06/08/11 10:39 PM ET
Tigers stay local, keep it in family on Day 3
By Chris Vannini / MLB.com
The Tigers drafted nine players from Michigan high schools or colleges and continued a tradition of drafting family members of people within the Tigers organization on Wednesday.
In the 32nd round, outfielder Brandon Eckerle became the second Michigan State player chosen by the Tigers, joining 12th-round pick Jeff Holm. The Tigers also picked three Michigan high school players committed to MSU -- St. Mary's Prep catcher Blaise Salter (38th round), Portage Central first baseman Ryan Krill (40th round) and Brother Rice outfielder James Pickens (41st round).
The Tigers also selected pitchers Brian Stroud (31st round) and Eric Heckamann (35th round) from Western Michigan and pitcher Jake Sabol from Central Michigan.
As they have in recent years, the Tigers also selected several players with ties to the organization. Salter is the grandson of former Tigers great Bill Freehan, who played 15 Major League seasons with Detroit. The team also drafted pitcher Nick Avila (37th round), nephew of Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila and cousin of catcher Alex Avila. The Tigers previously drafted Nick Avila in 2009.
In the 42nd round, the Tigers drafted catcher Tucker Chadd, nephew of Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd.
The Tigers also drafted sons of both Tigers broadcasters Rod Allen and Mario Impemba. First baseman Andrew Allen was drafted by the Tigers for the second time. He was a 45th-round pick this year after being picked in the 43rd round in 2009. Outfielder Brett Impemba was selected in the 49th round.
Here's a look at the Tigers' selections on Day 3 of the Draft:
Round 31, Brian Stroud, RHP, Western Michigan
Stroud went 8-4 with a 3.20 ERA for the Broncos last season. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound pitcher was the Mid-American Freshman of the Year and a Louisville Slugger All-American in 2008.
Round 32, Brandon Eckerle, OF, Michigan State
The second Spartan selected by the Tigers, Eckerle left MSU as the school's all-time hits leader. The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Eckerle led the Big Ten with a .379 batting average and stole 22 bases in 33 attempts as the Spartans won their first Big Ten championship since 1979.
Round 33, Daniel Kickham, RHP, Missouri State
Round 34, Zachary Maggard, C, Florida Southern College
Round 35, Eric Heckaman, RHP, Western Michigan
A teammate of Stroud, Heckaman posted a 1.64 ERA as a reliever for the Broncos. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Heckaman played quarterback at Harper College (Ill.) in 2007.
Round 36, Jake Sabol, RHP, Central Michigan
The Shelby Township, Mich., native went 5-3 with a 4.13 ERA for the Chippewas this past season. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pitcher threw back-to-back shutouts in April.
Round 37, Nick Avila, RHP, Nova Southeastern (Fla.)
Avila went 5-1 with a 3.83 ERA this season for the Sharks. He was previously drafted by the Tigers in the 42nd round of the 2009 Draft.
Round 38, Blaise Salter, C, St. Mary's Prep (Mich.)
Salter is the nephew of former Tigers catcher Bill Freehan. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Salter currently is committed to play at Michigan State. In 2010, Salter was ranked as the No. 5 player in Michigan according to Perfect Game after hitting .410 and earning first-team all-state honors by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association.
Round 39, Cole Brocker, RHP, Sacramento City College
Round 40, Ryan Krill, 1B, Portage Central High School (Mich.)
The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Krill has signed a letter of intent for Michigan State.
Round 41, James Pickens, OF, James Pickens, Brother Rice High School (Mich.)
The 6-foot, 201-pound Pickens has signed a letter of intent to play at Michigan State, along with Salter and Krill.
Round 42, Tucker Chadd, C, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School (Kan.)
He is the nephew of Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd.
Round 43, Gregory Fettes, Lamphere High School (Mich.)
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound catcher is committed to play at the University of Kentucky.
Round 44, Chretien Matz, OF, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Matz is the nephew of Ernie Young, manager of the Tigers' Class A affiliate, the West Michigan Whitecaps.
Round 45, Andrew Allen, 1B, California State-Los Angeles
Allen is the son of Fox Sports Detroit color commentator Rod Allen, who played three Major League seasons in the 1980s. Andrew Allen was previously drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 43rd round of the 2007 Draft and by the Tigers in the 43rd round of the 2009 Draft.
Round 46, Alexander Fernandez, OF, Archbishop McCarthy High School (Fla.)
He is the son of former Major League pitcher Alex Fernandez, who played for Tigers manager Jim Leyland and president/general manager Dave Dombrowski on the Florida Marlins' 1997 World Series championship team.
Round 47, Ryan McPhail, C, Dutch Fork High School (S.C.)
Round 48, Lavaris McCullough, CF, Palatka High School (Fla.)
Round 49, Brett Impemba, OF, Dakota High School (Mich.)
Impemba is the son of Fox Sports Detroit play-by-play announcer Mario Impemba. Brett Impemba is committed to play at Oakland University.
Round 50, Brandon Weber, OF, Bishop Carroll Catholic High School (Kan.)
Chris Vannini is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.