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Old Dominion University pitcher Justin Verlander is expected to be among the top pick's in today's Major League Baseball amateur draft.

According to media reports, the Detroit Tigers were leaning toward using the second overall pick in today's amateur draft to select Verlander, a right-handed pitcher from Goochland, Va. Some observers regard Verlander as having the best arm of any pitcher available in the draft.

San Diego is the only team that will pick in front of the Tigers. If the Padres take Verlander, the Tigers then likely would look to take one of two right-handed pitchers: Rice University's Jeff Niemann or Texas high schooler Homer Bailey.

Verlander, 6-feet-4-inches tall and 200 pounds, struck outs 151 batters in 105 2/3 innings and held batters to a .228 average this season. His selection would mark the third time in the last four years that the Tigers have made a college pitcher their top pick.

They took Rice's Kenny Baugh in 2001 (he's now at Double-A after getting past arm trouble) and Wake Forest's Kyle Sleeth last season (he's now in high Single-A). In 2002, the Tigers selected infielder Scott Moore with their top pick. Moore also is in high Single-A.

This article was posted on: June 7, 2004

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