The Detroit Tigers continued to be in a Big 12 state of mind, after they selected Oklahoma shortstop Peyton Graham with their second-round pick, No. 51 overall, in the 2022 MLB draft on Sunday night in Los Angeles.
Graham, 21, was the second pick by the Tigers in the draft, after the organization added Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung, an offense-first player, with the No. 12 overall pick.
The Tigers are confident Graham will be a shortstop throughout his professional career. He spent his first two seasons at Oklahoma as a third baseman, and he played all three outfield positions in the Cape Cod League.
“Everybody looks at the body and wouldn’t project power, but the guy’s got freaky power for his build,” said Scott Pleis, the Tigers’ amateur scouting director. “Plus runner, can stay at shortstop. Just a super-talented guy and a competitive guy.”
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The right-handed hitter from Waxahachie, Texas, hit .335 and slugged .640 for the Sooners this season, with 17 doubles, 20 homers, 28 walks and 69 strikeouts in 67 games. He helped Oklahoma advance to the College World Series championship round.
Graham, at 6 feet 3 and 185 pounds, also had 34 steals in 36 attempts for the Sooners, becoming the first player in program history with 20 homers and 30 steals in a season and the first Division I player to do so since Texas Tech’s Josh Brady in 2004.
Jung and Graham were roommates and teammates in summer ball with the Santa Barbara Foresters in 2020.
“I love the way he plays,” Jung said. “He gets after it, just like me. When we played together in the Foresters, we were probably the two most competitive people in the same household, always trying to battle each other. We came together as brothers, a little bit like that. “
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Detroit has 17 more picks in this year’s draft, which continues with Rounds 3-10 beginning at 2 pm Monday and finishes with Rounds 11-20 beginning at 2 pm Tuesday.
The Tigers traded their pick in the Competitive Balance Round B (No. 71 overall), packaged with infielder Isaac Paredes to acquire outfielder Austin Meadows from the Tampa Bay Rays in April. The Tigers also forfeited their third-round pick when they signed left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been away from the team and on the restricted list since June 13, in November 2021.
The next pick for the Tigers is No. 117 overall in the fourth round.
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