The Tigers started the day by selecting shortstop Edwin Gomez from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy in the fourth round. A cousin of Washington outfielder Alex Cintron, Gomez likely isn't long for shortstop, but he runs well for a big guy (6-foot-4, 170 pounds), and he has power from both sides that projects. Gomez, who hasn't made a college commitment, is one of the younger players available as he doesn't turn 18 until August.
The Tigers drafted the first of nine seniors in the fifth round by taking a pitcher who made national headlines recently. Texas left-hander Austin Wood fired 13 shutout innings with 12 1/3 of them being hitless in the Longhorns' epic 25-inning win over Boston College during the regional tournament, and he finished with a whopping 169 pitches in the outing. Wood throws in the 89-91 range from a near sidearm angle, and he has a good changeup, but he lacks a quality breaking ball that will likely make him a situational reliever.
After passing on some big names in the first two rounds, the Tigers made a bold move by selecting U-D Jesuit shortstop Daniel Fields in the sixth round. A potential five-tool talent who has signed with Michigan, it will take a sizable bonus to sign Fields, but keep in mind, the Tigers did sign Cale Iorg for $1.5 million two years ago as a sixth-round pick.
After drafting Mike Gosse last year, the Tigers went back to Oklahoma to tab outfielder Jamie Johnson in the seventh round. Although he is small in stature, Johnson brings plenty of tools to the table and he has outstanding makeup. He profiles as a leadoff man thanks to a discerning eye at the plate and his plus speed. Johnson also has good bat speed and gap power. Defensively, he has the range and arm to play in center field.
The Tigers took another signability selection in the eighth round in Baylor right-hander Craig Fritsch. A draft-eligible sophomore, Fritsch has starred in his last two years in summer league competition, including last season in the Cape Cod League, where his fastball reached the mid-90s, and his threw his slider and changeup for strikes. That wasn't the case this spring, as he struggled along with several of his Bears teammates. Fritsch still has plenty of projection in his frame, and when he is on, he can be dominant, but he struggled with his secondary pitches this spring. It will be interesting to see if Fritsch is ready for a fresh start and signs, or if he elects to return to Baylor for his junior year.
In a draft that's loaded with catchers, the Tigers selected the first of two catchers on the day with Winthrop's John Murrian in the ninth round. The junior has good arm strength and is still growing in his defensive abilities while having the potential to have power in the gaps. The Tigers rounded out the top 10 by selecting second baseman Chris Sedon from Pittsburgh. The junior played shortstop during an MVP season last summer in the Atlantic Collegiate League, and he is able to generate some power thanks to his strong forearms. He runs well, and he has good arm strength as he was a pitcher in high school. If Sedon signs, he should be an interesting player to watch. Like Johnson, he isn't big, but he makes things happen.
The Tigers drafted a deep collection of arms, as half of their picks on Wednesday were pitchers. Two arms from California the Tigers tabbed were Long Beach State left-hander Adam Wilk in the 11th round and Cory Hamilton from UC Irvine in the 23rd round. Wilk brings more of a finesse approach but he touches 90 along with a good changeup, while Hamilton pitched out of the Anteaters' bullpen, and stands to do the same as a pro.
Detroit also stayed close to home with several of its picks, including Western Michigan right-hander Kevan Hess, who is the younger brother of Tigers farmhand Andrew Hess, and just started pitching this spring. He has plenty of arm strength as he sits in the 90-94 range. Coming out of high school, Evansville's Wade Kapteyn was one of the top prospects in Illinois, but he has regressed in college. Taken in the 24th round, it will be interesting to see if he's ready to start his pro career, or return for his senior year.
The Tigers also had a strong presence in Puerto Rico this year by taking three players on day two. I've already mentioned Gomez, and in the 21st round, they selected Giovany Soto, a left-hander whom the Phillies selected last year in the 46th round.
In addition to Wood, the Tigers selected eight other college seniors in the middle rounds that will get their starts in pro ball this summer. The Tigers went to Texas to pluck Michael Rockett from Texas-San Antonio, who starred in the Northwoods League last summer in the 13th round. Detroit then selected five straight seniors starting in the 16th round with Kennesaw State left-hander Kenny Faulk, who runs his fastball into the low-90s.
In the 17th round, the Tigers selected Nate Newman, who turned down Seattle as a 10th-round pick last year, and after a stellar summer in the Jayhawk League as a Tigers draftee last year, Detroit selected Michigan State's Eric Roof, the son of Tigers coach Gene Roof in round 18.
In round 19, the Tigers selected Middle Tennessee State third baseman Rawley Bishop. The former Blue Raiders standout set six school records including home runs and RBIs. Eastern Michigan shortstop Jimmy Gulliver was picked up by the Tigers in the 20th round, and as his 14 home runs will attest, he can swing the bat with some authority.
In the 23rd round, the Tigers took a senior with nice upside in College of Charleston outfielder Matthew Mansilla. Thanks to his tools, Mansilla will be an intriguing player to watch during the summer. The final senior the Tigers drafted on the draft's second day was Bryant University shortstop Patrick McKenna. Like Johnson and Sedon, McKenna isn't a big guy, but he did hit 12 homers as a senior.
In addition to Fields and Fritsch, the Tigers took several players after the first 10 rounds who figure to be difficult to bring into the fold. Starting in the 12th round, the Tigers selected San Diego right-hander Matt Thomson. A junior, Thomson entered the year with hopes of being a premium-round pick, but a down year sent his stock tumbling. He dominated during the second half of the Cape Cod League season when his fastball reached 94 and he commanded it well. He has the size and arm strength scouts love to see, but he has work to do mechanically and sharpen his stuff.
A few rounds later, the Tigers went with another big, physical right-hander in Monte Vista (Ca.) right-hander Mark Appel, who has committed to Stanford. A terrific athlete who plays basketball, Appel threw only 28 innings after his season on the hardwood finished. A very projectable arm, Appel made strides in repeating his delivery and he peaked at 94 while holding his velocity deep into games. He also throws a curveball and a changeup that have shown promise, but need refinement. It's very possible that if everything comes together for Appel, he could be a first-round pick in 2012.
The Tigers plucked another local product with a full tool shed in the 25th round with outfielder Victor Roache from Lincoln High School in Ypsilanti. Roache is capable of playing all three outfield spots and he has very good speed. His speed and arm strength are also assets, but he also needs refinement. An outstanding student, Roache has signed with Georgia Southern.
The Tigers made their third and final selection from Puerto Rico in the 26th round in Edgar Corcino. A third baseman who has dabbled in catching, Corcino is athletic, projects and has some power. Presently, Corcino does not have a college commitment.
Detroit ended the second day by taking three consecutive players who all stand to be difficult signs. In the 28th round, the Tigers tabbed Tobin Mateychick, a projectable right-hander from Enid (Okla.) who has signed with Wichita State, and has been up to 94 along with a slider and a changeup. The Tigers followed by taking Cal State Fullerton right-hander Michael Morrison in the 29th round. The junior flourished as a starter in the Cape Cod League last summer, but he was sent to the bullpen this spring where he could air out his fastball that touched 96. Morrison also throws a big-breaking curveball, and it will be interesting to see how he'll be used in the future given his good work last summer as a starter.
One of the top two-way prospects in the Northwest is Shorecrest's (Wash.) James Robbins, who was selected with the Tigers' final pick on Wednesday in the 30th round.
As a left-handed pitcher, Robbins has been in the low-90s with a curveball, but the Tigers drafted him as a first baseman, where he has good power to all fields. He has signed with Washington State, where he would go both ways if he doesn't sign.