Grading the Detroit Tigers first 5 picks of the 2022 Draft

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Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers pieced together the rest of their 2022 draft class after the last ten rounds that took place on Tuesday. The team added 19 players to the organization, all from the collegiate level. The team added seven position players, opting to add 12 arms to the mix.

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Though the Detroit Tigers were position player heavy early on, they went for mostly arms in the later parts of the draft. Al Avila and his staff have been able to piece together some strong draft classes favoring arms, but the need for position player depth is overwhelming.

There is a lot to unpack in the draft class, and with the importance placed on collegiate-level bats, there must be some hope. Adding in seven position players, with many of them being taken early on, helps them try to accomplish this. At least a couple of these players must bring quality projection moving forward, right?

Even if the team’s first-round pick was not my personal favorite, I think that there was plenty to enjoy. That said, here is a look at the players the Tigers selected with the first five selections they made in the 2022 MLB Draft. Each of them is assigned a grade based on how I felt the pick grades out for the Tigers.

Full disclosure, it is merely an opinion, and these grades are based on how I feel these picks graded out. A bad grade does not mean the player is not a future big-leaguer, and a good grade does not mean the player is a future 10-time all-star.

Detroit Tigers Draft Jace Jung

Here’s a look at grades for the Detroit Tigers’ first five picks.

The Detroit Tigers surprised some people when they did not take a prep arm, as many may have anticipated. But, they did get things right by going into the collegiate ranks to add an impact bat. There were several options on the board for the team at 12th overall, though my favorite, Gavin Cross, had gone off the board at pick number 10.

Let’s dive right into the grades with the team’s first pick in the draft.

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Jace Jung, 2B/LHH, Texas Tech University

When the Detroit Tigers were on the clock at pick no.12, they opted to select Jace Jung, a second baseman from Texas Tech University. The quick tidbit is that he’s a power-bat who will hit for power from the left side. The swing path produces hard contact, and strength helps the power aspect.

However, the knock on him is the funky setup. His swing has a bit of a Matt Olson set up, which I hinted at in pre-draft coverage of the Tigers’ potential options here. Jung’s bat is more back towards the umpire rather than out like Olson’s, but it still is an unorthodox setup.

The swing itself produces loud contact, and he can be explosive through the zone, but something about the weird setup irks me. Jung has to be a second baseman, with third base proving to be a problem at the collegiate level. He will have to hit to prove valuable to the Tigers organization since his defensive upside is minimal.

With the bat being so strong, I cannot give the Tigers an “F” for this pick. But I would have rather seen someone else with other options like Cam Collier, Chase DeLauter, Justin Crawford, and Daniel Susac available when they took Jung.

That said, I settled on a mid-range grade, favoring the lower side of things. I think Jung will be good, but the pick initially underwhelmed me and still is a bit underwhelming as it has set in.

Jung’s Draft Grade: C-

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Peyton Graham, SS/RHH, University of Oklahoma

One of the Detroit Tigers’ best picks on day one, and really the entire draft, was grabbing Peyton Graham with their second-round draft choice. He’s been the shortstop for the Oklahoma Sooners for the last three seasons, finally settling in as the starter and catching fire in 2022.

Graham may be listed as a shortstop, but several options exist here. He can be transitioned over to third base or the outfield in the big leagues down the line. He’s played these positions and appears that he’s going to bring a good glove, clean defensive actions, and smooth instincts wherever he plays.

He’s got a pretty swing, starts open, and closes up with a big leg kick, but it produces some quality barrels. He refined the approach and honed in on lowering his strikeout percentage and was able to do so. Graham has power upside, and his 20 long-balls this year support that.

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HIt was easy to give a stamp of approval to the Tigers’ selection of Graham with plenty to like. e has taken professional at-bats with his time in a Sooners uniform, and the upside is undoubtedly their long-term. If Graham can polish up the tools from a 6-foot-3 frame, there will be a lot to like moving forward. Graham’s Draft Grade: A+

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Troy Melton – RHP, San Diego State University

The Detroit Tigers deviated from their position player start to the draft with their fourth-round selection. They chose Troy Melton, a right-handed pitcher from the San Diego State Aztecs program. The right-handed pitcher is a high-three-quarters guy who will live in the low- to mid-90s and reach back for more throughout a start.

He mixes a bit of a slurvy breaking ball in, but it pairs well with his fastball that has arm-side life to it. The two-pitch tunneling works well. But he’s also able to throw a changeup with fade into the mix that looks like the fastball. It’s easy to like the pitchability moving forward with Melton, and after a phenomenal season with the Aztecs program, the Tigers should be able to keep polishing off Melton’s abilities.

Given where he was selected, Melton could have been someone the Tigers had high on their board; for that reason, it leads me to stamp some approval onto this pick. Melton saw a few higher-profile names go after him, but for what the Tigers are getting from the right-hander. It seemed like a good pick overall for a fourth-round grab.

Melton’s Draft Grade: B+

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Luke Gold – 2B & 3B/RHH, Boston College

Another position player with plenty of exciting upside is Luke Gold, who joins the organization after three seasons with the Boston College Eagles. Gold has a toe-tap timing mechanism, and the swing is pretty. He’s got a quality swing path through the zone and will be able to produce barrels.

It’s short and compact but looks the part. The results show his success, and Gold has plenty to like about the hit tools. Gold is an ACC conference hitter who was consistent and should be able to translate this to the next level.

Gold’s working from a 6-foot, 220-pound frame. So the strength is there, and he can show that in the swing and produce hard contact. The right-handed hitter can control the hands and get the barrel on the plane with pitches in many areas of the zone. I like the bat here as the standout tool.

Since the Tigers opted to take Jung as a second baseman, they are hoping that Gold can live up to his tools at third base and be the third baseman the team could have taken earlier in the draft. Though Gold mostly played second base with the Boston College Eagles, there is a projection for him to be able to handle the hot corner for the Tigers.

After passing on Collier in the first round, the team still needed to try and add a third-basemen, and Gold’s bat-first projection could be good enough to do the trick. He

Gold’s Draft Grade: A-

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Danny Serretti – SS/SHH, University of North Carolina

The Detroit Tigers opted to grab another shortstop with their fifth draft selection, taking Danny Serretti in the sixth round, a product of UNC-Chapel Hill, who swings from both sides of the plate. From the left side, he’s more of a contact guy, keeps the hands high with the weight on his back leg, and then uses a quick leg lift and stride through the ball.

The hands are also high from the right side with a similar swing and swing path, but there’s more pop in the bat. Sticking with the narrative, a power-producing bat is what it feels like Serretti will be. He’s made improvements to bring some more pop from the left side. However, it feels like he’s more of a doubles-in-the-gap guy from the left side, especially with the cavernous gap in Comerica Park.

Serretti is an intriguing option and a solid add in the sixth round with the tools he does possess. He should be someone whose bat could carry him through the organization. His defense could see him moving around positionally, which is the biggest knock on him. I believe he has the instincts to play the left side of the field.

It’s a low-risk, high-reward pick, which leads me to lean towards this pick being a “win” for the Tigers.

Serretti’s Draft Grade: B

Time will be a big factor with all of these players. This is just a look at the first five players added among their 19-player draft class.

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Posted by Tyler Kotila
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Miami (OH) University Alum Love & Honor Now spend time watching baseball, sharing my opinion on Detroit Sports, and scouting baseball down in Florida.