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Detroit Tigers 2014 MLB Draft Preview
Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
The Tigers have had a habit over the last several years of disappointing fans with their top draft pick, even if it fits the mold of their strategy of targeting power arms with high velocity, even if the pitcher has question marks in other categories. Given that, while there are a number of options that my colleagues below will mention and that you've surely read about, I can think of no one more frustrating yet fitting the Tigers' philosophy than a right-handed reliever that can dial a fastball up into the upper 90s but struggles with commanding it. The Tigers have been linked all spring long to Louisville closer Nick Burdi, and even if it might be a stretch at their slot (Scout's Kiley McDaniel has Burdi ranked 60th on his big board), I think the Tigers will snag Burdi at 23rd overall, passing on at least one pitcher or player that might be viewed as more talented or a better fit for the organization.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
After weeks of uncertainty surrounding the direction of the Tigers first round pick, phone calls and discussions with industry sources have begun to solidify in the last few days. As I mentioned in yesterday's draft preview article, The Tigers have several college arms on their radar, including Erick Fedde, Brandon Finnegan, and Tyler Beede, though all three could easily be off the board by the time the Tigers pick at #23. The Tigers also have a few college bats high on their board for their first pick, including Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed, Wichita State first baseman Casey Gillaspie, and there's some rumblings surrounding Stanford infielder Alex Blandino. Despite all of these names, the Tigers have zeroed in on two players; Virginia reliever Nick Howard and Louisville reliever Nick Burdi. Both right-handers offer powerful arsenals that have the potential to shut the door at the back end of games, and both could do so at the Major League level in short order. Despite some recent struggles in the postseason and recent reports in the Detroit media to the contrary, Burdi is still very in play and could be the guy in round one. Howard is the more likely candidate at this point, with several well-placed sources zeroing in on Howard in our discussions over the last 24 to 48 hours. With a seven-year streak (the Tigers didn't have first-round picks in 2010-2012) of correctly predicting the Tigers first round pick intact, dating back to the selection of Justin Verlander in 2004, it is my belief that the Tigers will pull the trigger on Virginia closer Nick Howard with the 23rd selection later today. If for some reason Howard is off the board when the Tigers select, then Burdi is the guy. And just for good measure, don't be shocked if you hear Adam Revenelle come off the board to the Tigers early on day two of the draft.
James Chipman, Senior Lakeland Correspondent
I suppose I've already briefly touched on this subject at some point during my tangent during last week's roundtable. Regardless, again, pitching is a commodity. The Tigers love drafting pitchers and they usually have more success developing them too. That being said, I fully expect the Tigers to select a pitcher with the 23rd pick in the first round on Thursday evening. While I'd love it if the Tigers pounced on a local Floridian prep arm like Sean Reid-Foley or Touki Toussaint, both will most definitely be off the board. Tyler Beede or Erick Fedde would be a huge haul as well, but recent chatter suggests that both won't be in play either. When all is said and done, if none of the aforementioned talent is available, I see the Tigers selecting southpaw Brandon Finnegan from TCU.
Neil Weinberg, Senior Analyst
I'm going to be bold with this one, just because there are easily five or six names I've heard connected to the Tigers and just have no idea which ones will be there at 23. With that said, my very uneducated guess lands on Tyler Beede. The Tigers seem to be on a number of arms at this point and Beede is a guy who teams are talking about when they talk about many of those same players, so it's not a leap that the Tigers might be interested. Beede's stock had fallen during the season from a top five to ten pick into the compensation round, but a good performance during the regional with many scouts on hand could do enough to bump him into the 20s. I'm not sure I could predict the top three picks in the draft this year with any accuracy, so number 23 is that much harder. I bet it's an arm, but it could be one of many.
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2014 MLB Draft and the Tigers First Round Pick on the Detroit Tigers Open Message Board
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