Detroit Tigers 2021 Preseason Top 50 Prospects

Hunter Denson ranks the Top 50 prospects in the Detroit Tigers' system

From 2006 – 2016, the Tigers were consistently in the playoff hunt, made two World Series appearances, and slipped under .500 only twice (2008 & 2015). A dismal start to the 2017 season kicked off a rebuild effort that saw J.D. Martinez and Justin Verlander, among others, dealt for future assets. Since 2016, the Tigers have flirted with 100 losses during every season except for last season.

2020 was an interesting season for Detroit. The Tigers were in the hunt heading into September and though they eventually failed in that attempt, they were able to have several prospects join the team for their first taste of MLB. Isaac Paredes, Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and others all made their debuts for the team, and though most struggled, it did highlight the talent they have coming up the ranks.

The Tiger’s system is top-heavy, with several players either ready or very close to contributing at the MLB level. Several are worth your attention in fantasy circles right now and some of the less-known names are worth an investment, especially in deeper leagues.

Note: These Top 50 lists are all done through a fantasy baseball-focused lens. Many players who are ranked higher or lower on other platforms will get a boost here. For example, players who profile as middle relievers or glove-first infielders likely won’t have much fantasy relevance, so they won’t be ranked as highly. 

 

1. Spencer Torkelson, 3B/1B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

No one was shocked when the Tiger’s selected Torkelson with the 1st overall pick in the 2020 MLB draft as none came close to matching his power production and offensive potential. He slammed 54 career home runs at ASU (2nd most in school history) and hit another nine out during his two stints in the Cape Cod League, showing that he could do damage with or without a metal bat.

Opposing pitchers recognized his ability to do damage and rarely allowed him the chance for contact in his final season at ASU. Torkelson was intentionally walked 15 times in 17 games and was 10 walks away from matching his previous season-high of 41 walks (57 games) despite playing in 40 fewer games.
His selection at number one marked the fourth such time for an ASU player to be taken with the top pick, easily the most in NCAA history.

Like Rick Monday, Floyd Bannister, and Bob Horner before him, Torkelson hopes to have his own long and productive career at the major league level. Although Torkelson did not play there in college, the Tigers selected him as a third baseman, though many expect his future will be at first. His bat will play either way and whatever position he lands at should not affect his fantasy value as a top-10 overall fantasy prospect.

ETA: 2021

 

2. Matt Manning, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Double-A

I think Matt Manning has the highest ceiling of any arm in the Tiger’s system. As a 21-year-old in Double-A, Manning generated a 28.1% K% and posted a 7.2% BB% in 133.2 IP. Here is a list of all pitchers, his age or younger, who posted similar numbers in Double-A since 2015:

Manning boasts two plus pitches (Fastball and Curveball) and another (Changeup) that could develop into one with time. He is well built for a starter (6’6″, 215 lbs), very athletic, and has a repeatable delivery that should not tax him overly. The one thing that could potentially derail his timeline is health. Like fellow Tiger arm Alex Faedo, Manning was shut down in August with a forearm strain, though unlike his teammate he did not have to go under the knife.

An October article in the Detroit Free Press noted that he is healthy now and quoted Manning’s response on the injury shut-down:

“It kind of stunk going down last year. … It was just a mild strain in my forearm. Some inflammation and stuff like that. It wasn’t anything too serious.”

Barring a resurgence of his forearm issue, Manning should debut with the Tigers at some point in 2021. Given his age and the missed year of minor league play, I expect he will be held down for a good portion of the season before joining the club.

ETA: 2021

 

3. Casey Mize, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

The results of Mize’s MLB debut (5.06 SIERA, 1.48 WHIP, 9.8% K-BB%) were not what the Tiger faithful hoped for given his pedigree as the first overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft. One issue for Mize was his quality of contact allowed. Hitters barreled 13.5% of his offerings, leading to a robust .294 XBA/.551 XSLG/.436 XWOBACON expected line against him in his 28 IP. Command and control issues also limited his efficiency and effectiveness. Mize tossed at least five innings only once in his seven starts, walked 9.8% of batters faced, and posted a Zone% of 38.9%.

