'04 Draft: Top 5 Selections Review

The Tigers seem to have wrapped up their signings for the 2004 amateur draft – barring any draft-and-follow additions next spring. With that in mind, let's take a look at the Tigers top 5 selections from the draft, and how they've fared since entering the organization.

1st round - SP Justin Verlander
Just a few weeks ago, the Tigers had decided to break off talks with their top pick (and 2nd overall pick) because of such a huge difference on contract terms. However, Verlander's father stepped in to restart talks, and within a few days the two sides had reached an agreement on a major league deal (financial terms still have not been disclosed). Verlander probably would not have pitched this season even if he had signed early on, but because of just recently coming to terms, he was unable to participate in any professional action. Verlander will kick off his career as a Tiger in the spring of '05, probably with the West Michigan Whitecaps.

2nd round – SP Eric Beattie
Beattie wasn't quite as hard of a sell as Verlander, as he came to terms in the late summer months for a contract including an $800,000 signing bonus. Nevertheless, Beattie sat out the rest of the 2004 season, as the Tigers again are making sure to be careful with their young talented arms. He doesn't have the same ceiling as Verlander, but should probably move quickly through the system. No word yet on where he'll start; but teaming with Verlander in West Michigan would be likely.

3rd round – OF Jeff Frazier
Frazier came to terms with the club fairly quickly, garnering a half-million dollar signing bonus. He jumped out to a hot start with the Oneonta Tigers, quickly emerging as the club's best hitter. Unfortunately, after just 20 games, Frazier broke his hand and was subsequently sidelined for the rest of the season. However, the injury isn't expected to affect him in the future – and Frazier should be ready to go for West Michigan in '05.

4th round – RP Collin Mahoney
Like Frazier, Mahoney signed quickly with the club, earning himself a $375,000 signing bonus. But unlike Frazier and Beattie, Mahoney's bonus was more based on Mahoney's potential as opposed to his college production. Mahoney had his ups-and-downs in his first professional season – sporting a 4.94 ERA in 21 games. Mahoney was a bit wild (23 walks in 31 innings), but Mahoney still sports a triple digit fastball, that if he can harness, will be an excellent pitch down the road – which like many of the other picks, will likely start in West Michigan, unless the Tigers elect to hold him back for extended Spring Training to work more on his mechanics, in which case he'd probably be pegged for another year at Oneonta.

5th round – SP Andrew Kown
In the team's continued plan of stockpiling young arms, Kown was the team's fifth round pick – coming to terms on a bonus of $224,500. Kown had a solid start to his professional career, with an ERA of 2.85 in 9 starts. Kown won just 1 game, but showed enough (including 37 strikeouts compared to just 13 walks in 41 innings) to make the Tigers believe he's got a strong future as well with the club. Like many others, look for Kown to start off his season in West Michigan.

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