06/09/10 12:35 AM ET
Experience, catchers highlight Tigers' Day 2
Collegiate talent, backstops fill organization's needs
By Alex DiFilippo / MLB.com
With their first handful of selections, they stuck with established college talent. Two of the club's first five picks on the afternoon were catchers, and the other three were starting pitchers, all of whom came from major college conferences.
The Tigers saw something they liked in the pitching staff from the University of Texas. With pick No. 48, the Tigers selected Longhorns closer Bruce Ruffin and then went on to select his teammate, right-handed pitcher Cole Green, with pick No. 133.
The selections were pretty balanced through the latter rounds, but it was evident that the organization was looking to pick up as many quality catchers as possible. The Tigers selected four of them with their 29 picks on Tuesday, three of which came in the first eight rounds. The club even chose catcher Patrick Leyland, the son of current manager Jim Leyland.
As expected, the Tigers also drafted a large number of pitchers. They selected eight right-handed pitchers and eight left-handed pitchers on the day.
While Texas was well represented for the Tigers early on, Arkansas also became a hot bed for the Tigers as the day went on. Three Razorbacks were selected, two of them back-to-back in Rounds 15 and 16.
Round 2, Drew Smyly, LHP, Arkansas: Lefty pitchers are always at a premium, and Arkansas ace Drew Smiley was certainly near the top of many Draft boards. The sophomore slinger has compiled a 9-1 record in 13 starts and 17 appearances with a 2.56 ERA this season. His command and control of the strike zone is certainly his strength. This year, he has racked up 108 strikeouts compared to 33 walks. His four-pitch arsenal could make him a viable candidate for a spot at the end of the rotation in years to come.
Round 3, Rob Brantly, Catcher, UC-Riverside: With catchers flying off the board in Round 3, the Tigers may have felt the pressure to pick up a backstop. Brantly started every game for the Highlanders this season and sported a .373 batting average with a .569 slugging percentage in his sophomore campaign. Signing Brantly may take some time; he was selected by the Nationals in the 46th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft but didn't sign.
Round 4, Cole Green, RHP, Texas: Green was the third Longhorns pitcher selected in the Draft, and the second Texas slinger selected by the Tigers. Green headlined a strong starting rotation and boasted a perfect 10-0 record entering the conference tournament en route to being named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year in his junior season.
Round 5, Alexander Burgos, LHP, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota: The junior ace owns a 13-1 record this year with a 1.42 ERA in 14 starts this season. He added 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, which led to his fastball increasing from 89 mph to 92 mph.
Round 6, John Holaday, Catcher, Texas Christian University: Holaday has displayed extra-base power with the Horned Frogs this season. Of his 85 hits, Holaday has recorded 22 doubles, one triple and 12 home runs. Holaday is one of three finalists for the Coleman Company-Johnny Bench Award.
Round 7, Corey Jones, Second baseman, Cal State-Fullerton: The 2010 season has been a comeback year for Jones. The junior second baseman was forced to take a medical redshirt in 2009 as he recovered from a broken leg. But he has started in every game for the Titans this season and is hitting .376 with six triples and eight home runs.
Round 8, Patrick Leyland, Catcher, Bishop Canevin High School: Leyland is best known as a defensive catcher, much like his father Jim Leyland was. But he isn't too shabby with the bat, either. In this season's playoffs, Leyland went 7-for-12 with a home run and six RBIs in five games before being eliminated.
Round 9, Tony Plagman, First baseman, Georgia Tech: The senior slugger brings some offensive punch to the Tigers' 2010 Draft class. A former walk-on, Plagman hit .360 his final collegiate season with 21 home runs and 78 RBIs. But he was drafted by the Yankees in the 46th round of the 2009 Draft and opted not to sign.
Round 10, Cole Nelson, LHP, Auburn: The 6-foot-7, 248-pound junior has the frame of big league pitcher. He has the arm, too. At one point in late February and early March, Nelson went 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA and struck out 23 batters in 19 innings. His numbers fell off as the year progressed and he was used in different pitching roles. But he certainly possesses loads of raw talent. Nelson was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 45th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft but opted not to sign.
Round 11, Brian Dupra, RHP, Notre Dame: Dupra is a power pitcher who doesn't issue many free passes. He pounds the strike zone, recording 53 strikeouts his junior season, compared to 22 walks.
Round 12, Kyle Ryan, LHP, Auburndale Senior High School: Ryan has already committed the University of Southern Florida, making the lefty a potentially difficult signing. The high school senior was a member of the USA Under-18 National Team that won the gold medal at the Pan Am Championships in Venezuela.
Round 13, Michael Polk, Left fielder, Tennessee: Led the Volunteers with a .352 batting average, a noticeable improvement from his .298 in his sophomore season. He recorded 12 home runs with a .588 slugging percentage and a .458 on base percentage this year.
