The 2021 MLB Draft is less than three weeks away, and with 3 of the top 40 picks and the second-largest bonus pool of any team, this may represent the last big chance for the Detroit Tigers to add talent. impact enthusiasts during their current reconstruction.
We’ve profiled the Detroit Tigers’ most likely selections with 3rd pick this year including Jackson Jobe, Jack Leiter and Marcelo Mayer. And look for profiles on potential second rounds in the coming days.
On a more macro level, this year’s draft comes into the final year of the current Collective Agreement (CBA), and it may be the last to use the unnecessarily complicated bonus and allocation systems. It could also be the final draft where most of the choices are non-negotiable.
But today we’re going to travel ten years back to revisit the 2011 MLB Draft, the last of the free draft before the current bonus pool system was implemented. A decade is a good round number to look back on, but 2011 also happens to be one of the most interesting and impactful drafts of all time.
The 2011 MLB Draft
Drafts are always a bit boring, and the success or failure of individual players depends on a host of factors beyond pure skill level. But it’s not hard to tell when a draft class is special, and it didn’t take long for reviewers to realize that 2011 was a potentially generational draft.
Ten years later, those assessments have proven to be correct. In terms of Total WAR in the first round, the 2011 Draft ranks 6th all-time, and at the end of the season, it will rank 3rd. There have only been a handful of drafts where each of the top 10 picks made the majors. The top 29 players in the 2011 draft have reached the big leagues.
The first round of 2011 has so far produced 21 All-Star appearances, 8 Silver Slugger Awards, 7 Gold Gloves, 3 ERA titles, 2 Rookies of the Year and 2 Cy Young winners. And the talent in 2011 went well beyond the first round, with players like Nick Ahmed (2nd round), Mike Clevinger (4th), Mookie Betts (5th), Marcus Semien (6th) and Kyle Hendricks (8th) ) all having great careers. until now.
Detroit Tigers in 2011 MLB Draft
The Detroit Tigers would have picked 19th overall in 2011, but they lost their first-round pick by signing Victor Martinez. Teams were always free to spend as much money as they wanted, so many thought the Tigers would just shell out a lot of money to get first-round talent later in the draft, like they did in the spent with Rick Porcello and Nick Castellanos, among others.
Things didn’t turn out that way, but it turned out the Detroit Tigers ended up with plenty of players from the 2011 Draft anyway:
|CJ Cron||1||17||angels||8.8||Free agency|
|Mikie mahtook||1||31||Rays||0.3||To exchange|
|Michel fulmer||1||44||Food||9.6||To exchange|
|Daniel norris||2||74||Blue jays||5.6||To exchange|
|Nick ramirez||4||131||Brewers||0.6||Milk free agent|
|Ryan charpentier||7||240||Rays||-1.6||Milk free agent|
2011 Detroit Tigers Draft Pick
Now let’s look at the actual picks of the Detroit Tigers in the 2011 draft. We’ll be highlighting every pick from the first ten rounds, and while admittedly unfair, we’ll take a look at who else the team might have taken. We’ll also take a look at two other players who have made it to the big leagues.
|Aaron Westlake||3||1B||106||Double A|
|Brandon loy||5||SS||167||Double A|
|Jason krizan||8||OF||257||Triple A|
James mccann – There is no doubt that James McCann was a disappointment for the Tigers. He produced 2.3 WAR in Detroit over four full seasons, and it was not tendered after a particularly poor 2018 season. But he succeeded elsewhere, making the 2019 All-Star Game and was one of the best 2nd rounds in the draft. Only Nick Ahmed (12.0 WAR) was better.
Aaron Westlake – Drafting a first baseman is always risky, because he has to hit a ton to be useful. Westlake had a terrific season as a fourth-year junior at Vanderbilt, hitting .344 / .463 / .640 with 18 home runs, but he never hit a lot pro ball and retired after the 2014 season. There wasn’t a lot of talent picked up in the 3rd round, but Tony Cingrani (2.4 WAR) made 7 picks after Westlake.
