Previous drafts have been big opportunities for the Tigers, as they held the No. 1 pick in both 2018 and 2020.
This year, Detroit finds itself with another high-leverage pick, selecting in the third position.
Which player will the Tigers be targeting in the 2021 MLB Draft?
2021 MLB Draft Rundown
The 2021 MLB Draft will get underway on Sunday, July 11.
Here’s the key details for this year’s annual event:
- Dates: July 11-13, 2021
- Location: Denver
- TV: MLB Network
- Total Rounds: 20
- Detroit’s first three selections: 3, 32, 39
Marcelo Mayer the focal point for most
The Tigers didn’t quite secure a third No. 1 pick in four years, but they came close.
This year, most are viewing Eastlake High School (CA) shortstop Marcelo Mayer as the top prospect in the draft.
Reports have had the Tigers high on Mayer, hoping he might fall to them at No. 3. However, many mock drafts are listing him as the top selection to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Mayer is a left-handed batter at the shortstop position, a group that appears to be heavy on prospect talent.
His bat and fielding ability make him a complete package at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds.
Should Mayer somehow find his way to the third spot, don’t be shocked to see the Tigers draft their shortstop of the future. Earlier this month, Bleacher Report made that very projection in its mock draft.
More pitching options available
Should Mayer go first or second, it looks as if the Tigers might be sizing up another young arm on the mound.
Vanderbilt’s Jack Leiter and Heritage Hall High School’s (OK) Jackson Jobe are projected as the top two pitchers in this year’s draft.
Leiter is the son of former MLB standout Al Leiter. A former 20th-round pick in the 2019 draft, Leiter obviously improved his stock in a few years at Vanderbilt.
The 6-1 205-pound right-hander had 171 strikeouts over 104 innings of work during the 2021 college season.
Jobe is the top prep pitching prospect in the draft. At 6-2 and 190pounds, this right-handed hurler is considered more of a risk because of his age and competition level.
Kumar Rocker, another right-handed pitcher from Vanderbilt, also could work his way into this spot as well. Rocker is much larger, at 6-5 and 245 pounds. Rocker seems more of a longshot, as there are questions about his fastball command.
Could Casey Mize’s rise play a factor?
In 2018, the Detroit Tigers opted to select Casey Mize out of Auburn at No. 1.
It was a slow build-up to the majors, but Mize has shown a lot of promise this year with the Tigers.
He leads the team in innings pitched (88.1) and WAR (2.7). Control was an issue at times during spring training, but he has limited his walks to 26 while striking out 71.
Mize is showing he can be a gem of Detroit’s pitching staff for years to come.
Detroit followed up the Mize selection by taking outfielder Riley Greene No. 5 in 2019 and third baseman Spencer Torkelson first overall in 2020.
Neither has made his MLB debut yet with the Tigers, but both have earned spots in the 2021 Futures Game.
Michigan’s Alex Mooney should be drafted early
A prep star from the state of Michigan is expected to hear his name called in one of the early rounds of this year’s draft.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s standout shortstop Alex Mooney is ranked as the 64th prospect in the draft by MLB.com.
Mooney is a Duke commit who stands 6-1 and 180 pounds. He led St. Mary’s to a state championship this spring, while helping the Eaglets earn recognition as one of the top prep teams in the nation.
Mooney hit .462 this spring with 56 RBI for the 43-1 Eaglets. He was recently named co-winner of the state’s 2021 Mr. Baseball Award for being Michigan’s top senior player.
Varying mock drafts have shown Mooney as high as a late-first round pick, while others have him slated in the second or third round.
Mooney is looking to following in the footsteps of former Michigan shortstops Derek Jeter, DJ LeMahieu and Jake Cronenworth.