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Tigers select RHP Dylan Smith with No. 74 pick in 2021 MLB draft

Detroit picked up their third pitcher in three rounds of the 2021 MLB draft.

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With the 74th pick in the 2021 MLB draft, the Detroit Tigers have selected right-handed pitcher Dylan Smith from the University of Alabama.

There are two main appeals for a team to draft Smith. The first is his feel to spin two distinct breaking balls. His best pitch is a swing-and-miss slider that has shown plus potential since he was a high schooler. Prospects Live describes it as having “late, sharp bite in the 84-86 range.” A curveball serves as his second breaking ball, and while it doesn’t demonstrate the same impact potential, it has sufficient depth to be labeled as average to above average, depending on the source.

The other reason Detroit may have been attracted to Smith is his remaining physical projection. His 6-foot-2-inch frame is slender and he has room to add muscle, which, in turn, could add velocity to his fastball and help him repeat his delivery more consistently.

The reason Smith dropped to the third round is that his fastball doesn’t play particularly well in the modern sport. Sure, it has sufficient velocity. He sits in the 91-95 miles per hour range and has reportedly kissed the high 90s on rare occasions. Decent velocity alone won’t keep a fastball safe, though. The movement profile on the pitch is unimpressive and as a result, it can be easy for hitters to square up. He’ll need to rely on intelligent sequencing to keep opposing batters honest.

He was a good college performer and should have no problem with the low minors. He seems like a good bet to get to Toledo quickly, now that the Tigers’ pitching depth is being thinned out. One has to imagine that fastball command will be crucial in determining how successful he is as a professional. Without the ability to reliably blow it by hitters, he’ll need to get his spots just right and play it off his braking stuff well.