Draft Preview - Detroit Tigers

Part three in my series looks at the Detroit Tigers, who choose at #9 overall in the 2009 draft.  Check it out.

Owner: Michael Ilitch, bought club in 1992
General Manager: Dave Dombrowski, first season was 2002
Scouting Director: David Chadd, first draft was 2005

Looking Back

2005 Draft: $3.8 Million Budget

1. Cameron Maybin, OF, TC Roberson HS (NC), #10 overall: Dave Chadd opened up his Tigers tenure with an excellent pick.  Maybin was widely considered the second-best prep hitter behind Justin Upton, and BA had him ranked #3 overall approaching the draft.  This draft was talent-rich in outfielders, and Maybin was right up there with any of them.  Excellent start for Chadd.  Following players picked: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Brandon Snyder.  Signing bonus: $2.65 million.
2. Chris Robinson, C, Illinois, #90 overall: Without a supplemental or second round pick, the Tigers planned on using most of their budget on their #10 pick, which they did.  However, it hurt the rest of their crop a little.  Robinson was a slight overdraft, mainly due to a hand injury his junior year.  However, this was seen as a fairly solid pick of a well-known college catcher.  Following players picked: James Boone, Zach Ward, Brandon Erbe.  Signing bonus: $422,000.
3. Kevin Whelan, RHP, Texas A&M, #120 overall: Whelan became a well-known college reliever, having been a backup catcher entering college.  He was reaching the mid-90s with his fastball, and most projected him to go right around this range.  Good value for the fourth round.  Following players picked: Brent Lillibridge, Sam LeCure, Kieron Pope.  Signing bonus: $265,000.
4. Jeff Larish, 1B, Arizona State, #150 overall: Larish made a bad mistake by turning down a reported $660,000 offer from the Dodgers in 2004.  He had a good senior year, but we all know that seniors have little leverage.  This was a nice pick by the Tigers, despite Larish's well-documented flaws.  Following players picked: Jeff Sues, James Avery, Reid Hamblet.  Signing bonus: $220,000.
5. Clete Thomas, OF, Auburn, #180 overall: Thomas was one of those college players who went to school thinking their tools would click, making them a top draft prospect.  However, he never performed, making him a prospect for the end of the first day.  Good pick by Chadd to get an older prospect that still had tools, as Thomas fell further than most expected, perhaps a full two rounds, maybe more.  Following players picked: Cameron Blair, Jeff Stevens, Blake Owen.  Signing bonus: $150,000.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Anthony Claggett (11th), UC Riverside; OF Matt Joyce (12th), Florida Southern; OF Casper Wells (14th), Towson; SS Michael Hollimon (16th), Oral Roberts; RHP Burke Badenhop (19th), Bowling Green; 2B Will Rhymes (27th), William & Mary


2006 Draft: $6.0 Million Budget

1. Andrew Miller, LHP, North Carolina, #6 overall: Miller was the consensus top talent in the 2006 draft, but he fell due to bonus concerns.  This was without even having Scott Boras as his agent.  The Tigers swooped in and signed him to a $5.4 million Major League contract.  This move was beyond the control of Chadd.  Following players selected: Clayton Kershaw, Drew Stubbs, Bill Rowell.  Signing bonus: $3.55 million.
2. Ronnie Bourquin, 3B, Ohio State, #50 overall: This was widely considered an overdraft by the baseball community, as Bourquin was a fourth round talent at best.  He hit quite well his junior year at OSU, but showed little power and bad defense.  This was an obvious move to save a little money after picking Miller.  Following players selected: Jeff Locke, Sean Watson, Chad Huffman.  Signing bonus: $690,000.
3. Brennan Boesch, OF, California, #82 overall: This was right around where Boesch was expected to go, and he was almost universally rated higher than Bourquin leading up to the draft.  An athletic center fielder, Boesch was another college player whose tools were better than his performance.  Following players selected: Aaron Bates, Chris Valaika, Zach Britton.  Signing bonus: $445,000.
4. Ryan Strieby, 1B, Kentucky, #112 overall: Strieby was considered a slight overdraft by insiders, and BA thought of Strieby as a sixth rounder at best.  However, his performance at Kentucky was great.  Good power, problem with breaking balls, average fielder, poor running.  Classic college power hitter.  Following players selected: Kyle Orr, Justin Reed, Blake Davis.  Signing bonus: $295,000.
5. Scott Sizemore, 2B, Virginia Commonwealth, #142 overall: Sizemore was considered an average college middle infield prospect entering his junior year.  He disappointed a little, trying to hit home runs when he profiles more for gap power.  This was a solid pick by Chadd.  Following players selected: Kyle Smit, Josh Ravin, Tyler Henson.  Signing bonus: $197,500.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Jonah Nickerson (7th), Oregon State, $150K bonus; LHP Duane Below (19th), Lake Michigan JC; RHP Casey Fien (20th), Cal Poly; RHP Rudy Darrow (32nd), Nicholls State


