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Tigers wrap up 2002 draft
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06/05/2002 7:26 pm ET 
Tigers wrap up 2002 draft
Local boy gets the nod in 31st round Wednesday
By Jason Beck / MLB.com

Chris McCuiston cannot wait to start playing in the Tigers organization. (courtesy Michigan State)

Tigers' round-by-round picks

DETROIT -- Chris McCuiston spent four years at Michigan State waiting for his chance to become a big-league prospect. He need only look down the road to find a team that paid attention.

While three of his Spartan teammates were taken in the first day of the First-Year Player Draft, the suburban Detroit native entered Wednesday unsure whether he would hear from a Major League scout. He went to his summer job at an advertising firm in Warren as usual, but had MLB.com's draft coverage on his office computer when he saw his name pop up early in the afternoon. The taker: none other than his hometown Tigers, the team his grandmother followed years ago on the radio.

The wait for the call from a Tiger scout might have been tougher than waiting to see if he was even drafted. "A million things started going through my mind," McCuiston said from his family's home in Birmingham. "Do I call home? Do I call somebody?"

McCuiston grew up following Kirk Gibson before following Gibson's path to Michigan State. By McCuiston's senior season, he was starting to look (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) and play like Gibby, though McCuiston is one of the rare players who throws left-handed and bats right.

A summer workout program and a chance to play every day set up one of the more surprising senior seasons in the Big Ten, if not the nation. McCuiston entered the spring with a .244 career average, nine homers and 58 RBIs in three seasons. He topped all of those in one year, leading the team with 71 RBIs while batting .404 and homering 15 times.

2002 First-Year Player Draft
JUNE 4-5 | NEW YORK CITY
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FULL COVERAGE:
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"This year I knew I was going to come to the ballpark and play," McCuiston said. "I just never was able to prove myself in the past."

Even with those stats, he knew he wasn't going to hit himself into elite prospect status as a senior. Fellow Spartan outfielder Bob Malek, a junior two years younger, went in the fourth round to the Mets with comparisons to J.D. Drew.

Suffice it to say, the money isn't nearly as good for a 31st-round pick, a fact McCuiston already knew without his finance background. A semester shy of his bachelor's degree, he's about to put his education on hold for one last shot at his big-league dreams. That he'll chase them with his favorite team, which coincidentally has an opening for an outfield prospect or two and craves athletic players, only adds to the appeal.

"This is really the only chance I'm going to get," he said. "(My parents) want to see me go. The options are limited. They would love the opportunity to see me play."

Here's a pick-by-pick rundown of the Tigers' second day of the First-Year Player Draft:

Round 23: Drew Caravella, 1B, Ohio Wesleyan. The NCAA Division III Player of the Year hit .534 with 16 home runs and 89 RBI this year and led the nation in RBIs a year ago. "He's a polished first baseman," the Tigers' scouting report says. "He has a good glove around the bag and a little juice in his bat."

Round 24: Jody Roughton, 2B, Missouri. The junior led Mizzou with 60 RBIs, the highest by a Tiger since 1998, on his way to All-Big 12 Conference honors from the Austin American-Statesman. The left-handed hitter produces more power than his six-foot, 170-pound frame would suggest. He played three infield positions, making him a likely utility infield candidate.

Round 25: Daniel Nelson, SS, Crenshaw HS (Los Angeles). Tiger scouts compare the 5-foot-10, 165-pounder to Harold Reynolds. "He runs well, has good actions in the middle of the diamond," the report goes. He could end up at second base due to arm strength.

Round 26: Billy Kieninger, RHP, Miami (OH). The Redhawks closer converted to a starter midway through his senior season and threw three complete games, but the Tigers view him more for bullpen work. He carries good arm strength with a sinking fastball at 88-91 miles an hour along with a curveball and slider from his three-quarters delivery.

Round 27: Damien Myers, LHP, Concordia College. Detroit calls the Division II All-American a "crafty finesse left-hander." The junior led the nation in victories with a 14-1 record and ranked fourth in ERA. He's a little small at 5-feet-11.

Round 28: Everett Hancock, LHP, UNC-Greensboro. The soft-tossing left-hander went 2-0 with a 3.09 ERA in his senior season before breaking his collarbone March 8 and took a medical redshirt. He led the Spartans in innings pitched the previous two seasons.

Round 29: Miguel Donate, 1B, J. Morell HS (PR). He has yet to turn 18 but has the fluid swing and uppercut for a potential home-run hitter. "This guy's got a chance to hit with power and be a big, strong first baseman," one scout said.

Round 30: David Garcia, 2B, Santa Ana College. The smallish six-footer homered nine times and drove in 37 runs in his freshman season. "He's a little guy who can hit," the Tigers' report says.

Round 31: Chris McCuiston, CF, Michigan State. He's one of the rare players these days who throws left-handed but hits right-handed. The approach works; the senior led the Spartans in hits, batting .404 with 15 homers and a team-high 71 RBIs. "He's a muscular, powerful guy with a powerful bat," the Tigers' scouting report said of the Birmingham, Mich. native.

Round 32: Douglas Webb, RHP, Newberry Park (Calif.) HS. He's actually a catcher out of high school, but his arm suggests he'll translate well to the mound. He'll likely be a draft-and-follow selection who converts to pitching at the junior college level.

Round 33: Jose Rodriguez, RHP, Cypress (Calif.) College. Another catcher who the Tigers hope to make into a pitcher based on his above-average arm. He tossed 3 1/3 innings for Cypress as a freshman in 2002.

