Tigers draft prep outfielder Derek Hill with top pick
For the first time in nearly a decade, the Tigers used their top pick in the First-Year Player Draft on a high school outfielder, selecting Elk Grove (California) High School product Derek Hill with the 23rd overall slot.
Hill is the first position player taken by the Tigers in the first round since Nick Castellanos in 2010, and the first outfielder since Cameron Maybin went with Detroit’s top pick in 2005.
It goes against the Tigers’ trend of hard-throwing pitcher. When the Tigers do select an outfielder, though, they tend to go with an athletic one. Hill fits the mold, drawing comparisons to current Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter. It might take some time to figure out if he can meet those lofty goals, but he gives the Tigers an infusion of athleticism and a potential multi-tooled future center fielder.
“It sounds amazing,” Hill told MLB Network about joining Detroit. “I can’t wait to get out there and get with the guys and get after it.”
The Tigers had been linked all over lists in mock drafts, including several college pitchers, a couple high school hurlers and a top college slugger or two. As the draft unfolded towards the Tigers pick, however, several of those names went off the board.
Hill, meanwhile, lingered. He came into the draft ranked as the 20th-best prospect by MLB.com, and one of the fastest players available in the field. Prospect analyst Jim Callis had him going as high as 13th overall in his final mock draft, while Jonathan Mayo pegged them as falling to the Tigers pick.
Hill grew up around the pro game as the son of former minor-league outfielder Orsino Hill, now a scout in the Dodgers organization. He’s also a cousin of former All-Star outfielder Darryl Strawberry.
Derek Hill told MLB Network he received a message of congratulations from Strawberry going into the Draf.t
“He pretty much said good luck in the future and you’re next in line,” Hill said.
Hill told MLB Network that Hunter is his favorite player.
The Tigers have a second-round pick coming up later this evening. After that, the draft continues on Friday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com pregame show begins at 12:30p ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1p ET.