DETROIT -- The Tigers' first Draft under general manager Al Avila saw a front-loaded pitching crop, similar to past Drafts. After Detroit took big right-hander Matt Manning with its top pick, the team used its next four selections on pitchers, all of them college arms. Two of them have been high-profile
DETROIT -- The Tigers' first Draft under general manager Al Avila saw a front-loaded pitching crop, similar to past Drafts. After Detroit took big right-hander Matt Manning with its top pick, the team used its next four selections on pitchers, all of them college arms. Two of them have been high-profile college closers.
Not until the eighth round did Detroit finally select a position player. The Tigers' final three picks of Day 2 on Friday were college hitters.
Track every Tigers pick from Day 2 of the 2016 MLB Draft, which consisted of Rounds 3-10. The Draft concludes on Saturday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on MLB.com at noon ET.
Round 4 (115th overall), RHP Kyle Funkhouser, Louisville
A year ago, Funkhouser was in speculation for the Tigers' top pick, eventually going to the Dodgers with the 35th overall selection. He opted to return to Louisville for his senior season. His ERA rose to 3.86 thanks to rough early-season outings, but considering it was 4.54 a month ago, he regrouped down the stretch. Most recently, he tossed eight innings of one-run ball against Western Michigan in the NCAA Regionals last week.
Funkhouser's fastball tops out at 97 mph, but it sits more around the mid-90s with a slider and changeup. His control has been inconsistent, as noted by five straight outings with four-plus walks earlier this season, but he has improved on that in recent outings, to the point that some projected him as high as a second-round pick. That didn't happen, but for a Tigers front office that didn't have a second- or third-round pick, Funkhouser's fall was their gain.
Round 5 (145th overall): RHP Mark Ecker, Texas A&M:
With a highly touted, devastatingly effective changeup to complement a mid-90s fastball, Ecker has been among the stingiest closers in college baseball this season, allowing just two earned runs in 44 innings with four walks and 52 strikeouts. However, he adds a slider to his fastball-changeup combination for a three-pitch repertoire that could help him transition to a starter.
Ecker will have a chance to pitch A&M to a College World Series berth this weekend. According to the San Antonio Express-News, he was an annual visitor to Omaha, Neb., as a kid, and his memories include catching a home run from then-TCU catcher and Tigers Draft pick Bryan Holaday. The Tigers currently have an A&M product in their bullpen with Alex Wilson.
Round 6 (175th overall): RHP Bryan Garcia, Miami
Another college closer, Garcia holds his school's record with 40 career saves. He struck out 52 batters over 35 1/3 innings this spring in his junior season. Undrafted out of high school, the Miami native boasts a mid-90s fastball and has been a closer his entire college career, but like Ecker, he has the secondary pitches to potentially become a starter.
Round 7 (205th overall), LHP Austin Sodders, UC-Riverside
Sodders, who was a 17th-round Draft selection by the Pirates last year, decided to play at Riverside, where former Angels and Tigers closer Troy Percival is the head coach. Sodders went 7-4 with a 2.57 ERA, allowing 68 hits and 37 walks in 80 2/3 innings, with 69 strikeouts and just two homers allowed.
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Sodders' father, Michael Sodders, was the 11th overall pick in the 1981 Draft after a stellar career at Arizona State. He played four seasons in the Twins' and White Sox systems, and he was a Toledo Mud Hen in 1982, back when Toledo was the Twins' Triple-A affiliate.
Round 8 (235th overall), CF Jacob Robson, Mississippi State
The Tigers' first position player pick is a familiar one. Robson grew up across the river from Detroit in Windsor, Ontario, and played on Canada's junior national team. He was a prospect in last year's Draft after coming back from elbow surgery, but he opted to stay in school for his redshirt junior season. He's ranked 183rd on MLBPipeline.com's Top 200 Draft prospects list this year despite missing time with a broken left hand.
Robson is a captain on the Bulldogs team that is hosting an NCAA Super Regional this weekend against Arizona. He batted .335 (59-for-176) with six doubles, four triples, a home run and 24 RBIs, but he uses his speed to his advantage, swiping 18 bases in 20 attempts. He also boasts strong plate judgment.
Round 9 (265th overall): SS Daniel Pinero, Virginia
Like former Tigers Draft pick Don Kelly 15 years ago, the 6-foot-5 Pinero will likely outgrow the shortstop position. His bat, however, should help find him a spot. He hit .340 (72-for-212) as a junior this spring, with 20 doubles, four home runs and 39 RBIs. One of his homers came at the ACC Tournament in Durham, N.C., where he hit the Durham Bull well beyond the left-field fence. Like Robson, Pinero -- a Toronto native -- played on Canada's junior national team in high school. The Tigers drafted Pinero in the 36th round last year.
Round 10 (295th overall): RF Sam Machonis, Florida Southern
The Tigers, who make their Spring Training home in Lakeland, Fla., have a history of drafting prospects from nearby Florida Southern College, whom the Tigers play in annual exhibition every spring. Matt Joyce took that route to the big leagues a decade ago. The Tigers would love the same for Machonis, a power-hitting outfielder who batted .388 (80-for-206) for the Division II school this past season with 13 homers and 52 RBIs.
Machonis not only played in this spring's exhibition between Florida Southern and the Tigers, he homered off closer prospect Joe Jimenez, part of a 2-for-3 performance.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast.