Family ties highlight Tigers' final picks
Club selects 26 position players, 25 pitchers
Tigers manager Jim Leyland was a happy man Tuesday afternoon.
His son, Patrick, had been drafted by the Tigers in Round 8 (No. 253 overall), a highlight-reel moment for any father. On Wednesday, in Day 3 of the First-Year Player Draft, he was able to share that proud feeling with others on his coaching staff.
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon's son, Bo, was drafted in Round 39 from Valparaiso University and pitching coach Rick Knapp's son, Ricky, was taken in Round 44 from Port Charlotte (Fla.) High School.
"He was real excited and happy and fired up and ready to move on to the next step," Knapp said of his son's reaction. "I don't know if he's going to sign. I don't think so. But it's way too early to even think about that yet. It was really harrowing there for a while. We were sitting on pins and needles waiting. But he's real happy."
"I'm excited for him," McClendon said of his son, who was more of a football player in high school. "The experience was really good for him. We'll see where it takes him. You never know. It's another door that's opening for him. You open up doors and you go with opportunities. We'll see what happens."
With Knapp's son being a pitcher, and Leyland's a catcher, there's a possibility that Patrick could one day catch for Ricky at Comerica Park.
"To hand that combination down to another generation would be kind of scary," Knapp joked.
The bloodlines theme was the story of afternoon for the Tigers on the final day of the Draft. Ace pitcher Justin Verlander saw his brother Ben, a fellow right-handed pitcher, selected by the club in Round 46. Verlander said his younger brother has a scholarship opportunity to go to his alma mater, Old Dominion.
The Tigers also drafted shortstop Pete Miller in Round 40, the son of Tigers scout Barney Miller.
With 51 picks during the three-day Draft, the Tigers selected 26 position players and 25 pitchers, with 37 coming from the college ranks and 14 from high school.
Early in the Draft, the Tigers stuck with established college talent, for the most part, and took a slew of pitchers and catchers. Seven of the team's first nine picks were either a slinger or a backstop.
As the Draft began to wind down, the Tigers opted to roll the dice and try their hand with high school talent. Detroit went on a streak where they selected seven straight high school players from Rounds 42-48.
The Tigers selected three players from a highly-touted University of Arkansas squad and double-dipped from Texas, Georgia Tech, Cal State Fullerton, and Central Arizona College.
Lefty pitchers Christopher Joyce (Round 29) and Jake Dziubczynski (Round 38), teammates at Central Arizona College, are hoping a familiar face in the organization pays dividends.
"There was a little rivalry there between us towards the end of last season because we are both lefty starters," Dziubczynski said. "It's unique that both us were drafted by the Tigers. We push each other pretty well."
Jacob Morton was the lone Tigers pick from the state of Michigan. Morton was selected in Round 45 from Hudsonville High School. For the converted catcher, there's nothing like being drafted by your hometown team.
"I've always gone to Tigers games," Morton said. "My first baseball game was at Tigers Stadium. I've always been a Tigers fan, and when my name popped up on the screen I just froze. I immediately called my dad and we were definitely both hollering. Ever since then I think my phone has gone down about two batteries with calls and texts. There's really no words to describe how excited I am."
Alex DiFilippo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.