Detroit Tigers: Examining General Manager Al Avila’s failures

(Detroit Free Press)
(Detroit Free Press) /
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Detroit Tigers, Al Avila
(Detroit Free Press) /

Detroit Tigers GM Al Avila’s drafting prowess has not lived up to the hype.

As bad as the rest has been, Avila’s draft history might be his biggest flaw. Especially considering that this was supposed to be his area of expertise.

Keep in mind, we have not seen the full results of some of the prospects he’s drafted. After all, it takes longer for baseball players to work their way up than it does for the NFL or NBA draft prospects.

Here’s what we do know right now.

Avila took over in 2015, and his first draft as general manager was in 2016. Since then, there are only a handful of prospects he’s drafted that are on the Tigers roster.

These players include Matt Manning, Casey Mize, Spencer Torkelson, and Riley Greene (who would likely be on this team if not for a spring training injury). These are all players that were drafted in the top ten of their respective drafts, including two who were drafted first overall.

This group has had mixed results of success. Mize and Torkelson have struggled to find consistency as they adjust to the pros. Manning has looked good in a limited sample size. All in all, there is a lot of promise here, but none have established themselves to this point.

Beyond them, The Tigers have Tarik Skubal (ninth round), Will Vest (12th round), and Alex Faedo (1st round), who was recently called up due to an injury. That’s seven drafted players on the roster, with five drafted in the first round.

Everything after the first round has been a problem for Avila.

According to a cross-reference with Baseball Almanac, there isn’t a single player than Avila drafted in the second or third round currently playing on any MLB roster. In fact, other than the seven players listed above, Avila only has three players that he drafted playing at the major league level.

That is an abysmal drafting tracker record. Even the worst general manager, for example, former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen, has been able to draft pro bowls players in the middle and late rounds of the draft.

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For Avila to almost exclusively hit on just first-round picks and nothing else has been devastating to the depth of this roster. Especially considering that not all of the first-round picks he’s made have developed into great players either.