The regular season has ended, and the records are final. The Detroit Tigers are the worst team in baseball. It was a race down to the last few games, with the Phillies, Giants, and Tigers all competing for the bottom spot, but a walk-off home run for Pablo Sandoval on Sunday allowed Detroit to take the dubious title. While it isn’t fun to lose, June 2018 will see the Tigers atop draft boards selecting first overall.
In the first mock draft since the standings became final, Baseball America predicted that Florida righthander Brady Singer would be the Tigers’ selection.
Singer, one of the top names from next year’s draft class, is the master of a fastball with potent arm-side run that will draw ugly swings from batters and make fans drool. He sits in the low-to-mid 90s, but that’s more than enough velocity to make it a real weapon. He pairs his brilliant fastball with a slider that he threw in high school, but refined in college with the help of Alex Faedo, another recent Tigers draft pick known for his vicious breaking ball.
Thanks to a good fastball/slider combination and the ability to locate both pitches, Singer has not needed a changeup up to this point in his career. That may have been good for him at one point, but he is going to have to work on developing a serviceable one if he hopes to be a starter in the higher levels of professional ball. No matter how good a pitcher’s fastball is, he needs a change of pace to keep hitters off of the heater.
Singer has pitched well in his time at Florida. In 2017, he pitched 126 innings, fanning 129 batters. That totals to 9.21 strikeouts per nine innings. He also limited walks, allowing only 2.29 walks per nine. While these numbers are very good, they also aren’t the kind of incredible stats that many top picks have posted in their college careers. However, Singer showed marked improvement over the previous season, and the stuff is there to make another leap plausible, so it is too early to become upset over statistics.
The only major red flag in Singer’s profile is his health. Some scouts take issue with his delivery, which employs a lower arm slot to improve movement and deception, but is somewhat violent. In fact, the only reason that he was allowed to go to college in the first place was because of a failed physical after being selected in the second round of the 2015 draft.
The Tigers have a not-so-secret love affair with pitchers with good fastballs. Detroit has drafted many of them from the college ranks in recent years. However, in their commentary on the projected pick, Baseball America stated that because of this, Singer is the “prohibitive favorite,” which may not be correct. Despite having taken a fellow Florida Gator in the 2017 draft, the Tigers have shown a preference for high-ceiling high schoolers, especially in the first round. Of their last several drafts, Faedo is the only college player that they have taken with their top pick. Detroit has opted for prep players such as Matt Manning, Beau Burrows, Derek Hill, and Jake Thompson instead.