The Detroit Tigers have selected third baseman Colt Keith with the No. 132 overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft. Keith, 18, was the fifth and final Tigers selection on day two of the draft.
The only high school player to be drafted by the Tigers this year, Keith made a name for himself as a quality two-way player on the showcase circuit and was committed to Arizona State University. Once he fell out of the top 100 picks, it seemed like a good bet that he’d be headed to campus, but the Tigers’ sniped him in the fifth round. Although there is a case to be made for him to remain as both a pitcher and a position player, he was announced as a third baseman only and beat reporter Jason Beck reported that they view him as a hitter.
The draw with Keith is his impressive athleticism and ability at the plate. As a prep player, he is somewhat raw, especially in comparison to ultra-polished players like Spencer Torkelson and Daniel Cabrera. He does have some impressive upside, though. He has a good barrel control, great bat speed, and a frame that could add bulk, especially because he doesn’t have to worry about pitching any more.
The immediate reaction among fans was to wonder about how signable Keith. Considering his commitment to ASU, which is a great baseball program, and the fact that highly rated preps don’t generally sign for fifth round money. However, it’s expected that the Tigers will make a strong run at signing him. Chris Brown of Tigers Minor League Report ran some quick math and the financials could work out to land Keith a sizable bonus.
So, quick math for the #Tigers. Their total pool is about $13.99m (with 5% overage)— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) June 12, 2020
Tork $8.15m (+720K)
Dingler $1.95m (+100K)
Cabrera $1.1m (+55K)
Cruz $700K (+200K)
Workman $570K (+30K)
Leaves about $1.55m for Colt Keith. Think you're right @H_Frommer - they can make it work.
Of course, developing Keith’s abilities will be a long term project. He has the tools to succeed as a defender at the hot corner and his history as a quality pitcher provides him with an easily plus arm. “He shows tons of bat speed in his left handed stroke, but he lacks stability in his lower half, and his hips fire a little early,” opined Prospects Live. “It leads to an upper body dependent swing with a heavily rotational finish.”
The Tigers are gambling heavily on their ability to unlock offensive upside from their new coaching staff, with Dingler, Workman, and Keith all needing work on their swings. If their gamble pays off, Detroit may have just spent the last two days creating their future offensive core.