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2010 Draft Preview - Detroit Tigers

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The twenty-eighth part of my draft preview series is on the Detroit Tigers and their scouting director David Chadd.

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: David Chadd opened up his Tigers tenure with an excellent pick. Maybin was widely considered the second-best prep hitter behind Justin Upton. This draft was talent-rich in outfielders, and Maybin was right up there with any of them. Excellent start for Chadd. Following players selected: Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Brandon Snyder. Signing bonus: $2,650,000.
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 considered more of a fourth to sixth rounder, 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 selected: 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 selected: 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 lucrative offer by the Dodgers in 2005. 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 selected: 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 really 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. Following players selected: Cameron Blair, Jeff Stevens, Blake Owen. Signing bonus: $150,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Anthony Claggett (11th), UC Riverside; OF Matt Joyce (12th), Florida Southern; OF Casper Wells (14th), Towson; RHP Burke Badenhop (19th), Bowling Green.

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: Bourquin was considered a fourth round talent at best, making this pick a little questionable. 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 little bit of an overdraft by most, as he backed up great college numbers with fringy tools. 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, and it has turned out quite well. Following players selected: Kyle Smit, Josh Ravin, Tyler Henson. Signing bonus: $197,500.
Other Notable Selections: 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. David 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 picked a little earlier than the consensus, 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 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. Ranked the 13th-best North Carolina prospect entering the draft, Chadd picked Putkonen earlier than expected, and he was a draft-eligible sophomore. I'm not sure where Chadd was going with this, but the end result hasn't been that good. 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.

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 Chadd. 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 a strange move. Following players selected: Sean Ratliff, Jason Kipnis, Trevor May. Signing bonus: $230,000.
5. Alex Avila, C, Alabama, #163 overall: 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 earlier than expected for Avila to come off the board, but he was cheap. Following players selected: Dock Doyle, Anthony Bass, Jeremy Hamilton. Signing bonus: $169,000.
Other Notable Selections: RHP Robbie Weinhardt (10th), Oklahoma State, $15K bonus.

2009 Draft: $9.4 Million Budget

1. Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy (MO), #9 Overall: Turner had an excellent senior season to make the jump as the top prep right-hander in the class, and he was neck and neck with Tyler Matzek for top prep pitcher overall. He was quite expensive, taking a Major League contract to get him signed. Following players selected: Drew Storen, Tyler Matzek, Aaron Crow. Signing bonus: $4,700,000*.
2. Andy Oliver, LHP, Oklahoma State, #58 Overall: Oliver had a well-documented saga over his representation in draft negotiations, and his suspension and court battle probably led to diminished production on the field. However, he still had a first round arm and got first round money in the second round. Following players selected: Nolan Arenado, Eric Smith, Trayce Thompson. Signing bonus: $1,495,000.
3. Wade Gaynor, 3B, Western Kentucky, #89 Overall: Gaynor had one of the best junior seasons in the country, and he profiled well for power and fielding at the hot corner. However, he was considered more of a fourth to sixth round prospect, and this pick was made for signability. Following players selected: Ben Paulsen, Wil Myers, Justin Marks. Signing bonus: $392,400.
4. Edwin Gomez, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy, #120 Overall: Gomez was right up there with Reymond Fuentes entering the spring, but an inability to progress with his hitting and fielding led to most teams expecting him to slide off shortstop, making him a fifth to seventh round prospect. Following players selected: Kent Matthes, Chris Dwyer, Max Stassi. Signing bonus: $245,700.
5. Austin Wood, LHP, Texas, #150 Overall: Wood really boosted his draft stock late in the season with his historic NCAA Regionals performance, throwing well for 12 and a third innings in relief, matching Boston College’s Mike Belfiore pitch for pitch. He was a solid fifth to seventh round prospect, though he had middle reliever upside. Following players selected: Joe Sanders, Louis Coleman, Steve Parker. Signing bonus: $100,000.
Other Notable Selections: SS Daniel Fields (6th), University of Detroit Jesuit HS (MI), $1.625MM bonus; 1B James Robbins (30th), Shorecrest HS (WA), $235K bonus.

