With the 177th pick in the 2022 MLB draft, the Detroit Tigers selected shortstop Danny Serretti from the University of North Carolina.
A fourth year senior, Serretti played a crucial role in the Tar Heels’ 2022 season. After playing passable defense up the middle and hitting for an equally passable but unimpressive line, he broke out and hit .365/.437/.567 in 2022. A big part of the breakout was his tremendously inflated .394 batting average on balls in play, but that number isn’t as alarming as it would be from a pro player. Collegiate defenses often give up high BABIP figures to hitters who make consistent quality contact.
Everything you can find on the internet about Serretti praises him for his leadership characteristics and old-school hard nosed approach to the game. That’s exactly how he comes across in his (frankly, very dry) interviews as well, team-centric and respectful of the game. He’s the kind of shortstop that old baseball men fawn over.
How much of what he does will translate to the pro game? It’s hard to say, as there’s not much info about him available. He’s unranked on FanGraphs’ and MLB Pipeline’s boards, but Prospects Live goes 600 players deep and they placed him 311th on their rankings. There aren’t too many people who believe that he can stick at a premium position, although we can probably assume that’s what the Tigers think judging by where they picked him. He doesn’t do anything at a high level defensively, but he’ll undoubtedly get the chance to play himself off the position as a pro.
Offensively speaking, he’s praised for a consistent approach, but there aren’t any sources overly enthused about his toolset at the plate. “He has the bat control, with his quiet, line drive geared swing, to turn into an average bat on the major league scale,” wrote Owen Seurat for College Baseball Info.
Serretti isn’t a player to write home about, even in this stage of the draft, so of two things is happening here. One possibility is that the Tigers’ previous picks, particularly Peyton Graham, are going to be costly and they need to sign an underslot player to make up for the lost third round slot money. Alternatively, maybe the team just knows something we don’t. This is the part of the draft where teams’ boards start diverging wildly from public opinion for any of a million reasons. There’s a legitimate chance Serretti was truly their highest graded signable player.
The Tigers’ next pick is at 207th overall.