After selecting McCann, Tigers stay on offensive

After selecting McCann, Tigers stay on offensive

Major League Baseball may be turning into a pitcher's league, but on Tuesday, the Tigers made it clear that run scoring would be a vital part of their future.

On Day 2 of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the Tigers selected position players with their first five picks and 10 of their first 11.

After sitting back and watching without a pick on Monday, the Tigers selected catcher James McCann out of Arkansas with their first pick in the second round at No. 76 overall. The Tigers, who often take high-risk, high-reward younger players, went for college players who are more developed.

The first four Tigers picks were infield position players and 24 of the team's 29 picks were college players, who often sign for cheaper and take less time to make their way up a farm system. But Tigers vice president David Chadd said it was the offense more than anything that attracted the Tigers toward many of their picks.

"Early on, I thought our board was going to lineup heavily toward position players," Chadd said. "There were a couple pitchers obviously we liked. But when you guys start digging into the statistics on some of these guys, you're going to see what kind of offensive capabilities that they've had during the college careers. That's what attracted us to them."

In McCann, the Tigers see a successful catcher, both from an offensive and defensive standpoint. McCann hit .306 with six home runs this past season with the Razorbacks. McCann also stole 11 bases in 17 attempts. On the defensive side, McCann had a .992 fielding percentage and threw out 20 of 38 runners against him.

Draft Central

"I think what we liked with James was his ability to catch and throw," Chadd said. "He's caught for three years at the University of Arkansas, he's caught a quality staff, [he was a] Team USA invitee. Just his ability to catch and throw -- and we think he's going to be an offensive player -- is what attracted us to James McCann."

The Tigers drafted three catchers in the first eight rounds of the 2010 Draft and two in the first 10 rounds this year -- McCann and Vanderbilt's Curtis Casali, who caught six Vanderbilt pitchers taken in the first two days of the Draft. But like pitching, Chadd said quality catching can be hard to come by and is valuable.

"Catchers are tough to come by in any Draft," Chadd said. "Obviously, we're excited about McCann, but Casali as well. He's a team captain at Vanderbilt. He's been catching pitchers there that have Major League capability and he's a leader."

As for the offense Chadd was talking about, the Tigers drafted several players who can hit for both contact and power. The Tigers did take a lot of pitchers toward the end of the day, but the offensive capabilities were something Chadd said the Tigers couldn't pass up.

"It really was a Draft that was different from the past," he said. "Picking 76th had a lot to do with that. I understand we did take college players up top, but that's just how our board fell. James McCann, [Vanderbilt first baseman] Aaron Westlake and [Kansas State third baseman] Jason King were all players that we identified early in the season last summer and this fall."

Here's a look at the Tigers' selections on Day 2 of the Draft:

Round 2, James McCann, C, Arkansas
McCann was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 31st round of the 2008 Draft but did not sign.

Round 3, Aaron Westlake, 1B, Vanderbilt
Westlake has hit .349 with 14 home runs this season for the Commodores, who recently advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Westlake hits left-handed and does a good job of hitting the ball the other way.

Round 4, Jason King, 3B, Kansas State
King hit .326 with 10 home runs in his junior season for the Wildcats. Listed at 6-foot, 216 points, King missed last season after undergoing elbow ligament surgery, but he came back strong, showing the power he was known for.

Round 5, Brandon Loy, SS, Texas
Loy hit .344 as a junior for the Longhorns this season. The 6-foot, 190-pounder also stole 18 bases in 22 attempts this past season. Loy is best known for his slick fielding. Loy was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 32nd round of the 2008 Draft, but did not sign.

Round 6, Tyler Collins, OF, Howard College
Collins hit .488 with 19 home runs at the Texas junior college. Collins is listed at 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds.

Round 7, Brian Flynn, LHP, Wichita State
Flynn went 6-4 with a 4.63 ERA for the Shockers this past season. He struck out 77 batters in 83 2/3 innings. Flynn's best trait is his size, as he stands at 6-foot-8 and weighs 239 pounds.

Round 8, Jason Krizan, OF, Dallas Baptist University
Krizan hit .419 with 10 home runs and an impressive .714 slugging percentage for DBU this past season. The 6-foot, 186-pound outfielder also stole 13 bases in 17 attempts.

Round 9, Chad Wright, OF, Kentucky
Wright hit .359 with six home runs and a .544 slugging percentage this past season for the Wildcats. The 5-foot-10, 195-pound outfielder also had a perfect fielding percentage for Kentucky.