David Chadd joined the Tigers following three years as the scouting director for the Red Sox under Theo Epstein from 2002 to 2004. He drafted such notable players as Jon Lester, Brandon Moss, David Murphy, Matt Murton, Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, and Cla Meredith, all players that have done fairly well in some Major League action, though Lester, Pedroia, Papelbon, and Meredith have been the best. He also only had a single first round selection in those three years, making that haul even more impressive. When you combine those three drafts with the five drafts above, you can see why I ranked him as the fifth-best scouting director in the game. He’s just a solid evaluator. He hasn’t had a single first pick in his drafts not make the Major Leagues, with Jacob Turner not having enough time to count. Most scouting directors have at least one first round bust if they get 8 years of experience, and Chadd hasn’t, and he’s even hit on the two times he hasn’t had a first round pick, getting Lester and Pedroia while with Boston with his first picks in 2002 and 2004 respectively. If I didn’t like the scouting directors I ranked in front of Chadd so much, he’d be in the running for the top scouting director in the game. One trend in Chadd’s drafts includes a penchant for the high-ceiling player that falls due to signability concerns. There’s an exception with Perry in 2008, but there wasn’t really anyone that stood out during that year, and Perry has moved quickly enough to be considered a solid pick. In general, he likes athletic hitters that can field their position, as well as having some upside with the bat, usually including some power and speed. Pitchers come from a mixed mold, as he finds talent at both the high school and college level, though he does like college relievers more than most. I find the 2008 draft a bit puzzling almost two years later, but he actually did load up the system with some relief talent that should help in the long run, though most people know that some of the best relievers come from the starting ranks, not from the college reliever pool. On the whole, though, Chadd’s balanced strategy has worked well, and it churns out a number of high-ceiling players on a yearly basis.

Looking at Chadd’s budgets while with Detroit, he’s been given a fairly substantial amount of money to spend on draft bonuses. He has spent $30.9 million over those five years, good for 9th-largest in the league over that period. That’s an average of $6.18 million per draft, which puts him 11th in the league when compared to other scouting directors’ average budgets. Being in the top third for spending certainly has its advantages. Chadd has spent a large amount of money on the top picks in the draft, and he has spent less on later rounds than most scouting directors around the league. Perry is the only first round draft pick that doesn’t represent a very sizeable chunk of Chadd’s draft spending in each year. Knowing those things, let’s look toward 2010. They own picks 44, 48, 68, 100, 133, and every 30 picks after that, representing Chadd’s first time without a first round draft pick since joining Detroit. They lost the 19th pick when they signed Jose Valverde, but they gained two supplemental first round picks for losing Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney. Since Lester and Pedroia represent the other players picked first by Chadd in drafts when he didn’t have a first round selection, I wouldn’t worry too much if I were a Tigers fan. I expect a draft budget somewhere near $5.5 to 6 million, perhaps as low as $5 million. It could be higher if they feel there’s a player on the level of a Porcello or Oliver in those supplemental first round slots. Whatever happens, it should be interesting.

Connecting the Tigers to some players is hard, since they love the pricey players that fall late in the draft season. My latest mock draft has them taking Kris Bryant and Sam Dyson with their two supplemental first round picks, though I’m not sure on either. Bryant has massive power and Dyson has a power arm, but there might be better options available. Players such as Taijuan Walker, Brett Eibner, Jarrett Parker, and Michael Choice could fit better than Bryant or Dyson, though this is all speculative. Later picks could include Kevin Jordan, Jordan Shipers, JaCoby Jones, and Delino DeShields for the second round, then Rett Varner, Kyle Parker, Mike Antonio, and Jake Skole in later rounds. Like I just said, though, this is all speculative, since we’re a little under three months out from the draft. The players they pick will probably be toolsy and high-ceiling players or solid college arms with limited upside in the bullpen, but the mix is usually quite solid. Look for at least one high-ceiling player with top of the rotation or dynamic middle of the order potential. That’s the norm for Chadd, and I respect what he’s done in his five years in Detroit under Dave Dombrowski.

*Bonus information came from BA.

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