The Detroit Tigers haven’t had a winning season since 2016. But last year was particularly dismal for the team, and its backers at Michigan betting sites, as the Tigers fell to 66-96 and fourth place in the American League Central.
The silver lining was getting into the lottery for the top pick in the Major League draft for 2023. That draft spot wasn’t too shabby considering the Tigers had only the sixth-worst record in baseball. Detroit leap-frogged a handful of teams, including the last-place club in their own division, the Kansas City Royals. Such is the nature of a lottery.
So, considering their good fortune (in a manner of speaking, considering it came on the heels of finishing 26 games out of first in the AL Central in 2022), the Tigers will have a key decision to make in the amateur draft, which will be July 9-11.
Going into Monday’s games, the Tigers are 26-37 and in fourth place in the AL Central, but only 5.5 games behind first-place Minnesota in a weak division. Michigan sports betting apps have the Tigers at anywhere from +2200 to +3900 odds to win their first division title since 2014.
Picking ahead of the Tigers in the draft will be the Pittsburgh Pirates at No. 1 overall and the Washington Nationals at No. 2.
Odds On Tigers No. 3 Pick In 2023 MLB Draft
High School or College Prospect?
At this point, the consensus top two picks are a couple of college hotshots from NCAA powerhouse LSU, outfielder Dylan Crews and right-handed pitcher Paul Skenes.
The Tigers swept SEC rival Kentucky in a best-of-three NCAA Tournament Super Regional over the weekend to book their passage to Omaha, Nebraska, for the College World Series, which starts Friday. DraftKings Michigan has LSU at +380 odds to win the CWS, second behind national top seed Wake Forest.
Here’s where it gets tricky for Detroit. Both Crews and Skenes are theoretically closer to being Major League-ready than high school prospects, simply by virtue of their age and physical maturity.
However, after Crews and Skenes, the high-rated amateur players are a mix of college and high school players. The latter group presumably is a few years farther out from being ready for The Show than the college players.
Tigers Legend Came Right Out of High School
So, this is where it’s fitting to reach back into Major League lore and recall that the best amateur player signing in the history of the Detroit Tigers was one Albert William Kaline.
Kaline was a teenager when Detroit signed him right out of Baltimore’s Southern High School in 1953 on the night of his graduation. Kaline immediately joined the Tigers, became an 18-time All-Star and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
So, with all that in mind, perhaps the Tigers won’t be shy about using such a high pick on a high schooler next month. Detroit is +80000 at FanDuel Michigan sportsbook to win the World Series this year so it seems building for the future should be the goal.
And if they are considering a teen phenom, their choices will be the likes of Max Clark, an outfielder from Franklin (Ind.) High School, and Walker Jenkins, also an outfielder from South Brunswick High School in Southport, N.C. Last week, Clark was named the Gatorade national high school baseball player of the year.
Who Is Favored As Tigers Selection?
However, BetMichigan.com did some crystal ball work and figured that the Tigers will go for more immediate help, meaning a college player. The best available among those at Detroit’s draft position appears to be University of Florida outfielder Wyatt Langford.
BetMichigan.com – your home for Michigan sportsbook promos – figures that there’s a 40% chance Detroit will take Langford, a 21-year-old who hits and throws right-handed. In wagering terms, that’s +150 odds on Langford going to Detroit at No. 3.
Including the Super Regional round over the weekend, in which the Gators swept South Carolina 2-0, Langford is hitting .373 with 18 home runs and a .769 slugging percentage. He’s 6 feet 1 and 225 pounds with some versatility; he is listed as a leftfielder/catcher/first baseman.
Clark registers next at a 26% possibility (translated to +285 odds) followed by Jenkins at 20% (or +400) to be Detroit’s first-round selection.
Still another college-age pick that might figure in Detroit’s rebuild is shortstop Jacob Gonzalez, from Ole Miss. BetMichigan.com gives him a 5% chance (+1900) to be Detroit’s first-rounder. And if LSU pitcher Skenes were to slip to No. 3 overall, the Tigers could also nab him (he’s also at 5%). Crews is not factored into our odds because he seems the most likely prospect to be off the board by the time Detroit makes its selection.
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