent, we haven’t offered up our official picks yet. Some of the BYB staff chimed in as to who they want the Tigers to select with their first draft pick.
This week’s question: Which player would you like to see the Tigers select with their 1st round draft pick?
Ashley: I'm pretty interested in Nick Pratto. There's every indication he will go higher than 18th overall, but a few mock drafts have suggested he could still be around by the time the Tigers get their first pick. I think I just like the idea of the Tigers selecting a decent-hitting, athletic position guy instead of a hard-throwing pitcher for once. There is not much scouting logic behind my choice, just gut and a player who intrigues me. Pratto would be a very exciting get for the Tigers.
Jay: Jo Adell would certainly be a nice addition to the Tigers’ farm, and he will likely be available by the time they are on the board if he doesn’t go to the Los Angeles Angels, who are reportedly interested. Adell has everything one could hope for with a player available at the 18th pick. He is a spectacular athlete, with above average power and matched set of plus arm, glove, and wheels that make him an incredible defender. The only big question with him is the hit tool. Specifically, Adell strikes out a lot. When he makes contact, it’s loud, but the whiffs come easily and frequently. If the issue is mechanical, it can be fixed, and there will be a team who thinks they can accomplish that. If he does get that issue ironed out, there’s a good chance he will be a star. Even if he only hits .225 in the majors, he could still be a good fourth outfielder on the merit of his defense and power.
Cameron: I would like to see the Tigers take someone who isn't a hard throwing righthander with command issues that projects as a reliever. Maybe take a position player. Switch it up a little bit.
Brandon: It’s so hard to say, but Evan White intrigues me a bit. A right-handed bat with an above-average hit tool, plus speed, and average power. While he played first base for Kentucky, he has the tools to be a plus corner outfielder, possibly even plus in center field. As a three season college standout, he should have a fairly quick path to the majors with some polishing. At 6'3, 180 pounds there's also room for him to add muscle and turn that consistent line drive contact into dingers.
Jake: I think the Tigers should take the best player available, because this farm system could use as much talent as possible. However, there's something to be said about using the draft to acquire position players. In my mind, the common denominator running through the 2015 Kansas City Royals, the 2016 Chicago Cubs, and the 2017 Houston Astros (who look unstoppable so far) is that the team's core of key position players were drafted and developed by the team. It's much more cost-effective to develop position players than to pay through the nose for their decline years in free agency, as the Tigers have often done. With a very young major league rotation, and several promising arms moving up through their pipeline, acquiring some plus position players seems like a logical move.
John: The Tigers have become synonymous with drafting power pitchers. I'm so, so, so tired of drafting power pitchers. I would love to see them snag a guy with a bat that projects to be average or better, and who can field his position exceptionally well. I’m thinking more of a high-floor kind of player who isn't going to take half a decade to develop. I'm a fan of Logan Warmoth. He might not stick at shortstop because of his arm, but at either of the middle infield spots, he is a safe bet to do everything I'm looking for.
Rob: I might give my left arm for the Tigers to end up with someone like Vanderbilt outfielder Jeren Kendall, who has been dropping on draft boards recently due to his high strikeout rate. However, this won’t happen — Kendall is still probably a top 10 pick — so a more reasonable ask is D.L. Hall, a prep lefthander out of Georgia. Combined rankings from all the major draft projection outlets place Hall as the No. 11 prospect in this year’s draft, but ESPN’s Keith Law has projected him to the Tigers in each of his past two mock drafts. Hall features a mid-90s fastball and a power curveball, along with a developing changeup. Law even labeled it “top-five stuff,” but cited some minor concerns with Hall’s makeup that have him sliding a bit on draft boards. I’m hoping he falls all the way to No. 18.