2004 Draft Recap: The College Top 10 Picks

In part two of the '04 draft series, Jason Avery examines the Tigers' selections right after Justin Verlander, and coincidentally all of which came from the college ranks. How has the group developed up to this point

In the second round, the Tigers took another right-hander in Eric Beattie from the University of Tampa. Beattie was talented enough as a prep player to be drafted by Tampa Bay in the 47th round, but went to school. His stock soared in the summer of 2003, when he posted a 0.39 ERA in the Cape Cod League (second best in history) and earned Pitcher of the Year honors there.

Beattie was considered one of the most polished pitchers available in the draft with his heavy sinker and solid slider, but after signing in August, Beattie lost the feel for his craft and struggled mightily in instructional league.

The Tigers hoped he would regain the feel for his pitches during the offseason, but he didn't and after a horrendous season in the GCL, his status with the organization is very much up in the air.

The Tigers took their first position player in the third round, nabbing outfielder Jeff Frazier from Rutgers. The career home run leader for the Scarlet Knights with 34, Frazier has solid bloodlines. His older brother Charlie played pro ball, and his younger brother Todd is a candidate to be a premium pick in the 2007 draft.

Frazier's pro career got off to a fast start, as he hit .304 in 79 at-bats before a broken bone in his forearm ended his season prematurely. Frazier started the 2005 season at West Michigan and after a slow start, he finished with a .287 average, 12 homers, 81 RBI's and led the 'Caps in slugging percentage and OPS.

Frazier has the ability to hit to all fields with power and he has the arm to play in right field. Frazier will head to Lakeland to start next year, but could move up should he get off to a fast start.

The Tigers knew they were drafting a project when they selected Clemson's Collin Mahoney in the fourth round. After catching for his first two years in college, a chance throwing session with a radar gun where he was clocked in the mid-90's convinced the Clemson Tigers' coaching staff to move him to the mound.

He didn't get much work as a junior, but showed enough raw potential for Detroit to take a gamble on him. After signing, Mahoney posted a 4.94 ERA in 21 appearances at Oneonta, recording 31 strikeouts in 31 innings of work.

Mahoney got off to a fast start at West Michigan, picking up 10 saves before Memorial Day, but a major slump earned him a demotion to Oneonta where his tailspin continued with a 7.82 ERA in 18 games.

Mahoney can dial his fastball up to triple digits, but until can develop a reliable second pitch and polish his command (47 walks in 47 2/3 innings in '05), he will struggle against advanced hitters. Mahoney could return to closing at West Michigan next year.

The Tigers stayed with pitching in the fifth round, selecting right-hander Andrew Kown of Georgia Tech. At 6-foot-7, Kown has a lanky and projectable frame that he is still growing into. Kown works in the 89-93 range with a solid changeup and a slider that could be a plus pitch in time.

He had a solid pro debut at Oneonta, where he worked only 41 innings due to a heavy workload in the spring. Kown spent last year at West Michigan where he got a rude awakening early in the year, as he got struck in the face with a batted ball. He came back after a week on the disabled list, but his numbers were very ordinary, going 8-11 with a 4.36 ERA in 26 starts. He allowed over a hit per inning (152 hits in 150 2/3 innings) and had 98 strikeouts.

Kown will move up to Lakeland next year, but his stuff should produce a better performance than what he showed in 2005.

Staying on the theme of selecting tall players, the Tigers went with 6-foot-5 shortstop Brent Dlugach from the University of Memphis in the sixth round. Despite his size, Dlugach has the range and arm to stay at shortstop and he also has good footwork and coordination for a player his size.

Offensively, he struggled at Oneonta in 2004, hitting just .213 in 183 at-bats, but he was a revelation in 2005, improving his average by 70 points and finishing with 61 RBI's. One thing Dlugach will have to do if he is going to survive at the higher levels is improve his BB/K ratio.

Last year, Dlugach drew just 19 walks and struck out 121 times in 488 at-bats. Dlugach will be the everyday shortstop at Lakeland next year, where the Tigers hope he continues to improve offensively.

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