Virginia pitcher Nick Howard could be a possibility for the Tigers with the 23rd pick. (Pat Jarrett / Associated Press)
After waiting on 22 teams to sort through amateur baseball’s premier prime cuts, the Tigers tonight will take a stab at their own first-round pick in baseball’s draft.
David Chadd, director of amateur scouting for the Tigers, will decide whether a pitcher or a position player becomes the 23rd overall selection and in time buoys a farm system and, perhaps eventually, a big-league roster in Detroit.
But even Chadd admits he has no idea how tonight’s talent hunt will shake out when so many teams in line ahead of Detroit are offering so few clues.
“I usually get some confirmation” Chadd said, speaking of his competitors who tonight (7 p.m., MLB Network) will join with Detroit on the first two rounds of a draft that continues through Saturday. “But I don’t have any at this point.
“I just know we’ll get a good player.”
The Tigers have contingencies beginning, of course, with pitchers.
They seriously will consider Nick Howard, a 6-foot-4 right-handed reliever from Virginia whom the Tigers would stamp as a starter.
They are very high on a Georgia prep right-hander, Spencer Adams, who might escape those first 22 selectors. They like UNLV right-hander Erick Fedde even if he last month had Tommy John surgery.
They are not as keen on Nick Burdi, Lousville’s 100-mph right-hander, even if various national outlets have had them taking Burdi.
The position options are at least as tempting, which makes this potentially a different kind of draft for the Tigers when their tradition has been pitching.
Casey Gillaspie, a switch-hitting first baseman from Wichita State, is on the short list, as is another Georgia high school star, third baseman Michael Chavis. They might also find irresistible that left-handed slugging replica of Adam Dunn, a first baseman from Kentucky named A.J. Reed.
And while they would also consider Kyle Schwarber, a catcher-outfielder from Indiana, it is expected Schwarber will be gone, as will a host of pitchers the Tigers would seriously ponder: high school right-handers Grant Holmes and Sean Reid-Foley, as well as TCU left-hander Brandon Finnegan, who like some of the above, likely will have been vacuumed up by the time the Tigers take their first crack at this year’s national draft crop.
The Tigers have the 63rd overall pick in the draft’s second round, which follows the first and supplemental (compensatory) rounds.
The draft resumes Friday (rounds 3-10) and wraps up Saturday.