What Can Tigers Expect from Third Overall Draft Pick?

What Can Tigers Expect from Third Overall Draft Pick?
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

With the third pick in the 2023 Major League Baseball Draft, the new front office of the Detroit Tigers selected Max Clark, an 18-year-old outfielder from Franklin, Indiana. Clark was a three-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Indiana and the National Player of the Year for 2023. Tigers brass called him an “elite” talent.

His numbers show he could sure hit Indiana high school pitching: Last year he had a ridiculous .646 batting average and he walked so much he was on base 80% of the time. That’s right, EIGHTY PERCENT. He also had 35 stolen bases in 28 games and scored 45 runs, with six homers and 33 RBIs. Clark also excelled on the international stage, helping to lead Team USA to gold in the U-18 Baseball World Cup.

What does that mean for the Tigers and their backers at Michigan sportsbooks? We may get a sense some time around 2026.

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Results Vary Even High In Draft

As our research at BetMichigan shows, getting the third pick in the draft can land you a stud like Manny Machado or Evan Longoria. But you’re far more likely to end up with a player who makes far less impact. It’s baseball: A minor league system with 100 players may send a fraction of them to the majors and only a small fraction of those will become stars.

So we wondered, what can the Tigers expect in terms of production from a player drafted third overall? BetMichigan.com, your home for analysis on sports issues as well as Michigan sports betting apps, used draft records from Baseball-Almanac.com and stats from Baseball-Reference.com to construct this list. This list is in order by highest WAR (wins above replacement) from Baseball-Reference.

How No. 3 Overall Picks Have Fared

Year, Team Player WAR Stats/Accolades
2006, Rays Evan Longoria 58.8 1959 G, .265/.333/.473, 342 HR, 1153 RBI, 3X All Star, ROY
2010, Orioles Manny Machado 53.5 1519 G, .280/.339/.491, 298 HR, 902 RBI, 6X All Star, 2X GG
2011, Diamondbacks Trevor Bauer 21.1 222 G, 83-69, 3.79 ERA, 1416 Ks,1X Cy Young, 1X All Star
2008, Royals Eric Hosmer 18.7 1689 G, .276/.335/.427, 198 HR, 893 RBI, 4X GG, 1X All Star
2014, White Sox Carlos Rodon 16.8 153 G, 56-47, 3.60 ERA, 949 SO, 2X All Star
2013, Rockies Jon Gray 13.4 192 G, 66-61, 4.40 ERA, 1058 Ks
2012, Mariners Mike Zunino 8.9 892 G, .199/.271/.406, 149 HR, 372 RBI, 1X All Star
2015, Rockies Brendan Rodgers 4.6 271 G, .266/.318/.414, 28 HR, 123 RBI, 1X GG
2016, Braves Ian Anderson 3.6 52 G, 22-13, 3.97 ERA, 262 Ks
2017, Padres MacKenzie Gore 1.9 34 G, 8-11, 4.45 ERA, 180 Ks
2004, Mets Philip Humber 0.9 97 G, 16-23, 5.31 ERA, 272 Ks, Perfect Game (2012)
2018, Phillies Alec Bohm 0.4 387 G, .278/.325/.398, 33 HR, 199 RBI
2019, White Sox Andrew Vaughn 0.4 351 G, .252/.36/.419, 44 HR, 177 RBI
2020, Marlins Max Meyer -0.1 2 G, 0-1, 7.50 ERA, 6 Ks
2005, Mariners Jeff Clement -1.2 152 G, .136/.208/.390, 14 HR, 39 RBI
2007, Cubs Josh Vitters -1.3 36 G, .121/.202/.395, 2 HR, 5 RBI
2003, Tigers Kyle Sleeth NA Never reached majors
2009, Padres Donavan Tate NA Never reached majors
2021, Tigers Jackson Jobe NA Yet to make MLB debut
2022, Rangers Kumar Rocker NA Yet to make MLB debut

Recent Tigers History With High Draft Picks

The Tigers have plenty of recent history in this slot and little of it is good – one reason they’re struggling on the field and a +3000 longshot to win the American League Central for bettors using the BetMGM Bonus Code Michigan to wager. And that’s in a division where a mark barely over .500 might be enough to claim a postseason berth.

Detroit’s 2003 No. 3 overall pick, Kyle Sleeth, never made the majors. The team’s 2021 pick, Jackson Jobe, a pitcher drafted out of high school in Oklahoma, has pitched 8 innings in A ball this season, after going 2-5 last year with a 4.52 ERA.

Before the Tigers chose Jobe in 2021, the previous five No. 3 picks were Max Meyer to the Marlins, Andrew Vaughn to the White Sox, Alec Bohm to the Phillies, MacKenzie Gore to the Padres and Ian Anderson to the Braves. They’ve all made the majors, but none of them are Manny Machado. Jobe could still turn out to be the next Jack Morris, but, as you can see, it’s a crapshoot.

Bettors claiming Michigan sports betting bonuses might also want to track other parts of Detroit’s recent draft history.

In 2020, the Tigers went the college route and drafted 1B Spencer Torkelson with the No. 1 overall pick. He made the big club last year but is struggling at the plate, hitting only .215 lifetime. Three players from the 2019 draft have made it to the majors and the most impressive has been CF Riley Greene, taken with that year’s fifth overall pick. The 2018 draft brought in pitchers Casey Mize in the first round, again with the No. 1 overall pick, and Tarik Skubal with the team’s ninth round pick.

As another example about how random it all is, Skubal was picked 254 players after Mize, both made the team, and now both are out with injuries.

Detroit Tigers 2023 World Series Odds

Whomever and wherever the Tigers have been drafting – and they’ve been getting a lot of high picks thanks to their on-field struggles – they need to start seeing some results. The team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2014 and hasn’t won the World Series since 1984. Politicians rebuilt the city faster.

With a 39-50 record at the All-Star break, the Tigers are +5000 at Caesars Sportsbook Michigan to win the World Series, worse odds than all but four teams.

The reason for all those high picks? In 2017 and 2018, the Tigers lost 98 games, in 2019 they lost 114 and in 2022 they lost 96. Detroit is not only hoping this year’s high school pick is an elite player, but that he moves up the system like a rocket and can change the team’s fortunes.

And for fans who like to keep track, at No. 1 in this month’s draft, the Pirates took pitcher Paul Skenes out of LSU. The Nationals then took outfielder Dylan Crews out of LSU, the guy many thought the Tigers would have chosen if he were still on the board. Then Clark went to the Tigers at No. 3.

Outfielders also went at Nos. 4 and 5. The Rangers took Wyatt Langford out of the University of Florida and the Twins took Walter Jenkins, a high schooler from North Carolina.

Tigers management had better hope the 21-year-old Langford isn’t the next Mike Trout. He certainly should be ready for the majors sooner.

In the meantime, stay with BetMichigan for information on Michigan online gambling as well as more sports coverage.



Howard Gensler

Howard Gensler is a veteran journalist covering the Michigan sports betting market for BetMichigan.com. Before his focus on U.S. sports betting, Howard worked at the Philadelphia Daily News, TV Guide and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Howard is also a founding editor of bettorsinsider.com.

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