DETROIT -- With Day 2 of the Draft in full swing, MLB.com is providing breakdowns of each selection by the Tigers.Round 3 (95th overall), Joey Morgan, C, University of Washington
The Tigers are good for an early pick on a defensively solid college catcher every year or two -- Rob
DETROIT -- With Day 2 of the Draft in full swing, MLB.com is providing breakdowns of each selection by the Tigers.
Round 3 (95th overall), Joey Morgan, C, University of Washington
The Tigers are good for an early pick on a defensively solid college catcher every year or two -- Rob Brantly in 2010, James McCann in '11, Grayson Greiner in '14, Kade Scivicque in '15 -- and Morgan fits the profile. A walk-on at Washington after his scholarship was rescinded at Oregon, Morgan became a second-team Baseball America All-American and a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher.
Morgan has been a strong presence behind the plate throughout his career, throwing out 13 of 27 would-be basestealers as a junior this spring and suffering just two passed balls and three errors in 356 chances. His rise this year came from his emergence at the plate, leading the Huskies with a .324 batting average, .927 OPS and 45 RBIs. D1baseball.com ranked him as the top college catcher in the country in April.
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"He's, from my perspective, as good as there is on the West Coast, catch-and-throw," Washington coach Lindsay Meggs told the Seattle Times last month.
Round 4 (125th overall), Gio Arriera, RHP, Palm Beach CC
The Tigers were the only Major League club not to Draft a junior college player in last year's Draft. But after drafting Junior College Player of the Year Reynaldo Rivera in the second round, they went back to the JUCO ranks for pitching in Arriera, who didn't register on MLB Pipeline or Baseball America's rankings but who helped lead the Panthers into the junior college national rankings.
Arriera boasts a low-90s fastball with an above-average slider. He was a four-year starter at Westland Hialeah High School in South Florida.
"His stuff is legit," Palm Beach coach Kyle Forbes said. "The fastball will be up to 94. He'll pitch at 91-92, but it's heavy. You'll get some guys in junior college who have some velocity. His stuff is heavy. He has a great delivery."
Round 5: (155th overall), Sam McMillan, C, Suwanee HS, Live Oak (Florida)
The Tigers hadn't taken a high school catcher in the top five rounds since 1989, and they hadn't even taken one in the top 10 rounds since Patrick Leyland went in the eighth round in 2010. There's a reason for that: Prep catchers don't become big leaguers that often. Detroit broke the trend for a backstop that some projected could go in the top three rounds, making him their first high schooler taken.
McMillan ranked 109th on MLBPipeline.com's pre-Draft rankings, as much for a right-handed power swing as for defensive skills. He was a Rawlings-Perfect Game third-team All-American this spring and made an impression last fall at the Diamond Club showcase tournament, according to Baseball America's Hudson Belinsky. McMillan is also a rare high school catcher to get strong reviews for his ability to work with pitchers and receive pitches.
Round 6 (185th overall), Dane Myers, RHP, Rice University
The Tigers used to be regulars scouting pitchers from Rice, going there for their top picks in 1997 (Matt Anderson) and 2001 (Kenny Baugh). After a history of injuries, they'd drafted just two Rice products since, most recently fourth-rounder Austin Kubitza in '13. With Myers, however, the Tigers are getting a fresher arm, drafting a third baseman who ranked sixth on the Owls with 54 1/3 innings this spring over seven starts and nine relief appearances.
Myers boasts a mid-90s fastball along with a curveball and changeup. After working as a starter in the first half of the season, Myers shifted to the bullpen, allowing him to begin games in the lineup before ending them on the mound. He did that in the NCAA regionals against Southeastern Louisiana, homering in the game before pitching the final 3 2/3 innings.
His best outing, however, came in a fall exhibition game against Cuban professional team Artemisa, delivering six innings of two-hit ball in a start before finishing the game at first base.
Round 7 (215th overall), Brad Bass, RHP, University of Notre Dame
To call Bass a big right-hander isn't just a comment about the arm. Bass is listed at 6-foot-6 and 253 pounds. His fastball reached 97 mph with sink to go with a deceptive slider in relief appearances in the Cape Cod League last summer, according to MLBPipeline.com, but his fastball sat around 91-92 mph this spring as the No. 1 starter for the Irish.
Bass went 3-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 14 starts and a relief appearance, allowing 75 hits over 84 1/3 innings with 37 walks and 80 strikeouts. His walks and his nine wild pitches reflect what scouts called inconsistent command. Given the Tigers' longtime bullpen needs, Detroit could certainly use an arm like his in relief, but the club might use him as a starter in the low Minors to get him to work on his command.
Bass ranked 192nd on MLBPipeline.com's pre-Draft rankings.
Round 8 (245th overall), Max Green, LHP, Pepperdine University
Like Myers and Bass, Green has the profile of a potential reliever. In Green's case, he's a hard-throwing lefty who has been a reliever throughout his three-year college career. He tied for the team lead with two saves despite limited work, allowing 12 runs (seven earned) on 19 hits over 16 1/3 innings with four walks and 15 strikeouts.
"He's got a good arm," Pepperdine head coach Rick Hirtensteiner said. "He's kind of a thin, lanky kid, but has a pretty quick fastball. His fastball can be up to 93-94 when it's right. There's still some progression. There's a lot of strength he can still gain."
Green will need to improve his secondary pitches to succeed in the pros, but his fastball command is solid. He made an impression last summer, when he struck out 36 batters over 30 2/3 innings in the Northwoods League.
Round 9 (275th overall): Luke Burch, CF, Kent State University
The first college senior drafted by the Tigers this year, Burch was a first-time all-MAC selection twice in his career for the back-to-back regular-season MAC champions. He posted a .355 batting average for his collegiate career, including .350 as a senior to go with four homers, 34 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and 53 runs scored in 54 games. He's a speedy outfielder with a good defensive reputation.
Burch was a recipient of the MAC Medal of Excellence Award this spring for his all-around performance, including a 3.52 GPA while enrolled in graduate school this year.
Round 10 (305th overall), Garrett McCain, CF, Oklahoma State
McCain enjoyed a breakout junior season this spring, leading the Big 12 Conference with a .388 average (87-for-224) and .491 on-base percentage after hitting .203 last year and .260 over his first two seasons in Stillwater, Okla. He was also a second-team Baseball America All-American. McCain didn't have much power, slugging four home runs, but he complemented his on-base rate with 19 stolen bases in 20 attempts.
While not an imposing figure at 6 feet and 186 pounds, McCain's emergence this season fit with his reputation of getting the most out of his ability, a mark he forged as a standout high school football player in Texas before turning full-time to baseball.
The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.