DETROIT -- After the Tigers took a hard-throwing high school right-hander and a power-hitting college outfielder with their first-round picks, they went a different route with their second-round selection on Day 1 of the 2015 Draft on Monday. But they know plenty about TCU left-hander Tyler Alexander, whom they took with the 65th overall pick.
Two years after the Tigers drafted Alexander out of high school, they went back to the southpaw as a Draft-eligible sophomore.
• 22nd overall: Burrows
It was a surprise pick for many; Alexander did not rank on MLB.com's Top 200 Draft Prospects list. But he clearly still had the Tigers' attention.
• 34th overall: Stewart
"I think we saw a physical development in Tyler Alexander," Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said in a Tuesday morning conference call. "All his pitches are moving upward. He's 20 years old. He has a knack for throwing strikes. He doesn't walk anybody and he pitches off his fastball. In two years at TCU, we saw his development."
Alexander was a 23rd-round pick of the Tigers in 2013, but opted for college ball. He does not fit the profile of hard-throwing hurler the Tigers usually draft on the first day. His fastball reportedly sits at 88-90 mph to go with a slider and changeup. What he did was command the strike zone, going 16-5 with a 2.60 ERA, 19 walks and 128 strikeouts over 190 1/3 innings in two seasons at TCU.
The second-round pick carries a slot of $949,900. The fact that Alexander can go back to TCU for a year and be eligible as a junior could make for an interesting negotiation. If the Tigers can't sign him, they would get a compensation pick around the same spot in next year's Draft.
Alexander has spent the vast majority of his collegiate career as a starter, but it would be interesting to see if the Tigers try to convert him to relief, as much for repertoire as for need. The only lefty relievers Detroit has drafted and developed over the last 20 years were swing starters Andrew Miller and Drew Smyly, though Charlie Furbush found a home in that role in Seattle after a 2011 trade.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.