It was short, but successful – just how successful? The TigsTown staff weighs in on the roundtable. This week’s question: How would you grade the Tigers abbreviated 2020 draft class?
Paul Wezner, Executive Editor
Grading a draft that’s only five rounds long and includes the first overall pick doesn’t present the same complexity as years past – the Tigers got the best player in the draft to start, and based on commentary from those selected, there is confidence that all players will sign, so speculating about money saved on senior signs and late adds is largely not needed. The positive view of this draft is that the Tigers had a strategy and a plan and executed on it brilliantly, getting value at each stage, and strengthening a system in need of experienced position players to complement the wealth of pitching they’ve accumulated. The negative view, if there is one, is that many of the bats taken after Torkelson still have questions – Dingler’s rise was pegged on a strong couple weeks in the spring before the college season ended, Cabrera needs to hit for enough power to stick in a corner outfield spot, Cruz is a hit over power guy with plate discipline concerns, and Workman is more of a project at the plate. But the reality is that most draft picks have questions and landing two 50 OFP and two 45 OFP’s, in addition to Torkelson, should net the Tigers a strong return down the road. Al Avila, Scott Pleis and team deserve an “A” for this showing.
Mark Anderson, Director of Scouting
It’s easy to sit here and say the Tigers nailed this draft on the basis that all of the individual players were highly rated by respected outlets. It’s also easy to say the Tigers nailed this draft on the basis of information from scouts and talent evaluators that I have trusted for many years. What’s hard is to nitpick the results of the draft or the apparent strategy because there was no funny business or lack of clarity. The club popped polished hitters with strong track records at just about every turn, and where they didn’t (Dingler and Keith) the snagged intriguing upside. The strategy was clear, add hitters at every turn to continue bolstering a farm system heavy in pitching talent. The Tigers did that and did that well. Snap judgements on drafts are inherently dangerous but it’s a clear ‘A’ from this evaluator. The Tigers hit this one out of the park, something they hope their draft choices will do plenty of down the line.
Joe Heintskill, Staff Writer
The draft is about talent acquisition, plain and simple. The best drafts however, add significant talent (accomplished by maximizing value) while helping to address the needs of the organization. The difficulty in balancing these factors is everywhere. Focus too much on value and you end up with pockets of strength and other of weakness. Focus too much on need and you allow better players (assets) to pass you by. When it comes to the Tigers 2020 draft class they did an outstanding job of walking the tight rope between value and need. It is no secret the arms outpace the bats in the Tigers system. With that in mind, Avila and his team clearly setup their draft board to address that deficiency. It certainly helps when you have the first overall pick and can add a player the quality of Spencer Torkelson. But, Detroit also selected position players with each of their five remaining picks helping to balance the farm system. The amazing part is, they filled a need while still getting strong value (in this case meaning they were selected after their consensus ranking) for the majority of their picks. If adding talent that was a strong value, while addressing need, is how we evaluate drafts, the Tigers clearly deserve an “A” for this years effort.
Joe Underhill, Staff Writer
When you come off of a 114 loss season and are picking 1-1 you had better get the draft right. The Detroit Tigers did just this in the Abbreviated 2020 MLB draft. Using all six picks on the positional talent the system lacked, while finding a nice balance between intriguing potential and polished bats. Tork has a bat everyone is rightfully excited about, but the Tigers added players with positional versatility and impressive upside. Only one of positional players is an outfielder, which speaks to what the Tigers see as their area of need. I am particularly interested in watching the development of Trei Cruz and Colt Keith. Overall, the Tigers didn’t overreach for any players and earn an “A” from this writer.