The Detroit Tigers selected another 5 players Thursday, Day 2 of the 2020 MLB draft, after taking Spencer Torkelson No. 1
The Detroit Tigers had a strong, clear plan for this strange, shrinking, five-round MLB draft, and they followed it with precision: Draft of all players who ever played third base at Arizona State. Or practiced at Arizona State’s third base. Or signed to play at Arizona State. Or, ever, ever stayed in Arizona on a layover.
And do you know what? It worked to perfection.
“In a short draft, we got the impact,” Scott Pleis, the Tiger’s head of amateur scouting, said late Thursday. “We have some really good players.”
[ Detroit Tigers in 2020 MLB draft: Here’s every pick they made ]
Actually, he can look into it.
The Tigers crushed this draft. If these players reach their potential, the Tigers just overcharged their rebuild. Finally, they got some bats to go with all their young, talented pitchers. Certainly, some of it may have been lucky – drafting someone like Spencer Torkelson with the first choice makes this draft successful, right from the start. And then several players fell to their knees.
Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson (Photo: Peter Vander Stoep)
Maybe, it was a bit lucky and maybe, it was a plan that came together perfectly, but there was so much to like about this draft.
Here are the top 10:
1. You could almost hear Tiger’s general manager Al Avila shouting his directive: “Pots? We don’t have to stink pitchers. Go and get me some bats! “And that’s what they did. The Tigers selected six position players, including five straight college players. Best of all, they can beat. Or at least they have a track record to hit. These college players are polished, mature prospects, who – if everything goes as planned – not so far from the big leagues.
2. The Tigers got more than hitters. They got bats. Guys with serious power. It starts with Torkelson, obviously. As Alan Trammell said: “No park will hold Tork.” It is music to the ears of everyone who has regretted when some hometowns turned into long air balls in Comerica Park. Torkelsons is not the only one; several of these drafts have serious power.
3. Everything fell perfectly for the Tigers in the second round when they took on Dillon Dingler, an Ohio State athletic catcher who has talent in the first round. “A really high ceiling, tool catcher,” Pleis said. Now this is a bit of luck. The Tigers got four scouts to look at him before the season closed. Therefore, they felt confident in taking him.
LSU’s Daniel Cabrera, bottom, avoids a tag by Florida State first baseman Carter Smith (35) in the fifth round of Game 1 of the NCAA Baseball Super Regional Tournament in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, June 8, 2019. (AP Photo / Gerald Herbert) (Photo: Gerald Herbert, AP)
4. During this strange year, when baseball closed, the Tigers got stuck with players they had scouted before. Which takes us to LSU’s Danny Cabrera, who could become the Tiger’s future left fielder, if he strikes as projected. “We’ve got a lot of history with his bat,” Pleis said. “It’s a quality bat. It’s always been good. He will be an everyday left fielder. Power bat. He is not a runner, but he drives well enough. “
5. In this strange draft, cut to just five rounds, the Tigers got serious value for their choices. In many ways they were lucky that Dingler and Cabrera both slipped. “I was definitely surprised,” Pleis said.
6. They got some guys who can develop and have a huge upside, especially Gage Workman, a 6-foot-4 power hitter from Arizona State, who they nailed in the fifth inning. “He sometimes strikes a little too much sometimes,” Pleis said. “But I think there is a huge upside with him. And the power potential is huge.”
ASU third baseman Gage Workman (14) celebrates getting the Sun Devils first in double against Villanova during the second round at Phoenix Municipal Stadium Tempe on February 14, 2020. (Photo: Darryl Webb / For the Republic, Darryl Webb)
7. The Tigers got a lot of versatility. Positions don’t matter right now. So don’t worry because the Tigers drafted Torkelson and announced him as a third baseman. And then drafted Workman, a third baseman. Torkelson was able to get back at first base. And Workman could also move. The Tigers use an old proven method: If you can beat, they will find a place to play you. But more than versatility, you can feel a maturity for these players, who appeared in Zoom conversations and videoconferencing with the media.
8. Finally, when it seemed like they were breaking everything they could from Arizona State, they did a little more digging. After taking Torkelson and Workman, they nailed Colten Keith, Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year 2019. Of course, Keith signed to Arizona State. Sorry for the Sun Devils. It’s nothing personal.
9. They got a player with big bloodlines: Trei Cruz, son of Jose Cruz, Jr., and granddaughter of Jose Cruz. I mean, if ever there was a player who should be able to perform just because of his genetics, it’s Trei.
10. And finally, it was just a joy to focus on baseball again. Now I just wish the owners and players would get their heads out of their collective, um, fannies and get along and get back on the pitch.
Contact Jeff Seidel: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @seideljeff. To read his latest columns, go to freep.com/sports/jeff-seidel/.