The Detroit Tigers have experienced some of the worst years in franchise history since entering a full-scale rebuild in 2016. They have had the worst record in baseball in 2 of the last 3 seasons and have not been competitive for any stretch of time. The team is looking to add as much young talent to the farm system as possible, choosing to rebuild from the ground up.
This approach has resulted in some terrible Tigers teams recently, but they have acquired a lot of amazing young talent for their farm system in the process. The Tigers have a top-10 farm system for the first time in over 15 years thanks to their patient approach and look to be making a turnaround in the next 3 years, finally. In this post, I will take a in-depth look at each of the top 10 prospects for the Tigers and how they will help the team going forward. I will look at their previous performances as well as scouting reports to show the importance of each player for the Tigers going forward.
1. Casey Mize
Casey Mize is the premier prospect in the Tigers farm system at the moment after being drafted with the first overall pick in 2018. Mize is a tall right-handed pitcher who uses his length and height to powerfully throw at the plate downhill. Mize has proven that he has the pitching ability to have success against big league hitters and will most likely have that chance at some point in 2020.
Mize has had injury concerns in his short professional career so far, which is his only drawback as a prospect. Other pitchers for the Tigers have had better springs so far in 2020, but Mize remains as the future number one guy on the mound in Detroit for years to come.
Mize has an arsenal of 5 pitches that he uses regularly during his time on the mound. Mize has a fastball that comes in at about 93-95 mph and can throw a cutting fastball as well if the 4-seam is not working for him. His bread-and-butter strikeout pitch is his splitter, which looks much like his fastball, but bottoms out quickly as it approaches the plate. Mize has a lot of movement and control over his plethora of pitches, and his accuracy is his biggest strength as a player.
Casey Mize, Mechanics (slow/side) pic.twitter.com/noZMXNehhm
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 25, 2018
2. Matt Manning
Matt Manning was the first prospect of the rebuild for the Tigers as their first-round draft pick in 2016. Manning was a hard-throwing athlete coming out of high school that had unrefined talent but has grown into one of the Tigers’ better prospects.
Manning’s biggest improvements so far have been in his mechanics and pitch development. Manning has used his athletic frame and background as an elite two-sport athlete to be able to learn whatever is thrown at him by his coaches. Manning has a lively fastball that can reach triple digits as well as improving offspeed pitches while in the farm system.
Manning needs to work on consistency in his delivery to perfect his accuracy, especially with his offspeed pitches, but is still set up well regardless to make a move to the MLB at some point in 2020 due to the expanded rosters.
Matt Manning hitting 97 mph with elite extension. But we're seeing why he still needs to refine that command and polish his secondaries. Fastball getting hit hard. pic.twitter.com/GcXdQTZPAi
— Chris Brown (@ChrisBrown0914) March 5, 2020
3. Riley Greene
Riley Greene is another blue-chip prospect that was selected in the first round of the 2019 draft by the Tigers. So far, Greene has impressed with his power and smooth swing and will be a cornerstone of the Detroit offense for years to come. Greene is only 19 years old, but has some of the best power in the entire Tigers organization already, and cranked a home run in 40% of his at-bats in spring training before it was canceled.
Greene has perfectly taught swinging mechanics, which leads to lots of line drives and solid contact from Greene. Greene starts his swing from his lower body and generates most of his power from his thighs and hips, which leads to great bat speed and power. Greene is also very patient at the plate, drawing walks in 50% of his plate appearances in the first 5 games in spring training this year.
Defensively, Greene is projected to be a center fielder or right fielder because of his athleticism and speed. So far, Greene has been solid as a defensive player in spring training but has not shown anything special.
Always fun to watch Riley Greene hit. Such a smooth, easy left handed swing and consistently finds the barrel and ball jumps off his bat. Single from 2018 PG National. #1 2019 in Florida and #4 overall https://t.co/viXb65a47s pic.twitter.com/5Wi4bJnc2u
— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) April 17, 2019
4. Spencer Torkelson
Spencer Torkelson was drafted first overall by the Tigers in the 2020 MLB draft and will be the cornerstone of the Tigers offense along with Riley Greene. Torkelson was by and far the most polished prospect entering the draft this year, and the Tigers are considered the winners of the draft because of being able to walk away with Torkelson.