He also struggled to consistently get ahead of hitters (55.6% F-Strike%), which limited the effectiveness of his deep arsenal. At least three of his pitches either are or have the potential to be plus offerings and Mize threw five pitches at least 10% of the time for the season. Much of his struggles look to be related to a lack of experience (no innings above Double-A before 2020) and a need to continue learning how to effectively implement and execute a game plan.

While Mize’s stock has taken a hit due to his poor performance, please insert a small sample size alert here. Overreacting to less than 30 IP for a pitcher with no experience above Double-A is not a good idea. However, his performance is a reminder that Mize and similarly vaunted prospect arms are not guaranteed fantasy aces, no matter their prospect pedigrees. Barring health issues, I expect Mize to develop into a #2 arm, with the chance to be slightly better.

ETA: 2021

 

4. Tarik Skubal, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

Skubal had 22.1 IP to his name before burning his way through Single-A and Double-A hitters in 2019 (30.3% K% in Single-A; 48.2% K% in Double-A). He generated the highest SwStr% (21.5%) of all AA pitchers (at least 30 IP) and cemented his status as one of the best arms in the Tiger’s system. The absence of a minor league season did not slow down his rise. Skubal went to summer camp with the Tigers and debuted with the big league club in August, making seven starts in eight appearances.

In his first taste of the show, he continued to make batters miss (12.9% SwStr%) and struck them out with impunity (27.6% in 32 IP). He struggled with efficiency, lasting less than four innings in four of his starts, and allowed a home run in every appearance except one (9 HR in 32.1 IP). His struggles with the long ball were a bit of a surprise given his success limiting them in the minors (7 HRA in 145 IP). An inflated FB% contributed to this rise (54.2% FB% in MLB; 40.6% FB% in Double-A) as Skubal struggled to keep the ball out of the air (27.7% GB%).

As these were his first innings above Double-A, some growing pains are to be expected and should not be a reason to downgrade Skubal’s future promise. The one concern I have is whether he can be effective using his 4-seamer almost 60% of the time without further developing his secondary offerings. While his 4-seamer has a high spin rate (82nd percentile) and generated healthy Whiff% (28.4%) and PutAway% (20%) rates, hitters also tagged it for six of his nine HRA. Some of that can be resolved with improved command. Without quality secondary offerings, however, this pitch will not be as effective. Continued growth on his changeup and slider will determine whether he can be a reliable starter or a high leverage bullpen arm long-term.

ETA: 2021

 

5. Riley Greene, OF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: Single-A

Greene touched three levels in 2019 after his top 5 selection in the 2019 draft, spending most of his time between Low-A and Single-A ball. He flashed limited power overall (.091 ISO in Low-A; .125 ISO in Single-A) and stole five bases without being caught in his 48 games. Though his production dipped with each promotion (192 wRC+ in Rookie; 135 wRC+ in Low-A; 80 wRC+ in Single-A), it was a strong showing for an 18-year-old playing against older competition.

An above-average hit tool is his biggest strength and he projects to grow into solid power at full development. Though athletic, he will not provide much value on the base paths and projects as a corner outfielder in the big leagues. Green fits very well into the Tiger’s current competitive window and will likely be up in 2022 or 2023 barring a big step forward in 2021.

ETA: 2023

 

6. Isaac Paredes, 3B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: MLB

I have been a big fan of Paredes for a couple of years now and was very excited to see him debut with the Tigers in 2020. Paredes looked overmatched in his 34 games at the highest level, generating an abysmal 56 wRC+ to go along with his .220/.278/.290 slash line.

This is not surprising given his youth (21) and lack of experience above Double-A before this season. The fact that he was able to maintain a good approach at the plate (22.2% K%, 7.4% BB%, 6.2% SwStr%) despite his inexperience bodes well for his future.

Paredes has performed well at every level in his minor league career, consistently generating above-average production in his last four assignments. He won’t generate too much power but will provide value due to his hit tool and approach. Something like a .285/10-15 HR bat with a strong OBP looks like his ceiling, though I think he could move past that a bit and flirt with 20 HR and a .300 BA. His lack of power means he must stick in the infield and overcome some questions that exist about his lack of athleticism.

