Round 6, Pick 185: RHP Dane Myers, Rice University
Rice pitchers don’t have a very good track record, with many getting overworked at college and doing poorly in pro ball. It has even become a curse. However, suspicion and superstition don’t have enough sway to overcome stuff, and Rice pitchers often have no less to offer than others. Their closer, Glenn Otto, was selected in the fifth round by the Yankees, and his teammate, Dane Myers, was selected by our very own Detroit Tigers in the sixth.
Myers is a right-handed starter who also played in the field for his collegiate team and was considered both ways leading up to this draft, but because the Tigers are the Tigers, they took him as a pitcher. The fact that he played the infield as well as the mound is significant because of Rice’s tendency to overwork their pitchers. Being unable to do so because of the fact that he had to split time between his two positions, Myers doesn’t have as much milage on his arm as one might think he would.
Perfect Game scouted him as a high schooler back in 2014, and their impression of him was a favorable one. They said of him:
Slow paced delivery, full long and loose arm action, 3/4's arm slot. Consistent upper 80's fastball, very nice running action, big life at times. Excellent change up with the same type of life, can backdoor change up to right handed hitters with movement and does so with intent. Flashes quality curveball when he maintains his arm speed. Around the plate with all pitches, has nice projection on the mound
In classic form, Detroit has opted for another control-optional arm. In 54 1⁄3 innings, Myers walked 31 batters and only struck out 37. His stuff is good, though. He has as much upside as one could ask for in a sixth round pick, but his floor is dizzying to look down at. We’ll see how things work out for him as he enters professional baseball.
Round 7, Pick 215: Brad Bass, RHP, Notre Dame
Bass is the prototypical Tigers pick, and it is really no surprise that he was the pick here in the seventh round. He was a bit of a fall, ranked by MLB.com as the 192nd ranked prospect available for selection this summer. A starter for the Fighting Irish, he was supposed to be the third starter but turned out to be the best pitcher in Notre Dame’s rotation when Peter Solomon and Brandon Bielak turned out to be disappointments.
He has three pitches: a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. The first two work well together, with many of his strikeouts coming on sharp slider that he sets up with a better heater. “I’d say I’m more of a power guy,” said Bass (6’6, 250 pounds). “I go fastball, hard slider and then change-up.” MLB.com cites that as a relief arm in the Cape Cod league, he worked 93-95 miles per hour and would touch 97, with good sink. However, when asked to start, he sits in the 91-92 mph range with a less desirable slider. However, through 84 1⁄3 innings pitched this season, he still managed 8.54 strikeouts per nine innings. It’s more likely that he will be a bullpen piece long-term, and when he was in that position last season, he put up a strikeout rate north of 10 per nine innings.
Round 8, Pick 245: Max Green, LHP, Pepperdine University
Green didn’t play at all during the 2017 season, but his 2016 was not very encouraging. He managed to keep his ERA low, a mark of 3.96 through 36.1 IP, but his peripherals were quite bad. He allowed a lot of hits, averaging 10.16 every nine innings, and didn’t strike many out, only whiffing 4.21 every nine innings. His value lies frackers more in his control. Through 36.1 IP, he only walked nine, totaling a final mark of 2.21 BB/9. When Prefect Game scouted him as a high schooler in 2014, they had this to say:
Slender young build, live bodied athletic actions. Multi-piece delivery, full body turn, some back leg collapse, cross body release, 3/4's to mid 3/4's arm slot, some effort, hard delivery to repeat consistently. Fastball topped out at 84 mph, very good sink and run at times, gets similar life on nice change up he should throw more often. Tends to lower arm slot on curveball and get under, break mostly soft and flat. Has ability to throw much harder but will need to change delivery first.
It’s possible that the Tigers saw something they like in the changeup and think they have the key to unlock much more effective stuff. His transition to pro ball may be rocky, but if Detroit’s brass saw something they like, the eighth round is a good time to make a gamble like this one.
Round 9, Pick 275: Luke Burch, CF, Kent State University
Alan Rucker of Hustle Belt, the SB Nation site dedicated to MAC sports, seems to think this selection is a solid one.
Burch was regarded by baseball experts as an under the radar prospect, but Detroit is getting a solid hitter and a significant option for their farm system. He has been a .360 or better hitter every year at Kent State. Combined with his ability to play any outfield position and you can see why the Tigers took a chance with their 9th-round selection.
In his four years at college, Burch has slashed .357/.433/.465, but the performance has been fueled in large part by a .429 BABIP. He said of his selection: “I think they like me as a center fielder because of my speed,” he said. “I can hit and steal bases, that kind of thing.” He is reminiscent to Detroit’s seventh-round selection last season, center fielder Jake Robson. Robson has had an incredible introduction to professional baseball, so let’s hope the Tigers have found another such player.
Round 10, Pick 305: Garret McCain, CF, Oklahoma State
McCain is a lot like Burch, and he has had similar successes in his college career. After slashing only .203/.385/.243 in a very disappointing sophomore season, he came back this year with a vengeance. Rebounding better than anyone could ask, he has hit .388/.491/.549, which tallies to an OPS north of 1000. Perfect Game scouted him when he was draft-eligible as a high schooler, having this to say:
Right handed hitter, very deep load, back side collapse, raises up and hits up through the ball, long loose swing with bat speed, good flow through contact, showed his mid field power, loud contact, projects well with some adjustments, nice hitting tools. 6.72 runner, young outfield fundamentals and mechanics, has the athleticism to improve with coaching.
McCain also has a very good arm from the outfield. He was once a pitcher who could hit 90 mph form the mound, a skill that translates well to the field. A return to pitching would be a good fallback option if hitting does not work out. Perfect Game cites a lively fastball with tailing action and a good change with diving action as his two best pitches, with some feel for a curveball that gets slurvy motion. It also mentions good arm speed and decent deception as strengths.