Torkelson is a polished hitter who dominated in college with his contact and power. He hit over .400 in his final season at Arizona State and led the nation in home runs as well. He has been the fan-favorite for the first overall pick this year for a long time since he was eligible to be drafted.
Torkelson has a smooth swing that looks effortless. He plays to hit line drives and uses his muscle to power the ball over the wall. He can hit the ball with power over all over the field. Torkelson can play either 1st or 3rd base or in the corners of the outfield. He will not be the best defensive player, but his offense will more than makeup for it.
— MLB (@MLB) June 10, 2020
5. Tarik Skubal
Tarik Skubal was not as heralded as some of the other pitching prospects when he was drafted in 2018, but has grown into one of the future stars for the Tigers. Skubal was selected in the 9th round of the 2018 draft, and has moved up the ranks to the 3rd best pitching prospect for the Tigers behind Mize and Manning.
Skubal shot up into the top 75 overall prospects after his 2019 season after being unranked going into the season. Skubal is a tall left-handed pitcher that struck out over 48% of the batters he faced while in AA with the Erie Seawolves last year. Skubal was then moved up to AAA with Toledo and continued his dominance. Skubal’s fastball is rated amongst the highest of all pitching prospects according to MLB.com. The fastball averages between 94 and 96 mph, and has the movement that mirrors a cutter.
Along with his fastball, Skubal uses a slider that moves around 8 inches down and to the right, as well as a circle changeup that mirrors his fastball, which deceives hitters easily. Skubal has a curveball that is not as effective as his other offspeed pitches but is working on adding the 4th pitch.
Solid FSL debut for #Tigers LHP Tarik Skubal: 4 IP 1ER 2H 2BB 4K.
H 3/4 mod effort; 4+ cmmd.
FB 91-94 t95 Sinks it at lower velo;
decent run at 94. CB: 79-81 big 1/7 action. Flashed a few 5+, but battled cmmd & hung a few that he paid for. CH: 83. Profile may play up out the pen. pic.twitter.com/wGgH7nRNyt
— james chipman (@_jchipman) April 6, 2019
6. Isaac Paredes
Isaac Paredes is one of the few position players that the Tigers have for their future teams that they are confident about. Paredes was the main prospect that was returned to the Tigers from the Cubs in 2017 when they traded Justin Wilson and Alex Avila. Paredes does not have a set position in the infield quite yet, but is a polished hitter and will be one of the Tigers’ most impactful players going forward. He came out in 2019 and continued to mash, trimming his strikeout rate to within a percentage point of his 10.3 percent walk rate. By June he’d gone a solid calendar year with the Erie SeaWolves without even a slump, but the Tigers decided not to promote him. That decision was presumably about sorting out his defensive home. As for his bat, it’s pretty unlikely that the International League will be much of an impediment on his march to the major leagues.
Paredes is a good enough hitter to make the questions about his defense seem trivial. Paredes has a superb feel for the barrel, good zone discipline, and some spin recognition. His hands allow him to cover the whole zone with some authority and while his power is to decidedly to the pull field, he will spray balls to the whole field.
Paredes is generally a smart, heads-up player who has good instincts and doesn’t make many mistakes. He just lacks the range and agility to play up the middle without being a real liability. The Tigers have had him playing at shortstop for much of his time in the organization in the hope that his skills could make up for a natural lack of speed and agility. They appear to have given up on the idea at this point, and the expectation is that he’ll primarily play third base going forward.
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 8, 2019
7. Willi Castro
Castro was one of the few prospects that were actually pulled up to the Tigers at the end of the year, and struggled in his time in Detroit. Castro hit.230 with only 1 home run and had 4 errors in 30 games at the top level. The question for Castro going forward is whether he will be able to show the ability he did in the minors or if he can’t adapt to the speed of the majors?
