Should They Stay or Should They Go?
As expected, the MLB Draft came and a number (a record number in fact) of Tiger names were called. Now comes the time that will probably keep Auburn coach John Pawlowski up for a few months. Will the underclassman leave for the bright lights of the show, or stay for at least one final go round. It's also difficult to determine, but here we go. Some capsules with the name, position, draft position, and PPLPRP (Plainsman Parking Lot Percentage Returning Prediction), Note the Higher the % the better chance of returning (just in my opinion). Not included on this list are Ryan Jenkins and Austin Hubbard (who are seniors) and Trent Mummey and Hunter Morris (who are gone, no reason to debate it, and if they return it will be a miracle):
|Stephen Kohlscheen||RHP||Rd 45/SEA||30%|
Kolhscheen is an odd one to peg. He didn't improve his draft stock at all and was the lowest Tiger drafted this year. Out of high school he was a 43rd Round pick (Marlins), and 30th Rd Pick out of Cowley CC (Phillies) and now, after one season at Auburn, he's dropped 45th Round (Seattle). Personally, I think Kohlscheen is done. I don't see the benefit of him sticking around anymore. If anything it could possibly hurt his draft status. He was underutilized out of the bullpen for Auburn and his tools that make him an MLB commodity (his height and his consistent delivery) will not change if he stays his Senior Year. I think he might just cut his losses at this point and go ahead and start his journey to the bigs. I have him at 30% right now.
|Justin Fradejas||OF||Rd 35/Col||60%|
What to do with "Freddie". One season (and honestly, just 2/3rds of a season) and he garners the attention of MLB scouts. Enough to have Colorado select him in the 35th Round. He's not tipping his hat if he's returning or not:
“Obviously I’m excited about it,” said Fradejas, an outfielder for the Tigers. “I got the opportunity to be drafted and had a good year at Auburn.”
“Auburn had struggled, and to come here and be a part of a season like this was an unbelievable experience,” Fradejas said.
The 1,070th overall pick, Fradejas will have the option of signing with the Rockies or returning to Auburn for his senior season. On Wednesday, he didn’t have a gut feeling either way.
“I’m going to play that by ear,” Fradejas said. “I’m not leaning one way or the other to be completely honest.”
Fradejas does have a tough decision to make. If anything I would say that a final year at Auburn would give him a chance to improve his power. Once he does that, then Fradejas could easily bump up to a mid 20s round selection. Plus, it's just a year. Still, the threat of injury is present and this could be the only shot he may have.
|Bradley Hendrix||RHP||Rd 30/CIN||55%|
Yet another coin flip guy. Hendrix has stuck with Auburn for 3 years already. Does he stick around for one more and complete his degree and move on, possibly improving his draft stock in the process? This one I don't know. 30th Round isn't a bad selection and Hendrix isn't guaranteed to improve if he stays. However, if Hendrix stays, I think he is the first choice to replace Austin Hubbard as closer.
|Kevin Patterson||DH/1B||Rd 23/TAMPA||70%|
This is completely a gut call here. KP did improve his draft stock from when he came to Auburn (24th Rd/White Sox/out of High School). Yet, he still has a ways to improve. Look, I'm going to be blunt here. Patterson staying 1 extra year could be the difference in almost 10 rounds in the 2011 Draft. An extra year at Auburn and KP can permanently slot at 1B (where he projects in the pros) and get a full year of experience there. KP was expected to go in the 7th-10th Round but dropped a bit. Probably because he didn't play the field at all this year (at least not that I can remember off the top of my head). KP has to improve 2 things: His fielding and his batting against LHP. Both are things he can accomplish with just 1 more year at Auburn. That 70% is a high number, but it's more of a hope for KP than anything else. Another reason KP should come back? He projects as a 1B and the Rays selected 1B with both their 11th and 12th round picks. There's a chance he could easily get lost in the shuffle.
If Fletcher comes back then it will be the biggest coup for Pawlowski and crew. By coming to Auburn, Fletch improved his draft stock by 21 rounds (up from 39th Round/Astros in 2007) and honestly, the 18th round was kind of low for him:
The Royals got the son of Scott Fletcher, Auburn outfielder Brian Fletcher, in the 18th round. Fletcher has swing-and-miss issues but also hit 20 homers for Auburn this season and has true plus power, along with decent athletic ability. It's something of a surprise that he fell that far.
The reason Fletch fell so far isn't something that can be changed at Auburn. It's his swing. Fletch has this high uppercut swing that results in a lot of power, but also has a major hole towards the bottom. Auburn fans saw it all year with Fletch when it was feast of famine. It was like he was hitting knuckleballs all season. Anything high, he let fly. Anything low, he should have let go:
Still. the 18th Round is nothing to sneeze at. This is completely up to Brian. If he comes back he comes back to set records at Auburn. If he leaves, he starts his pro career. He's got good council either way. I'm pegging him at 25% right now.
Originally, I was going to put Dayton at 15%. I thought for sure he would go. He wasn't drafted out of High School and after a phenomenal Junior campaign at Auburn, he hears his name called in the 11th Round. Then I looked at his major: Industrial Systems Engineering. I'm thinking Grant might want to stick around one more season and wrap up that pretty sweet degree.
I have to believe that Cole Nelson is gone. His draft stock managed to sky rocket even after, well, I'll let Andrew Gribble sum it up better than I could:
Cole Nelson’s up-and-down season has certainly ended on the up and up.
Nelson, after laboring through starts in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Regional, was selected in the 10th round, 313th overall by the Detroit Tigers. A junior-college transfer from Edina, Minn., Nelson passed on signing a Major League contract when he was selected in the 45th round last year.
It will be shocking if he does the same this time.
Nelson showed flashes of brilliance, but was wildly inconsistent in his one season with the Tigers. He finished with a 6-3 record and a 5.64 earned run average, but was a liability at times when his stuff simply wasn’t there. One week after a complete game shutout against Tennessee, Nelson lasted just 3 1/3 innings against Ole Miss and didn’t throw much more in a start against the Rebels at the SEC Tournament and another clunker Sunday against Southern Miss.
Nelson is tall and left-handed, two things Major League scouts absolutely love. Perhaps with a new set of coaches, Nelson will be able to figure a way to stay consistent.
Honestly, he's got to go. 10th Round Money won't be anything to sneeze at. Plus, with the rotation the Tigers have lined up, he won't have a ton of competition for his future role in long relief.