Thornton is a left-hander who has great pitchability, while Hammond (also a lefty) uses a cut fastball in the in the 85-87 range as his bread-and-butter pitch. LaMotta has been used as a starter this spring, but profiles better in the bullpen, where his fastball sits in the 90-92 range. LaMotta also has a good slider. Kodiak Quick (33), a right-hander from Kansas, started his career at Stanford before aiding the baseball revival in Lawrence. Quick is a workhorse who can reach the low-90s with his fastball.
Casey Fien (20), a right-hander from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, works in the 88-92 range with a slurvy breaking ball, and a changeup. Ohio's Derek Witt (28) doesn't throw as hard as Fien, but gets a lot of groundball outs with his sinking fastball in the 86-89 range. Another right-hander is Chris Krawczyk from Missouri State. Krawczyk had seven saves and is a sinker/slider pitcher.
The final two senior pitcher taken were right-handers Rudy Darrow (32) from Nicholls State and Dana Arrowood (38) from Old Dominion. Darrow had six saves and fanned 20 hitters in 20 1/3 innings this spring, while Arrowood has hit 92 with a fastball that has good armside run.
The Tigers took four seniors who are position players on the second day, with Kent State's Joe Tucker (24) being the highest pick. A center fielder, Tucker was rated the fourth-best prospect last summer in the Great Lakes League, and has great speed at the top of the order. He also has a knack for making pitchers work and is a tough out. Outfielder Michael Sullivan (30) from Ball State was a four-year starter who can run, throw, and make good contact at the plate.
Kentucky's Michael Bertram was the second Wildcat to be taken by the Tigers, after Detroit selected Ryan Strieby in the fourth round. The third baseman hit .340 this spring.
Clemson catcher Adrian Casanova (40) was drafted last year by the Tigers, but they lost his draft rights when Clemson advanced to the super regionals last weekend. The Tigers changed that by selecting the defensive standout for the second straight year. He is the son of Tigers scout Rolando Casanova.
If there is one trait that all of the senior picks have, it's that they are hard-nosed players and fierce competitors.
After re-drafting Ben Petralli (17) yesterday, the Tigers added some intriguing players who will be headed to junior college in the fall and scouted next year.
Daniel Renfroe (26) is headed to Chipola JC in Florida after hitting .366 with seven homers and 42 RBIs this spring for Tattnall Square Academy in Georgia. Renfroe had minor knee surgery in December, and the outfielder was never able to get back into top form. When healthy, he can run a 6.5 time in the 60-yard dash, and has good power potential.
Right-hander Ryan Lindgren (27) of Seminole State in Oklahoma is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but has potentially overpowering stuff with a good recovery. He reached 97 with his fastball in high school and sits 92-95 with a good slider. His changeup is a work in progress. He should be ready by midseason next year, and he will be joined there by Russell Freeman (40), a catcher from Carney High School in Oklahoma, who has also signed with Seminole State.
Chris Carlson (29) of New Mexico is a fourth-year junior whose rights the Tigers will control if they don't sign him. The first baseman has enormous power potential and clubbed 19 homers this spring.
Outfielder Philip Ortez (30) of Scottsdale CC in Arizona has a very interesting background. After playing three years at national powerhouse Chaparral High School, Ortez was cut in his senior year to reportedly accommodate Jason Jarvis, who would've been a premium pick this year, had signability not been an issue. Jarvis was selected by the Angels in the 25th round. Ortez had committed to Pacific last year, but elected to go to junior college, where he hit .368 as a freshman.
The Tigers tabbed a projectable arm in Butler County CC's Brandon Johnson (34). The right-hander gets good sink on his fastball, which sits in the 87-91 range. He has a slider and a changeup, but has an extremely loose arm. Johnson could see huge gains by firming up his frame.
Connors State's Tyler Mattox (43) is also similar to Lindgren in that he is also recovering from Tommy John surgery. Mattox was drafted last year by the Tigers, and the right-hander should be at full strength by the fall. Center fielder Ryan Kilmer (44) from Midwest City High School in Oklahoma will be a teammate of Mattox's at Connors State. Kilmer has a big frame at 6-foot-3 and has been clocked at 6.5 and under in the 60-yard dash. Kilmer also has power potential and patrols center field very well. He has five-tool potential if it all comes together.
Right-hander Kent Williamson (46) of Cowley County CC in Kansas had a solid freshman year, going 4-0 with a 2.92 ERA. He had 46 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings.
The Tigers went into the Northeast and landed right-hander Matt McDonald (48) of Ulster CC in New York. McDonald missed some time with strep throat, but still went 6-0 with a 1.39 ERA this spring. He has a good build and has some projection in his 6-foot-2 frame. McDonald commands three pitches, and has a sharp curveball.
THE TOUGH SIGNS
Every team takes fliers on players who fall due to either signability concerns, or injury issues, and the Tigers grabbed several players who could make nice second-day signs, should the Tigers be able to get a few of them signed.
The first selection the Tigers made on Wednesday was left-hander Duane Below (19) of Lake Michigan CC, who has committed to Central Michigan. Below works in the 87-89 range with a decent breaking ball.
Left-hander Aaron Fuhrman of Pleasant Valley HS in Pennsylvania has signed with Pittsburgh. Fuhrman tops out at 90 and has a very good breaking ball. The Tigers have scouted him hard all spring, and invited him to Comerica Park for a pre-draft workout, but he had to turn down the invite, because his team was still playing.
Vanderbilt right-hander Casey Weathers (25) is very raw for being a college junior, as he just started pitching this spring for the Commodores. The converted outfielder threw just 23 innings and can throw in the 92-96 range with a hard slider that needs a lot of work.
Chad Nading (36) is a rare blue-chip prospect that hails from Alaska. The right-hander from East HS hit 91 as a junior last summer, but his velocity was down this spring. Nading is very athletic and has a very projectable frame. Nading has committed to Oregon State, but his brother plays at Chandler-Gilbert CC in Arizona, and he is willing to give that option some consideration.
Left-hander Kevin Chapman (42) of Westminster Academy in Florida had his senior year ruined by a tender elbow, which saw his velocity dip to the mid-80s (he tops at 93). His curveball can be a nasty pitch, but he has signed with Florida. Outfielder Lance Durham (45) from Roger Bacon HS in Ohio has ties to the Tigers through his father Leon, who is the hitting coach at Toledo. Durham hit .477 this spring and has signed with Eastern Michigan.
The Tigers drafted Alec Shepherd (47) for a second time (they drafted him in 2004 out of high school) from South Mountain CC in Arizona. Shepherd is a right-hander who can hit 93 with lots of movement on his fastball. His out pitch is a split-finger fastball, and he also throws a slider and changeup. Shepherd has signed with Northern Colorado, which is reclassifying itself as a program at the Division 1 level.
Cloud County's Kyle Peter (49) was drafted for the third straight year overall, and second straight by the Tigers. The fleet-footed outfielder exhausted his eligibility in junior college, and hasn't signed with a four-year school as of yet.
The Tigers ended the draft by selecting Alan Oaks (50) from Divine Child High School in Michigan. Oaks is committed to Michigan, and should be a solid two-way player for the Wolverines. The Tigers drafted him as a pitcher, but he power potential as an outfielder.