2007 Draft: $8.0 Million Budget

1. Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep (NJ), #27 overall: Once again, the Tigers pounced on a player that fell to them due to signability issues.  Dave Chadd didn't have much to do with this pick, as it took a $7.285 million Major League contract to sign this prep pitcher, widely considered to be the best prep pitcher in his class.  Following players selected: Ben Revere, Wendell Fairley, Andrew Brackman.  Signing bonus: $3.58 million.
2. Brandon Hamilton, RHP, Stanhope Elmore HS (AL), #60 overall: A supplemental first round pick, Hamilton was a slight overdraft, as he supposedly had a first round arm trapped in a body with fifth round command.  He had poor control and a violent delivery, but Chadd called his name anyway.  Following players selected: Ed Easley, Ryan Dent, Cory Luebke.  Signing bonus: $540,000.
3. Danny Worth, SS, Pepperdine, #91 overall: This was a solid pick by Dave Chadd.  Worth's glove was questioned very little, but his bat was a question mark until the summer before his junior year.  However, he hit for average and doubles, climbing boards nationally.  This was around where he was expected to go.  Following players selected: Danny Rams, Brant Rustich, Austin Romine.  Signing bonus: $378,000.
4. Luke Putkonen, RHP, North Carolina, #121 overall: If you've heard of this guy, raise your hand.  Yeah, me neither.  Ranked the 13th-best North Carolina prospect entering the draft, Chadd overdrafted Putkonen, a draft-eligible sophomore.  I'm not sure where Chadd was going with this, but the end result hasn't been that good.  He's a little better this year.  Following players selected: Angel Morales, Stephen Clyne, Ryan Pope.  Signing bonus: $236,000.
5. Charlie Furbush, LHP, LSU, #151 overall: This was another solid pick by Chadd, as Furbush, despite struggles in the spring, was considered one of the top college lefties available.  He had previously been arguably the top lefty in the Cape Cod League the previous summer.  Good pick in the right range.  Following players selected: Reggie Williams, Richard Lucas, Brad Suttle.  Signing bonus: $153,000.
Other Notable Selections: LHP Casey Crosby (5th), Kaneland HS (IL), $748,500 bonus; SS Cale Iorg (6th), Alabama, $1.4975 million bonus; RHP Noah Krol (17th), Wichita State


