Draft and Follow Update: Part I

As all of baseball gets deeper into its offseason, the Tigers scouting staff not only spent lots of time preparing the major league team for the postseason, but also spent time on the road evaluating their final draft-and-follow class. Here is an updated look at the players drafted in the top 30 rounds that the Tigers still control their draft rights to.

15. Franco Valdes, C, Broward (Fla.) CC.
A teammate of first-rounders Chris Marrero and Adrian Cardenas at Monsignor Pace High School in Miami, Valdes turned down Florida International to keep his pro options open by going to junior college.

A breakout summer in the Clark Griffith League against much older competition made many think how could he have fallen out of the first 10 rounds. Valdes didn't get much playing time in the fall because of a slight bone fracture in his throwing elbow. The coaching staff originally thought Valdes might be headed to Tommy John surgery, but the bone has healed and Valdes is beginning his rehab. He is expected to be ready to go for Broward's opener in January, and if he performs as he did in the summer, he will either be looking at a significant bonus from the Tigers, or a chance to move on to a four-year school. He is being recruited by several high-profile schools in the Eastern part of the country.

17. Ben Petralli, C, Sacramento (Calif.) CC.
Petralli entered the spring as the Tigers' highest draft-and-follow from the 2005 draft, but injuries forced him to take a medical redshirt.

Injuries also derailed Petralli during his summer stint with the Weatherford Wranglers in the Texas Collegiate League, but he has completely recovered from them. He swung the bat very well in the fall, and showed no rust after not playing most of the year. Petralli also has been throwing well behind the plate. Petralli has signed with Oral Roberts, but after making a modest run at him last year, the Tigers will be expected to make a hard run at him, should he perform as expected.

26. Daniel Renfroe, OF, Chipola (Fla.) JC.
Fourteen months ago, Renfroe was one of the top 150 prep players in the country, and could've been a potential premium pick in last June's draft, but a knee injury during football season led to surgery, and he never performed at 100 percent in the spring. Renfroe took the summer off to try and get the knee back into shape, but it continued to bother him, and he recently had it scoped and cleaned out. Renfroe is set to begin his rehab soon, and he must also lose some weight that he gained while sitting out.

For all of the injury issues Renfroe has had, there is no denying the tools he has. Renfroe has great bat speed, and he is learning to hit to fields. Being a multi-sport athlete, Renfroe has great athleticism, and was a 6.5/60 runner when healthy. If Renfroe is able to return, he will be a key cog for one of the top teams in the country, and you can bet this is a player the Tigers will keep a very close eye on.

27. Ryan Lindgren, RHP, Seminole State (Ok.) CC.
Lindgren has been recovering from Tommy John surgery, which he had back in March. When Lindgren is healthy, he can run his fastball up to 98, and so far, he has had no setbacks in his recovery. For the past two months, Lindgren has been consistently throwing from 45 feet on flat ground, and he recently started throwing from 50 feet.

He isn't expected to start throwing off the mound until January, and if all goes well, Lindgren could be pitching by March out of the bullpen, although the weather will be a determining factor as to how much he'll be used.. Most pitchers usually see a gain in velocity if the rehab goes well, and Lindgren is already been clocked in the 82-83 range when throwing on flat ground.

30. Phillip Ortez, LF, Scottsdale (Ariz.) CC.
Ortez hit .263 this summer with the Arizona Clash, and he continued to make progress in the fall. According to Scottsdale coach Alex Cherney, Ortez has really hit the weight room, and has gotten significantly stronger. Because of this, Ortez has hit the ball with more authority and consistency. Ortez has also gotten much better defensively, and could see time at first base in the spring, as well as in left field.

Ortez has signed with Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow, with rounds 31 through 50.

Jason Avery is the Associate Editor of Amateur Baseball for TigsTown.com, and covers everything draft-related. He can be reached at Jason@TigsTown.com

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