The Detroit Tigers selected right-handed pitcher Reed Garrett with the fifth pick in the Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Garrett, 25, is a former 16th round pick who pitched in the Texas Rangers’ system in 2018. He managed a 2.04 ERA in 61 2⁄3 innings between Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Round Rock, and struck out nearly a batter per inning.
Baseball America’s JJ Cooper described Garrett as “a high-octane bullpen arm.” He sports “a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider,” and was good about keeping the ball in the strike zone last season (he only walked 20 batters, a 6.8 percent rate).
As a Rule 5 selection, Garrett will have to stay on the Tigers’ 25-man roster for the entire 2019 season. The Tigers can trade for his rights at any point — they did so back in 2012 when they acquired lefthander Kyle Lobstein in the Rule 5 draft — but can also just bite the bullet and keep Garrett on the roster for the entire year.
The Tigers did exactly this last season, when they took outfielder Victor Reyes with the first pick in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. Reyes hit .222/.239/.288 in 219 plate appearances for the Tigers last season. He was largely relegated to a pinch-running role early on, but showed a bit more promise as he got a little more playing time in the second half of the year.
“Wait, tell me more about Garrett!”
The fine folks at Baseball Census have what is easily the most comprehensive review of Garrett’s profile available.
Formerly a high-80s pitch-to-contact guy, Reed Garrett now boasts a 93-97 mph fastball with serious run back to his arm-side. He’ll pair it with an 84-89 slider with great tilt and a pro look to it already, and a lesser-used 83-85 mph changeup. He’s a serious matchup problem for right-handed bats late in games, and appears to have the natural intangibles and presence to throw late in high-leverage situations.
Anything more we say about him would just be lifted straight from that article, so go check it out.
“But wait, there’s more!”
The Tigers also selected outfielder Tyler Hill in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft. Hill is a 22-year-old outfielder who previously played in the Boston Red Sox system. He hit .254/.348/.312 in 124 games at High-A Salem last season, where he primarily shifted between left and right field. He played 13 games in center field, and also played a handful of games there in Single-A ball in 2017. He seemingly has the speed to hack it in center, with 42 stolen bases in 2017 and another 27 in 2018. Hill was a 19th round pick in 2014.
Update: Hill has been traded to the Yankees so now we hate his face.