2008 Draft: $3.7 Million Budget

1. Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona, #21 overall: Perry had struggled as a starter at Arizona, but still remained a projected first rounder entering the draft last year.  While some teams liked the idea of moving Perry back to the rotation, the Tigers took the opposite approach and thought of him strictly as a reliever.  Good value considering those on the board at the time.  Following players selected: Reese Havens, Allan Dykstra, Anthony Hewitt.  Signing bonus: $1.48 million.
2. Cody Satterwhite, RHP, Ole Miss, #67 overall: Instead of going a different direction for their second pick, Chadd instead decided to go for a second projected college reliever.  Despite being in the rotation for Ole Miss, there were few, if any, scouts that thought Satterwhite would remain a starter.  Lightning arm, but similar in many ways to Perry.  Following players selected: Javier Rodriguez, James Darnell, Zeke Spruill.  Signing bonus: $606,000.
3. Scott Green, RHP, Kentucky, #99 overall: Yet another college bullpen righty, Green was a much better prospect before his junior season.  He had turned down a bigger bonus offer from the Red Sox after being draft-eligible as a sophomore.  Chadd saw something in his big frame, selecting him with the purpose of more bullpen work.  Following players selected: Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Blake Tekotte, Vance Worley.  Signing bonus: $373,000.
4. Brett Jacobson, RHP, Vanderbilt, #133 overall: This is about the time I started laughing at Dave Chadd last June.  A fourth straight college reliever from a large program.  Jacobson, like Green, was a tall, projectable pitcher that jumped velocities with a move to the bullpen.  Still, strange move.  Following players selected: Sean Ratliff, Jason Kipnis, Trevor May.  Signing bonus: $230,000.
5. Alex Avila, C, Alabama, #163 overall: Yeah, just try and tell me this wasn't nepotism.  Avila, the son of assistant general manager Al Avila of the Tigers, was a solid enough catcher for the Crimson Tide, though he was really just your average college catcher.  This was an overdraft of a couple rounds, but he was cheap.  Following players selected: Dock Doyle, Anthony Bass, Jeremy Hamilton.  Signing bonus: $169,000.
Other Notable Picks: RHP Tyler Stohr (6th), North Florida, $150K bonus; LHP Jade Todd (7th), Shades Valley HS (AL), $150K bonus; OF Andy Dirks (8th), Wichita State, $35K bonus; RHP Robbie Weinhardt (10th), Oklahoma State, $15K bonus; SS Brandon Douglas (11th), Northern Iowa


Those are the four drafts that Dave Chadd has run since he joined the Tigers.  He was previously with the Marlins when Dave Dombrowski was there.  Some interesting trends include the penchant for college players, usually pitchers.  Last year was a huge exception from the drafts before it, as evidenced by picking four college relievers in a row to start off.  In the previous drafts, the Tigers had spent a large part of their bonus money on a high-profile draft prospect that fell due to signability concerns.  Without Cameron Maybin, Andrew Miller, and Rick Porcello, I'd pretty much announce the 2005, 2006, and 2007 drafts as complete failures.  However, the team did their homework, knowing which players deserved the huge bonuses.  I personally think they overpaid for Porcello in particular, but when your top pick is in the starting rotation less than two years after you pick him, especially a prep pitcher, you've done a good job.

As for money, I'm not exactly sure what kind of budget we're looking at for the Tigers this year.  They own the #9, 58, 89, and 120 picks, with every 30 after that.  I think they've probably budgeted somewhere in the $4-5 million range for their first pick, if they need that much.  If they don't use that much, I'd expect a pick or two later that goes significantly over slot, in the same mold as the Cale Iorg and Casey Crosby picks of 2007.  However, that 2007 draft, with its $8 million budget, seems to be a rare expection, and I don't expect nearly that much to be in the budget this year.  $6 million total seems about right to me, maybe a little less.  Let me know if I'm off on that.

The mock draft I published today has USC shortstop Grant Green falling to the Tigers at the #9 slot.  Even if he's not deserving of that slot in my book, he'll still get significant money, having signed his life over to Scott Boras.  The Tigers, as shown above, aren't afraid to spend money on that top pick, and I expect someone similar to Green, perhaps Donovan Tate or another top-tier prep pitcher, to be their first pick.  It's always best player available, but where other teams have certain players off their boards due to signability, the Tigers usually don't.  Past the first pick, I expect more college players to filter in.  Brandon Hamilton's the only non-college pick past the first round that Chadd has made in the first five he's had, so don't expect much change.  Jason Stoffel could be of interest, maybe Joe Kelly and Mike Belfiore, as well.  Del Howell of Alabama seems to be a name I could link with them, too.  Maybe it's just me.

All bonus information came from BA, and writeups on draft status going into the draft were a mixture of BA and PG.  Go to their sites for draft coverage.  They're awesome.

What do you guys think?  What do the Tigers do?


Previous draft previews:

Tampa Bay Rays
Los Angeles Dodgers

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