Breaking down Detroit Tigers’ picks in Rounds 11-20 of 2021 MLB draft

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers made 10 selections in the 2021 MLB draft on Tuesday, completing the 20-round draft with 21 total picks over the past three days.

On Sunday, the Tigers made two selections in the MLB draft: Heritage Hall (Oklahoma) High School right-hander Jackson Jobe in Round 1 (No. 3 overall) and Texas right-hander Ty Madden in Competitive Balance Round A (No. 32 overall).

The Tigers then made nine picks Monday: Friendswood (Texas) High infielder Izaac Pacheco in Round 2 (No. 39); Alabama right-hander Dylan Smith in Round 3 (No. 74); Bryant University right-hander Tyler Mattison in Round 4 (No. 104), Notre Dame right-hander Tanner Kohlhepp in Round 5 (No. 135); North Carolina State outfielder Austin Murr in Round 6 (No. 165), Georgia Tech left-hander Brant Hurter in Round 7 (No. 195); South Carolina-Upstate right-hander Jordan Marks in Round 8 (No. 225); Ohio State right-hander Garrett Burhenn in Round 9 (No. 255); and Kentucky outfielder Austin Schultz in Round 10 (No. 285).

“We feel very good about what we’ve done,” Tigers amateur scouting director Scott Pleis said Tuesday. “As a group, we all feel like we did really well. I think we’re happy.”

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Meet the newest Tigers, beginning in the 11th round:

Vitals: 6 feet 1, 200 pounds.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 11th round (No. 315 overall).

The buzz: The Tigers couldn’t have started the third day of the draft any better, adding to the catching depth in the organization. Last year, Detroit picked Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler in the second round. In his first year of pro ball, Dingler quickly jumped (with 2020 No. 1 overall pick Spencer Torkelson) from High-A West Michigan to Double-A Erie. Crouch, 22, hit .311 with 15 home runs, 36 RBIs, 39 walks and 41 strikeouts for Central Florida. Crouch isn’t as talented as Miami’s Adrian Del Castillo — picked No. 67 overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks — but he makes sense for the Tigers as a potential steal in the 11th round. 

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Vitals: 6-3, 215.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Drafted: 12th round (No. 345 overall).

The buzz: For the same reason Crouch is a solid addition, so is Rothenberg. The switch-hitting catcher produced a .251 batting average in 2021, adding 16 doubles, three triples, nine home runs, 42 RBIs, 24 walks and 50 strikeouts. The 22-year-old became the first Blue Devil to reach three consecutive NCAA postseasons, doing so in 2018, 2019 and 2021. (The 2020 season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.) This past year, Rothenberg helped Duke to its first ACC championship since 1961 and earned ACC All-Tournament team honors. He finished his four-year collegiate career with a .266 batting average and ranks 13th in program history with 24 career home runs. Crouch and Rothenberg attended pre-draft workouts with the Tigers.

They said it: “You always need catching, and we’ve had our eye on these guys for a while and knew them really well,” Pleis said Tuesday. “We wanted to get two (catchers), but we thought if we didn’t get them right off the bat, we might miss out on one. That’s what we did there. … Rothenberg is a switch-hitter, so that’s always nice. He’s got size and arm strength. He is a good catcher. He was a little up and down as far as how he swung the bat this year, but we’ve seen him swing in the past, so we like that.

“Crouch really threw well, swung the bat well and had a good year. There’s power in both these guys. They’re both really interesting, and if they tick up a little bit, they’ll turn themselves into good players.”

Vitals: 6-3, 210.

Bats/throws: Left/right.

Drafted: 13th round (No. 375 overall).

The buzz: Meyers, 22, isn’t just a first baseman. During his four-year college career, he has played first base (63 games), third base (51 games), shortstop (44 games) and pitcher (six games). During summer leagues, Meyers even spent 10 games at third base and one game at second base. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, however, he has been used exclusively as a first baseman. This year, Meyers hit .378 with 15 home runs, 55 RBIs, 39 walks and 42 strikeouts. For now, expect the Tigers to keep him at first base, but manager AJ Hinch’s idea of developing players at multiple positions seems to be making an impact throughout the organization.

They said it: “Definitely a corner (infield) guy,” Pleis said. “Definitely like the power. He’s got power to all fields, which is attractive. That’s really what attracted us to him.”

Vitals: 6-8, 300.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 14th round (No. 405 overall).

