Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
I give the Tigers a solid, yet unspectacular 'B' for the '06 draft. The key to the draft of course is Andrew Miller, and if all goes according to plan, the Tigers managed to get what is likely the best pitcher in the draft down at the 6th pick, which is certainly a coup for the club. On the downside, where as last season's draft got a number of very solid prospects throughout the top ten (as we're seeing their results in the first half), it doesn't appear as if this class has that same depth. Some of that is due to a down year, some of that is due to signability concerns, but in some cases there were simply higher ceiling players on the board that the Tigers elected to pass on. But in general, the team got the best arm in the draft, and made a concerted effort to upgrade the power in the organization, which was a must for a group that was severely lacking.
Mark Anderson, Associate Editor, Minor Leagues
After researching and thinking about the Tigers recent draft, I've got mixed feelings. One the one hand; I'm ecstatic with the acquisition of Andrew Miller, the consensus top player in the draft. On the other hand, the organization needed an infusion of high ceiling talent, and it didn't really get it. Overall, I'm not upset with the Tigers draft, as I understand the general direction they were taking. They went out and got more guys that can fill in the enormous gaps that still exist from top to bottom, while addressing several needs along the way; namely power and patience. However, there's little in the way of true, high ceiling talent, and that is something this organization has desperately needed for decades (Yes, I mean decades). Overall, I give the Tigers 2006 draft a 'B.' I give them credit for recognizing and and addressing weaknesses, but they didn't use the later rounds for boom or bust, high ceiling guys, but rather went with familiar names, many of whom are likely to go the four-year college route.
Jason Avery, Associate Editor, Amateur Baseball
I'll give the draft a B- grade. Obviously, getting Andrew Miller with the sixth pick is a coup, and while I think the Tigers will get him signed, keep in mind they stopped negotiations with both Justin Verlander and Cameron Maybin in the last two years when negotiations became a stalemate, and you can't go to that well too many times, because Miller could call their bluff and return to UNC for his senior year. The Tigers get credit for adding some much-needed power with Ronnie Bourquin, Brennan Boesch, and Ryan Strieby, but they also went very conservative with the selections of Jonah Nickerson, Chris Cody, Zech Piccola, and Lauren Gagnier. Almost every team likes to select college seniors to fill out short-season rosters, but the Tigers seem to go in overkill mode with this group. They took 16 seniors overall, including 12 pitchers. Certainly a few of these guys may go to the GCL, but the majority will be at Oneonta, and getting regular work there could be a problem. The Tigers also get credit for having, at least on the surface, a good class of draft-and-follows for next year. This is an area that the Tigers need to explore more, and they could've used a few more picks to make this area stronger, but there is some intrigue here. I give this draft a conservative grade for the time being, because I like to look at the draft from top to bottom, but if Miller fulfills his vast potential, you could give the draft an A on his pick alone. However, there is potential here with the later picks. I mentioned the power threats earlier, and Scott Sizemore and Hayden Parrott could be the prospects at second base the franchise desperately needs. Jordan Newton's athleticism could be used at another area besides catcher, and perhaps the Tigers could be adding several players from this class as draft-and-follows. The Tigers could also make a run at signability picks Aaron Fuhrman, Chad Nading, and Kevin Chapman, and if they sign one, or are able to send them to junior college, the Tigers could have a very deep class of players to watch.
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