MLB draft 2022: Breaking down Detroit Tigers’ picks in Rounds 3-10

Detroit Free Press

The Detroit Tigers made seven selections Monday in the 2022 MLB draft, completing 10 of the 20 rounds.

On Sunday, the Tigers made two picks: Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung in Round 1 (No. 12 overall) and Oklahoma shortstop Peyton Graham in Round 2 (No. 51 overall). Rounds 11-20 begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“We were a little bit worried that (Jung) would go before us,” Tigers amateur scouting director Scott Pleis said Sunday. “We were super happy when he got to us. It’s a guy we’ve been talking about for a long time, long spring, long summer. It just happened we got lucky and he got to us.”

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The organization traded its pick in the Competitive Balance Round B (No. 71 overall) and infielder Isaac Paredes to the Tampa Bay Rays in April for outfielder Austin Meadows. The Rays used the pick to draft Illinois State shortstop Ryan Cermak.

The Tigers also forfeited their third-round pick upon signing left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez in November 2021. Rodriguez, who signed a five-year, $77 million contract, has been away from the team, on the restricted list and unpaid since June 13.

Detroit’s first selection Monday was No. 117 overall in the fourth round, followed by No. 147 (fifth round), No. 177 (sixth round), No. 207 (seventh round), No. 237 (eighth round), No. 267 (ninth round) and No. 297 (10th round).

“I thought it went well,” Pleis said Monday. “We’re always trying to get best player. You guys have heard me say that many times. I think it was kind of well rounded. We got a lot of hitters, a lot of position players, which was good. Some better athletes than others. But I think we got some impact. We’re excited about how the day went.”

With those seven picks — all college players — the Tigers added San Diego State right-hander Troy Melton, Boston College third baseman Luke Gold, North Carolina shortstop Danny Serretti, Tennessee outfielder Seth Stephenson, Valparaiso left-hander Jake Miller, Georgia Tech first baseman Andrew Jenkins and Oklahoma right-hander Trevin Michael.

“Another fireball,” Graham, the second-round pick, said Monday when asked about Michael, a fellow Sooner. “Him and Jace might be a little bit chippy at the beginning, especially after the Big 12 tournament. There was a lot of words said, but I think they’ll end up liking each other in the long run, especially now that they’re playing on the same team. They kind of have to.

“But Trevin is going to be a really competitive dude. He’s very consistent in the back end of the bullpen. I’m pumped to see him play with us.”

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Meet the newest Tigers, beginning in the fourth round:

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6 feet 4, 210 pounds.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: Fourth round (No. 117 overall).

The buzz: The 2022 Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year, Melton posted a 2.07 ERA with 15 walks and 67 strikeouts over 65⅓ innings in 11 starts this season. He pitched 163⅔ innings across his four-year college career. Melton throws four pitches: four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, slider and changeup. Before the 2022 season, Melton changed his delivery and his resulting performance skyrocketed him into a third-round pick in this year’s draft. Not only did his command improve, his ERA dropped from 6.14 in 2021 to a Mountain West-leading 2.07  in 2022. He averaged 3.7 walks per nine innings last season and 2.1 walks per nine this season.

What Pleis said: “We’ve seen Troy for a while now, and he’s made improvements year by year. He changed his arm action to be more consistent at the end of last year. Power arm with a good breaking ball, and the feel got better. His overall pitching got better. It’s been a guy we’ve followed for a long time and liked, and he’s evolved since we started scouting him, and we liked what we saw.

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6-0, 220.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: Fifth round (No. 147 overall).

The buzz: Between Boston College and summer ball, Gold has played all four infield positions, but his primary position is second base. Still, the Tigers selected him as a third baseman. Although defensive versatility is valuable, Gold’s true value comes from his offensive production. He hit .309 with 21 doubles, nine home runs, 24 walks and 28 strikeouts in 53 games for Boston College in 2022, earning All-ACC First Team honors. Gold has a contact-over-power hitting profile, and his low strikeout totals indicate he knows the strike zone and isn’t apt to chasing pitches. In three years of college, he hit .303 with a .374 on-base percentage and five stolen bases in seven attempts.

What Pleis said: “Every time I see him, he hits. He’s just one of those guys. He squares the ball up, uses the field, hits the ball hard. He’s a baseball player. I could see him playing several positions, but probably third base. We’ll leave him there, let him do his thing and swing the bat and keep doing what he’s doing.

Age: 22.

Vitals: 6-1, 195.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Drafted: Sixth round (No. 177 overall).