Round 14, Patrick Cooper, RHP, Bradley University: Cooper will be another tough sign for the Tigers. The junior was drafted in 2009 by the D-backs but decided to continue playing college ball. He may make the same decision and decide to finish out his college career at Bradley. Cooper has a wide range of pitches that helped him earn the title of All-American and the Region XI Pitcher of the Year Award in 2009.
Round 15, Collin Kuhn, Left fielder, Arkansas-Fayetteville: Owns a .348 average with a whopping 18 home runs in his sophomore campaign. He's also quick on the basepaths, stealing successfully on 17 of 18 attempts.
Round 16, Jordan Pratt, RHP, Arkansas-Fayetteville: The Tigers opted for back-to-back picks from a talented Arkansas team. This time it was Pratt, a junior middle reliever who holds a 3-1 record and a 3.72 ERA in 23 appearances this season.
Round 17, Drew Gagnier, RHP, Oregon: Gagnier was selected by the Athletics in the 14th round of the 2009 First-Year Draft but didn't sign with the club. In his junior season with the Ducks, Gagnier played multiple roles. He owned an 0-2 record with a 3.54 ERA in 21 relief appearances. He was the closer for the team during his sophomore season, but split the duties his junior year, recording four saves in the process.
Round 18, Josh Ashenbrenner, Second baseman, Lewis-Clark State College: Ashenbrenner played second base, short stop and third base -- committing only two errors during the first three months of the season. For his defensive efforts, he was named to the 2010 Rawlings-NAIA Baseball Gold Glove Team.
Round 19, Jeff Rowland, Outfielder, Georgia Tech: Lefty batter with great speed and leadoff potential. He hit .322 for Georgia Tech this season along with 10 home runs and 13 stolen bases. But his biggest asset may be his defensive skills and the ground he is able to cover in the outfield. He was a 2009 All-ACC First Team selection.
Round 20, Tyler White, RHP, Alabama: As a middle reliever, White has posted a 3-3 record with a 5.93 record for the Crimson Tide. He has a strong fastball and a good breaking ball, but will need to be more consistent in finding the strike zone. In 33 1/3 innings this season, White recorded 32 strikeouts and 14 walks.
Round 21, James Meador, First baseman, University of San Diego: Meador has played both first base and right field with the Torreros. He's a power hitter who held a .391 batting average with a whopping 62 RBIs in his senior season. Maybe most impressively, he struck out only 19 times in 215 at-bats this season.
Round 22, Jake Hernandez, Catcher, Los Osos High School: At the Urban Youth Academy in February, Hernandez proved to Major League scouts that he can catch among the top prospects in baseball. But with still being in high school, it's unclear how much he will be able to produce offensively.
Round 23, Dominic Ficociello, Shortstop, Fullerton High School: Ficociello has already committed to playing his college ball at Arkansas next season, which could be problematic for the Tigers. His defensive skills may be lacking slightly, but his powerful bat makes up for it. He's a strong switch-hitter who is still developing more power as he grows into his body.
Round 24, Tyler Clark, RHP, Missouri: Clark boasted strong numbers in his sophomore season at Missouri, but those numbers fell off this year. The middle reliever had a 4.97 ERA with a 2-2 record in 26 appearances, compared to a 2.86 ERA his sophomore season.
Round 25, Shawn Teufel, LHP, Liberty University: The Flames' ace pitcher, Teufel owns a 10-4 record with a 2.44 ERA. This season, he has held opposing hitters to a .232 average and has only surrendered three home runs in 103 1/3 innings pitched.
Round 26, Jeff Ferrell, RHP, Pitt CC: Ferrell's record of 3-3 and his ERA of 4.97 may not indicate it, but the freshman pitcher can throw strikes. He tallied 41 strikeouts and only six walks this year. His control will need to be improved, but he's got what it takes to keep hitters guessing.
Round 27, Leslie Smith, Right fielder, St. Louis CC Meramec: Smith has already committed to playing at Ole Miss starting in the fall of 2010. He held a .351 batting average with 25 doubles and four triples through 58 games this year. He's an athletic player who has a strong arm from the outfield.
Round 28, Jack Duffey, LHP, The Heritage School: Fresh off a Georgia State championship, Duffey was selected by the Tigers. He was the 2009 GISA Player of the Year and practically shut down opposing teams on his own en route to the state championship this season.
Round 29, Christopher Joyce, LHP, Central Arizona College: The freshman lefty posted an impressive 12-3 record with a 2.36 ERA in 18 starts this season. He allowed only 20 extra-base hits in 91 2/3 innings during his freshman season.
Round 30, Logan Hoch, LHP, Wichita State: Hoch held a 2-1 record and a 2.18 ERA in 23 appearances in his senior season after red-shirting last year due to undergoing shoulder surgery. His 30 strikeouts on the season are impressive, especially because he only surrendered 33 hits.
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.