2011 MLB Draft: Detroit Tigers
This is a super-conservative class focused on affordable college players.
2) James McCann, C, Arkansas: Baseball America gave his defense a so-so review, but other sources and scouts praise his glove and consider him virtually major league ready on defense. His bat is weaker and he struggled in the 2010 Cape Cod League, though scouts who like him believe his swing improved considerably this spring. Excellent athlete for a catcher with plus makeup.
3) Aaron Westlake, 1B, Vanderbilt: Outstanding performance for a top program, strong power from the left side with sharp plate discipline and superior makeup. Excellent value in third round
4) Jason King, 3B, Kansas State: Switch-hitter with power and speed, but defense is rough.
5) Brandon Loy, SS, University of Texas: Excellent glove, small-ball player with a bit of speed, lacks power. Darwin Barney type.
6) Tyler Collins, OF, Howard JC: Sleeper prospect with a chance to hit for power and average.
7) Brian Flynn, LHP, Wichita State: Huge at 6-8, 240, can hit 95, performance record erratic due to mediocre secondary pitches.
8) Jason Krizan, OF, Dallas Baptist: Senior with average tools but outstanding performance record and plenty of polish. Budget pick but I like him.
9) Chad Wright, OF, Kentucky: Like Krizan, his tools are nothing special although he runs pretty well and hit well in college.
10) Curt Casali, C, Vanderbilt: Decent hitter with plate discipline, but Tommy John surgery has ruined his ability to handle the stealing game.
OTHERS OF NOTE: OF Jeff Holm (12th round, Michigan State) is similar to Krizan: his tools aren't terrific but he is very polished and has a chance to be a solid hitter. OF Tyler Gibson (15th round, Georgia HS) is one of the few upside guys in this class, with good tools, a chance to be a strong hitter, and a difficult-to-break commitment to Georgia Tech. LHP Tyler Barrett (20th round, Lewis-Clark State) has a 90 MPH fastball and developed a good breaking ball to go with it this year.
SUMMARY: This draft was clearly conducted under financial constraint. Almost everyone here will likely sign for slot money, if not less.
Given the apparent restrictions, it could have been worse. Trying to mitigate risk, the Tigers took care to draft players with strong performance records, and I particularly like Westlake and Krizan in that regard. Westlake could develop into a regular first baseman, and others can be decent role players, but if you are looking for classic high upside tools, you won't find many here. It will help if they can sign Gibson, and perhaps the money saved by not having a first round pick could be deployed there.
Would you rather have this class, or the Dodgers class?