The 2022 college baseball season is now underway, which is an exciting time for prospectors everywhere. It means that draft boards will start to change, players will breakout and stocks will fall. Since the draft boards are not stable whatsoever, now is a good of time as any to start guessing at who the Detroit Tigers might take with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 draft. Expect this group to change a lot by the time we get to draft day in July.
This is the first time the Tigers are picking outside the top 10 since selecting Alex Faedo 18th overall in 2017. That means it’s no longer just an effort of listing off the top draft prospects as the potential draft picks. It’s much more difficult now and much more of an effort in futility.
In this way too early look, I’ll be looking at three different draft boards to find names that could climb up the ranks, or even fall from the top ten to the Tigers. MLB.com, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. All three are fantastic places to keep up with this current draft class.
It should also be noted this is specifically a look at college players, no high school players will be highlighted for now.
According to the three draft boards I’m using, if the teams just went down the line and the Tigers got the 12th best prospect on each board, that would be Georgia Tech C Kevin Parada, Tennessee RHP Blake Tidwell, or American Heritage HS LHP Brandon Barriera. As you can see, it’s an exact science. Obviously this will all change over the course of the season, as it always does.
So, let the guessing games begin. Players will be put in three buckets: Top Talent, Currently Projected, and Potential Risers. Top talent are guys projected in the top 10 that would have to fall, the currently projected are in the guys who are already projected in the range, and the potential risers are guys whose stock could see a significant rise.
In my mind there are four names that fit here. They are all potential top 10 picks. Then again, so was Jud Fabian at this time last year. Things happen. The four guys in this group are all hitters: SS Brooks Lee, 3B Jace Jung, 3B Jacob Berry, and OF Chase DeLauter.
Brooks Lee is from Cal Poly and has been a consistent presence at the top of this draft class. He was a famous high school name in 2019, but decided to play for his dad at school instead. He’s got a massive frame that produces plenty of power with a hit tool that scouts love. With his size, he still projects to stick at shortstop long term.
The next guy in this group is Texas Tech 3B Jace Jung. He is the brother of Texas top prospect Josh Jung, and much like his brother is a very good hitter. He was a true freshman starting in that lineup and slugged 25 homeruns through his first two years. He may not be a third baseman long term, but his hit tool and power are both loud.
Jacob Berry was at Arizona before following his coach to LSU for the 2022 season. There is very little question that he’s one of the best offensive players in the country right now. His defensive home is his biggest drawback, but that’s likely to be at third base heading into this draft cycle.
Finally there is James Madison’s Chase DeLauter, who saw his stock climb after a solid performance on the Cape. He has a pro ready body and performed last year during the college season. As with the rest of these guys, his bat is very good. There’s a lot that teams will like about DeLauter when it comes draft time.
This is where it starts to get tricky. There’s a lot of variance at this time of year between how certain public draft boards will see different players. With that being the case, I’ve picked four that have the general average ranking in the 10-20 range. Those players are C Kevin Parada, RHP Landon Sims, 2B Robert Moore, and RHP Blake Tidwell.
Georgia Tech has been a catcher factory recently and Parada might just be the next big league catcher to come from that school. He was a highly touted hitter as a prep, and nothing has changed. He should be able to stick behind the plate long term and his smooth swing wields plenty of power.
This is not a particularly strong class for college pitching. There are only a few names at present that really show the potential to be the top college pitcher taken. Mississippi State’s Landon Sims is one of them. He was a top reliever last year and he’s now being stretched out into a starting role. He had a huge opening weekend on the strength of a strong fastball/slider combination.
Arkansas’ Robert Moore is the son of Royals GM Dayton Moore and he’s a very talented hitter. He’s got power that is surprising given his 5’9” stature. His swing is credited by scouts in the public space for being extremely optimized which is why he’s such a good hitter in both the contact and power departments.
Rounding out this group is Tennessee’s Blake Tidwell. His fastball is his bread and butter, routinely reaching the upper-90’s. He adds to that a slider, curveball, and changeup. His slider is the biggest secondary right now, but the biggest question in regards to his draft stock is if his command comes around. Given the Tigers recent attempt to make more data driven decisions, Detroit should be a popular destination for Tidwell in mock drafts.
Blake Tidwell (‘20 Tenn.) throwing absolute gas this morning. Fast arm with command of each pitch proving to have elite level pitchability. FB 95-96/7 with downhill plane. CB showing to be slurvy in low-80’s. #Vols Commit. @Official_ECB pic.twitter.com/FNhZjM3e41
— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) June 8, 2020
Other names considered here are Arizona C Daniel Susac and Virginia Tech OF Gavin Cross.
This group might as well be called ‘Dart Throws at Trevor Favorites’. I could go 20 deep here if I wanted to, but there will be four players selected. To be considered here the player would be 20+ and on all three draft boards with the type of skills that would give them a chance to rise. So the four players I’ve selected here are SS Carter Young, OF Dylan Beavers, SS Eric Brown, and the super longshot OF Clark Elliot.
If there were one player I could hand select for the Tigers to take right now, it’s Vanderbilt SS Carter Young. A year ago he was considered in the conversation as a top five pick in this draft class. His biggest detractor is swing and miss concerns, but he is a switch-hitter with pop and is a good bet to be a long term shortstop. He’s got the kind of skillset that could pop and he could jump back into the top 10 pick conversation.
Vanderbilt SS Carter Young is the real deal. Takes this pitch completely out of Alex Box Stadium. The pride of Selah, Washington is 2022-eligible and looks every bit that of a first round shortstop. pic.twitter.com/TZ5HeOZwS9
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) April 3, 2021
Another interesting name in that 20-30 range is Cal OF Dylan Beavers. He has a lofty swing that produces plenty of power from his 6’4” frame. He’s athletic and likes to do damage at the plate. Hit tool questions are more swing decision based than anything, and Prospects Live even gave him an intriguing comp to Christian Yelich.
Only two players achieved a chase rate south of 15%, a contact rate greater than 80% + an avg. EV over 92 mph in 2021. No. 33 pick Tyler Black and 2022 Cal OF Dylan Beavers. I’m buying.
K% Misleading I think. 55 run. All-fields bat. 6-ft-4, 205. Can handle CF. A little Yelich-y. pic.twitter.com/5CYIa5kL2w
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyleMiLB) October 12, 2021
These last two players are even more of dart throws than the first two. Coastal Carolina SS Eric Brown was another player who saw his stock rise big time in the Cape Cod League. He has a weird looking swing, but it’s worked for him so far. He has a good eye at the plate, but showing off more offense will be key for him to raise his draft stock into the first round.
Eric Brown (Coastal Carolina, 2022) shows great feel for the barrel on this 100 MPH rocket right at the left fielder. Unorthodox load and starting position for his hands, but it does keep Brown’s quick bat on time to do damage pic.twitter.com/hRfQaPzQGn
— Will Hoefer (@whoeferbaseball) July 22, 2021
Finally the complete longshot. Michigan OF Clark Elliot who started off strong during opening weekend. This is a guy who impressed me, personally, so while it’s unlikely to see him go in the first round it would be a dream for the Tigers to select him at some point. Currently he projects to be available for the Tigers second pick. He’s more contact over power, but the power is starting to show through too. He gets high praise for his ability to draw walks and run, as well.
Other players considered here include the non-college RHP Kumar Rocker, JUCO 3B Cam Collier, and Arkansas 3B Cayden Wallace.