The Tigers contended for first place for most of the season and finished with the best record in the North. While Dave Dombrowski's draft history has been criticized, and the Tigers didn't have a first-round pick again, a few of the 2012 draft picks stood out.
Take the Schotts
The Tigers used their second pick in the first-year player draft to take Texas high school infielder Austin Schotts, who spurned a commitment to Oklahoma State to sign. The No. 121 overall pick was immediately moved to the outfield and lit things up. He was hitting around .400 for the early part of the season before a dislocated finger kept him out a few weeks in July. He struggled down the stretch and finished with a .310 average in 40 games with an .810 OPS. He showed no fear at the plate from the beginning (as evidenced by his 41 strikeouts) and his athleticism is a big asset on the basepaths and in the field. He finished with 15 stolen bases for the Tigers. He also played two games with Lakeland at the end of the year.
Thompson shows promise
The Tigers wanted to go after pitching in the 2012 draft, and the tall Jake Thompson fit the bill of what the Tigers have drafted in the past in terms of starting pitching. In his first professional start, Thompson gave up one hit and one walk over four scoreless innings, striking out six. His best start was his second-last on the year, in which he allowed one hit and one walk over five scoreless with five strikeouts. Over seven starts on the year, Thompson finished with a 1-2 record, with a 1.91 ERA, a 0.85 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .149.
Winning streak From June 29 to July 10, the Tigers won 10 straight games, including two-game sweeps of the Pirates and Yankees, who were the biggest threats in the division race. Pitching was the biggest key, as opponents never scored more than three runs in a game over the span — and that happened once. There were three shutouts over that span.
Castro makes the step up After spending the 2011 season with the VSL Tigers, second baseman Harold Castro led the GCL Tigers with a .311 average this year in 51 games. He also posted a .343 OBP and .763 OPS. With the VSL Tigers in 2011, he posted very similar numbers. He also swiped 15 bags with the GCL Tigers.
Other notable pitchers
Jose Valdez led all Tigers pitchers with 23 relief appearances and posted a 0.82 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He allowed 15 hits, two earned runs and 10 walks over 22.0 innings. He also struck out 28 batters.
Nick Carmichael led the Tigers with 10 starts, posting a 3-1 record, a 2.22 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 44.2 innings.
Yorfrank Lopez pitched the most innings (54.1) over 15 appearances, seven of which were starts. He posted a 2.32 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP, along with 57 strikeouts.
Hua-Wei Lo allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks over 18.2 innings encompassing four performances (three starts). He struck out 18 batters and made 10 appearances with Connecticut following a short time in the GCL