The 2009 MLB season is well underway, as time has fast approached onto the MLB Rookie Draft.
With the first overall pick, the Nationals are all but set on pitching phenom, Steven Strasburg out of San Diego State University. But, questions remain throughout the league on who will be selected where and what teams need to fill certain voids in their organizations.
The Detroit Tigers have the ninth overall pick in this year's draft. Will Detroit find a Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello or a Cameron Maybin this year? Or will they slip up and take another Kyle Sleeth like in 2003?
All we know is since Dave Dombrowski has been General Manager for the Tigers, he has found some solid players in the Rookie Draft, so fans are wondering, who might Detroit select this season?
MLB Rookie Draft: Tuesday, June 9th - 6:00 PM ET
School: Westminster Christian High School
College Ball: Commited to North Carolina
Agent: Scott Boras
Jacob Turner is undoubtedly one of the best arms in the 2009 class, ranked No. 5 high school prospect in the nation by 'Perfect Game'. Turner also played on 18-U United States team over the summer and went 1-0 in 10.1 innings of work.
As a high school starter at Westminter HS, he went 20-4 with two saves and 187 strikeouts in his four years. As a freshman, Turner came out of the bullpen and had 1.11 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. His sophomore year he started nine games and had an ERA of 1.21 and dropped his WHIP to 0.947. Junior season got even better, he started nine games, four being complete games and posted a 1.45 ERA and a 0.704 WHIP.
Scouts say his tools on the mound are unlike any other. Turner has a four-seam fastball that reaches the mid-90s, a two-seam, curveball and changeup in his repertoire.
His 6-4 frame makes him and Detroit a perfect match. Over the past few years, that has been the main draft strategy—big pitchers.
Other accomplishments: AFLAC All-American Team. UnderArmour All-American Team.
School: Klein High School
College Ball: Solid Verbal to TCU
This slender lefty is on the short list of best prep left-handers in the nation. His skinny frame is nearly his only downside, but that won't stop teams from taking a chance on him high up on the board. He is a projected top 10 pick.
Purke is "wild within the zone" and can hit every spot you give him. His great control mixed with his mound presence and his clutch pitching ability makes him a must see pitcher.
His repertoire includes a tailing fastball in the low-90s, a late breaking curveball in the high-70s, and a changeup that he has great control over.
Scouts say that all of his pitches are above average, but he needs to put some strength onto that "wiry" body.
The Tigers would be lucky if Purke dropped down to number nine, but I don't see it happening. Just in case it does, I think Dombrowski won't take long snatching up this young phenom.
School: Capistrano Valley High School
College Ball: Solid Verbal to Oregon
Tyler Matzek is most likely the top-rated lefty in this year's draft. Many say he won't stay on the board very long and is definitely a top-10 selection in 2009.
A very poised and focused pitcher on the mound, he has strength in his legs and hips, but also has a solid pitching core. All his pitches are average or above, and his control is very good, but not pinpoint.
Matzek throws a fastball with minimal sinking life that reaches 95 MPH, a 76 MPH curveball that was snapped off above average, a slider that clocked in around 85 MPH with hard bite and a changeup in the low 80s.
If this kid can stay healthy, he has a bright future lined up for him in the Bigs. He will compete with Matthew Purke for the top lefty in this year's class.
Detroit could use Matzek's left-handed ways. The Tigers have minimal lefty starters in the organization and could use one to get to the Majors soon.
School: Brownwood High School
College Ball: Solid Verbal to Texas A&M
Shelby Miller burst onto the scene in his Junior year of baseball, when he threw three consecutive No-Hitters. Since that time, Major League scouts have been studying his every move and Miller now is ranked in the top 15-20 in the 2009 class.
The final of his three back-to-back no hitters, was a five inning perfect game, where Shelby struck out 14 of the 15 batters he faced. He has four career no-no's.
Scouts say his size, solid mechanics and mound presence have made him a top prospect. Miller's fastball ranges in the low-90s, but tops out at 94 with great sinking action. He also throws a slider which clocks in near 87, a 12-6 curveball that touches 76 and a straight change around 81.
He most likely will be a top 10 pick, his huge frame has him built like a front-end starter already and depending on how things go, he could move all the way up to number two overall.
School: Yukon High School
College Ball: Solid Verbal to Oklahoma State
Chad James is built like a top starter—he's big, athletic and has a power arm from the left side. James is projected to go in the top 15 of this years draft.
Scouts say with a little work, James could have a solid three pitches to work with. His 93-94 MPH fastball has good life in the zone, his breaking ball is a little inconsistent and reaches mid-80s, he doesn't throw a changeup in games as of now, only in the bullpen.
He struggles a little with command, as he missed up and out on a lot of batters. His frame has a good comparison to Jon Lester.
Detroit may take Chad James if the pitchers listed above him are gone, this would be a last chance at getting a high-end powerful lefty arm for the Tigers.