The 2012 First-Year Player Draft is officially in the books. The Tigers made their final 25 selections on Wednesday, and although they didn't get a first-round pick on Monday, the organization was happy with its haul, especially given the new rules.
"It was a completely different challenge than any other Draft I've ever been involved with," said Tigers vice president David Chadd, who worked within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement rules that limit teams' bonus spending.
"I think you can ask all 29 other clubs and they'll say the same thing. ... There was some difficulties involved, but in the end, we were very happy with the players we got and we are excited."
And the players Detroit got, for the second straight year, were mostly college athletes. In 2011, 35 of the team's 49 picks (71 percent) were from colleges. This year, 29 of their 39 draftees (74 percent) came from the collegiate ranks.
"We went for the best players, first of all," Tigers director of amateur scouting Scott Pleis said. "And then, as you went on and the picks went farther and farther, it got harder and harder to have any high school kids that we thought signability would be good."'
However, the Tigers did gamble early on two high-school products. Both are committed to college, but if they sign, they're the two picks the club was most excited about.
Right-hander Jake Thompson and shortstop/outfielder Austin Schotts were drafted in the second and third rounds, respectively. Thompson was taken at No. 91 overall, and Schotts at No. 121. Both come out of high schools in Texas.
Chadd raved about Schotts' speed and suggested the media watch his football highlights. He also raved about Thompson's power fastball and mound presence.
"He went like 70 innings, punched out 130-140," Chadd said on Thompson. "[He's got a] low walk rate, fastball up to 94 that settles in at 92-93, good slider, good changeup and has that air about him of confidence."
Schotts was the only position player in the team's first six picks, which differed from 2011, when the Tigers spent 10 of their first 11 picks on hitters. This year, Detroit went heavy on pitching.
Triple-A Toledo is stockpiled with arms in prospects Jacob Turner, Adam Wilk, Andy Oliver and likely Casey Crosby, when Doug Fister returns from injury to the Tigers' rotation. But Double-A Erie and Class A Lakeland are both among the bottom of their respective leagues in team ERA.
With five of the Tigers' first six draftees being pitchers, and 22 pitchers taken overall, the hope is that quality pitching will be found throughout the farm system.
"I don't think you can have enough arms," Pleis said. "You're always going to need the arms, and they were available in the picks that we had and we liked them. Sometimes you get a group of guys in the Draft where the pitching just falls right there and you get on a run and they all fall in place."
In all, Detroit also took eight outfielders, four middle infielders, three catchers and a third baseman. Seeing as they lost their first-round pick to Milwaukee for signing Prince Fielder in the offseason, they figured they didn't need a first baseman.
"With who we have at first base right now ... I couldn't be more happier with that," Chadd said. "And I couldn't be more happier with the guys we selected in this Draft."