The Detroit Tigers have the first pick of the 2018 Draft. Who they’ll take has been up for debate for some time now.
With the Detroit Tigers having the first draft pick, Eric Longenhagen, of Fangraphs, asks “Could a 5-foot-8 Second Baseman Be Drafted First Overall?“. The player, in reference, is Oregon State’s, Nick Madrigal. Longenhagen specifically poses the following:
So, would a team draft a 5-foot-8 second baseman first overall. And, more specifically, would the Detroit Tigers (who select first in 2018) do that? There isn’t much precedent for it. Matt Bush, who is listed at 5-foot-9, went first overall in 2004, but that pick was ill-advised for a number of non-talent reasons. Most No. 1 picks have prototypical major-league bodies. For Madrigal, or a player like him, to go 1-1, it would probably require more than just the talent and performance to justify it, but also for the selecting franchise to care quite a bit less about a player’s size than is typical around the industry.
Madrigal’s toolset isn’t in question here. Longenhagen points out that his range is in between Josh Harrison and 2018 Whit Merrifield. Madrigal’s size is the one thing going against him. He’s both short and small. Longenhagen gives Madrigal the following rankings:
future 60 hit, 70 run, 60 glove at second base, 55 arm
The Tigers only have one other second baseman in their top thirty prospects. Cody Eaves sits right at number thirty with a 45 overall scouting grade. Eaves hit the range of home-runs that Madrigal is projected to hit. However, the rest of Madrigal’s bat is projected to be better than Eaves has been producing with Double-A Erie SeaWolves. Madrigal is currently on the disabled list with a broken list and is expected to miss 4-8 weeks from the initial injury.
Before his injury Madrigal was playing at a level that was separating himself from the rest of the draft class to solidify himself as a top three draft pick. He’s scheduled for an early-April return, so he has enough time to showcase his skills. With the lack of prospect depth at second base, there’s reason to believe that the Tigers would consider taking the infielder first overall despite him being undersized.
(Top Photo: Scobel Wiggins/ Oregon State Athletics)