Tigers notes: Detroit drafts Blake Bortles' brother
The Tigers opened the last day of the Major League Baseball Draft just how they started the first day, with, what else, more pitching.
Detroit on Wednesday used its 11th-round selection on right-hander Garett King from California Baptist University, and its 12th-rounder on Will Vest, a right-hander from Stephen F. Austin. The Tigers drafted seven pitchers in their first 12 picks, and all of them were college arms.
King played two seasons at Nebraska, even making the Big Ten All-Freshmen team, before transferring back closer to home. The Anaheim Hills, Calif., native pitched in 12 games this season, his junior year, and was 7-1 with a 2.33 ERA. Opponents hit just .205 against him, and he struck out 85 and walked just 17 over 77.1 innings.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder typically went deep into games, throwing two complete games, including a 15-strikeout no-hitter in March. It would've been a perfect game if not for a hit batter.
In Vest, the Tigers landed a pitcher who had collegiate success as a reliever. This season, in 31 games, all relief appearances, he posted a 1.38 ERA and struck out 46 in 45.2 innings. Interestingly, the 6-1, 180-pounder spent his first two seasons as a hitter, before making the transition to the mound.
* With their 22nd-round pick, the Tigers drafted a kid with a familiar name, Mississippi third baseman Colby Bortles. He's the younger brother of Blake Bortles, the starting quarterback for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. He strikes out a bit, but has a good eye, too, to go with big-time power. He had 10 homers and 42 RBIs during his senior season.
* Often in the later rounds, you'll see a ranked prospect pop up, as No. 200 (per MLB.com), right-hander Nick Storz, did with the Tigers in the 31st round. He's a prized high-school prospect out of New York, but has reportedly let it be known he's likely headed to LSU. It'd take a lot more than $125,000 to get him to change his mind, and Detroit won't have the wiggle room.
* With their next two picks, at 32 and 33, the Tigers went the smarty-pants route, taking Florida State right-hander Drew Carlton, who had a 4.32 grade-point average in high school (apparently that's possible!), then Penn right-hander Jake Nelson, who's enrolled in the prestigious Wharton School of Business. The Tigers took two players each from Penn, Kent State and Michigan.
* It took until the 27th round before the Tigers took a local kid, but they finally pulled the trigger, with Michigan utilityman Jake Bivens. Then, two rounds later, they selected Michigan left-hander Grant Reuss, who they also drafted out of high school.
* The local parade really picked up steam later on, with three in the span of four picks from 35 through 38 -- Portage Central right-hander Jake Criswell (Michigan), Holt left-hander Jesse Heikkinen (Michigan State) and Detroit Country Day center fielder Steven Mann (Duke). Being so late in the draft, all three likely will honor their college commitments.
* The Tigers drafted their ninth Vanderbilt player since 2011, taking switch-hitting center fielder Ro Coleman in the 34th round. He's a neat story, being just 5-foot-5 -- and that's his listed height. Coach Tim Corbin raves about his drive and determination, saying, "When this young man leaves our baseball program, he will impact a community and a state."
* Here's a breakdown of the Tigers draft: 21 pitchers, nine infielders, eight outfielders, two catchers; 32 college players, eight high-school players.
2017 TIGERS DRAFT PICKS
1. Alex Faedo, RHP, 6-5/225, Florida
2. Reynaldo Rivera, OF/1B, 6-6/250, Chipola College, Fla.
3. Joey Morgan, C, 6-0/185, Washington
4. Gio Arriera, RHP, 6-2/220, Palm Beach State College, Fla.
5. Sam McMillan, C, 5-10/165, Suwannee High School, Fla.
6. Dane Myers, RHP, 6-2/205, Rice
7. Brad Bass, RHP, 6-6/253, Notre Dame
8. Max Green, LHP, 6-1/175, Pepperdine
9. Luke Burch, CF, 6-2/185, Kent State
10. Garrett McCain, CF, 6-0/180, Oklahoma State
11. Garett King, RHP, 6-4/200, California Baptist
12. Will Vest, RHP, RHP, 6-0/180, Stephen F. Austin
13. Cole Peterson, SS, 5-11/160, St. Bonaventure
14. Antoine Mistico, CF, 5-10/175, Chandler HS, Ariz.
15. Teddy Hoffman, RF, 6-0/200, Texas State
16. Carson Lance, RHP, 6-5/245, Lamar
17. Billy Lescher, RHP, 6-4/215, Penn
18. Dylan Rosa, LF, 6-2/200, Kent State
19. Ryan Karstetter, 3B, 6-4/200, State College of Florida Manatee
20. Dylan Burdeaux, 1B, 6-2/230, Southern Mississippi
21. Jordan Pearce, 3B, 6-2/200, Nevada-Reno
22. Colby Bortles, 3B, 6-5/230, Ole Miss
23. Mitchell Stalsberg, LHP, 6-0/215, Winona State, Minn.
24. Jordan Knutson, LHP, 6-0/185, Missouri State
25. Dylan Stock, RHP, 6-4/195, Binghamton
26. Drew Crosby, LHP, 6-0/196, Memphis
27. Jake Bivens, UT, 6-1/190, Michigan (Battle Creek)
28. Cam Warner, 2B, 6-2/188, TCU
29. Grant Reuss, LHP, 6-5/215, Michigan (Bloomfield Hills)
30. Kyle Thomas, RHP, 6-3/195, Northwestern Ohio
31. Nick Storz, RHP, 6-6/242, Poly Prep Country Day School, N.Y.
32. Drew Carlton, RHP, 6-1/207, Florida State
33. Jake Nelson, RHP, 6-3/215, Penn
34. Ro Coleman, CF, 5-5/140, Vanderbilt
35. Jeff Criswell, RHP, 6-2/201, Portage Central HS
36. Jesse Heikkinen, LHP, 6-1/180, Holt HS
37. Shane Cooper, SS, 5-11/185, Hutchinson C.C., Kan.
38. Steven Mann, CF, 5-10/190, Detroit Country Day HS
39. Jack Leftwich, RHP, 6-3/205, TNXL Academy, Fla.
40. Rhys Cratty, 2B, 5-11/185, Langley HS, British Columbia