In the late rounds of the draft, all teams take fliers on players who are considered tough signs, just in case the team has difficulty signing players taken earlier. The Tigers were expected to make a similar splash as they did last year, when they signed 34th-round selection Dallas Trahern away from Oklahoma, because they had no second-round pick and Chadd had also landed prep lefty Mike Rozier in 2004 when he was with Boston.
After Coleman, the Tigers lost 10 other players to school. Second baseman Warner Jones (17) had a great sophomore year at Vanderbilt, but then slumped as a junior and slid to the Tigers. It appeared early on that the Tigers were going to land him. Jones had announced he wanted to take his shot as a pro, but negotiations bogged down and even though he was offered "seventh-eighth round money" in the words of his father, he turned it down. It might have been best for Detroit that Jones didn't sign, as he had wrist surgery late in the summer and he isn't expected to get back to baseball-related activities for a few months.
David Adams (21) was the best talent the Tigers lost to school. Adams is a 4.0 student and was strongly committed to Virginia, which caused his stock to fall. Most scouts think he has a future move to third base from shortstop, where he played in high school, but his polished bat will play anywhere. It was going to take a significant offer to land Adams, and when the Tigers told him they weren't going to offer it to him until the end of the summer, Adams made up his mind to go to school. The Tigers did make a run at him, but by then, it was far too late.
Brett Bordes (24) was the third player the Tigers drafted from Arizona State and the only one who didn't sign. The lefty was used as a reliever for the Sun Devils and is similar to former Tiger Mike Myers as a situational pitcher.
Ryan Paul (28) is certainly used to being drafted. He was selected for the third time in the last four years, but had no real interest in signing, otherwise the Mets would've signed him as a draft-and-follow when they controlled his rights. The projectable left-hander is at Cal State Fullerton and should be drafted for a fourth time next June.
Alex Avila (34) is the son of Tigers executive Al Avila and the third baseman is attending Alabama, where his bat could make him a fine prospect for the 2008 draft.
Zach Putnam (38) was considered one of the best high school players in the country heading into his senior year, but the right-hander didn't flash the same stuff he had the previous summer on the showcase circuit and with a reported pricetag of $1.5 million to sign, his stock plummeted. The Tigers never really made a run at Putnam, and he is the most significant recruit Michigan has landed in many years. He will also play third base in college, where some scouts liked him better than on the mound.
Tony Pechek (41) is a catcher now attending Wichita State. Pechek has some raw power in his bat from both sides of the plate and should be a very nice prospect when he is draft eligible in 2008.
Ben Rodewald (42) is a left-hander now attending Central Michigan. Rodewald works only in the high-80's now, but he has a projectable frame and has a curve and a change that are solid secondary pitches for someone his age, which have drawn comparisons to Mark Buehrle of the White Sox. Rodewald had the opportunity to showcase his stuff in front of Tigers' brass at Comerica Park, as part of a pre-draft workout with the team, but the Tigers were unable to lure him away from college.
Anthony Capra (49) is another left-hander who has more of a finesse approach, but does have a good slider to with his 86-90 fastball. Like Pechek, Capra is at Wichita State.
The final player the Tigers lost was probably the most unsignable player they drafted. Jeff Whitlow (50), a Detroit Country Day grad, has a solid set of tools that he should grow into while he attends Stanford, a school that rarely loses recruits to the draft.
Coming on Sunday, the final release of the five part series examines those that haven't signed, but whose rights are still controlled by the Tigers, and might emerge as an option next spring.