06/07/06 8:31 PM ET
Detroit drafts seasoned players
Day 2 draft signees may head to Class A Oneonta
By Sam Miller / MLB.com
"Once you get to a certain round, most of the kids decide on school and pass up signing," Tigers assistant director of amateur scouting James Orr said. "It's just how the draft works out."
The Tigers began Day 2 by taking in-state product and its fourth left-handed pitcher, Duane Below. Projected anywhere from the 15th to 30th round by Baseball America, the 6-foot-2 hurler (Lake Michigan College) was ranked as one of the best prospects from the state of Michigan.
"Our scout saw him and said he's a good-sized kid with a breaking ball and [durability]," Orr said.
Joining Below in the Tigers organization is University of Michigan fifth-year southpaw Paul Hammond. Named the team's most valuable pitcher, Hammond led the team with eight wins and finished second with a 2.36 ERA. Below and Hammond join a list of Tiger legends that includes former All-Star catcher Bill Freehan and Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer. Freehan and Gehringer were two of Michigan's 71 alumni to have played in the Majors.
Detroit grabbed another left-hander from traditional powerhouse Notre Dame in the 21st round. Tom Thornton (7-3, 3.94 ERA in '05) formed the backbone of the Irish's rotation, along with Chicago Cubs 2006 fifth-round pick Jeff Samardzija and Minnesota Twins 14th-rounder selection Jeff Manship.
Whereas Michigan and Notre Dame are among the leading baseball schools in the country, New Mexico and Nicholls St. are relatively obscure on the diamond, with four Major League alumni produced from both programs' history. But that's where the Tigers' picks first baseman Christopher Carlson and right-hander Rudy Darrow are from, respectively.
Carlson, a Louisville Slugger All-American, hit .366 with 21 home runs and 79 RBIs for the Lobos. This spring he set a MWC Championship record for most RBIs (seven) in a conference tournament game.
Award-nominee Kodiak Quick (Kansas, right-hander) came to the Tigers in the 33rd round. In his collegiate career, the senior was named to the 2006 Brooks Wallace Award Watch List for the nation's top player; he led Kansas in wins (10) as well as innings pitched (121.1) by a junior.
Four rounds later saw Quick's Big 12 rival, Baylor senior righty Ryan LaMotta, come to the Tigers. LaMotta, a 2006 Baseball America Top-50 senior prospect, lists in the top 10 in nine categories for Bear annals.
Right-hander Christopher Krawczyk (22nd round) joins Philadelphia Phillies slugger Ryan Howard and Washington Nationals outfielder Matt Cepicky as Missouri State alums in professional baseball.
Orr said Krawcyk and most of the other Day 2 Detroit draftees would be headed for Class A Oneonta, which begins play on June 20.
"For the most part, most of the guys we draft and sign usually go to the short-season leagues and the Gulf Coast League. Some of them might go to Oneonta for a month and then get moved up. It kind of depends where our needs are and if some of these kids are advanced enough to play."
Sam Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.