Castro doesn’t have any particularly loud tools but is a well-rounded player who does everything pretty well. MLB Pipeline grades four of his five tools at average (50) or better, with only his below-average power lagging behind. He has shown some feel for hitting, with good bat control from both sides of the plate, and enough thump for a fair amount of gap power — he hit 28 doubles and eight triples in 119 games at Toledo last year.
Castro is one of the few switch-hitting prospects that has posted similar numbers from both sides of the plate and can give the Tigers versatility in their lineups. He has more power from the left side of the plate and hits for contact equally from the right and left. He is one of Detroit’s fastest prospects in their farm system and has the ability to play defense at any infield position. Castro has played shortstop the most, but has the range and ability to play anywhere.
— Josh Norris (@jnorris427) July 31, 2018
8. Daz Cameron
There was a lot of excitement for Cameron in 2018 when he jumped from High-A Lakeland to Triple-A Toledo in a single season. He followed up a .837 OPS in Double-A by hitting .214/.330/.377 in a full season with the Mud Hens, which took some of the shine off that apple. While he is still very young, 2020 will be a big year for Cameron. If he sputters again, then the weight of the Justin Verlander trade may lie on the shoulders of Rogers alone.
Cameron might be Detroit’s best defensive prospect in their farm system at the moment of any of their position players, but needs to put it together at the plate to be an everyday player in the MLB. Cameron is a plus defender with great defensive instincts. Cameron has a really good first step and uses his speed well on the grass. It doesn’t hurt that he has a knack for making great diving catches as well. He has enough of an arm to stick in center for the Tigers, or potentially right field. On the basepath, Cameron is a threat to steal bases but needs to improve his eye at the plate and his contact to reach base more often.
Daz Cameron showing some pop. pic.twitter.com/tBTOsB1sjQ
— Jed (@TigersJUK) March 9, 2019
9. Joey Wentz
Wentz joined the Tigers last year as a part of the Shane Greene trade and has shown some great promise in his time in Detroit’s system. Wentz is the fourth-best pitching prospect in the system, behind only the three-headed monster of Casey Mize, Matt Manning, and Tarik Skubal. Wentz is not quite at their level, but he certainly looks a potential future contributor to the Tigers rotation. And while he’s typically projected as more of a fifth starter, he’s still young enough to hope that he can surpass those expectations.
Wentz has a devastating fastball-changeup combination that he relies on heavily. He has great control over both pitches and knows when to use them in tandem to attack hitters. As a taller pitcher, he uses his height to throw from a high angle, making it harder to see the ball and for the ball to have more velocity.
Wentz needs to develop a full arsenal of pitches before he progresses to the major leagues. His curveball is not consistent enough to be used as a legitimate 3rd option along with his other pitches. Also. Wentz’s career has been riddled with injuries that have kept him out of significant time. He must remain healthy to improve to make it to the Tigers to be a back-end rotation player for them.
— Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) August 10, 2019
10. Alex Faedo
Alex Faedo is another first-round pitching prospect that was selected by the Tigers in 2017. Faedo is seen as the pitcher with the most work to do to be able to reach the Tigers. Faedo is in the second tier of pitching prospects in the Tigers farm system along with Wentz and Franklin Perez, behind players like Mize, Manning and Skubal. Faedo needs to improve on his control on his fastball and develop another pitch to reach his potential as a pitcher.
Faedo’s size, command, and plus slider have been the standout points in his profile from the beginning. While he’s not particularly athletic, his 6’5”, 230-pound frame hints at the ability to remain durable and eat innings at the major league level. As he’s adjusted his delivery, he’s also started to use that height to advantage, developing better two-plane movement on his fastball this season. Faedo has spent a lot of time working on his mechanics in his time with the Tigers, which has resulted in a much more upright throwing motion that has added 2 mph to his fastball. Faedo needs to improve
While things certainly look brighter than they did this time last year, the fact remains that Alex Faedo’s ceiling remains fairly limited by a subpar fastball and lack of a functioning changeup. To push the bar higher, he’s going to have to make gains with one of them. Both pitches grade below average, and there isn’t a whole lot of hope for major improvements in either at this point.
— emilycwaldon (@EmilyCWaldon) March 24, 2018