Analyzing The Tigers’ 2010 Draft

The Tigers didn’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, but that didn’t stop them from spending first-round money on three players. David Chadd, the team’s vice president of amateur scouting, says it’s important to be able to spend, but insists that the Tigers' approach isn't about the money.

“I’m just trying to get the best player in the Tigers system,” Chadd said. “I don’t think spending has anything to do with [selecting the best players] at all. It comes down to the players, not the money.”

The Tigers have a reputation for spending big on players who price themsleves off of other teams’ draft boards. For example, Detroit paid up for Rick Porcello and Jacob Turner after other teams shied away from their demands. This year the Tigers spent on prep third baseman Nick Castellanos, who obtained a $3.45MM deal

Chadd says Castellanos was by far the best player available when the Tigers made their first pick (44th overall) and at the time of the draft, Baseball America agreed. It’s never fair to compare teenagers to big league All-Stars, but Chadd reluctantly admitted that Castellanos reminds him of Evan Longoria.

“I’m very confident in his ability to play third base,” Chadd said of the 18-year-old Florida native. “He can field, he can throw, he can run. So as a scout, when you start talking about tools, he has all five.”

The Tigers also signed Texas reliever Chance Ruffin to a $1.15MM deal and Arkansas left-hander Drew Smyly for $1.1MM. Chadd compares Ruffin to Huston Street, another right-hander who closed for the Longhorns. Smyly doesn’t throw as hard as Ruffin, but Chadd says the lefty's pitching instincts are like Cliff Lee’s.

Castellanos, Ruffin and Smyly would be welcome additions to any farm system, but it took a while for the Tigers to come to terms with the trio, especially Castellanos. 

“It came down to the last second,” Chadd said. “It was gut-wrenching and fortunately we got a deal done, but it was tense.”

Teams, players and agents will always have tense moments before the deadline to sign picks, whether or not the deadline falls in mid-August. At this point, it’s too late for players to start their pro careers, so Chadd would be in favor of moving the deadline to sign picks in the next collective bargaining agreement.

“I think that makes the most sense,” he said. “I would be extremely in favor of that … The earlier the deadline, the better from me.”

For example, a mid-July deadline would give teams, players and college coaches certainty earlier on in the summer and would enable players who sign at the last minute to start their pro careers sooner.

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12 Comments on "Analyzing The Tigers’ 2010 Draft"

5 years 18 days ago

castellanos is the first tigers position player to be excited about since cameron maybin. it is scary how thin the tigers are for position prospects. outside of daniel fields, it is really bare.

5 years 18 days ago

So the Tigers have drafted Evan Longoria, Huston Street, and Cliff Lee type pitcher in one draft? Optimism is good I guess.

5 years 18 days ago

Just like all the crap prospects the Red Sox try to peddle to other teams for elite players lol.

5 years 18 days ago

When they say it’s not about the money, usually it’s about the money.

5 years 18 days ago

The Tigers have drafter really well lately and I think a ton of that is money. They also really shy away from position prospects early on. Perhaps they think there is less disparity between hitting prospects and pitchers, but it sure is odd to see a team draft pitchers year after year. Again, had Castellanos been willing to sign for much closer to slot, he prolly would have gone in the top 25-30 picks.

5 years 18 days ago

It’s the old rule of thumb. It’s a lot harder to get arms than it is to get bats. And when you need bats, if you’ve stock piled up on arms, you can always get your bat. Case in point: They obtained the best hitter in baseball for two first round draft picks(Miller and Maybin).

Right now the Tigers have three pitchers basically entrenched in the rotation for years to come in Verlander, Scherzer and Porcello. Add to Andrew Oliver being closer to joining the team than most prospects, he’d make a solid #4 starter. Smyly shouldn’t be terribly far off and he’d just have to be a #4 or #5 pitcher at best. With Turner further off, Tigers fans have a lot to be excited about with their rotation in the next couple years.

5 years 18 days ago

Definitely, I love the way teams like the Tigers and Orioles are shaping up to have great home-grown rotations for the future. I would just like to see them take a couple more chances on position players that have a chance to be very good. Its landing impact position players (McCutchen, Heyward, Braun, Tulowitzki) that can really take a team to the next level. They also carry much less risk than pitching prospects.

5 years 18 days ago

Castellanos swing is too long…will bust.

5 years 18 days ago

“He’s 6-3, 6-4, with a good body, a good frame and a very short, compact, easy, fluid swing,” said Chadd, who had been sizing up Castellanos since June of 2009, along with area scouts, and with the help of two scouting visits by assistant general manager Al Avila.

From The Detroit News:

No offense, but I’m going to trust the professional scouts over the opinion of some random poster. How many times have you seen him live?

5 years 18 days ago

Another reason why we need slotting. You can then move the signing deadline way up (mid to end of July).

Here’s my slotting recommendation now.

1. Slot money is allocated in a similar method used by the NBA/NFL. Before the draft begins everyone knows what each picks ceiling will be. There should also be a floor. For example, pick 5’s slot might be between $3.5m and 5.5m.
2. Teams can trade picks for other picks or players. This will be especially helpful for teams that draft highest but don’t want to shell out top dollars.
3. Teams can sign a player to an over slot price. However, just like exceeding the luxury tax threshold, a team will pay a penalty that is based on a percentage of how much the pick exceeds the slotting. So, if the Tigers want pay a guy $3.75m when the slot amount is $750k, they would pay a penalty on $3m (say 50%). The net on a player like that would be $3.75m + $1.5m = $5.25m.

Take Castellanos as an example. If he really wants $3.5m his choices are to get drafted in the first 10 picks or so OR convince another team that he is worth $3.5m PLUS the penalty for paying over slot. If he can’t find anyone willing to do that and he drops out of the top 10 he can either accept money that is in line with his slot or re-enter the draft in a few years.

Teams will know in advance approximately what they will be spending on the draft. Negotiations will be more limited since there is a pre-defined range. This gets players signed quickly and on the team. Rich teams are penalized heavily for drafting over slot.

5 years 18 days ago

Only reasons you need slotting is for teams that won’t spend. Only reasons you have teams that won’t spend is those teams do not need to exist in the 1st place.

5 years 17 days ago

If your going to cap the draft you might as well just cap the league. If the Yankees can go out and spend almost 10x on their payroll then the what the cheapest team does, then the rest of the league should be able to spend whatever they want on their draft picks. I would rather have the Tigers spend a little more on draft picks and build the farm system, than to have to over pay for aging free agents.