Inbox: What are the Tigers' options in Draft?

Jonathan Mayo answers fans' questions about baseball's future stars

April 21st, 2016

As we get into the latter stages of this opening month of the season, we here at start to catch Draft fever. It'll be here before you know it, coming June 9-11.

Scouts, of course, have been at it for some time now, trying to figure out the Class of 2016 in order to line up their boards. We're lining up our board as well, and we should have a new Draft Top 100 Prospects list for you at some point next week.

In advance of that, it felt right to begin this week's Inbox with a couple of Draft-related questions before tackling a couple of Minor League prospect queries.

It's still a touch early to try and figure out who is going where, even at the top of the Draft. Some of that is par for the course, and some of that is this year seems to be particularly perplexing at the top. I assure you, both Jim Callis and I will have multiple mocks of the first round, but let's see what we can come up with for your Tigers as of right now.

It's interesting the two arms you mention are more of the "safe, advanced college" type. I would imagine both will be there for Detroit's pick at No. 9 (Logan Shore especially -- most see him as a considerably later pick). Connor Jones might be the best advanced college arm option, but he has limited ceiling. Take a look at the Tigers' Draft record. They tend to like velocity and arm strength.

As far as bats are concerned, Nick Senzel of Tennessee has generated a good amount of buzz in a year that doesn't have a ton of impact college hitters to choose from. There's a chance he could be off the board by the time Detroit picks. Corey Ray certainly could be there, but keep in mind that the last time the Tigers took a college bat with their first pick was when they selected James McCann in the second round of the 2011 Draft.

More than anything, it has to be his success rate, doesn't it? Seven of the 13 position players on the 2014 World Series roster were players John Barr and his staff drafted and signed, from big first-round picks like Buster Posey to later-round finds such as Matt Duffy.

Add in Brandon Belt, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford, and it's easy to see Barr and company are good at finding quality position players who will make it to the big leagues and contribute in a big way. That's not to say he can't identify pitching, it's just that there's been more success on the offensive side of the ball.

More than anything, though, I think what stands out about Barr is his willingness to buck what seems to be conventional wisdom. Few saw Joe Panik as a first-round pick, yet Barr took him No. 29 overall in 2011. That's worked out pretty well, hasn't it? Christian Arroyo is still in the Minors, but it was the same kind of deal. The initial reaction to him being taken 25th overall in 2013 was that he was overdrafted. After a breakout season last year and a solid start to his jump up to Double-A, it's pointing to another success story in the making.

It's funny you ask about Allen. He was our catcher on our first Prospect Team of the Week. That, of course, is because of his bat, as Allen has now hit .522/.586/.696 over his first 13 games. He was also our guest on the most Pipeline Podcast. You can listen to Allen talk about the work he's done behind the plate. I think it is too early to know for sure, but I think he does have a chance to stick back there, albeit as an offensive-minded backstop.

Another "it's funny you ask" question. I was just on MLB Network's MLB Central talking about this very subject.

You can also look at our Top 10 Fantasy prospects piece (ot just the most recent one, but going forward to see who might be next in line).