When the Tigers selected right-hander Beau Burrows out of Weatherford High School in Texas with their first round pick (22nd overall), it caught many by surprise. The Tigers had not traditionally drafted high school pitchers in the first round (only two in the Chadd regime; Rick Porcello and Jacob Turner), and with the way the draft board fell, a number of appealing collegiate options were still available.
But the Tigers had been in on Burrows early. According to Chadd, “We scouted Burrows as hard as anyone in the draft. I saw him before spring training and again after spring training. We really, really like his ability.”
When the Tigers scouted him, here’s what they saw: “I saw him two weeks ago in a playoff atmosphere, and his fastball was 93-97, hitting 97 MPH in the 7th inning. His breaking ball is fine, and he has an excellent feel for a changeup, which you rarely see in high school pitchers.”
“We think he’s a potential front of the rotation starter, we like him a lot.”
The Tigers are confident that they’ll sign Burrows, and will assign him to the Gulf Coast League for his pro debut.
In addition to Burrows, the Tigers had another first round pick, as compensation for losing Max Scherzer in free agency, and used that pick to grab outfielder Christin Stewart from Tennessee. Chadd gushed about Stewart’s bat, as they’ve followed Stewart since high school, when he set the Georgia high school state record in home runs.
According to Chadd, “We watched his progression at Tennessee, and before that he was the leading hitter for Team USA. His combo of power and ability to hit, we really like. We see him as a five or six hole hitter that’s going to drive in runs, and those are tough to find.”
Finally, with their second round pick, the Tigers went to a redraft candidate, selecting TCU left-hander Tyler Alexander. The Tigers had originally drafted Alexander in 2013 in the 23rd round, but he kept his commitment to TCU. Two years later, as a draft-eligible Sophomore, the Tigers snagged him again.
When asked about what made him so appealing, Chadd highlighted both his physical development as well as the growth he’s made on the mound over the last two years. “We saw a physical development of him. When we drafted him, he was around 160, and now he’s 6-3 195.”
While Alexander doesn’t have the pure stuff of someone like Burrows, the Tigers like his repertoire and growth all the same. More from Chadd: “All of his pitches are moving up, he’s only 20 years old, and already has a knack for throwing strikes. He doesn’t walk anyone, and he pitches off his fastball.”
In emphasizing their past history with Alexander, Chadd concluded, “In 2 years at TCU, he’s developed into the pitcher we thought he’d be in high school and think his best days are ahead of him.”
Overall, Chadd seemed pleased with the way the first day went for the club. While acknowledging the Tigers “ran into a few different obstacles... Some things we foresee and some things we couldn’t”, the organization is upbeat about their initial haul, but with 38 more rounds to go, there’s still plenty more work to be done.
The MLB Draft continues on Tuesday with rounds three through ten, with the final 30 rounds of the draft occurring on Wednesday. Stay tuned to TigsTown for the latest updates as the Tigers continue to add the next wave of talent to the organization.