Major League Baseball held its first ever draft lottery on Tuesday evening, and the Detroit Tigers landed the 3rd overall pick.
The Detroit Tigers finished the 2022 season 66-96, the sixth-worst record in baseball. As such, they came into tonight’s lottery with the sixth best odds (7.5%) of landing the first overall pick. But the MLB draft lottery puts the first six picks up for grabs, so Detroit’s most likely landing spot (23.3%) was the eighth pick. Their odds of picking 3rd were 8.5%.
This is the fifth time the Tigers have picked third overall, and the second time in the last three years. Their results haven’t been great. Les Filkens (1975) and Kyle Sleeth (2003) never reached the majors, while Eric Munson (1999) was an epic bust. Jackson Jobe was the pick in 2021. Historically speaking, there’s plenty of talent to be had with the third pick, including Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Manny Machado, among others.
The official slot values of each pick haven’t been announced yet, but the third pick should add $7.5-8 million to Detroit’s bonus pool.
The Tigers also landed a pick in the Competitive Balance Round A, which should be in the 35-40 range and add another $2 million or so to their bonus pool. After the first round, teams pick based on their record from last year. That mean’s Detroit’s second-round pick will likely be in the top 50.
The MLB Draft is not as celebrated as its NFL and NBA counterparts, for good reason. College baseball isn’t nearly as popular as college football and basketball. And most of the players taken in the MLB Draft are four to five years away from making an impact at the highest level.
But that doesn’t mean the draft isn’t important. On the Woodward Tigers podcast we recently discussed how the great Detroit Tigers teams of the 1980s were largely built through the draft in the mid-to-late-70s.
So now that we know where the Tigers will pick, who are some players Scott Harris, Rob Metzler, and Mark Conner might target?
Detroit Tigers Draft Options
Dylan Crews – OF – LSU
The early favorite to go first overall, Crews stands out most for his right-handed power. Through two years of SEC play he has compiled a .356/.458/.677 line with 40 home runs in 125 games. He’s a good athlete who has played some center field, but he projects best as a prototypical right fielder.
Wyatt Langford – OF – Florida
Another right-handed hitting SEC outfielder, Langford exploded onto the scene for the Gators in 2022. He saw just four at-bats in 2021, but last year he hit .356/.447/.719 with 26 home runs. Langford played left field, but he may be able to handle center in pro ball. He also has some experience on the corner infield, and he played catcher in high school.
Enrique Bradfield – OF – Vanderbilt
Bradfield couldn’t be much different than the first two players on this list. He’s a left-handed hitter, a no-doubt center fielder, and he isn’t going to hit for much power. But Bradfield is a career .327 hitter in college, with more walks than strikeouts, and he’s an absolutely electric runner. In two seasons he has stolen 93 bases and been caught just six times.
Jacob Gonzalez – SS – Ole Miss
A left-handed hitting shortstop, Gonzalez had a terrific freshman year and followed that up with a solid sophomore campaign. He walks a lot and projects to be an average hitter with average power. Gonzalez is a smooth defender, but he may not be quite athletic enough to stick at shortstop in pro ball.
Jacob Wilson – SS – Grand Canyon
The son of 12-year big leaguer Jack Wilson, Jacob Wilson has near-elite bat-to-ball skills. He’s a lanky 6’3 with power projection and a 5.4% strikeout rate in college, but he’ll need to improve on defense to stick on the left side of the infield in pro ball.
Chase Dollander – RHP – Tennessee
Generally considered the best college pitcher in the draft class, Chase Dollander throws tons of strikes. He struck out 108 batters against just 13 walks in 79 innings in 2022. He does it with four different pitches, including a fastball that touches the upper-90s.
Max Clark – OF – Franklin High School (IN)
Max Clark heads into his senior season as the top prep player in his class. He’s a potential five-tool talent who projects to be an above-average hitter with above-average power from the left side. He’s also a 70-grade runner with a 70-grade arm, and he has a chance to be a plus defender in center field.
Walker Jenkins – OF – South Brunswick High School (NC)
Walker Jenkins isn’t the well-rounded athlete that Clark is, but he may offer more with the bat. He’s a lefty with the chance to be a plus hitter with plus power. He probably won’t stick in center field, but he has a strong arm and should fit fine in right field.
That’s just a handful of potential names to know for the 2023 MLB Draft. There are a dozen more players who could move into the top ten, and things will change dramatically between now and July. No matter what, with a top-three pick, and three choices in the top 50, the Tigers should be able to add more impact talent to their organization.