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Where are they now: Tigers’ top draft picks from the last 15 years

You’re dying to know where Ryan Perry ended up, aren’t you?

MLB: Texas Rangers at Houston Astros Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2018 MLB Amateur Draft fast approaching, we’ve been diving into the prospects who are likely on the Tigers radar. Everyone has Casey Mize’s name on the tip of their tongue and he seems like a logical first round first pick selection, but in 2004 Justin Verlander went second, meaning it’s anyone’s guess which player the Tigers will pick.

We decided to take a look at where the Tigers first round draft picks from the last fifteen years have ended up. There are two Cy Young winners, some All-Stars, and a couple guys that might make you go “who?”

2003: Kyle Sleeth RHP

Sleeth’s career with the Tigers seemed doomed from very early on, as he struggled in the minor leagues with multiple injuries. He was briefly on the Tigers 40-man roster, but never got any higher in the organization than Double-A Erie. Before being taken by the Tigers in 2003, he’d been drafted by the Orioles in 2000. In 2005 he had Tommy John surgery. In 2008 he retired from baseball.

2004: Justin Verlander RHP

Verlander remained with the Tigers from his draft, to his 2005 debut, his 2006 Rookie of the Year season, all the way up to his 2017 trade to the Houston Astros. Verlander is a six-time All-Star, a Cy Young winner, AL MVP in 2011, and has pitched two no-hitters in his career. Since moving to the Astros he can now add World Series winner to his resume. As of 2018 he is currently pitching the lowest early-season ERA of his career.

2005: Cameron Maybin OF

Maybin was listed as Baseball America’s most promising outfielder going into the 2005 draft. By 2007 he had already advanced to Double-A Erie and moved on to the big club a mere six games later. Maybin (along with our next player) was a part of the mammoth trade deal that saw Miguel Cabrera come to Detroit. Since then he has bounced around the majors, spending stints with the Marlins, Padres, a brief Tigers reunion in 2016, the Angels, Astros, and now back to the Marlins. He, along with Verlander, was a member of the 2017 World Series Astros team.

2006: Andrew Miller LHP

Tigers fans know where Andrew Miller ended up, since they have to face off against his nasty relief stuff when they play against division rivals the Cleveland Indians, but Miller’s success was a long time coming. Miller was so good in the minors he went right from the Class-A Lakeland team to the major league roster after only three appearances. After being a part of the Miguel Cabrera trade, he spend time with the Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, and finally the Indians. He’s a 2-time All-Star, was the 2016 ALCS MVP, and is widely considered to be one of the best relief pitchers in baseball today.

2007: Rick Porcello RHP

Porcello spent six years in the majors with the Tigers, and was considered by almost everyone to be a quality pitcher, especially in the 2012-14 years when the team’s pitching was at its best. In the 2014-15 offseason he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Wilson, and Gabe Speier. He won the Cy Young in 2016 in spite of Kate Upton’s protests. His 22-win season proved to be enough to get the winning votes. He went on to lose 17 games the following season and gave up the most hits in his career.

2007: Brandon Hamilton RHP

A 60th round supplemental pick for the Tigers, Hamilton remained in the Tigers minor league system for two seasons, rising no higher than West Michigan. In his final season he had a 7.09 ERA.

2008: Ryan Perry RHP

Perry spent major league time with the Tigers from 2009-11, appearing in relief 39 times and establishing a 4.07 ERA. He was traded to the Washington Nationals in 2011 for Collin Balestar. With the Nationals he had a 10.13 ERA in seven games. He spent several years after that languishing in the minors before returning to the Tigers in 2015 on a minor league deal. He was later released by the Mud Hens after racking up a career-high 12.71 ERA.

2009: Jacob Turner RHP

Turner was once considered the best prospect in the Tigers system. He made his major league debut in 2011, and in 2012 he was traded to the Marlins in return for Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante. He struggled in Miami and though his overall numbers with the club weren’t bad, he was DFA’d in August 2014. The Cubs picked him up, but after pitching in only eight games for the team he was placed on the 60-day disabled list thanks to a flexor strain. He missed the entire 2015 season. He moved from the Cubs to the White Sox, where he was converted to a bullpen pitcher. He spent some time with the Nationals before returning to the Marlins. He started the 2018 season with the team but was soon DFA’d and is now on the New Orleans Baby Cakes.

2010: Nicholas Castellanos 3B

Castellanos is the current Tigers right fielder, of course, and is hitting .318/.374/.503 this season so far. While he’s not going to win a Gold Glove for his defense any time soon, he’s one of the best and most consistent bats in the Tigers lineup.

2010: Chance Ruffin RHP

Ruffin, whose father Bruce was a big league pitcher from 1987-97, was a 48th round supplemental pick for the Tigers, taken four spots after Castellanos. He made his major league debut in 2011, but a month later was included in the Seattle Mariners trade that saw Doug Fister come to Detroit. He spent all of 2012 with Tripe-A Tacoma, but had stints with the big club in 2011 and 2013 where he managed a 5.70 ERA with Seattle. He quit baseball quite unexpectedly at age 25 after a July 4, 2014 game in Tacoma.

2011-12: no first round picks

2013: Jonathon Crawford RHP

Crawford had a promising start in the Tigers lower-level minor league teams, posting a 1.89 ERA with the Connecticut Tigers and a 2.85 ERA with West Michigan. He was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 2014 for Alfredo Simon. He has spent some time since then injured, but continued playing in the Reds minor league system through 2017. He has not played in 2018, but his Twitter profile still lists him as a member of the Reds organization and he frequently RT’s Daytona Tortuga content. He was 0-10 with the Tortugas in 2017.

2014: Derek Hill OF

Hill, who is currently with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, has struggled to meet expectations in the minors. He did best in 2017 at West Michigan where he hit .285/.367/.444 in 168 plate appearances, but so far this season in Lakeland he’s only hitting .170/.270/.239 in 100 plate appearances. He has not played above High-A since being drafted in 2014.

2015: Beau Burrows RHP

Burrows is considered one of the more exciting Tigers starters of the future alongside Matt Manning and Alex Faedo. So far he’s done well in the minors, with a solid start to his 2018 season in Double-A Erie, where he’s currently 5-2 with a 2.21 ERA. He’s right on track with his development.

2015: Christin Stewart OF

Yes, we know, everyone is dying to find out when Stewart will make his major league debut. Stewart, who was selected 34th in the supplemental round of the 2015 draft is currently mashing in Triple-A Toledo with 11 home runs, and hitting .296/.374/.622(!). It’s really only a matter of “when” and not “if” Stewart makes an appearance with the Tigers. His defense is lacking, but his bat seems likely to make up the difference.

2016: Matt Manning RHP

Manning is struggling ever so slightly in West Michigan this season with a 5.23 ERA and a 1-2 record. Those who are expecting him to be in the rotation when the Tigers compete again in a few years shouldn’t panic yet, though, because when Manning has his stuff controlled, it’s electrifying, and the minors are all about ironing out the kinks.

2017: Alex Faedo RHP

It’s much too early to panic about Faedo’s 0-3 record in Lakeland, so let’s not. Last year’s pick for the Tigers has work ahead of him, but after only seven starts at High-A there’s no way to know where he’s headed just yet.