Tigers draft Ruffin's son with 48th pick
University of Texas closer Monday's third-to-last selection
CHICAGO -- Four picks after selecting prep third baseman Nick Castellanos with the 44th pick overall in Monday's First-Year Player Draft, the Tigers added to their bullpen depth by drafting University of Texas closer Chance Ruffin at No. 48. The son of former Major League reliever Bruce Ruffin, the right-hander boasts a fastball that has topped out at 95 mph while closing for the Longhorns, and he complements the fastball with a quality slider.
Tigers scouting director David Chadd tabbed Ruffin as a pitcher with an opportunity to move through the farm system quickly, adding him to an already deep relief corps that includes former first-round pick Ryan Perry, recent picks Robbie Weinhardt and Cody Satterwhite, and trade acquisition Daniel Schlereth.
"His performance numbers on the year are just unbelievable," Chadd said. "I had a chance to see him twice, and he just dominated while I was there. I know they commented. He's very similar to Huston Street for me, and we like him a whole bunch."
The Tigers lost what would've been their first-round selection, the 19th pick overall, to the Astros as a price for signing Type A free agent Jose Valverde in January. However, Detroit gained sandwich picks at Nos. 44 and 48 as compensation for losing Type B free-agent relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. That left Chadd looking at different spots from which to approach this Draft, but he has said repeatedly that it was well worth the price for adding Valverde to Detroit's bullpen.
Chadd said last week that the Tigers' approach wasn't going to change; they would still look for the best overall talent at their picks without regard to positions up top, then look for depth later in the Draft. In the end, the club got the talent it wanted.
"You don't prepare any differently," Chadd said on Monday. "You line up your boards up in preferential order. I think there's a lot more tension in the room, especially when you have your players and you're waiting and waiting and waiting."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.