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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Tigers Day 2 picks in the MLB First-Year Player Draft

The Tigers continued their trend of taking college arms on Day 2 of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, tabbing pitchers with eight of their first nine picks, and not taking a position player until Round 7, when they redrafted 2012 pick Connor Harrell, the Vanderbilt roommate of second-round pick Kevin Ziomek.

Here are Friday's picks:

Round 3 (pick 94)
Jeffrey Thompson, RHP, University of Louisville • 6-foot-6, 248 pounds scouting report: "Thompson was a three-sport star at Floyd Central High School in Indiana and was recruited by college football coaches before choosing baseball. At 6-foot-6, 248 pounds, Thompson brings an imposing presence to the mound as a right-hander. He has dominated hitters this year and had a 28-inning scoreless streak in March. But scouts wonder how well his stuff will translate as a professional. Thompson's fastball sits in the low-90s, and he mixes it with a good slider and changeup. His fastball doesn't have much action, though his arm angle allows him to throw it downhill and create groundballs. Despite his size, Thompson has a loose, easy delivery."
Baseball America scouting report: "An all-state tight end and defensive lineman as an Indiana high schooler, Thompson drew interest from college football programs but opted to pursue baseball at Louisville. He cuts an imposing figure on the mound at 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds, and he's capable of touching 95 mph with his fastball. He had a 28-inning scoreless streak in March and a 9-1, 1.94 record through 13 starts, but scouts wonder how his package will play at the next level. Thompson sits at 90-92 mph with his heater, but it's straight and his long arms enable hitters to see it well. He abuses college hitters by getting them to chase his solid slider out of the zone, and presumably professional hitters will be more discerning. His changeup is a decent third pitch. Thompson throws strikes and gets good angle to the plate, and a team that sees his fastball and slider as true plus offerings could take him in the third round."

Round 4 (pick 126)
Austin Kubitza, RHP, Rice University • 6-foot-5, 220 pounds scouting report: "Rice University has generated a fair amount of high-end pitching talent in the Draft over the years. While Kubitza doesn't appear to be a Jeff Niemann or Philip Humber type, he's shown an ability to match up against the best pitchers in the college game, serving typically as Rice's Friday starter. He's done so basically using two pitches, a fastball that sits in the upper 80s and will touch 90 mph with a ton of sink and a nasty slider he has confidence in to throw in any count. He does have a changeup, but never uses it. That lack of a third pitch, along with some command issues, has most thinking he's best suited in a bullpen role in the future."
Baseball America scouting report: "A seventh-round pick by the Pirates out of a Texas high school in 2010, Kubitza had instant success as a Rice freshman and looked like a good bet to be a first-rounder in 2013. He has continued to perform well, ranking second in NCAA Division I in strikeouts per nine innings (12.0) and sixth in strikeouts (103) with a week remaining in the regular season, yet scouts aren't sure what to make of him. His 83-87 mph slider is a big league pitch, but he throws it so much that it has taken a toll on his fastball. Kubitza had a 90-94 mph heater as a freshman, but his velocity has dipped to mostly 87-89 these days. The 6-foot-5, 202-pounder does get good sink on his fastball, though his command of the pitch has regressed. He doesn't have much of a changeup and scouts worry that his crossfire delivery puts stress on his shoulder, so some project him as a sinker/slider reliever. A team that believes Kubitza can regain his velocity could pop him as early as the third round. His brother Kyle, a third baseman, was the Braves' third-round pick in 2011 and has advanced to high Class A."