ETA: 2021

 

7. Parker Meadows, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Single-A

While his production in Single-A took a step back from his previous stops in the Tiger’s system, Meadows showed enough to be optimistic about his future with the club. Despite jumping from Low-A to Single-A, his strikeout rate decreased by 6.2% and his walk rate stayed constant. His SwStr% (11.2%) shows he still has some work to do at the plate but even that performance rated 13th among qualified hitters his age in Single-A. Plus speed and burgeoning power are his main calling cards and should make for an enticing offensive package if he can tighten things up at the plate.

ETA: 2023

 

8. Dillon Dingler, C

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

Dingler just missed going in the first round of this year’s MLB draft before the Tigers snatched him up with the 38th overall pick to start the second round. A centerfielder during his freshman year, Dingler spent the majority of his career at OSU behind the plate, excelling there due to his cannon arm and above-average athleticism. He drastically improved his draft stock in the shortened 2020 season, slamming five home runs in 13 games, slashing .340/.404/.760, and erasing concerns about his injury-shortened 2019.

He needs more work behind the plate but has the skills to excel once he has more experience at the position. Prospect catchers are a tough sell in fantasy given the time it takes them to develop, the uneven offensive production that most generate, and the fact that few consistently play once they are in the show. Dingler has the chance to be one of the outliers, especially if he can grow his in-game power.

ETA: 2024

 

9. Joey Wentz, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Double-A

Wentz had Tommy John surgery in March of this year and should be ready to return in 2021. The Tigers acquired Wentz and Travis Demeritte from the Atlanta Braves for Shane Greene in 2019 and loved what they saw from the lefty during his time with Erie Seawolves that year (25.2 IP, 37.8% K%, 4.1% BB%). That type of production was much higher than his stats with the Braves Double-A affiliate (103 IP, 22.9% K%, 10.3% BB%) but showcases the type of value Wentz can provide if he stays healthy and reaches his ceiling.

Wentz has above-average command and one plus pitch offering in his arsenal. His other pitches currently rate as league average barring further development. He will likely have some rough patches as he recovers from surgery (especially with control/command) but there is enough there for a back-end starter with the potential for slightly more if he can build off of his strong 2019 second half.

ETA: 2022

 

10. Daniel Cabrera, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: N/A

Cabrera was the 62nd overall pick in this year’s draft, taking his talents from Baton Rouge for a just over the slot $1.2 million signing bonus. At LSU, Cabrera flashed solid power, a good approach, and a strong arm.

He was selected as a Cape Cod League All-Star in 2019 and projected to go as high as the first round before falling to Detroit. His arm will play in right field and he should develop a solid offensive profile with average power and a decent batting average.

ETA: 2023

 

11. Franklin Pérez, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Pérez is a tragic prospect, an arm gifted with high-level talent who never has the opportunity to show it off due to various injuries. He has tallied 27 innings since the 2018 season, mostly due to shoulder ailments. When healthy, Pérez has three plus pitches and the makings of a top of the rotation arm.

2020 did not bring him another injury and he was able to participate in summer camp with the Tigers through September, creating hope that he can enter spring training healthy for 2021. He still needs to work on his command and I expect him to start in the minors and be taken slowly if he does enter spring training without incident. If you are looking for a gamble that could pay off heavily, look no further than Perez.

ETA: 2022

 

12. Daz Cameron, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: MLB

Plate discipline takes all the helium out of Daz Cameron’s profile. While Cameron possesses an interesting blend of power and speed, his inability to take a walk or control the plate makes him a volatile asset for fantasy purposes. His brief stint with the Tigers highlighted these deficiencies.

In 17 games this season, Cameron struck out 32.2% of the time while walking only 3.4%. He went down swinging often (12.2% SwStr%), chased constantly (39% O-Swing%), and struggled to make contact (60.4% O-Contact%) when he did. Perhaps more time at Triple-A in 2021 will tighten up his plate discipline. Without it, I do not see him making enough contact to matter.

ETA: 2022

 

13. Alex Faedo, SP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Faedo’s stock was on the rise heading into 2020, buoyed by a strong showing in Double-A (23.5% K-BB%, 2.96 xFIP, 1.12 WHIP) and a trajectory on track for some late-season big-league action if his performance continued at Triple-A.

The cancellation of the minor league season and his inability to participate in summer camp due to COVID protocol halted his efforts for any further growth this year and the recent announcement that he will miss the 2021 season due to Tommy John surgery wipes out much of his value as a fantasy asset.

