The 2020 MLB draft is in the books, and with all five rounds behind us, the Detroit Tigers came out of the draft with one of the best hauls of any team in the league. There were some rumors that the team was considering selecting Asa Lacy with the first pick and spreading the savings around, but those rumors turned out to be nothing more than smoke and the team took a much more straightforward approach to the draft. They simply sat back and allowed the draft to unfold, selecting the best player available in each round, and it paid off in a big way.
Let’s take a look at the group of players the Tigers drafted and will likely be adding to their pipeline of minor league prospects.
3B Spencer Torkelson
The offensive talents of Spencer Torkelson are so well-documented that, at this point, scouting reports on his abilities at the plate almost feel one-note. He’s one of the best to come through the draft in a long, long time. He can hit for plus or better power, he can draw walks, he has great feel for the barrel, he has a legitimate chance to be a .280 hitter with 30 home runs.
The surprise came when he was announced as a third baseman, a position he’s probably not cut out to play. If the Tigers want to improve the amount of value he adds on defense, he’d probably a better fit in left field, where his fringy arm won’t be too much of a hindrance. Even if he has to go back to first base, he’s a good defender there and can make surprisingly athletic plays. In the end, his defensive value is peripheral. The Tigers drafted him for his bat, and that’s how he’ll shine as a pro.
For more information on Torkelson, check out our writeup on him here.
C Dillon Dingler
Dingler was being considered by teams at the beck end of the first round by he wound up going undrafted on day one. The Tigers took advantage and gabbed him with their first pick on day two, which came in at 38th overall. His biggest strength is his defensive work. He’s smooth as a receiver and guns down runners with an arm that some consider double-plus. He’s an excellent athlete, far better than most catchers, and rebuilt his swing with Ohio State to incorporate much more power. He would have almost certainly been a first round pick if teams had gotten more time to see him this spring and he’s probably the best catching prospect in Detroit’s system.
For more information on Dingler, check out our writeup on him here.
OF Daniel Cabrera
In a draft full of outstanding picks, Cabrera has a decent shot to be the Tigers’ best value. Cabrera was a major prospect as a high schooler, Louisiana State managed to get him on campus and he raked there too. His swing is polished and he’s a high probability major leaguer, those attributes earning him some first round buzz in the weeks leading up to the draft.
Cabrera slipped to the Tigers’ Competitive Balance round B pick, and they did well to stop him from sliding any further. He’ll need to get all he can out of his defensive tools, and there are questions about how well his power will play as a left fielder, but he seems unconcerned, providing this quote to the media:
Cabrera says he's put on about five pounds of muscle since the college season ended. "I feel like I'm gonna surprise some people."— Cody Stavenhagen (@CodyStavenhagen) June 12, 2020
For more information on Cabrera, check out our writeup on him here.
SS Trei Cruz
There’s a been surge of players with famous families in the Tigers’ organization as of late, and Cruz is the most recent addition to that list. While bloodlines are fun, though, what’s more important is what he can tangibly do on the field. He’s an offense-first middle infielder who projects better as a second baseman than as a shortstop. Cruz collects both walks and strikeouts in high quantity and has a chance to hit for a decent amount of power as well. He projects long-term as a bat first utility man or a low end starter. The Tigers love dudes who play hard and have a collection of average-ish tools in this range of the draft and stuck to their tendency this year as well.
For more information on Cruz, check out our writeup on him here.
3B Gage Workman
Workman has perhaps the loudest tools of anyone in the Tigers’ draft class. He’s a fantastic defender at third base and has big raw power in his bat, but there are questions about his approach at the plate. The concern about how much he’ll actually hit as a pro is what drove him down draft boards but he’s young enough yet to have a good chance at fixing those issues. FanGraphs wondered aloud about his asking price - he could feasibly go back to college without hurting his draft stock at all and have a chance to play shortstop. However, the Tigers will almost certainly sign him unless there’s something terribly wrong in the post-draft medicals because of the limited number of players the team was allowed to pick this year.
For more information on Workman, check out our writeup on him here.
3B Colt Keith
Detroit’s final selection was their most surprising. Draft junkies quietly assumed that Keith, a two way star for his Mississippi high school, was going to wind up on campus when he name wasn’t called within the first few rounds. In fact, Keith himself said that for most of the night, he thought he’d be playing for Arizona State next season. The Tigers were evidently the only team who were willing to meet his asking price, but with that money, they’re adding a high-upside position player to their organization. The team intends to deploy him as a hitter only for now, but he could wind up back on the mound at some point if it doesn’t work out.
For more information on Keith, check out our writeup on him here.