Tigers and Potential Tigers in the Major League Baseball Draft

I wrote a long entry about the Tiger players and the Tiger prospects drafted in the first two days of the Major League Draft, but it got eated, so we will try it again.  So far, the Major Leagues have conducted 30 of their projected 10,000 round draft, and the following LSU players and prospects have been drafted:

  • Jared Mitchell, 1st round, White Sox
  • Slade Heathcott, 1st round, Yankees
  • DJ Lemahieu, 2nd round, Cubs
  • Louis Coleman, 5th round, Royals
  • Ryan Schimpf, 5th round, Blue Jays
  • Zach Von Rosenberg, 6th round, Pirates
  • Brody Colvin, 7th round, Phillies,
  • Chad Stang, 8th round, Brewers
  • Blake Dean, 10th round, Twins
  • Sean Ochinko, 11th round, Blue Jays
  • Mitch Mormann, 20th round, Giants,
  • Wes Luquette, 27th round, Pirates

Of those, only Coleman is a senior at LSU.  Signed prospects are italicized.  

Everyone believes Jared Mitchell is going to sign with the White Sox and that Slade Heathcott will get boatloads of money to play in the Yankees minor league system for a while.  After that, things get more interesting.

The Cubs drafted Lemahieu expecting him to sign, and he very well may.  I think he could be well-served by coming back.  He is a rare draft-eligible sophomore, which means he could come back and still have options later.  Plus, his draft stock could be well served if he comes back and develops a power hitting game.  He is a very good contact hitter, but his power numbers are nothing special.  His tall frame and his reactive fielding style scream "third baseman" to me, but his hitting numbers scream "middle infield."  If his future is on the corner of the infield, he will need to develop his power.  He can do that in the minor leagues, or he can come back and take his chances in next year's draft.  If he comes back and does not improve his power game, he could actually drop in the draft, however.

Ryan Schimpf had a breakout year for LSU and came out of nowhere to be a high-round draft pick.  In case you didn't realize it, Schimpf has been our best hitter over the course of the season.  He was rewarded with a 5th round selection and will probably see a six-figure signing bonus.  Blake Dean has a more interesting choice.  He did not have as good of a year as he hoped, and he did not earn a regular position, instead DH'ing for most of the season.  Not using him in the field hurt his draft stock.  If he comes back and plays a position and has the kind of year he was expected to have this year, he could really move up.  But if he comes back and just DH's again, it won't really help him.  He has a decision to make, because he likely will not get a huge signing bonus.

I don't know Sean Ochinko's intentions, but I am pleasantly surprised that he was drafted as high as he was.  He was probably helped by his versatility to play 1st base or catcher.  Catchers are very valuable.

Probably the hardest job a college baseball coach has to do is to recruit his team.  It is a more intricate and complex art than it is in football or basketball because the MLB draft can get you at any time.  To succeed as a coach, you have to recruit really good players.. but not TOO good.  It doesn't do you any good to sign great players if they all end up signing with a major league team.  Instead, you have to find players who are very good, but who aren't going to get enough money thrown at them to convince them to go to the minor leagues.  Many a good recruiting class was felled by this problem.  And with only 17.3 scholarships to give out to fill a 35-man roster, it is helpful if you can find some really good players who can pay their own way.

We will really have to keep an eye on Zach Von Rosenberg and Brody Colvin.  Both of them expected to go much higher than the 6th and 7th round, respectively.  They are both right-handed power pitchers, and potential aces in the mold of Coleman and Ranaudo.  Colvin, for one, has said in an article published after he was not drafted in the first three rounds, that he will almost certainly be going to LSU.  Von Rosenberg has previously said that it would take a lot of money to convince him to bypass college.  Both would have to be offered significantly more than is typical of where they were drafted, but it is not that uncommon for some major league teams to pay a premium for players whose draft stock slipped because of signability issues.

Chad Stang is unfamiliar to me.  He is a junior college signee out of Texas and plays outfield.  Before he was drafted, I had never heard his name mentioned as a pro prospect, and I don't really know what kind of player he is or whether he is likely to sign.  He will be offered a substantial signing bonus to induce him, but I doubt it will be six-figures.  

I am similarly unfamiliar with pitcher Mitch Mormann.

Wes Luquette is an interesting case.  He is a catcher from a Louisiana high school.  He injured his arm and will need Tommy John surgery.  He is not likely to be able to play until the 2011 season, but he was drafted in the 27th round.  That he was drafted at all under the circumstances is remarkable.  I imagine he will end up at LSU, but I suppose you never know.

August 15 is the last day for Major League teams to sign their draftees, otherwise they lose the right.  We will know a lot more about what the 2010, 2011, and 2012 teams will look like after that date.

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