Faedo will head into the 2022 season as a 27-year-old coming off surgery. Those two facts alone are red flags. Toss in the fact that he has yet to pitch above Double-A and he becomes a tough sell in dynasty league formats. If his recovery goes well, he could still find his way into the Tiger’s plans, though it may be as a bullpen arm rather than a starter.

ETA: 2022

 

14. Jose De La Cruz, OF

 

Age: 18

Highest Level: R

The Tigers have had an uneven record developing international signings over the years but hope to change that with Cruz, who signed with them as a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic in 2018. At the time of the signing, Baseball America stated that Cruz was “An athletic outfielder with a strong, compact build, de la Cruz has some of the best tools in the class,”

Cruz tore up Rookie ball competition as a 17-year-old, generating a 149 wRC+ to go along with a .249 ISO and 16 steals. That wRC+ ranked 12th among 16 and 17-year-olds in the Dominican Summer League, ranking him alongside highly-rated prospects like Luis Matos and LuisAngel Acuna. Strikeout issues exist (29.7% K%) and he has an extended timeline but the profile makes him a good investment long term.

ETA: 2024

 

15. Gage Workman, 3B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

While not as renowned as ASU teammate Spencer Torkelson, Workman is an interesting, athletic third baseman who could eclipse many in the system very soon. His sophomore season (.330/.413/.528 with eight HR and nine SB) put him on the map as a promising hitter with good power potential at the next level. Although Torkelson was also drafted as a third baseman, Workman is the likelier of the pair to remain at the position long term.

ETA: 2023

 

16. Roberto Campos, OF

 

Age: 17

Highest Level: N/A

Despite the high $2.85m signing bonus he received, Campos did not come with any of the notoriety other high-level international prospects had during the 2019 signing period. He was unranked in most publications and very little information existed about him before the Tigers decided to sign him.

The Detroit News noted that the Tigers had watched Campos since he was 14, quoting Tom Moore, the Tiger’s Director of International Operations, as saying “The ball always jumped off his bat, even when he was that young”. Mr. Moore also noted that Campos “…has power to all fields with instincts to hit”. Campos remains an enigma but is highly thought of within the Tiger’s organization.

ETA: 2025

 

17. Nick Quintana, 3B

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Quintana mashed at Arizona, slashing .342/.462/.626 with 15 home runs during his final year there. He also performed well in the Cape Cod League, swatting 11 home runs in 69 games. The Tigers nabbed him in the 2nd round of the 2019 draft and he saw time in Low-A and Single-A that year. The hit tool needs work (+30% K% at both levels) and Quintana’s production cratered at the higher level (36 wRC+, .068 ISO). He projects for solid power with a questionable hit tool.

ETA: 2023

 

18. Adinso Reyes, SS

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

Reyes is another promising international signee in the Tiger’s system. The shortstop ranked 19th overall in the 2018 class and yielded a $1.45m signing bonus. He hit very well in Rookie ball (140 wRC+, .178 ISO) and limited his strikeouts to a manageable level given his age (19% K%). Most believe he will eventually move off of shortstop as he grows. Reyes has good power potential but questions exist about his hit tool at the highest level.

ETA: 2025

 

19. Zack Hess, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: Single-A

Hess dominated as a reliever for LSU during his freshman year, posting a 3.12 ERA and striking out 83 batters in 60.2 IP. Command issues plagued him as a starter for his next two seasons (189 walks in 163.1 IP), leading to uneven results and a 7th round selection after talk of him going on the first day. Hess made it up to Single-A in 2019 but continued to struggle with walks (12.2% BB% in A) along the way. He has two plus pitches and could end up as a high-leverage relief arm if he can tone down the command issues.

ETA: 2023

 

20. Bryant Packard, OF

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: High-A

No one denies that Packard can hit. As a sophomore at East Carolina University he slashed an otherworldly .406/.462/.671 with 14 home runs. He followed that up with a .305/.421/.576 four home run performance in the Cape Cod League. Nothing changed as a professional. After the draft, Packard hit his way to three levels in 2019, capping out with five games in High-A after generating well above average production at his first two stops (155 wRC+ in Rookie; 162 wRC+ in Single-A).

