Tigers Hope Draft Yields Next Big Star
ALSO: GUESSING WHERE JUAN SOTO WILL WIND UP -- AND WHEN
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Did you know…
Martin Perez, a first-time All-Star in his 11th season, was signed out of Venezuela at age 16 and wants to stay with the Texas Rangers, his current team and the one that signed him originally . . .
Team Israel didn’t win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics, played in 2021 because of the pandemic, but will try again in 2024 . . .
Every team in baseball for the last five-and-a-half decades, including NL teams with pitchers hitting before the universal DH, has outscored the current Detroit Tigers . . .
Compounding the felony in Michigan, free agent signee Eduardo Rodriguez is missing in action with reputed marital problems after signing a $77 million deal with Detroit . . .
The Tigers need to be careful traders: they didn’t get good return on investment after trading Justin Verlander, Nick Castellanos, and J.D. Martinez . . .
Shrimp tacos is on the concessions menu at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Park, a ballpark that looks slanted from the outside because its roof is slanted for better protection against hurricanes . . .
Inability to beat American League East rivals, coupled with the latest devastating injury to erstwhile ace Chris Sale, are the main reasons this will be a season to forget for the Boston Red Sox . . .
Pirates All-Star reliever David Bednar is a Pittsburgh native.
Did The Tigers Draft Their Next Super-Star?
By Joe Underhill
On Tuesday July 19, big-league teams wrapped up the annual addition of talent to the farm systems. The MLB Draft for fans, especially those whose teams are already out of contention or have been mired in long rebuilds, is hope that there is a brighter future to come.
The 2022 season has not provided a lot of bright spots for fans of the Detroit Tigers. With an offense ranked at or near the bottom in all of baseball, the Tigers predictably used six of their top nine picks on college bats.
With the exception of their 19th round pick, Albert Oliva, all of the players the Tigers selected have four years of college experience. The Tigers are hoping the extra time on campus will lead to a smoother transition to pro ball and allow for more refinement and possibly a quicker path to the team.
While the influx of new players is exciting for fans, the real question is how quickly can these players impact the team in Detroit? It often takes four to six years for a drafted player to make it to the show, if they make it at all.
Even the best teams and drafting and developing usually see less than 25% of their drafted players make it to the Majors. The Tigers have had a recent run of success with their top picks and have mixed in some late round success stories (Beau Brieske 27th round 2019, and Garrett Hill 26th round 2018).
The jury is still out on the most recent drafts where the Tigers have taken more gambles on high school players and have seen many struggle up to this point in the minor leagues.
The Tigers top two picks this year in Jace Jung (12th) and Payton Graham (51st) both have potential plus bats in their profile along with good plate discipline. After Jung and Graham, the Tigers selected a group of hitters whose bat skills are a far more sure thing than their future defensive home.
The Tigers’ top pitching selection, Troy Melton, has shortened his arm action which has led to improved control and flashes the potential to be a starter at the next level.
The second-half of the draft saw the Tigers change their approach, selecting more pitchers than hitters.
The team is hoping to find a few hidden gems who out-perform their draft slot. There are three players out of that group who Tigers fans should keep an eye on.
Dominic (Dom) Johnson, an outfielder who seems to just be putting it all together, has the potential for double-digit home runs and steals.
Joe Adametz is a lefty coming off of Tommy John surgery yet has the size and repertoire to be a long-term starter. He has shown excellent command across his college career.
Patrick Pridgen posted the second highest strikeout per nine innings of all Division I starters. He throws too many pitches to get to those strikeouts, so he is a candidate for the bullpen, however, if he can harness his wildness, he can become a highly successful pitcher.
For all teams the draft is an exercise in patience and hope for the future. How these players develop in the coming seasons will determine the long-term success for the franchise. For the Tigers to become a playoff contender, they need to successfully develop these young players and they need to have drafted their next Star.
Joe Underhill is a high school administrator and diehard baseball fan and fan of the city of Detroit. Joe currently writes for www.tigstown.com. You can follow Joe on Twitter@TransplantedDet or email@example.com.
Scott Boras Realizes Washington’s Kid Slugger Is Mr. Juan-derful
By Dan Schlossberg
How much is too much?
Juan Soto, arguably the best hitter in baseball at age 23, allegedly turned down a 15-year, $455 million offer from the Washington Nationals.
His objections were two-fold: he wants to play for a team with a chance to win every year and he wants to highest annual average salary in the game.
Only a precious few teams can provide both.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, seemingly made out of money, are one such haven. So are the two New York teams, the Yankees and especially the Steve Cohen Mets.
But which of those teams can muster the package of players the Nats demand?
Washington wants four top prospects and/or several young, controllable players off the big-league rosters. The last-place team has to rebuild a hurry or risk becoming as irrelevent as the old Washington Senators once were.
It’s even possible the Atlanta Braves will jump onto the Soto bandwagon, since Liberty Media is one of the richest owners not named Steve Cohen.
What an outfield they’d have with Ronald Acuna, Jr., Michael Harris II, and Soto! All three are probable 2023 All-Stars and potential MVP candidates.
The big question is Soto’s ability to stay healthy. Even at his tender age, he’s had his share of aches and pains — though he’s no younger version of Luke Appling.
What would Soto bring in trade? Washington needs help at every position, especially with Josh Bell likely to leave via trade or after-the-season free agency.
Stephen Strasburg remains a giant question-mark despite his long-term contract so pitching is a priority. But the Nats need hitting, defense, and speed too. They’re virtually certain to spend on free agents and could even bring back Trea Turner, the National League’s starting shortstop in the All-Star Game.
Washington could keep Soto too — he’s controllable for 2023 and 2024 — but they’ll get more if they deal him now, when his value is highest.
Winning the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game only increased it.
Scott Boras gets a commission of 5 per cent on whatever deal Soto signs. But 5 per cent of $500 million is a pretty hefty price-tag for the burly player rep.
It’s going to be a hectic two weeks between now and the Aug. 2 trade deadline.
Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ is weekend editor of Here’s The Pitch, columnist for Sports Collectors Digest, contributor to USA TODAY Sports Weekly, and national baseball writer for forbes.com. He just covered the All-Star Game and is now in Cooperstown for Induction Weekend, where he will sign his books Saturday from 11-1 in front of Willis Monie Books, 139 Main St. E.mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We split a series there, we were a win away from a series win this series. I got to think that the rest of the however many games that we got with them – 12 games that I think we got left with them – are probably going to be pretty good. They’re going to be good ballgames. It’s two good teams going at it.”
— Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker on recent Truist Park series against Mets
Pete Rose and Eddie Murray are the only switch-hitters in the 3,000 Hits Club . . .
Miami closer Tanner Scott averages more than 14 strikeouts per nine innings . . .
Even though 55 players got more votes in the ill-advised fan voting, spray-hitting Minnesota infielder Luis Arraez squeezed onto the AL All-Star squad with the best batting average in the majors . . .
Bad investments dept.: Javy Baez, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, and Carlos Correa got a combined $885.3 million guarantee from the clubs that signed them as free agents . . .
Washington backstop Keibert Ruiz, a switch-hitter, is a tough man to fan.
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