The Tigers opened the day by taking consecutive draft-eligible sophomores in Arkansas left-hander Drew Smyly (2) and UC Riverside catcher Rob Brantly (3).
Smyly has a good feel for his craft, and he can run his fastball up to the mid-90s. He also mixes in a cutter, as well as a curveball and changeup. Smyly took a medical red shirt after sustaining a stress fracture in his elbow, but has been healthy this spring, although he has encountered problems with blisters.
Brantly became a household name after starring in the Northwoods League last summer. A solid all-around catcher whose lone tool that falls below average is his power, Brantly brings a very patient approach to the plate.
After selecting Chance Ruffin on Monday, the Tigers went back to Texas to tab right-hander Cole Green in the fourth round. The right-hander tends to get lost in the shuffle on the Longhorns’ deep pitching staff, and while he isn’t overpowering, he has a solid three-pitch mix.
In the fifth round, the Tigers selected their second left-hander of the day in Alex Burgos. Hailing from the State College of Florida, Burgos ranks as one of the top junior college arms in the Sunshine State thanks to a three-pitch mix that includes an 88-91 fastball, curveball and cutter.
A Florida Southern recruit, Burgos lacks projection, but he is polished.
The Tigers made seasoned position players a high priority, as they selected nine of them after the fifth round.
The Tigers made TCU catcher Bryan Holaday their first senior pick of the day in the sixth round. An outstanding defensive catcher, Holaday made good progress offensively.
Cal State Fullerton second baseman Corey Jones was the Tigers’ first pick on the right side of the infield in the seventh round. After missing all of 2009 with an ankle injury, Jones earned MVP honors in the Northwoods League last summer in his return to the diamond, and he profiles as an offensive-minded second baseman.
Georgia Tech first baseman Tony Plagman was selected in the ninth round. Another senior sign, Plagman is s solid defender, and he showed his power by hitting 21 home runs this spring.
The Tigers took Tennessee outfielder P.J. Polk in the 13th round. Although he doesn’t have ideal size (5-9, 175), Polk has surprising power and runs very well.
Another draft-eligible sophomore the Tigers selected was Arkansas outfielder Collin Kuhn (15). The MOP of last weekend’s regional tournament in Fayetteville, Kuhn runs well and he also has shown some power this spring by hitting 16 home runs.
Two years after selecting Brent Wyatt, the Tigers returned to Lewis-Clark State to take senior second baseman Josh Ashenbrenner in the 18th round. In addition to playing second base, Ashenbrenner played at shortstop and third base, and he won first team All-NAIA Gold Glove honors for his work at third base.
After spurning the Indians as a 21st-round pick a year ago, Georgia Tech outfielder Jeff Rowland was taken two rounds earlier this year by the Tigers. A solid defender in center field, Rowland runs very well, but he struck out 68 times in 245 at-bats.
In the 21st round, the Tigers selected San Diego first baseman James Meador. An outfielder for the Toreros, Meador was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year as a junior, and was enjoying a good senior year before fracturing his left hand last week. Meador has a good track record as a hitter, as the lowest he’s hit over the last three years was .374.
The lone junior college position player the Tigers selected on Tuesday was Meramec Community College outfielder Les Smith. Taken in the 27th round, Smith has a quick bat that produces a nice amount of power. A sophomore who is committed to Mississippi, Smith will not be easy to sign.
The Tigers didn’t ignore arms on day two, as they took 11 pitchers from the college ranks after the first five rounds.
Auburn left-hander Cole Nelson was the first, as he was taken in the 10th round. Nelson has been on scouts’ radars for some time after being drafted by Tampa Bay out of Des Moines Community College last year.
The junior has a huge frame (6-7, 248), and can run his fastball up to 92 along with a slider.
Three years ago, Brian Dupra was one of the top prospects to emerge from New York’s prep ranks, but despite running his fastball up to 96, Dupra has posted a career ERA of 6.40.
Drafted in the 11th round by the Tigers, Dupra, a right-hander, throws a slider, splitter and changeup. Should he sign, it will be interesting to see if he sticks as a starter, or if he moves to the bullpen, where he has had more success.
