Tigers load up with more college bats on Day 2 of MLB draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The Detroit Tigers took a few more big swings at rebuilding their lineup.
And, they hope sooner rather than later.
After selecting Arizona State slugger Spencer Torkelson to open the Major League Baseball amateur draft Wednesday night, the Tigers used their first four picks Thursday on hitters they envision joining him in Detroit.
Ohio State catcher Dillon Dingler led off the draft’s second day as the No. 38 overall selection. The Tigers then took LSU outfielder Danny Cabrera 62nd overall, and Rice shortstop Trei Cruz — son of former big leaguer Jose Cruz Jr. and grandson of Jose Cruz — 11 picks later.
Detroit went back to Arizona State in the fourth round, taking Torkelson’s switch-hitting teammate Gage Workman. Both were drafted by the Tigers as third basemen.
The Astros had to wait a while to make their first selection in this year’s draft after having their first- and second-round pick stripped by Commissioner Rob Manfred as part of the team’s punishment for breaking rules against using electronics to steal signs during games.
The New York Yankees were one of the teams to raise questions about wrongdoing by the Astros. Coincidentally, Houston took a pitcher from the Bronx at No. 72, hard-throwing Mount Saint Michael Academy right-hander Alex Santos.
While Detroit focused on adding offense, Miami went all pitching — already considered the strength in the upper levels of its system — with its first five selections.
Minnesota right-hander Max Meyer was the No. 3 overall pick to the Marlins, and they followed with Oklahoma high school lefty Daxton Fulton (No. 40), Ball State righty Kyle Nicolas (No. 61), Coastal Carolina right-hander Zach McCambley (No. 75) and Vanderbilt lefty Jake Eder (No. 104).
Detroit had the No. 1 overall pick for the second time in three years, after taking Auburn right-hander Casey Mize in 2018. With their potential future ace already sailing through the farm system, the Tigers turned to bats this time.
Dingler, who moved from center field behind the plate two years ago, was hitting .340 with five home runs and 14 RBIs for the Buckeyes before the season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cabrera is a patient hitter and outstanding defensive outfielder. He hit .345 with three doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs, 14 runs and six stolen bases for LSU this year.
In addition to his terrific baseball bloodlines, Cruz is an outstanding all-around hitter who made a smooth transition last year from second base to shortstop. This is also the third time he has been drafted, after being taken in the 37th round last year by Washington and the 35th round by Houston in 2017.
Workman complemented Torkelson as one of Arizona State’s offensive forces the past few seasons. He hit .330 with eight homers and 42 RBIs last year, and started this season with three homers and 14 RBIs while batting .250.