Detroit Tigers take power-hitting prep infielder Izaac Pacheco in Round 2 of MLB draft

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The Detroit Tigers selected Friendswood High School (Texas) infielder Izaac Pacheco with their second-round pick in the 2021 MLB draft.

Pacheco, 18, was chosen No. 39 overall. He is the third player drafted by the Tigers, following Heritage Hall High School right-handed pitcher Jackson Jobe (No. 3 overall) and Texas right-handed pitcher Ty Madden (No. 32 overall).

The Tigers' next pick is in Round 3, No. 74 overall. Rounds 2-10 are Monday afternoon, with Rounds 11-20 on Tuesday.

BIG RISK, BIG REWARD: Why Tigers think prep pitcher Jackson Jobe is 'total package'

JEFF SEIDEL: Why I absolutely love the Tigers' pick of Jackson Jobe at No. 3

The player

The left-handed hitter is 6 feet 4, 225 pounds. Evaluators compare him to Winder-Barrow High School (Georgia) shortstop Brady House, who the Tigers were linked to before taking Jobe in the first round. Pacheco plays shortstop and has raw power but is likely to shift to third base as a professional. (Scouts evaluated House the same way, except Pacheco doesn't have as much upside as an all-around player.) The thought of moving Pacheco to third base doesn't mean his defense is poor. Rather, he is already outgrowing the shortstop position. If he continues to grow, however, don't count out the corner outfield spots or first base. He is committed to Texas A&M.

[ Tigers prospects Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene shine in 2021 Futures Game ]

Why it makes sense

The Tigers need all the infield depth they can get. In last year's draft, they picked Arizona State first/third baseman Spencer Torkelson (No. 1 overall), Rice shortstop Trei Cruz (Round 3), Arizona State shortstop Gage Workman (Round 4) and prep third baseman Colt Keith (Round 5). By selecting Pacheco, they're adding potential options. Although Pacheco doesn't have the same upside as House, who went No. 11 overall to the Washington Nationals, he profiles as the power-hitter the Tigers want in the lineup alongside Torkelson, outfielder Riley Greene and catcher Dillon Dingler. Pacheco has some of the best left-handed power in the draft due to his strength and bat speed.

Why it's a risk

The glaring hole for the Tigers as they attempt to escape the rebuild is the shortstop position. They don't have a shortstop of the future, and Pacheco might not be the long-term answer. Evaluators are already talking about his size and power requiring a move to left field, right field, third base or first base — and that doesn't help the Tigers at shortstop. Besides the shortstop dilemma, which could be solved with a free agent signing this winter, Pacheco's power makes him vulnerable to chasing pitches outside of the strike zone. The swing-and-miss hurts his overall approach and leads to strikeouts. Considering his value is found within his offense, it will be fascinating to watch how he controls the strike zone against pitchers in the minor leagues. But the Tigers believe they found a slugger with the possible upside of a complete hitter in the second round.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporter at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. Read more on the Detroit Tigers and sign up for our Tigers newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers take Izaac Pacheco in Round 2 of 2021 MLB draft