With the 39th pick in the 2021 MLB draft, the Detroit Tigers have selected shortstop Izaac Pacheco from Friendswood HS in Texas. Pacheco has been a well-known prospect for years and entered the season as a likely first-round pick. His 2021 season was not enough to stave off competition, though, and he fell just beyond the first round bubble, where the Tigers scooped him up.
Pacheco is best known for his offensive abilities, with plus raw power and an uppercut swing that FanGraphs compared to that of Cardinals prospect Nolan Gorman. Perfect Game was more elaborative, describing an “easy, tension-free swing with some uphill swing plane, gets plus carry off the barrel when he squares it up, can get mistimed occasionally but has huge offensive upside.”
Prospects Live are also believers in his ability to contribute offensively, complimenting his raw power provided by bat speed and vertical bat angle. “He’s got flexible, adjustable actions allowing him to make solid barrel contact against tough pitching,” they added.
Man, I like the Tigers draft. Second round pick Izaac Pacheco was one of the better hitters in the HS class. Had a really strong spring.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) July 12, 2021
A shortstop in high school, Pacheco is generally considered to have no shot at sticking with the position as a professional. He’s already a below-average runner and will only get slower as his large frame matures. Instead, he’s destined for third base, where he’ll be able to put his plus arm strength to good use.
Pacheco may be a bit of a slow burn in the minors. He hasn’t reached his final form at the plate — his pitch selection and barrel control are both below average, according to FanGraphs — and Detroit’s player development team isn’t the best at tuning up power hitters to be well-rounded offensively.
It’s not much of a surprise that the Tigers opted to take a high schooler with this pick. They’re rumored to have saved a lot of money against first-round pick Jackson Jobe’s signing bonus and they’re spreading it around with their later picks. Pacheco will need to be bought out of a commitment to Texas A&M. Between his assigned slot value of $1.91 million and a little extra padding available, that shouldn’t be a problem, as he wasn’t reputed to come with a high price tag.
The Tigers’ next selection will come in at 74th overall.