Detroit Tigers: 3 late draft picks to monitor in the system

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Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers have completed the 2022 MLB First-Year Amateur Player Draft. While they selected Jace Jung with their first overall selection, they filled out the draft class with 19 collegiate-level players. There was a solid emphasis on position players until late in the draft when the team loaded up on pitching.

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However, the Detroit Tigers brought in several names on Days 2-3 that could be special. It’s not to say these players are headed for a Hall of Fame career, but it means there could be a few future big leaguers in the mix.

There were a lot of players taken later on who had tools that stood out among the rest. I mean, the team was heavily invested in one tool and took a player for that reason. Whether it was a polished bat, positional versatility with some pop in the bat, a quality offspeed arsenal, an intriguing fastball profile, etc.

The Tigers added some players who should be on the fanbase’s radar moving forward. On top of that, they need to monitor how these players do as they work into the team’s farm system. Here is a look at three players who were taken later in the draft that deserve some attention and should be followed by fans on their (hopefully eventual) Road to Detroit.

Here are three Detroit Tigers 2022 draftees to keep an eye on.

There were a lot of interesting pitchers taken near the end of the draft that the Detroit Tigers took with the hopes of projectability. These guys had exciting tools or something that stood out with their pitch mix. But, some of the hitters they took later in the draft were just as exciting.

Andrew Jenkins, 1B/RHH, Georgia Tech University

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In the ninth round of the draft, the Detroit Tigers went out and grabbed Andrew Jenkins with their selection. Jenkins is a product of Georgia Tech University, who crushed baseballs this past season. Jenkins is coming off of a season where he slashed .381/.440/.679 with 22 doubles and 17 home runs for 70 RBI on the season.

The right-handed hitter starts with an open stance and the bat on the shoulder, picking it up for a bat waggle as he gets into his load. As his weight transfer cues, the hands reach a position to hit, and he strides forward. He’s able to produce loud contact with strength in the swing.

But, with Jenkins, there’s a lot to like in his performance in the batters’ box. In the field, he’s a first baseman now but is athletic enough to make a move to the outfield if needed. He’s going to do his damage pull-side, but the hit tool is a plus, and the power tool has the potential to be plus-plus.

He’s 6-foot, 217-pounds, and the strength is very present in the swing. I like the projection and future potential with Jenkins and his bat. There is plenty to like with this pick; the Tigers might have found a future big leaguer in the late rounds from Day two of the draft.

Keep an eye on Jenkins while he makes his way through the Tigers organization. If the bat holds up, the Tigers may have found something.

Dominic Johnson, OF/RHH, Kansas State University

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Even later, the Detroit Tigers went out and selected Dominic Johnson with their pick in the thirteenth round of the 2022 MLB Draft. Johnson has been someone who other teams may have shied away from because of his size, but the tools are loud.

Johnson stands 5-foot-9 and weighs in at 185 pounds. But height does not measure everything that makes up a baseball player. Johnson fell in the draft class, but his abilities could make him a late-round gem for the Tigers organization.

In the batters’ box, he starts with the feet underneath the shoulders with antsy movements going on. He’s rocking back and forth with a bat waggle. He sinks back into his load and uses a minimal leg lift, a toe-tap, and then a long stride forward to keep his lower body moving well.

He controls the hands well and can keep command of the barrel, covering pitches in multiple areas of the zone, making himself a tough out. Johnson is coming off an incredible season with the Kansas State Wildcats, where he slashed .345/.419/.593 with 20 doubles and 12 home runs for 42 RBI.

Once again, do not let the height determine your opinion of Johnson. He’s got strength in the swing and will play pepper with the wall gap-to-gap. He’ll put balls out in left-center at Comerica and settle for doubles & triples in the gap in the big gap.

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Keep an eye on Johnson; if he keeps working beyond the stereotypes and the stigmas of his frame, he could be an exceptional addition to the Tigers organization. The future is bright for Johnson, with a lot to look forward to.

Patrick Pridgen, SP/RHH, Florida International University

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In the 15th round of the 2022 MLB Draft, the Detroit Tigers went out and drafted Patrick Pridgen, a right-handed pitcher from the FIU Panthers program. Pridgen is a former JuCo bandit who pitched with FIU for the 2022 season and garnered some draft looks.

Pridgen pitched in 14 games for the Panthers, pitching to a 4.77 ERA, a 1.58 WHIP, punching out 112 batters over 71.2 innings pitched. The intriguing part is the strikeouts and what he was able to do by annihilating opposing hitters. He’s more of a three-pitch guy after abandoning a curveball by the end of the 2022 season.

He works a fastball, slider, and changeup into his arsenal. Technically, he has two fastballs, one that works from a lower vertical attack angle(VAA) and has success, and one that has cut to it. The fastball from a lower VAA has worked up to 97 mph and holds the upper-90s.

But he’s not afraid to mix in a cutter from time to time. According to Tieran Alexander, the pitch is “criminally” underused, as he puts it, needing to be mixed in more. This is what intrigued me the most.

I watched as much video as I could find, and it’s easy to see that the slider has good sweep and is a putaway pitch; he can locate it low and away for whiffs and use it with good sequencing to beat the opposition. The changeup has fade to it and will force some bad swings from opposing hitters.

But I keep going back to the cutter. If what Alexander suggests is correct, the Detroit Tigers player development staff may have a field day working with his pitch mix, crafting him to be an impact arm in the team’s organization. I am not suggesting he is the next future ace for the organization, but he could push himself towards the big leagues with a big-league pitch mix as he continues to polish it.

He’s another arm to watch as he gets settled in with the Tigers organization. The Detroit Tigers have pieced together some solid draft classes recently and should get a decent stamp of approval for their choices, but these are three players that fans should keep an eye on.

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