Round 10: Curtis Casali, C, Vanderbilt
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Casali hit .310 with six home runs and threw out 12 of 32 basestealers. Casali was the second catcher and second player from Vanderbilt to be selected by the Tigers. Eleven Commodores were selected in the first two days of the Draft.

Round 11: Dean Green, 1B, Barry University
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound Green hit .400 with 19 home runs and an astounding .795 slugging percentage for Barry this past season.

Round 12: Jeff Holm, OF, Michigan State
Holm hit .376 with nine home runs this season playing first base for the Spartans and was named Big Ten Player of the Year. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Holm also stole 20 bases. Holm was a captain on a young MSU team that won its first Big Ten championship since 1979. Holm has decent speed and is a very smart baserunner.

Round 13: Ryan Woolley, RHP, Alabama-Birmingham
Woolley went 7-6 with a 3.06 ERA for the Blazers this season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound pitcher had 75 strikeouts in 106 innings.

Round 14: Patrick Smith, OF, Middle Georgia College
Smith hit .303 with eight home runs and a .521 slugging percentage this past season. Smith is listed at 6-foot, 170 pounds.

Round 15: Tyler Gibson, OF, Stratford Academy, Ga.
The 17-year-old Gibson has signed a letter of intent at Georgia Tech and is a good contact hitter with speed. Gibson is listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds.

Round 16: Ismael Salgado, OF, International Baseball Academy, P.R.
The Puerto Rican is listed at 6-foot-1, 165 pounds.

Round 17: Chad Smith, RHP, Southern California
Smith was a reliever for the Trojans with a 2.66 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings this past season. Smith is 6-foot-3 and weighs 215 pounds.

Round 18: Brett Harrison, 3B, Green Valley High School, Nev.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Harrison has signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Hawaii.

Round 19: Dan Bennett, RHP, Florida State
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Bennett was a reliever for the Seminoles, posting a 2.10 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings.

Round 20: Tyler Barrett, LHP, Lewis-Clark State
Barrett went 7-3 with a 2.79 ERA for the Warriors this season. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound pitcher had 73 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings.

Round 21: Scott Squier, LHP, Greenway High School, Ariz.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pound lefty has signed a letter of intent for the University of Hawaii, along with Harrison.

Round 22: Tommy Collier, RHP, San Jacinto College North, Texas
Collier posted an ERA of 3.00 for the junior college -- striking out 23 batters in 18 innings. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound pitcher was a National Junior College Athletic Association honorable mention All-American in 2009 and was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 49th round, but did not sign.

Round 23: Trenton Daniel, LHP, Arkansas
Daniel has a 2.91 ERA as a reliever for the Razorbacks this past season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound lefty posted 48 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings pitched. Daniel was the second Razorback selected by the Tigers on Day 2, joining McCann.

Round 24, Matt Crouse, LHP, Mississippi
Crouse went 7-4 with a 3.41 ERA for the Rebels this past season. The 6-foot-4, 190-pound lefty pitched for the Clark Griffith summer league Carney Pirates in 2009 and was named the league's Co-Pitcher of the Year with a 6-0 record and a 0.82 ERA.

Round 25, Mitchell Mormann, RHP, Wichita State
Mormann spent two seasons at Des Moines Community College before transferring to LSU for last season. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Mormann made 19 relief appearances at LSU in 2010, posting a 5.97 ERA. He then transferred to Wichita State but had to sit out the 2011 season.

Round 26, Colin Kaline, 2B, Florida Southern College
Kaline is the grandson of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline. The Tigers drafted Colin Kaline in the 25th round in 2007, but he went to Florida Southern College for four years. This past season, Kaline hit .287 for the Moccasins. Kaline has shown a good eye for the ball, leading his team in walks in each of the last three seasons.

Round 27: Scott Matyas, RHP, Minnesota
The Gophers' closer for the past three seasons finished his career as the Big Ten's all-time saves leader. This season, Matyas had 11 saves with a 1.60 ERA and struck out 42 batters in 33 2/3 innings and was named First Team All Big Ten.

Round 28: Guido Knudson, RHP, California-San Diego
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Knudson posted a 9-3 record and a 2.80 ERA this past season for UCSD.

Round 29: Montreal Robertson, RHP, Coahoma Community College, Miss.
The right-hander is listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds.

Round 30: Gregory Milhorn, RHP, Arkansas High School
The 6-foot-2, 165-pound Milhorn has signed a letter of intent for the University of Arkansas.

Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.