The Tigers found Hall of Famers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris in the MLB Draft. They found future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander there, too. The core of the team’s current young squad came out of Draft picks. They’ve also used top Draft picks on players whose names have been long forgotten.
Here’s the full list of Detroit's top overall selections in each year’s Draft. In years when the Tigers have had multiple first-round picks, only the top pick is listed.
2022: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech (No. 12)
Jung is the first college middle infielder the Tigers have ever selected with their top first-round pick. The former Red Raiders second baseman hit .335 with 14 home runs, 59 walks and 42 strikeouts in 2022, and was a back-to-back All-American and Academic All-American. He ranked as the top left-handed college hitter available in the Draft class.
2021: Jackson Jobe, RHP, Heritage Hall School (Okla.) (No. 3)
Rated as the top high school pitcher in the Draft, Jobe was named Oklahoma’s Gatorade Player of the Year after going 9-0 with a 0.13 ERA to lead Heritage Hall to the Oklahoma 4-A title. He's the fifth prep pitcher in the past 15 years selected with the Tigers’ top pick.
2020: Spencer Torkelson, 3B, Arizona State (No. 1)
Torkelson was selected to the 2021 All-Star Futures Game after slugging his way from High-A West Michigan to Double-A Erie in his first full pro season. He’s the Tigers’ top prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 prospect overall.
2019: Riley Greene, OF, Hagerty HS, Oviedo, Fla. (No. 5)
Greene will join Torkelson at the Futures Game at the midway point of his first full pro season, having more than held his own as one of the youngest players in the Double-A Northeast. The 20-year-old is currently Detroit’s No. 2 prospect and MLB Pipeline’s No. 15 prospect.
2018: Casey Mize, RHP, Auburn (No. 1)
Mize vaulted to the top of Detroit’s Draft chart with a dominant junior season at Auburn, then progressed quickly through the Tigers' system, including a throwing no-hitter in his Double-A debut in 2019. He’s quietly building a case for All-Star and Rookie of the Year consideration as one of the most consistent starters in Detroit’s rotation.
2017: Alex Faedo, RHP, Florida (No. 18)
Faedo was a College World Series hero for the Gators after the Tigers drafted him, but he has had an up-and-down pro career. He seemed on his way to knocking on Detroit’s door before losing his 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic and 2021 to Tommy John surgery.
2016: Matt Manning, RHP, Sheldon HS, Sacramento (No. 9)
Manning was a two-sport star who was headed to Loyola-Marymount before the Tigers drafted him. The son of a former NBA center, Manning adapted quickly to become a full-time pitcher and made his Major League debut on June 17, 2021.
2015: Beau Burrows, RHP, Weatherford (Texas) HS (No. 22)
Burrows was the first of four consecutive top picks the Tigers used to bolster their pitching ranks, but injuries slowed his career. He made his MLB debut out of the bullpen in 2020, but he made just six appearances for Detroit before he was designated for assignment June 15, 2021. The Twins claimed the 24-year-old off waivers.
2014: Derek Hill, OF, Elk Grove (Calif.) HS (No. 23)
The son of a former scout, Hill’s athleticism and defensive skill drew comparisons to Torii Hunter. After battling numerous injuries early in his career, Hill is finally getting a chance to show that. He made his MLB debut in Detroit in 2020 and has a chance to become a regular part of the Tigers’ outfield this summer.
2013: Jonathon Crawford, RHP, Florida (No. 20)
Crawford pitched in just 31 games in the Tigers' farm system, topping out at Class A West Michigan, before Detroit dealt him to Cincinnati along with Eugenio Suárez for pitcher Alfredo Simon. Injuries hampered Crawford's progress in the Reds' system, where he topped out at the High-A level in 2017. He’s currently trying a comeback in independent ball.
2012: Jake Thompson, RHP, Rockwall-Heath (Texas) HS (No. 91)
The Tigers lost their first-round pick by signing free agent Prince Fielder. Thompson, their second-round pick, was a Futures Game selection during his Tigers-system tenure but never pitched for Detroit. The Tigers traded him to Texas in 2014 for Joakim Soria. Thompson pitched in 30 big league games over three seasons with the Phillies, and he later signed a Minor League contract back with the Tigers.
2011: James McCann, C, Arkansas (No. 76)
The Tigers lost their first-round pick by signing free agent Victor Martinez. McCann, their second-round pick, was Detroit’s primary catcher for four seasons, batting .240 with 40 home runs and 177 RBIs during his tenure from 2014-18. He had a higher dWAR (2.8) than oWAR (2.4) as a Tiger, throwing out would-be base stealers at well above the MLB average in each season.
