Some ramblings about the Tigers and the baseball draft
That while the developmental period of college baseball is helpful in getting a better evaluation, it still means, generally, college players have a limited upside.
The advantages of taking a majority of college players, which has become the Tigers' habit in recent years - particularly this one - is that they move quickly through the system. They can play in the major leagues effectively, if for brief periods. They cost less to sign because their bargaining leverage is only returning to college for another season, which isn't a good one because the clock is already ticking on a prospect at 21.
Sometimes you hit with this type of player. The Tigers certainly did with Curtis Granderson. But he's been the only one. Drafting college pitchers, outside of Justin Verlander, who was a fresh-armed second overall pick, has generally been a disaster.
But the Tigers can, currently, as we speak this week, say their recent draft philosophy is paying off. Alex Avila - a fifth-round pick out of college in 2008 (Alabama) - might be an All Star. Brennan Bosech's bat has picked up. Andy Dirks and Danny Worth have made significant contributions. Charles Furbush has pitched well out of the bullpen.
Also, the Tigers might have been ahead of the curve with oncoming changes in player development. They will likely wipe out the rookie level after this season, and extended spring training. It'll leave less opportunity for high school players to develop out of the gate. As is, the Tigers rookie level team has contained few high school American players in recent years, and has been comprised mostly of players signed internationally, particularly from Latin America.
I always hated the "Moneyball" philosophy when it comes to player development, and how it is numbers based, rather than focused on physical tools. A stronger case can be made with how players are viewed in the minor leagues, and especially in the major leagues, crunching numbers. But a scout's eye is still by far the best way to evaluate amateur players, in my opinion.
The other thing about this draft that was telling was the lack of players from Michigan selected. This used to be a baseball hot bed, but has fallen mightily. I'd hate to see baseball become a game "for just the South and West Coast." But unfortunately, it has been that way.