Jason king – Jason King was an aggressive hitter with an interesting mix of power and speed at Kansas State (one of David Chadd’s former stopping grounds), but a knee injury sapped his athleticism, and he struggled in the professional ball, never playing after 2013. Noe Ramirez made a few picks later, but otherwise the Tigers haven’t missed much in taking on King.
Brandon loy – Loy was a first shortstop in Texas who made decent contact but had no power. He was best known for the sparrow. True to form, he produced just .228 with two homers in four seasons in the minor leagues. Five picks after the Detroit Tigers took on Loy, the Boston Red Sox selected a shortstop named Mookie Betts. Ouch.
Tyler collins – Collins couldn’t hack him at Baylor, but he hit like crazy at Howard Junior College in Texas, and he eventually made it to the big leagues. He spent part of four seasons with the Tigers, but he is best remembered for giving his home fans an unfortunate salute at home, and he hasn’t played professional ball since 2018. The Blue Jays have taken on Anthony DeSclafini (8.7 WAR) two picks after Collins and the White Sox selected Marcus Semien (25.1 WAR) four picks after Collins.
Brian flynn – A big left-hander from Wichita State (another former home of David Chadd), Flynn showed promise in professional ball and was a third of the package Detroit sent Miami to land Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante in 2012. He made his league debut in 2013 and appeared in 102 MLB games, most recently with the Royals in 2019. Ken Giles (7.7 WAR) was the best 7th round pick after Flynn.
Jason krizan –A senior signed for just $ 50,000, Krizan has been a strong organizational soldier for the Detroit Tigers for eight seasons. He currently plays Triple-A in the San Francisco Giants organization. The Texas Rangers took Kyle Hendricks (21.5 WAR) seven picks after Krizan.
Chad Wright – Wright was a solid varsity player for Kentucky, but turned out to be a pro ball tween who lacked the speed to play down and the power to play a corner. His professional career ended after the 2014 season. The Red Sox took Travis Shaw (9.0 WAR) five picks after Wright.
Curt Casali – Another Vanderbilt product, Casali was a senior sign who praised his approach and reception. There were early rumors that he might be better than 2nd round pick McCann, and that was true until the last few seasons. Casali was the top 10th round pick in 2011, but the Tigers traded him for Kyle Lobstein ahead of the 2013 season. He is currently the backup receiver for the San Francisco Giants.
Chad smith – An accomplished reliever at USC, Chad Smith worked his way through the Detroit system and made 10 forgettable appearances for the Tigers in 2014. He pitched twice for the Oakland A in 2015, and finished in professional balloon after 2016.
Guido Knudson – One of two Guidos to ever reach the majors, Knudson made four appearances for the Detroit Tigers in 2015, but allowed 10 runs in just 5 innings. He spent time in the Pittsburgh and Seattle systems afterwards, but was done with the pro ball in 2016.
2011 Detroit Tigers Draft: Chances, Endings, and Nepotism Choices
Detroit’s 2011 draft draw was pretty poor overall. Their 11th round Dean Green was a career .306 hitter in minors, but lacked the power and defensive ability to reach the majors. The club split $ 650,000 between high school students Tyler Gibson (15th round) and Brett Harrison (18th round), but neither managed to get out of the A-ball.
For a while, it looked like their 29th round, Montreal Robertson, would be a great find for screening. He was from a small community college in Mississippi, but his big arm brought him closer to the majors. At one point, the Tigers even added him to their 40-man roster. But he suffered an abnormal shoulder injury while lifting weights in 2016, and he’s never thrown again.
It’s not uncommon to see teams recruit relatives of franchise icons or current employees, but the Detroit Tigers took the practice to the extreme in 2011. They picked:
- Colin Kaline (grandson of Al Kaline) on the 26th round
- Nick Avila (Al Avila’s nephew) on lap 37
- Blaise Salter (grandson of Bill Freehan) on lap 38
- Tucker Chadd (son of David Chadd) on lap 42
- Andrew Allen (son of Rod Allen) in the 45th round
- Brett Impemba (son of Mario Impemba) in the 49th round
Sometimes you have to keep it in the family.