2010: Nick Castellanos, 3B, Archbishop McCarthy HS, Southwest Ranches, Fla. (No. 44)
Castellanos was arguably the top high school hitter in his Draft class but fell out of expectations that he’d play college ball at Miami. The Tigers took a chance and signed him. He played parts of seven seasons with Detroit, hitting 104 home runs as a Tiger and homering in the 2014 AL Division Series, before the Tigers traded him in 2019.
2009: Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy, Town and Country, Mo. (No. 9)
Turner made his MLB debut at Comerica Park as a 20-year-old in 2011 and made six starts before he was traded to the Marlins in 2012 as part of the Aníbal Sánchez/Omar Infante trade. Six years later, Turner made his last MLB start for the Tigers in 2018, having signed as a Minor League free agent.
2008: Ryan Perry, RHP, Arizona (No. 21)
The Tigers went heavy on relief help in the 2008 Draft led by Perry, a hard-throwing college reliever. He made just 14 Minor League appearances before making Detroit’s Opening Day roster in 2009, and he pitched in 149 games over three seasons with two saves and a 4.07 ERA.
2007: Rick Porcello, RHP, Seton Hall Prep, West Orange, NJ (No. 27)
The Tigers wooed Porcello out of a college commitment to North Carolina with a record deal for a high school pitcher, then put him in their Major League rotation as a 20-year-old in 2009. He won 14 games for the Tigers that year, the first of six consecutive seasons with double-digit wins for Detroit, before the Tigers traded him to Boston for Yoenis Céspedes at the 2014 Winter Meetings.
2006: Andrew Miller, LHP, North Carolina (No. 6)
Miller was a lanky lefty starter for the Tar Heels when the Tigers drafted him. He made just three Minor League appearances before Detroit put him in the bullpen for the tail end of 2006 regular season. He made 13 starts for the Tigers in 2007, going 5-5 with a 5.63 ERA, before Detroit traded him to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera deal.
2005: Cameron Maybin, OF, T.C. Roberson HS, Asheville, NC (No. 10)
Maybin spent three stints as a Tiger -- first as a 20-year-old rookie homering off Roger Clemens in 2007, then as an outfield catalyst in one last Tigers playoff push in 2016, and finally as a veteran mentor in 2020. Detroit traded him three times -- to the Marlins in 2007, the Angels in 2016 and to the Cubs in 2020.
2004: Justin Verlander, RHP, Old Dominion (No. 2)
Verlander was a hard-throwing but mercurial college starter whose fastball approached triple digits at ODU. The Tigers reaped the benefits when the Padres used the top overall pick on high school shortstop Matt Bush. Verlander was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2016, won AL MVP and Cy Young honors in 2011 and pitched two no-hitters for the Tigers before being traded to Houston in 2017.
2003: Kyle Sleeth, RHP, Wake Forest (No. 3)
Sleeth was the top pitcher drafted in 2003, but he pitched in just 24 Minor League games the following year before Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2006 and topped out at Double-A Erie before retiring in 2008 at age 26.
2002: Scott Moore, SS, Cypress (Calif.) HS (No. 8)
The Tigers missed out on Prince Fielder by one pick and selected Moore, who played parts of three seasons in Detroit's system before he was traded to the Cubs in a package for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Moore eventually played parts of five seasons with the Cubs, Orioles and Astros.
2001: Kenny Baugh, RHP, Rice (No. 11)
Baugh was a dominant college pitcher at Rice, but he pitched in just 11 Minor League games before a labrum tear in his right shoulder derailed his career in 2002. He pitched three more years in the Tigers' system, concluding with a 12-win season at Triple-A Toledo in 2005.
2000: Matt Wheatland, RHP, Rancho Bernardo HS, San Diego (No. 8)
Wheatland, one of the top high school pitchers in his Draft class, pitched in just 16 games over two seasons in the Tigers' system due to injuries.
1999: Eric Munson, C, USC (No. 3)
Munson was the top college hitter drafted in 1999, a budding power hitter who slugged his way to Detroit by the end of 2000. He was the Tigers’ primary third baseman in 2003 and 2004, finishing with 40 homers and 111 RBIs over parts of five seasons in Detroit.
1998: Jeff Weaver, RHP, Fresno State (No. 14)
Weaver made just a handful of Minor League appearances before cracking the Tigers’ rotation in 1999. He never became a star in Detroit, but he was a workhorse starter for 3 1/2 seasons before he was traded to Oakland for a prospect package that included future Tigers Jeremy Bonderman and Carlos Pena.
