It's safe to say that the players taken Thursday will be summer follows, but they have intriguing upsides that should make the August 17th deadline day a very interesting one.
The Tigers selected seven pitchers on the draft's final day, including their first two selections from the Arizona prep ranks in 31st rounder Andrew Walter and 32nd rounder Parker Markel, who hail from Cactus and Mountain Ridge High School respectively.
Walter oozes projection on his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame, and he could become the next pitcher to find stardom at San Diego, should he fulfill his commitment there. Markel tops out at 92 and like Walter, he has plenty of projection. He also has a sharp-breaking slider and a changeup. Markel may also be more signable than most of the Tigers' third-day picks, as he has signed with Yavapai JC.
The Tigers may have passed on Capistrano Valley (Ca.) left-hander Tyler Matzek on Tuesday night, but they did select a teammate of the Rockies' first-round pick in fellow southpaw Kevin Chambers in the 47th round. An Oklahoma State recruit, Chambers is a great athlete who pounds the strike zone and lets his defense work behind him. If he doesn't sign, he will go both ways as a Cowboy, as he should see time at first base.
In the 49th round, the Tigers tabbed Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) right-hander Cameron Giannini. A big guy at 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds, Giannini has topped out at 94 in the past, but sits around the 88-92 range with his fastball that also gets good movement. He also has a slider and a changeup, although the latter pitch needs to be refined some. Giannini has signed with Liberty University and has been tutored in the past by former major leaguer Scott Bankhead.
The lone four-year collegian the Tigers selected on Thursday was right-hander Derek Kline from Millersville University. The first of three players the Tigers tabbed from Pennsylvania, Kline is new to pitching after playing in the infield. Two other pitchers the Tigers selected have ties to the organization, as the Tigers took Central Florida CC right-hander Nick Avila, the son of assistant general manager Al Avila in the 42nd round. This past season, Avila went 3-1 with a 5.45 ERA in nine appearances that included seven starts.
In the 48th round, the Tigers selected Jake Porcello, the brother of Tigers rookie Rick Porcello. Like his brother, he is a right-hander, but unlike his brother, he will head to Seton Hall where he could be a solid draft in three years.
Roaming The Outfield
Another popular area for the Tigers on Thursday was in the outfield. The Tigers selected six of them and they all will be interesting players to keep an eye on. The first to be taken was Davis' (Ca.) Cody Keefer in the 33rd round. A UCLA recruit, Keefer has a good set of tools and hit .440 with five home runs despite not seeing a lot of pitches to hit, as his 22 walks attests. He was also 14-for-14 in stolen bases.
The Tigers went into their own backyard in the 35th round by taking Dearborn Divine Child's Pat Biondi. A Michigan recruit, Biondi should be able to step right in and contribute thanks to his defense in centerfield and above-average speed.
South Park's (Pa.) Tarran Senay harbored hopes of going in the first five rounds this spring, but a broken wrist suffered during football season sapped his power bat this spring, and he fell to the Tigers in the 38th round. An N.C. State recruit, Senay profiles as a corner outfielder.
Like Senay, Whitefish Bay's (Wisc.) Charlie Markson is also a two-sport standout having played basketball. Markson , the Tigers' 44th-round selection, entered the spring as the top prospect in Wisconsin, but the Notre Dame recruit was stricken with mononucleosis that caused him to miss the start of the summer season. He has a solid set of tools, and has a chance to be a solid draft in three years if he doesn't sign.
One round later, the Tigers tabbed Jimmy Brennan from Suffern (N.Y.) High School. A St. John's signee, Brennan has a solid left-handed bat, and he also runs and throws well. As is the case with the other prep outfielders, Brennan stands to be a much higher pick in three years.
The final player the Tigers grabbed was South Mountain (Ariz.) CC's Nicolas Rosthenhausler, who went in the 50th round. The sophomore hit .404 with six homers, 28 RBIs and 10 stolen bases this past season., and he is also a multi-sport athlete having played football back in high school.
Catchers and Infielders
The Tigers rounded out the draft's final day by taking three catchers and four infielders. The first catcher the Tigers selected was Florida Christian's Danny Canela in the 37th round. A left-handed hitter with a lot of power in his bat, Canela could join Senay in what should be a very potent lineup at N.C. State if he doesn't sign. The Tigers then drafted catchers in rounds 40 and 41 by taking Neshannock's (Pa.) Ben Bechtol and Canadian Larry Balkwill from Ursuline College Prep. Bechtol has a solid set of tools across the board and runs exceptionally well for a catcher. He may very well be the most signable of the trio having signed with Jefferson CC in Alabama.
The Tigers have had interest in Balkwill for some time having worked him out at Comerica Park earlier this week. He brings a patient approach to the plate and has some juice in his bat, but he may wind up at first base in time. Balkwill has signed with Siena.
The Tigers drafted a pair of shortstops in 35th-round pick Ben Crumpton from Hot Springs (Ark.) Lakeside and 39th-round pick Chad Duling from Bishop Carroll Catholic in Kansas. Crumpton is yet another outstanding athlete the Tigers selected, as he starred as a wide receiver on the gridiron. An Arkansas recruit, Crumpton runs well, but he's behind in his baseball development due to playing football.
Duling has been on the Tigers' radar for some time now having played for them last summer at the East Coast Professional Showcase, which is held in Lakeland. Although he may face a move to third base in time, Duling's bat projects to fit there and the rest of his tools play well. He has signed with Hutchinson CC in Kansas.
Detroit selected two corner infielders in Central Arizona CC's Andrew Allen and Lafayette's (Mo.) Nathan Goro. Allen, the son of Tigers broadcaster Rod Allen, was taken in the 43rd-round after hitting .289 with two home runs and 17 RBIs as a freshman.
In Goro, the Tigers drafted a second member of Wichita State's incoming recruiting class. A 45th-round pick, Goro is a third baseman who enjoyed a banner season by hitting .518 with nine home runs, 33 RBIs and 22 stolen bases.