Day One Draft Recap

Heading into the first day of the draft, there was plenty of speculation that due to the economy, the Tigers wouldn't have the financial wherewithal to go after some the premium talent available, but that proved to not be the case, as the Tigers stayed true to what they've done in the past, and that's go after players with power arms and bats.

With the ninth pick overall, the Tigers tabbed Westminster Christian Academy (Mo.) right-hander Jacob Turner. An AFLAC All-American, Turner has a big frame at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds that is strong, yet still projects. His fastball sits in the low-90s, and he topped out at 98 this spring. Turner also has a nasty curveball and his changeup should be a solid pitch in time.

Turner is advised by Scott Boras, and although the Tigers have never shied away from his clients, he reportedly is looking for a similar contract to the one the Tigers inked Rick Porcello to back in 2007. If the Tigers are able to land the North Carolina recruit, Turner would give the Tigers a special arm that has ace potential if everything falls into place.

However, negotiations won't be easy, and I fully expect it to go right down to the wire on August 17th, but with that being said, the Tigers wouldn't have drafted him if they didn't think they could land him.

In round two, the Tigers took a second Boras client in Oklahoma State left-hander Andy Oliver. The ace of the Cowboys' staff, Oliver gained notoriety for being suspended by the NCAA just before the start of the regional tournament as a sophomore for having his advisor present during negotiations with the Minnesota Twins, who drafted him out of high school.

Oliver won his case back in February and was allowed to pitch for the Cowboys. Considered a potential first-rounder at the start of the year, Oliver had an up-and-down junior year, but his stuff was still very crisp. His fastball reaches the mid-90s with good life, and he also throws a good changeup. The question with Oliver is his breaking ball. He had a promising curveball earlier in his career, but he lost the feel for it and went to a slider without much success.

The key for Oliver long term will be whether or not he comes up with a good breaking ball. If he does, he has a chance to be a solid starter with terrific stuff. If not, he'll likely wind up in the bullpen where he could be an overpowering reliever. Despite being represented by Boras, I wouldn't expect Oliver to be a difficult sign after all of the litigation with the NCAA.

The Tigers capped the draft's first day by selecting their first position player in Western Kentucky third baseman Wade Gaynor. The junior burst onto the scene by having a monster year that included being the first Hilltopper to have a 20/20 season. Overall, Gaynor hit .378 with 25 home runs, 78 RBIs, and was 21-for-25 in stolen bases.

Gaynor is a big guy at 6-foot-4 and 213 pounds, and has recorded consecutive 90-hit seasons along with 44 doubles and 38 home runs over the last two years. The Tigers became smitten with Gaynor after he worked out for the team before the draft, and he certainly brings some intriguing tools to the table.

Overall, I thought the Tigers did well on the first day. Turner and Oliver both have terrific upside on the mound, and although they may have reached for Gaynor, they did grab a player that they certainly had a lot of interest in heading into today's proceedings.

The draft resumes today starting with the fourth round, and with several big names particularly from the prep ranks still available, perhaps the Tigers have something more up their sleeve.


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