1997: Matt Anderson, RHP, Rice (No. 1)
Anderson was a hard-throwing relief phenom back when pitchers throwing triple-digit fastballs were a rarity. He made his MLB debut at Tiger Stadium a year after being drafted and became a hard-throwing setup man behind Todd Jones before taking over as closer in 2001. Injuries halted Anderson's career soon after.
1996: Seth Greisinger, RHP, Virginia (No. 6)
Greisinger was part of a college pitching class that dominated the top of the 1996 Draft. He cruised through the Tigers' farm system and won six games for Detroit in 1998 before Tommy John surgery cost him two seasons. He ended up pitching just 29 games for the Tigers but enjoyed a long, successful career pitching in Japan.
1995: Mike Drumright, RHP, Wichita State (No. 11)
Drumright pitched five seasons in the Tigers' system and was the organization’s top prospect in back-to-back years, topping out at Triple-A Toledo, but he never found the command to get a big league call during his nine-year pro career.
1994: Cade Gaspar, RHP, Pepperdine (No. 18)
Gaspar pitched in just 31 games over two seasons in the Tigers' system, both at Class A Lakeland, before he was traded to San Diego in a package for slugging outfielder Melvin Nieves.
1993: Matt Brunson, SS, Cherry Creek HS, Greenfield Village, Colo. (No. 9)
Brunson was the second high school shortstop drafted in 1993, following top pick Alex Rodriguez, but the former hit just .200 over three seasons in the Tigers' system. He stole 50 bases at Class A Fayetteville in 1994.
1992: Rick Greene, RHP, LSU (No. 16)
Greene pitched in one Major League game for the Reds in 1999, seven years and two organizations after he was drafted. He pitched five seasons in the Tigers' system before he was traded to Milwaukee in 1997.
1991: Justin Thompson, LHP, Klein Oak HS, Spring, Texas (No. 32)
The Tigers seemed cursed with injuries to pitching prospects for a decade, but none hurt more than Thompson, a power lefty and high school phenom who was a 15-game winner and an All-Star at age 24 in 1997 before his arm slowed. Detroit traded him to Texas a few years later in the Juan Gonzalez deal.
1990: Tony Clark, OF, Christian HS, El Cajon, Calif. (No. 2)
Long before Clark became head of the MLB Players Association, he was a two-sport star and a power-hitting prospect who slugged 27 home runs as a rookie in 1995 and posted three consecutive 30-homer seasons. He hit 156 homers over a seven-year stint with Detroit and 251 over a 15-year career.
1989: Greg Gohr, RHP, Santa Clara (No. 21)
Gohr pitched in 51 games over three seasons in Detroit before he was traded to the Angels for second baseman Damion Easley.
1988: Rico Brogna, 1B, Watertown (Conn.) HS (No. 26)
Brogna played in nine games for the Tigers in 1992 before he was traded to the Mets for Alan Zinter, a deal Detroit soon came to regret. Brogna posted four 20-homer seasons for the Mets and Phillies.
1987: Steve Pegues, OF, Pontotoc (Miss.) HS (No. 21)
Pegues played five seasons in the Tigers' system, including a half-season in Toledo in 1991, before he was claimed on waivers. He played in 100 MLB games for the Reds and Pirates in 1994 and 1995.
1986: Phil Clark, C, Crockett (Texas) HS (No. 18)
Clark played in 23 games as a Tigers outfielder in 1992 before the Padres claimed him on waivers. He hit 17 homers over a five-year Major League career and later spent three seasons as a hitting coach in Detroit.
1985: Randy Nosek, RHP, Chillicothe (Mo.) HS (No. 26)
Nosek pitched in five Major League games, all for the Tigers in 1989 and 1990, allowing 14 earned runs over 12 1/3 innings with 19 walks and seven strikeouts.
1984: Robert Souza, RHP, Miami (No. 52)
The Tigers didn’t have a first-round pick, having signed free agent Darrell Evans. Souza, a second-round selection, pitched just 12 Minor League games, all in 1984 in the Tigers' system, and allowed 38 hits over 57 innings.
1983: Wayne Dotson, RHP, Estacado HS, Lubbock, Texas (No. 15)
Dotson posted a 5.69 ERA in four Minor League seasons, three of them in the Tigers' system, topping out at Double-A.
1982: Rich Monteleone, RHP, Tampa (Fla.) Catholic HS (No. 20)
Monteleone enjoyed a 10-year career as a Major League reliever, but he never pitched for the Tigers, who traded him to the Mariners in 1985 for third baseman Darnell Coles.
