There’s a lot more to the draft than just the first round. While some Tigers fans may quit paying attention once Max Clark’s name was read at third overall, we know there are plenty of you prospect hounds who are hungry for all the info you can get on the newest Motor City draftees. Here’s our brief look at each of the players Detroit drafted on Day 2 of the 2023 MLB Draft
LHP Paul Wilson
Drafting Wilson is the kind of risky swing that feels great when you can do it in the third round. Being a high school pitcher puts him into the demographic that produces the most draft busts, but the Tigers came to this pick with a few good players already in hand. Wilson can already dial up the heat to the mid-90s as a teenager and has feel for two offspeed pitches. However, he’s reported to have mechanical inconsistencies that hamper his command and the effectiveness of his changeup.
He has mid-rotation upside, and could also be a monster out of the bullpen, but it will be a long journey to reach either of those outcomes.
3B Carson Rucker
Though he’s a shortstop in high school, Rucker is projected over to third base, where his average defensive quickness will suit him just fine. It shouldn’t be very surprising that he sports a pretty clean swing for his age, too, which is in line with the rest of the position players Detroit took up to this point. He fell to this point in the draft because none of his present tools will wow you; his swing is pretty but he doesn’t have a track record against quality pitching and his power is mostly a projection based on hard contact and a good body for adding muscle.
Clean round of BP from @Vol_Baseball signee & ‘23 SS Carson Rucker (@CarsonRucker2; @BaseballGCS). Hard LD’s to all fields w/ clean path and athletic actions.@PrepBaseball || #Super60 pic.twitter.com/V3pEafmujE— PBR Tennessee (@PBRTennessee) February 5, 2023
RHP Jaden Hamm
Hamm may not have been the most famous pitcher at Middle Tennessee State this season, but he was their workhorse. He started the most games and tossed the most innings of any Raiders pitcher in 2023. He works with a low 90s fastball, but his money pitch is an above-average curve that he throws with a spiked grip that struck out loads of hitters. The results were sometimes lacking, but Porcello-ing out two disaster outings that accounted for 13 runs in just 5.1 IP results in a much more palatable 4.12 ERA for the season.
Back at Charlotte tonight for @MT_Baseball's Jaden Hamm. Worked around a single in the first, FB 91-95 with plenty of carry from OTT slot. CB 80-81 with a ton of depth and late sweep, flashing mid-80's CH w/ some tumble. Hides ball really well in delivery. #129 on our Top 400. pic.twitter.com/BJ9gBwcSgI— Tyler Jennings (@TylerJennings24) May 19, 2023
C Bennett Lee
You have to imagine a primary reason for the Tigers drafting Lee is his complete refusal to give up control of the strike zone when he’s up to bat. His career walk and strikeout rates are nearly identical across three seasons of college ball, which is a skill that often translates well to the minors. Unfortunately, he tends to drive the ball into the dirt. He also has eye-catching quickness on defense, as highlighted by catching instructor Tyler Goodro in the embedded tweet. A bit of an off-the-board selection, it’s possible that a portion of Lee’s slotted bonus allotment will be used to help sign the many high schoolers the Tigers selected.
SS John Peck
Peck seemed to have top-3 rounds potential at this time last year, but his tremendous 2022 season was followed by a poor showing on the Cape and a mediocre 2023 campaign. His wRC+ dropped from 134 to 92 between those seasons — essentially the difference between Bo Bichette and Mauricio Dubon. Nevertheless, he still has the defensive instincts to stay at shortstop and some see him as having a future as a meaningful utility player. He still has the feel to hit fastballs, even if he reaches too often on slow stuff. If he can recapture some of his previous magic, this pick could look like a steal in retrospect.
The Detroit Tigers (7th Round) selected IF John Peck. Finished this season strong, and in 2022 hit .361 with 20 XBH. Great feel for the barrel with an absurd 91% in-zone contact rate. Hammers the heater (89% contact rate) and has serious bat speed. pic.twitter.com/vcn5sHK3QY— Peter Flaherty III (@PeterGFlaherty) July 10, 2023
RHP Jatnk Diaz
Diaz added several miles per hour to his fastball velocity over the past calendar year, making him a much more intriguing prospect with a max in the high-90s rather than the high-80s. He also brings to the table a natural feel for spin and a powerful physique with low mileage that will make him a fun project for the Tigers’ dev team to polish up. His ultimate upside is unclear and his potential to wash out is exceptionally high, but this is just about as fun as the draft gets after the first round or two.
Data Spotlight: Jatnk Diaz— MLB Draft League Data (@draftleaguedata) June 15, 2023
2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K
94-97 mph (95th percentile)
2286 rpm (76th)
2726 rpm (95th)
-3.5” IVB / -16.1” HB
50% Whiff%@JatnkD | @crosscutters pic.twitter.com/uVVsDAEDdn
RHP Hayden Minton
Minton doesn’t blow anyone away, but he was drafted on the strength of his dependable fastball command and ability to draw ground balls. Opponents hit the ball on the ground 46.1 percent of the time and he line drives to just 15.2 percent of batted balls in 2023. He was able to cross hitters up with his slider to the tune of 10.3 K/9, but with low fastball velocity, it won’t be as effective as a pro. He’s the kind of high-quality pitching depth every organization needs.
LHP Andrew Sears
After transferring from Rhode Island to UConn, Sears impressed the team and reporters last fall. He was projected as one of the Huskies’ best starters, but his performance fell flat when the season came around. Sears throws low 90s fastballs and an average slider from a very low arm slot that approaches sidearm action at times. Though he is a bit home run prone, xFIP likes him better than his north-of-6 ERA. I’m not quite sure what Detroit’s draft team sees in him, but I tend to trust their judgment when it comes to depth pitchers, who they’ve had great success with in recent years.
So. LHP Andrew Sears@AndrewS93808191— PBR New York (@PBRNewYork) July 11, 2021
(Rhode Island College)@NYCBLbaseball Jamboree
6’3 210lb southpaw has been solid on the bump. Mixing 3 pitches (FB-SL-CH)out of multiple arm slots (low 3/4 & sidearm)
FB 84-86 T87
CH 75-76#bootsontheground pic.twitter.com/f6iZEqOyut