TigsTown Draft Notebook: The Unsigned

The Tigers have done a good job of getting many of their draft choices taken within the first 20 rounds signed, but there are several who remain unsigned. Here's an update on where the Tigers stand with many of those players.

Obviously, fans are focused on those players taken in the first five rounds who haven't signed, but I expect Brandon Hamilton, Danny Worth, Luke Putkonen to sign once more draftees around their areas of selection come to terms.

With Casey Crosby, he may be a case where a deal doesn't get officially announced until some of the other high-profile fifth-rounders like Jake Arrieta, Will Middlebrooks, John Gast and Kyle Blair either come to terms or elect to go to college. All of them will have to go well over slot to sign, so I wouldn't expect an announcement on Crosby until late in the summer.

Outside of the first five rounds, the Tigers took several players that have a lot of intrigue, and this is how I measure their chances of signing with the team.

6. Cale Iorg, SS, Alabama: The Tigers can't do anything with Iorg until he returns home from a Mormon mission in Portugal in July, and they'll have roughly a month to evaluate and see whether or not Iorg will be worth a significant bonus to keep him from returning to the Crimson Tide. Being from a baseball family, Iorg has an outstanding feel for all phases of the game and showed enough offensive projection in his freshman year.

His brother Eli got a $900,000 bonus from the Astros as a supplemental first-rounder after returning from a mission, so there is no question that he could make himself into a premium prospect with a return to college. However, I don't think the Tigers wouldn't have taken him this high without having a good idea on what his signability was, and if Iorg shows flashes of his talent, the Tigers will land him.

8. Manny Miguelez, LHP, Miami (Fla.): Miguelez has terrific arm strength for a lefty and the chance to have three solid pitches across the board, but he struggled immensely as a starter as a junior. He also comes from a family that is very academically oriented (both parents are doctors) and Manny himself is a strong student.

Given how raw he is (started pitching as a junior in high school), the time might be right for him to go out and start getting the necessary repetitions that he may not get with the Hurricanes next year. I think the Tigers will get him signed.

10. Dominic De la Osa, SS/OF, Vanderbilt: With every high-ranking scout in all of baseball in to see David Price, De la Osa's breakout season with the Commodores got a lot of attention. He showed his power with a long home run off of Tennessee's James Adkins, and his arm strength and speed also are solid tools. His versatility on the field also helps. He played in the outfield this spring, but has also played shortstop in the past. Some scouts think second base may be where he winds up at.

He is a streaky hitter and needs to be more consistent in making good contact. Vanderbilt has a good track record of keeping many of it's players for their full four years, and De la Osa is no exception. It's going to take premium-round money to keep De la Osa from coming back to school, and a 4-for-34 start (through Tuesday) in the Cape Cod League certainly isn't helping his cause.

I believe De la Osa will go back to school, which would mark the second time the Tigers would've failed to sign him, and the third straight year where they've not landed a Vanderbilt draft choice (Warner Jones and Casey Weathers) in the last two years.

14. Chris Hernandez, LHP, Monsignor Pace HS (Fla.): Of the four prep left-handers the Tigers drafted, Hernandez has the best combination polish, stuff, and projection with a solid four-pitch mix that includes a cutter that serves as his go-to pitch. There is no question that the Tigers have a lot of interest in the left-hander. They worked him out before the draft, and if the Tigers were to get Hernandez signed, he could move quicker than most high school pitchers.

However, Hernandez has committed to stay at home and pitch for Miami (Fla.), and although his price tag is steep, it isn't believed to be an insurmountable number. I'm split as to whether the Tigers will sign him. Everything with Hernandez may come down to how much money the Tigers have in their budget, and other draftees they may pursue. For now, I'm going to say the Tigers don't sign him, but I won't be surprised if they do get him done later in the summer.

18. Kevin Rhoderick, RHP, Horizon HS (Ariz.): Rhoderick took a tumble in the draft due to bonus demands and scouts have never been enamored with six-foot tall pitchers, but Rhoderick has the athleticism and quick arm stroke that garner plenty of attention. Despite his size, he gets a good downward plane on his fastball which resides in the 92-94 range, and he also throws a nasty slider with a developing changeup. He has good command, and he is also durable and confident on the mound. Rhoderick has signed with Georgia, and if he makes it to school, he could succeed Josh Fields as the Bulldogs closer.

His commitment to college is considered very strong. Rhoderick was quoted in the Athens Banner-Herald last week as saying the Tigers have an interest in signing him, but it would take "big money" to steer him away from school. There is plenty of truth behind Rhoderick's comment. On draft day, the Brewers offered him nearly $210,000 to sign in the fourth round, and the right-hander turned it down, so there is no question that it's going to take a lot of money to sign him. Given the dearth of signability draftees the Tigers selected, they obviously won't be able to sign all of them, and given Rhoderick's affinity for Georgia and the money he is looking for, I think he lands at Georgia.


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