1981: Ricky Barlow, RHP, Woodville (Texas) HS (No. 17)
Barlow pitched for seven seasons in the Tigers' system, topping out at Toledo, but he never overcame command issues. He walked 434 batters over 605 1/3 career innings.
1980: Glenn Wilson, 3B, Sam Houston State (No. 18)
Wilson played two seasons in Detroit, batting .278 with 23 homers and 99 RBIs, before the Tigers traded him to Philadelphia just before Opening Day in 1984 for Dave Bergman and Willie Hernandez. While Hernandez won AL MVP honors that year, Wilson went on to a 10-year MLB career.
1979: Rick Leach, OF, Michigan (No. 13)
Leach was a two-sport star at Michigan, where he played quarterback, before playing parts of three seasons with the Tigers. He hit .236 with seven homers and 49 RBIs before he was released in Spring Training in 1984.
1978: Kirk Gibson, OF, Michigan State (No. 12)
Gibson was an All-American wide receiver at Michigan State who chose baseball over football when the Tigers made him their top pick. His power-speed combination eventually translated with Detroit, where he was a World Series hero in 1984 and fell a homer shy of a 30-30 season in 1985. He was an NL MVP with the Dodgers in 1988.
1977: Kevin Richards, RHP, Roosevelt HS, Wyandotte, Mich. (No. 5)
The Tigers passed on future Hall of Famers Ozzie Smith and Tim Raines, as well as future AL Cy Young winner and Eastern Michigan star Bob Welch, to draft local high school star Richards. He spent five years in the Tigers' system but never made it past Double-A.
1976: Pat Underwood, LHP, Kokomo (Ind.) HS (No. 2)
The Tigers’ 1976 Draft will forever be remembered for Hall of Famers Alan Trammell, Jack Morris and Ozzie Smith (who didn’t sign), plus Dan Petry. But Detroit’s top pick that year was Underwood, a high school phenom who pitched 8 1/3 scoreless innings in his MLB debut for the Tigers against his older brother Tom with the Blue Jays.
1975: Les Filkins, OF, Washington HS, Chicago (No. 3)
The Tigers drafted Lou Whitaker in the fifth round in 1975, but their top pick went to Filkins, who hit .255 with 60 home runs over eight Minor League seasons but never reached the Majors.
1974: Lance Parrish, IF, Walnut (Calif.) HS (No. 16)
Parrish turned down a football scholarship from UCLA to play baseball for the Tigers, who saw him as their successor to Bill Freehan behind the plate. He became a six-time All-Star in Detroit and led the 1984 Tigers with 33 home runs.
1973: Charles Bates, 3B, Cal State-Los Angeles (No. 19)
Bates batted .259 in four seasons in the Tigers' system, topping out at Double-A.
1972: Jerry Manuel, SS, Cordova HS, Rancho Cordova, Calif. (No. 20)
Long before Manuel became a manager with the White Sox, he played in 60 games as an infielder for the Tigers in 1975-76, hitting 7-for-61 before he was traded to the Expos.
1971: Tom Veryzer, SS, Islip (NY) HS (No. 11)
Veryzer was the Tigers’ starting shortstop for three years before Alan Trammell arrived in 1977. The former went on to enjoy a 12-year Major League career.
1970: Terry Mappin, C, Durrett HS, Louisville (No. 20)
Mappin hit .245 but posted a .391 on-base percentage over four years in the Tigers' system, reaching Double-A in 1973.
1969: John Young, 1B, Enterprise HS, Redding, Calif. (No. 19)
Young played in just two Major League games, both with the Tigers in 1971, but became better known for starting the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program.
1968: Murray Robinson, OF, Thomas Dale HS, Chester, Va. (No. 18)
Robinson his .251 with 86 home runs over eight seasons in the Tigers' system, including three years at Triple-A, but he never reached the Majors.
1967: Jim Foor, LHP, McCluer HS, Florissant, Mo. (No. 15)
Foor pitched in 10 games as a Tigers reliever in 1971 and 1972, allowing eight runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings with 10 walks and four strikeouts.
1966: Rick Konik, 1B, Detroit St. Andrews HS (No. 14)
Konik was twice a first-round pick, first by the Tigers and then the Washington Senators, but he never signed.
1965: Gene Lamont, C, Hiawatha HS, Kirkland, Ill. (No. 13)
Lamont turned down a chance to play college basketball at Kansas State under Tex Winter when the Tigers made him their first-ever Draft pick. He spent parts of five years as a backup catcher but became better known years later as a longtime Tigers coach and Major League manager.