Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 6/7/13
So when do you know that the Detroit Tigers are concerned about their top-end organizational pitching depth? When they select 3 straight collegiate pitchers in the opening rounds of the MLB Draft. The mix consisted of two starters and one reliever. With the 20th pick in the 1st round, the Tigers took power right-hander Jonathon Crawford out of the University of Florida. He checks in at 6’2’’, 205 lbs. and can ramp his fastball up to 96 MPH. He possesses an electric slider and has a no-hitter on his college resume. Crawford pitched for Team USA over the summer. Jonathon Crawford In the tweener pick at #39 between rounds 1 and 2, the Tigers dipped into Texas and grabbed another junior right-hander. This time it was Longhorn relief pitcher Corey Knebel. His fastball can also touch the mid 90’s and he features a nasty curveball that is considered his ‘out pitch’. With the struggles the Tigers have seen in their bullpen this year, a guy like Knebel could be an extremely fast-riser. Keep an eye out for his name and where the Tigers initially place him in the organization. In the 2nd round, and with the 58th pick overall, the Tigers selected yet another college-aged junior. This time it was lefty Kevin Ziomek. He is a starter and checks in at 6’3’’, 200 lbs. Ziomek was originally drafted in the 13th round by the Diamondbacks in 2010. After an up and down start to his college career he has used his 3-pitch mix (fastball, curve, changeup) to put his name back on the map. His changeup is considered to be his best pitch. With position players such as Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia rising through the Tigers’ ranks and destined for everyday at-bats in the not-so-distant future, not to mention the core of the Tigers’ lineup being locked up for years to come, Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila decided to go after some much needed pitching depth. Often times, players drafted into an MLB organization are nothing more than shooting stars. A lot of buzz and hype surrounds them and then they quickly fizzle out and slide off the radar. The Tigers have had plenty of guys that fit this bill such as former 1st rounders Kyle Sleeth and Kenny Baugh. Remember those guys? Hopefully the trio of Crawford, Knebel, and Ziomek avoid the usual traps of injury, difficulty transitioning to better hitting leagues, and the temptations that come with being a ‘paid’ baseball player. The Detroit Tigers could certainly stand to have these guys make a quick rise through the system and provide immediate and solid depth to the current staff of arms. To receive an email each time a new Tigers article is published, fill out the Email Notification Form [Follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe]

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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