The buzz: That’s five straight college players for the win-now Tigers, with four of them being position players. (Catching on?) But Serretti, a four-year starter at North Carolina, is the first switch-hitter the organization added in this year’s draft. He hit .365 with 17 doubles, 10 home runs, 32 walks and 38 strikeouts in 64 games this season, a career-best campaign. His .437 OBP led the Tar Heels. The best part about Serretti’s college development was his strikeout rate, which dropped from 19.9% (48 strikeouts in 241 plate appearances) in 2021 to 12.6% (38 strikeouts in 302 plate appearances) in 2022. He started all of his games this season at shortstop, but he’s no stranger to second base, which should come in handy.

What Pleis said: “It’s always risky when you (go back to college) as a player, especially with injuries and things that can happen. It’s been crazy lately with how that’s been across baseball. It’s been tough. He decided to go back. We saw him last year. We saw again him this year. We liked what we saw and thought we got a good player there.”

Age: 21.

Vitals: 5-9, 165.

Bats/throws: Switch/right.

Drafted: Seventh round (No. 207 overall).

The buzz: In an unsurprising move, the Tigers grabbed another college bat — and another switch hitter — in the seventh round. What separates this selection is that Stephenson is by far the fastest player the Tigers have drafted. In 2022, he hit .339 with 17 doubles, four home runs, 15 walks and 41 strikeouts in 59 games, along with stealing 25 bases in 30 attempts. He primarily played left field for the Volunteers, but his speed should allow him to handle center field. He also played some second base, so there’s value as a utility player. With this pick, Tennessee tied a program record for most players taken in a single draft. Before joining Tennessee in 2022, Stephenson spent two seasons at Temple Junior College in Texas.

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6-2, 185.

Bats/throws: Left/left.

Drafted: Eighth round (No. 237 overall).

The buzz: The Tigers selected a pitcher for the second time in the draft (and for the first time since the fourth round), but Miller is the first left-handed pitcher taken by the organization. Along with a 6-2 record, he posted a 5.58 ERA this season with 17 walks and 75 strikeouts over 61⅓ innings in 12 games (11 starts). Miller ranked fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference with 11 strikeouts per nine innings. He allowed 10.4 hits per nine — the big negative — and 2.5 walks per nine. In 2022, he became the first Valparaiso pitcher to win six games since Dalton Lundeen in 2016. Miller had a 2.66 ERA with eight walks and 22 strikeouts in 20⅓ innings in the Coastal Plain League this summer.

Age: 21.

Vitals: 6-0, 217.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: Ninth round (No. 267 overall).

The buzz: Jenkins, the 2022 All-ACC Scholar Athlete of the Year, is a pure slugger, hitting .381 with 22 doubles, 17 home runs, 21 walks and 64 strikeouts in 60 games for Georgia Tech this season. He had a .440 OBP and slugged .679, for a 1.119 OPS. Jenkins could be a left fielder — because of his strong arm — to get his bat in the lineup, but he is best defensively at first base. The knock against Jenkins, and something to monitor once he gets to pro ball, is his strikeout rate, which was 21.8% (64 strikeouts in 293 plate appearances) in 2022.

What Pleis said: “He’s kind of like Gold. Whenever we saw him, he hit. We always saw him hit. He’s a better athlete than some people might think. He can run, and he can play the outfield and first base, so there’s some versatility there. But he’s just a good hitter, and he does have power.”

Age: 24.

Vitals: 6-2, 200.

Bats/throws: Right/right.

Drafted: 10th round (No. 297 overall).

The buzz: Michael spent two years at Lamar University and one year at Northern Oklahoma Junior College, but for the 2022 season, the imposing right-hander ended up at Oklahoma, won the Big 12 tournament and advanced to the final round of the College World Series. He posted a 2.89 ERA with 20 walks and 95 strikeouts over 71⅔ innings in 32 games (two starts). Michael served as the Sooners’ closer, and he could someday operate as a high-leverage reliever — or a starting pitcher. The Tigers might revert him to a starter due to his four pitches (fastball, slider, curveball and changeup) and smooth delivery.

What Pleis said: “Really good stuff. I mean, four pitches and could start with plus pitches across the board. He’s got a really good changeup, a good breaking ball and a live fastball. And he’s physical. He’s older than the guys we usually take, but his stuff spoke for itself. In the 10th round, that was a really good pitch. … With his pitches, he could start. There’s going to be some talk with how we want to handle that, as far as if he’s going to come out of the bullpen. I definitely think, if he (is a reliever), he will be a fast mover.

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

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