In the 14th round, the Tigers selected Bradley’s Patrick Cooper. The right-hander emerged as a prospect two years ago with a great stint in the Jayhawk League, and last summer, he sat in the low-90s in the Cape Cod League. Cooper also throws a solid slider, but his stuff was down this spring.
The third player to be selected from Arkansas was Jordan Pratt in the 16th round. A junior, Pratt has been a workhorse out of the bullpen by making 23 appearances. In 38 2/3 innings of work, Pratt has struck out 48 batters, and he turned in a superb outing by pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in the Razorbacks’ win over Washington State last weekend.
In the 17th round, the Tigers drafted a name that should be familiar to most who keep a close watch on the organization’s prospects in Drew Gagnier.
The brother of farmhand L.J., the Oregon closer turned down the Athletics as a 14th-round pick a year ago when he was a redshirt sophomore. Gagnier can run his fastball into the mid-90s, and he also throws a curveball that has good break to it.
The Tigers targeted another draft-eligible sophomore in Alabama reliever Tyler White in the 20th round. White, a right-hander, can run his fastball up to 94, and he also throws a curveball, but he has had issues with his command.
Detroit plucked another reliever with Missouri’s Tyler Clark in the 24th round. A junior right-hander, Clark tops out in the low-90s, and he also throws a curveball and changeup. Tuesday marked the second time Clark was drafted, as he was taken by the Cubs in the 46th round out of high school in 2007.
The Tigers turned their attention back to left-handers by taking Liberty’s Shawn Teufel in the 25th round. Teufel, who was one of the oldest players available (he’ll be 24 next month), is the son of former major leaguer Tim Teufel. Although he sits in the mid-80s, he has good command of pitching arsenal.
Near the end of the day, the Tigers tabbed a pair of junior college arms in Pitt (N.C.) CC’s Jeffrey Ferrell (26) and Central Arizona left-hander Chris Joyce (29).
Ferrell has good size (6-4, 185), and he enjoyed a good freshman year working out of the bullpen by walking just six batters while fanning 41 in 29 innings.
Two years ago, Joyce was a 10th-round pick of the Dodgers, but he elected to fulfill his commitment to Cal-Santa Barbara. However, academics sent him to junior college, and although he had a good freshman year (12-3, 2.36 ERA), Joyce’s velocity fluctuated greatly this spring. He also has a solid slider.
Wichita State’s Logan Hoch was the Tigers’ final pick of the day in the 30th round. A senior left-hander who missed all of 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery, Hock led the Shocker in saves and appearances this spring.
The Tigers drafted only five players from the high school ranks on Tuesday, but all of them will be closely watched.
Detroit’s first pick has a name that is quite familiar to Tigers fans, as the team drafted Patrick Leyland, the son of Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
A catcher out of Bishop Canevin (Pa.) High School, Leyland’s bat and catching skills have made strides, but they likely need more refinement at Maryland, where he is committed.
Hailing not too far from the Tigers’ spring training base is Auburndale (Fla.) left-hander Kyle Ryan, who was drafted in the 12th round.
A South Florida recruit, Ryan has a solid frame and he showed well at the Florida Athletic Coaches Association Baseball Classic by working in the 87-89 range with a mid-70s breaking ball.
In rounds 22 and 23, the Tigers drafted two of Southern California’s toughest signs in Los Osos catcher Jake Hernandez and Fullerton Union third baseman Dominic Ficociello.
A USC recruit, Hernandez ranks as one of the top defensive catchers in his class, and his bat took a big step forward this spring. Despite the strides with the bat, Hernandez is a good bet to be a Trojan, where he could get a chance to start as a freshman.
Ficociello offers some of the most intriguing power in the entire prep class thanks to his quick hands and ability to square up pitches to all fields. Despite being a slow runner, Ficociello profiles as a solid defender at third thanks to his strong arm and hands. An Arkansas recruit, Ficociello would likely be an immediate contributor for the Razorbacks if he doesn’t sign.
The final high school player the Tigers took was Heritage (Ga.) left-hander Jack Duffey, who was taken in the 28th round. Duffey, who has signed with Gulf Coast Community College in Florida, has good size and tops out in the high-80s with a breaking ball.
The Tigers will put the finishing touches on the 2010 draft class today, as the draft concludes with rounds 31-50.