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Tigers select RHP Ty Madden with No. 32 pick in 2021 MLB draft

With their second selection on Day 1, the Tigers nabbed the best player on the board by a mile.

NCAA Baseball: College World Series-Mississippi State v Texas Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

With the 32nd pick in the 2021 MLB draft, the Detroit Tigers have selected right-handed pitcher Ty Madden from Texas University. Considered by many as a top-10 talent in the class, Madden experienced a draft day slide that allowed the Tigers to pick him up in the Competitive Balance Round A.

Madden has been a known prospect since his days as a high schooler, but he made the right choice by joining the Longhorns rather than turning pro in 2018. At college, his stuff popped and he added an extra three miles per hour to the top end of his fastball velocity. During the 2021 season, he pitched to a 2.45 ERA and maintained an impressive rate of 10.85 strikeouts per nine innings.

It may be an understatement to say the pick was received well by the media.

The thing most people notice first about Madden is that he throws heat. His fastball sits in the low-to-mid 90s but there’s considerably more in the tank when he wants it. He’ll top out around 98 miles per hour, nothing to sneeze at for a starting pitcher. However, despite the high heat, his fastball isn’t considered the out pitch of Madden’s arsenal. It is thrown from a very high arm slot, which is beneficial for hitters with an uppercut swing, and it doesn’t have the movement profile that many of MLB’s strikeout pitchers utilize.

The trump card in Madden’s hand is his slider. It was a slurvy pitch when he entered college, but he honed it into a crisper offering and now it has the hard, downward motion that tunnels well with his fastball and tempts hitters into swinging at air. FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline both label it as the best he has to offer and a potentially plus pitch.

Increased physicality is another way in which Madden improved himself in the three years he spent with the Longhorns. He added muscle to his 6-foot-3-inch body, which was part of why he enjoyed increased his fastball velocity. Additionally, more athletic pitchers usually have an easier time repeating their deliveries, so it’s a reason to believe that he has projectable command.

Joe Doyle of Lookout Landing compiled a comprehensive scouting report on Madden before the 2021 season began and identified the areas of needed improvement are consistency in his changeup and curveball. Both have the characteristics of major league pitches — the curveball is an abrupt downer and the changeup is quite low-spin — but he needs to convert those traits into on-field results more often.

Presumably, a large portion of the money saved by drafting Jackson Jobe will be funneled toward Madden. He was expected to be selected in the neighborhood of the tenth pick, and will rightly demand a signing bonus commensurate with his talent.