The MLB draft isn’t quite over yet, but after two days and 10 rounds, all of the important picks are in the books. The Detroit Tigers have made their first 10 picks, including Auburn righthander Casey Mize with the No. 1 overall pick. While Mize is clearly the top prospect the Tigers have landed so far — and probably the top one in their system now, too — the rest of Detroit’s draft has been very intriguing.
We’ll have more analysis on each pick elsewhere on the site, but let’s first get a quick overview of which prospects the BYB staff is excited about.
This week’s question: Which of the Tigers’ top 10 picks are you most excited about?
Peter: First pick, cause it’s A-Mize-ing!
Ashley: Zane, have you not realized Peter’s process yet? All puns always.
Zane: Oh I trust the process.
Ashley: The worse they are, the happier he is.
Kenon, the adult at the table: Hugh Smith out of Whitworth College is my favorite. He’s an incredibly interesting story. He threw in the low 80s in high school as a 5’10 kid. He was going to study biophysics at Washington with no baseball offers. Suddenly, he sprouts to 6’6, then to 6’10 in college, throwing 97 mph with good movement, command, athleticism, and pitching aptitude. I think we may have gotten a steal here.
Jay: I like — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — all of the Tigers’ picks in the top 10. Casey Mize was the top player. Parker Meadows and Kingston Liniak are both legitimate high-upside prep guys. Hugh Smith is fun for his history and height, and could be a steal if he puts it together. Kody Clemens and Adam Wolf pay for it all while filling organizational need. While it’s hard to expect much from anyone after the first couple rounds, all of their college guys from 7-10 have good ceilings. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I whiffed on most of my predictions, namely college relievers and overdrafts.
Brandon: Yeah, I’m surprisingly really pleased overall. This is the first Tigers draft with a full-fledged analytics department and operational database, and it seems to have showed. There are quite a few picks I really like. No catchers? No college relievers? Position players with real upside? What the heck is going on?
But ok, I’ll go with Tarik Skrubal. To find a big lefty starter who can chuck it 95 mph with life, and a decent pair of secondaries, in the ninth round no less, is pretty surprising. He is two years from Tommy John surgery, so while he has been wild as they come this year, there is hope that his formerly good control with return with reps and pro instruction. I’m not real familiar with Seattle University, but I have to assume there’s going to be a big step up in terms of the caliber of instruction and conditioning he’ll be introduced to. But instead of wasting higher picks trying to find relief help and depth starters, the Tigers got a guy who could be developed into either with time. Is he a long shot? Sure. But these are the kind of upside plays we’ve wished the Tigers would make, so I’m quite happy to see them pulling some talented guys from under-the-radar schools.
Ashley: DEATHRAGE!!!!! 80 GRADE NAME! I’LL NEVER SPELL IT PROPERLY! DEATHRAAAAAAGE!!!!
Rob: Casey Mize is the low-hanging fruit here, but I’m going to say Kody Clemens. According to prospect rankings, he was a bit of a reach at No. 79 overall, but I’m always intrigued by guys who produce at big college programs. It’s why I liked Jake Robson when he was picked in the eighth round a couple years ago, and it’s why I’m high on the Clemens pick. He hit 21 home runs and slugged .706 for the Texas Longhorns this year, and could add to those totals as they move onto Super Regionals. Those are power numbers you can’t really fake, and I’m excited to see how he adjusts to the pro game.
Patrick O.: Casey Mize is the only draftee with a better than even shot at being a productive major leaguer. The odds are against all of the others, as much as we may like their achievements up to this point. From the many will come a few good men, but Mize stands out as an elite prospect and should take his place as the No. 1 overall Tigers prospect right away.
Ron: One pick I’m very hopeful for is Roger Clemens’ son, Kody Clemens. Although I’d be more excited if he were a pitcher, the fact remains that many sons of former major leaguers have turned into special ballplayers in their own right. Look at Lance McCullers, Jr., for example. Clemens is a solid “lottery ticket” that could end up developing into a solid major leaguer. The only real disappointment so far has been their lack of corner fielder draft picks. When Miguel Cabrera retires, the first base platform is open, so who would take his spot? Other than Nicholas Castellanos, which seems unlikely, the Tigers need a solid everyday first baseman. That’s something they should look to the draft for.
Zane: The draft is pure uncertainty, but the Tigers tried to make it as certain as possible by making the consensus pick at No. 1 with Casey Mize and by taking names from proven MLB families such as Parker Meadows (brother of Austin) and Kody Clemens (son of Roger). No one has any idea if any of these guys will work out, though Mize is closer to a finished product than most. If Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Fernando Tatis, Jr., and Bo Bichette have taught me anything, it’s that baseball runs in the family. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton.
That said, I love the prospects the Tigers are getting in Meadows and Clemens, regardless of their last names.