Outside of top picks, Tigers take chances in Draft
DETROIT -- The Tigers used to thrive on drafting players who were perceived as tough signs. But Detroit would skillfully find a way to sign those players anyway.
They haven't done it as much in the draft-pool era, and they might not sign a whole lot this year aside from the top picks. But they took some shots in this year's Draft, both with high school players committed to colleges and with college players who could go back to school and come back out next summer.
Top pick Beau Burrows has a commitment to Texas A&M University, but with a $2,154,200 slot for the 22nd overall pick, the right-hander is widely expected to turn pro, just as the Tigers' other high school first-rounders have over the years.
"I'm confident that we will sign him," Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said. "We wouldn't have taken him if we didn't think we could."
While the Tigers liked left-hander Tyler Alexander enough to use a second-round pick on him, earlier than many expected, he's a draft-eligible sophomore who could go back to TCU and be eligible next summer as a junior with a third season under his belt. He turned down the Tigers to go to college two years ago.
Seventh-rounder Nicholas Shumpert, a highly touted high school infielder, is expected to sign, his father -- former Major Leaguer Terry Shumpert -- told the Denver Post.
Hamilton High School left-hander Grant Wolfram, a towering presence at 6-foot-6, told the Holland (Mich.) Sentinel that being drafted by the Tigers in the 17th round was "a dream come true," but he also admitted he has a decision to make, with a scholarship at Central Michigan awaiting.
Michigan State left-hander Cam Vieaux, a 19th-round selection, is a redshirt sophomore who had been slated to pitch in the Cape Cod League this summer to try to enhance his stock. He's also a suburban Detroit native, having grown up in nearby Novi.
Michael Vinson was a redshirt sophomore this spring at the University of Florida. The Tigers drafted the righty in the 24th round after he pitched just six innings this spring, having come back from a medical redshirt season last year. His cutter, however, reportedly drew raves when he pitched.
Beyond that, the chances seem to slim. Trey Dawson is a highly regarded high school shortstop out of Hurricane, W.Va., who went in the 32nd round, but he reaffirmed his commitment to attend LSU in the fall.
"They understood," Dawson told West Virginia MetroNews. "One of their guys called me after they selected me and congratulated me. He said they understood that I had already made my decision to go to college. It was just a sign that they liked me and will still keep watching me at LSU."
Connor Lungwitz is an imposing high school right-hander who has committed to Wichita State. He went in the 35th round, but reaffirmed his college commitment via Twitter.
Nick Dalesandro was a highly scouted catcher out of Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.) who has committed to Purdue, but the Tigers drafted him in the 33rd round. His talent reportedly could have drawn interest in the top 10 rounds.
They are risk-reward picks which sometimes pay off. And with a slightly larger bonus pool this year, the Tigers have a little bit more money with which to take risks.
Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team has an allotted bonus pool equal to the sum of the values of that club's selections in the first 10 rounds of the Draft. The more picks a team has, and the earlier it picks, the larger the pool. The signing bonuses for a team's selections in the first 10 rounds, plus any bonus greater than $100,000 for a player taken after the 10th round, will apply toward the bonus-pool total.