The buzz: In 2021, the 21-year-old posted a 6-5 record, 2.79 ERA, 31 walks and 75 strikeouts over 84 innings in 14 games (13 starts). His fastball reached 97 mph but typically rests between 91-93 mph. He also throws a slider and a below-average changeup. He pitched well in the Big South as a starter, but some evaluators think he might be better as a bullpen arm. Considering how many starting pitchers the Tigers have lined up in their system, the organization might be thinking about developing Petit into a power reliever in the minor leagues.

They said it: “Big, physical guy,” Pleis said. “We have some history on him. One of our area (scouts) knows him from Charleston, so we had a little inside track on him. We’ve known about him and liked what we saw, so it was nice to get him. We’re definitely going to start him and see how it goes. If it becomes a two-pitch thing with the power, I could see him going in that direction as a reliever.”

Vitals: 6-6, 230.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 15th round (No. 435 overall).

The buzz: Holub isn’t the next Shohei Ohtani, but he served as a two-way player for St. Edward’s. The 22-year-old hit .349 with five home runs, 22 RBIs, 14 walks and 12 strikeouts in 32 games last season. As a pitcher, he delivered a 4-3 record, 2.56 ERA, 31 walks and 77 strikeouts over 59⅔ innings in 11 games (10 starts). Because the Tigers drafted him as a pitcher, Holub seems destined for the mound in his professional career.

Vitals: 6-3, 197.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 16th round (No. 465 overall).

The buzz: In 2021, Anderson showed his dominance out of the bullpen. He delivered a 2.48 ERA, seven walks and 45 strikeouts — keeping opponents to a .208 batting average — in 40 innings. He made 23 appearances, with just one outing as a starting pitcher. But in Anderson’s lone start, he fired 6⅔ innings of one-run ball March 31 against Mercer. (He struck out six batters and did not allow a walk.) Last season, the 21-year-old picked up all five of his saves in his final 10 appearances. Of his 22 reliever appearances, 14 of them included getting more than three outs. Recently, the Tigers have placed an emphasis on getting multiple innings from their bullpen arms. Adding Anderson is the perfect way to continue implementing this trend in the minor leagues. 

Vitals: 5-8, 193 pounds.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 17th round (No. 495 overall).

The buzz: Considering Haase was born in Amarillo, Texas, it doesn’t look like he’s related to Eric Haase — the Tigers’ slugging catcher from Westland — but adding another Haase to the organization can’t be a bad thing, especially not this late in the draft. The 21-year-old had a 1.78 ERA, two walks and 24 strikeouts over 25⅓ innings in 18 appearances as a reliever this past season. Throughout his three college seasons, he has started just one of 51 games. If Aaron Haase is a late bloomer like Eric Haase, the Tigers will someday stand proud for making this pick in the 17th round.

They said it: “Aaron can pitch,” Pleis said. “We like the makeup. We got a little insight there. Quality makeup kid, feel to pitch, good all-around stuff. We feel like he will start. He can do either, really, but we feel like he’s got some feel to the mound, so we’ll start him. We haven’t taken too many guys that short at any position, but have done it. If we do that, we really know their background, their makeup and what they’re all about. We don’t do a lot of those, but we felt — at the time in the draft — this was a good time to do that.”

Vitals: 6-2, 215.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 18th round (No. 525 overall).

The buzz: Malgeri started his college career at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, but transferred to New Mexico Junior College for the shortened 2020 season. Then, he went Northeastern for the 2021 campaign and hit .280 with seven home runs, 28 RBIs, 10 walks and 26 strikeouts in 45 games with his new team. The 21-year-old earned Colonial Athletic Association Tournament Most Outstanding Player.

Vitals: 6-3, 200.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 19th round (No. 555 overall).

The buzz: The 22-year-old hit .395 with 15 doubles, one triple, nine home runs, 50 RBIs, 36 walks and 37 strikeouts in 49 games during the 2021 season. He played 176 games in his four-year college career, ending with a .350 batting average and 27 home runs. What’s fascinating about Bigbie is that he never played first base for Western Carolina, but played third base (79 games), left field (57 games), right field (42 games) and second base (18 games). He got his lone experience at first base — 26 games — in the Northwoods League in 2019.

Central Arizona College OF JD McLaughlin

Vitals: 6-3, 195.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 20th round (No. 585 overall).

The buzz: McLaughlin attended Oregon State in 2020 but transferred to Central Arizona College, where he hit .338 with 13 doubles, 10 triples, 13 home runs and 62 RBIs in 60 games, adding 29 walks and 48 strikeouts, during the 2021 season. He also stole 33 bases — getting caught just three times — and played center field.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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