Round 5 (pick 156)
Buck Farmer, RHP, Georgia Tech • 6-foot-4, 218 pounds scouting report: "Rather than sign with the Milwaukee Brewers, who took Farmer in the 15th round of the 2012 Draft, Farmer returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season, and it's looking like it may have been a good move for the right-hander. A strong, durable workhorse type, Farmer will mix four Major League average or better pitches. His fastball may top out at around 91 mph, but it seems faster thanks to an above-average changeup that's a legitimate weapon. Add in a sharp slider and a curve that shows sign of being a usable second breaking ball and you have the makings of a solid middle-of-the-rotation-type starter."
Baseball America scouting report: "Farmer ranked No. 92 in BA's preseason draft rankings in 2012 and No. 117 at the time of the draft, but in spite of his strong junior season, he fell to the Brewers at pick No. 485. As expected, Farmer returned to Georgia Tech for his senior season and put in another strong season as the Friday starter, showing subtle improvements under a new pitching coach, Jason Howell. Farmer's stuff remains similar to last season and his 6-foot-3, 228-pound frame helps him profiles as an innings-eating workhorse. He pitches off an 88-92 mph fastball that runs up to 95 at times and complements it with a solid-average slider and changeup. The slider has been sharper this year, one reason why his strikeout rate is up and his home run rate is down. Some scouts don't like his arm action and see him as a better fit in the bullpen, believing he'll have too much trouble repeating his breaking ball. His signability as a senior will determine how high he goes in the draft."

Round 6 (pick 186)
Calvin Drummond, RHP, Arizona Christian • 6-foot-3, 200 pounds scouting report: "Drummond has had a transient college career and attended four different schools in five years, though he only pitched at two of them. Most recently, he was declared ineligible at San Diego and transferred to Arizona Christian this year, only to find himself ineligible there as well. Drummond hasn’t pitched in a game this year, but scouts have watched his regular bullpen sessions. His stuff hasn’t suffered and his fastball sits in the mid-90s. He mixes it with a good slider, as well as a curveball and changeup. Drummond has the stuff to be a starter, but he is already 23 and could be fast-tracked as a reliever."
Baseball America scouting report: "Drummond has been drafted three times and attended four colleges, but his winding path may finally be leading him to pro ball. The Brewers took him in the 34th round out of high school in California in 2008, but he headed to Arizona State instead. He transferred before baseball season started, going to Orange Coast (Calif.) JC and spending the 2009 season there before transferring to San Diego. He redshirted in 2010 and then pitched two seasons for the Toreros, getting drafted in the 34th round by the Nationals in 2011 and the 38th round by the Athletics last year. He did not sign but then became ineligible at San Diego, so he transferred to NAIA Arizona Christian for his senior year. He couldn't get eligible there either, so he has been working out with the team and at Arizona spring training complexes. Drummond has a big, strong frame at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. Plenty of scouts in the Phoenix area have seen his bullpen sessions, and while he pitched in the 89-92 mph range last year, he was up to 96 mph this spring. He flashes a plus slider and mixes in an occasional curveball and changeup. At 23, Drummond will likely be moved along quickly as a power bullpen arm."

Round 7 (Pick 216)
Connor Harrell, CF, Vanderbilt • 6-foot-3, 220 pounds scouting report: "Harrell has patrolled center field for Vanderbilt for four years and his impressive tools have been well established. His performance, however, was always somewhat lacking. Harrell began to put it together this spring and is one of the better college seniors in the Draft. ... [H]e is physical and has above-average speed. Harrell has good power, but it comes with a lot of swing-and-miss. Harrell has a good arm and enough range to continue manning center field as a professional. He was drafted by the Tigers in the 31st round in 2012."
Baseball America scouting report: "Harrell and Mike Yastrzemski give Vanderbilt two seniors who could go in the first 10 rounds. Harrell is the one with tools and pro-style body; Yastrezemski is the one with skills. Harrell was a 31st-round draft pick last year but didn't sign with the Tigers. He is an above-average runner despite a 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and plays center field while Yastrzemski plays right. He's been one of the Commodores' top home run hitters for three seasons and was leading the team with 10 this spring. Harrell still has issues recognizing spin and with his two-strike approach, leading to plenty of strikeouts (30 percent of his at-bats in 2012, 27 percent in 2013). Still, few senior signs combine the physicality, power and athleticism with SEC performance like Harrell."

Round 8 (Pick 246)
Zach Reininger, RHP, Hill (Texas) Junior College • 6-foot-3, 170 pounds
A Texas Tech signee.

Round 9 (Pick 276)
Will LaMarche, RHP, Louisiana State • 6-foot-3, 220 pounds
Appeared in 23 games for Tigers, with a 3.65 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings, holding opposing hitters to a .221 average.

Round 10 (pick 306)
Kasey Coffman, CF, Arizona State • 6-foot-3


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