Round 34: Jason Allec, C, Cal State-Northridge. A tall catcher at 6-foot 3-inches, the junior won all-Big West Conference honors with a .320 average, eight homers and 45 RBIs. He's also a quality receiver behind the plate.

Round 35: Brandon McCormick, RHP, King Academy HS (SC). McCormick is considered a pitcher with plenty of upside, a fact undoubtedly helped by his 6-foot 9-inch height. At 210 pounds, he has some filling out to do.

Round 36: Chris Steinborn, LHP, Lakeland JC (OH). A Junior College All-America nominee, the 6-4 left-hander captured seven of his eight victories by complete game. "He's loose-bodied, has good late movement," one Tigers scout said. "He's a command-type pitcher who mixes in a good curveball."

Round 37: Ronnie Baron, RHP, Blinn (TX) JC. Tiger scouts describe the 6-foot 1-inch, 215-pounder as "a strong kid with good arm strength."

Round 38: Edward Romprey, SS, Bellevue U. The senior leadoff man possesses gap power and a plus arm plus sure hands at short, according to Tigers scouts.

Round 39: Kevin McDonald, C, Maryland. A four-year catcher with the Terrapins, showed sudden home run power over his final two seasons along with a steady bat. "He's a hard-nosed player," one Tiger scout said. "He has a strong, durable build."

Round 40: Matthew Taylor, LHP, Antioch (Tenn.) HS. By this year's standards, he's a smaller left-hander at 6-foot 1-inch and 165 pounds. However, he boasts easy arm actions and a three-quarters delivery. His fastball is clocked in the mid- to high-80s.

Round 41: Edgar Ortiz, 1B, Compton (Calif.) JC. He's a late-bloomer at age 23, but the Tigers like his 6-3, 225-pound frame and his power potential out of his right-handed bat.

Round 42: Travis Simmons, 3B, Cleveland (Tenn.) HS. The Tigers call the right-handed hitter a "high-ceiling" prospect who could eventually hit for average and power. He has average speed.

Round 43: Corey McCoy, CF, Pine Bluff (Ark.) HS. McCoy has an athletic build at 5-11, 175 but needs experience to go with his tools. He could eventually develop a power stroke to go with his speed.

Round 44: Sean Richardson, C, Palomar (Calif.) JC. The Tigers drafted him out of high school a year ago as a shortstop but wanted him to covert to a catcher. He adjusted decently while shuffling between catcher and outfielder. He led Palomar with a .387 average. He's likely a draft-and-follow prospect while he gains experience behind the plate. Jason Beck covers the Tigers for MLB.com and can be reached at jason.beck@mlb.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

TIGERS 2002 DRAFT PICKS
8 SCOTT A MOORE SS CYPRESS HS
49 BRENT A CLEVLEN CF WESTWOOD HS
80 CURTIS GRANDERSON OF U ILLINOIS
87 MATTHEW A PENDER RHP KENNESAW ST U
110 ROBERT L SOVIE OF STRATFORD ACADEMY
140 CLARENCE FLOWERS CF WALTHER LUTHERAN HS
170 CHRIS MAPLES RHP U NORTH CAROLINA
200 WILTON E REYNOLDS OF ORAL ROBERTS U
230 TROY M PICKFORD RHP ORAL ROBERTS U
260 MARCOS A HERNANDEZ LHP JUAN PONCE DE LEON HS
290 LUKE C CARLIN C NORTHEASTERN U
320 JOEL M ZUMAYA RHP BONITA VISTA HS
350 COREY H HAMMAN LHP MONTCLAIR ST COL
380 ANTHONY L REYES RHP U SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
410 JASON M GRAHAM RHP U CENTRAL FLORIDA
440 JESSE C CARLSON LHP U CONNECTICUT
470 MICHAEL A SMITH LHP VALDOSTA ST U
500 ROBERT L WATSON SS OKLAHOMA ST U
530 JACOB S COASH LHP CANYON HS
560 RAFAEL A MENDEZ C NOTRE DAME HS
590 JASON T KENNEDY OF U MINNESOTA
620 COREY E LOOMIS 2B BOWLING GREEN ST U
650 CAMERON G MCGUIRE C SOUTH GRAND PRAIRIE HS
680 DREW R CARAVELLA 1B OHIO WESLEYAN U
710 JODY S ROUGHTON 3B U MISSOURI
740 DANIEL D NELSON SS CRENSHAW HS
770 WILLIAM A KIENINGER RHP MIAMI U
800 DAMIAN C MYERS LHP CONCORDIA COL
830 EVERETT L HANCOCK LHP U NORTH CAROLINA
860 MIGUEL A DONATE 1B JUAN QUIRINDONGO MORELL H
890 DAVID M GARCIA SS SANTA ANA COL
920 CHRISTOPHER H MCCUISTON CF MICHIGAN ST U
950 DOUGLAS W WEBB RHP NEWBURY PARK HS
980 JOSE L RODRIGUEZ C CYPRESS COL
1010 JASON P ALLEC C CALIFORNIA ST U
1040 BRANDON D MCCORMICK RHP W. W. KING ACADEMY HS
1070 CHRISTOPHER E STEINBORN LHP LAKELAND JC
1100 RONALD W BARON RHP BLINN COL
1130 EDWARD L ROMPREY SS BELLEVUE U
1160 KEVIN M MCDONALD C U MARYLAND
1190 MATTHEW TAYLOR LHP ANTIOCH HS
1220 EDGAR ORTIZ 1B COMPTON JC
1250 TRAVIS SIMMONS 3B CLEVELAND HS
1279 COREY T MCCOY CF PINE BLUFF HS
1307 SEAN M RICHARDSON C PALOMAR JC




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