With their first round pick the property of Milwaukee as compensation for the Prince Fielder signing, the Tigers did not select until the second round when they nabbed Jake Thompson, a 6-4 235 pound pitcher out of Rockwall-Heath High School in Texas. Five of the Tigers first six picks were pitchers.
Thompson is a hard thrower who sits at 92-93 but has reached 94. As he matures, his velocity may as well. Originally committed to play college ball at Nebraska, Thompson switched his choice to TCU, but the Tigers should be able to convince him to sign professionally.
Like most high school pitchers, the development of his secondary pitches will determine how fast he moves through the system. A good slider and change round out his arsenal. Thompson has stated in interviews that he enjoys watching Matt Cain and Josh Johnson pitch. Both have had a lot success in the big leagues and the Tigers hope Thompson eventually will as well.
VP of Amateur Scouting for the Tigers, David Chadd, joined us on the air and said with the new CBA agreement in place, what you can offer kids is more structured through a more concrete slotting system.
“That certainly made this draft more of a challenge,” he said. “Teams are limited in the bonuses they can offer.”
Justin Verlander remains the centerpiece of recent Tigers drafts, but with Drew Smyly, Casey Crosby and Jacob Turner already contributing and Rick Porcello in the rotation, the Tigers have done a nice job of cultivating arms. The hope is that this draft will continue that tradition.