He projects for solid power and will need it since his lack of speed and limited defensive abilities limit him to first base or designated hitter. May end up as a three outcome hitter unless he can adjust his approach at the plate. Former Tiger Lance Parrish is a fan and gave the following quote on Packard’s offensive capabilities: “He’s got a pretty swing, he drives the ball to all fields, and he’s got very good bat control.”

ETA: 2022

 

21. Wenceel Perez, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Single-A

Despite his highly-rated hit tool, Perez found little success in his first extended taste of Single-A pitching, slashing .233/.299/.314 and generating a below-average 81 wRC+. He was uneven on the bases (21/34 SBA’s) as well, despite his plus speed, and struggled enough that the club felt safe leaving him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft.

Perez is still very young (21) and despite his lack of power, he owns a skillset that would make for an interesting infielder if he can put it all together. He will end up as a utility infielder at worst.

ETA: 2023

 

22. Alex Lange, RP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Lange has been a starter for his entire career until 2019 when he relieved for nine Double-A games after coming over from the Chicago Cubs. His strikeout rate jumped a bit in his new role (+7.9% K%), as did his walk rate (+1.8% BB%). He also saw a large jump in his SwStr% (+4.3%). Lange has a good chance to win a role in the Tiger’s bullpen in 2021.

ETA: 2021

 

23. Keider Montero, SP

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Low-A

Montero has a plus curveball and pitched very well upon his promotion to Low-A in 2019, cutting his walk rate by 5.5% and boosting his K% to 28.6%. His curveball has elite spin and will be a weapon whether he stays in the rotation or shifts to the pen. His fastball and changeup are borderline league average offerings but if he can develop another legitimate weapon in his arsenal his pathway to the rotation is clearer.

ETA: 2024

 

24. Andre Lipcius, 2B/3B

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Single-A

A strong showing in the Cape Cod League (.313/.391/.456 with four HR) foreshadowed the huge junior season that boosted Lipcius into the 3rd round of the 2019 MLB draft. He cracked 17 home runs, stole 10 bases, and slashed .309/.399/.586 on the season for the Tennessee Volunteers. An above-average hit tool stands out as his best feature, overshadowing below-average ratings for both power and speed.

ETA: 2022

 

25. Colt Keith, IF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: N/A

The Tiger’s love for ASU baseball ran deep in this year’s draft, starting with their selections of Torkelson and Workman and culminating in their ability to woo Colt Keith away from his commitment to the Sun Devils with a $500,000 signing bonus. The lefty-hitting prospect has good power potential and room to grow with his swing, though he will need time to polish his approach.

Perfect Game gave Keith a 10 in their rating system, which for them corresponds to a “Potential very high draft pick and/or Elite level college prospect”. Keith flashed a strong arm in high school (92 MPH fastball velocity) and can play at multiple positions, giving the Tigers flexibility as they decide where he fits in the organization.

ETA: 2025

 

26. Gerson Moreno, RP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Double-A

Elbow surgery kept Moreno out of action for most of 2019, limiting him to less than seven innings for the campaign. When healthy, Moreno has two plus pitches and a third that has the chance to be an above-average offering in time. High walk rates have plagued him for several seasons and remain the biggest area of concern in his profile. Moreno has high-leverage relief potential.

ETA: 2022

 

27. Kody Clemens, 3B

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: Double-A

The 2018 3rd round pick marched quickly through the minors in his first two seasons, topping out at Double-A in 2019. He flashed a good mix of power (.173 ISO) and speed (11 SB) in A+ while generating a 114 wRC+. While the speed is not projected to matter as he develops, he should have close to average power and a solid hit tool.

ETA: 2022

 

28. Beau Burrows, SP

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

High walk rates and lacking secondary offerings have kept Burrows from returning the value the Tigers expected when they took him 22nd overall in 2015. He walked 10.8% of Triple-A batters faced in 2019 and struggled to put them away as well, whiffing 20.7% and generating an unimpressive 8.8% SwStr%. Injuries did play a role in his recent struggles but I am not convinced his performance would have been much better even if he were healthy. He looks like a low-leverage reliever or mop-up arm at this point.

ETA: 2021

 

29. Iverson Leonardo, OF

 

Age: 19

Highest Level: R

The lefty-hitting Leonardo signed with the Tigers in 2017 out of the Dominican Republic. All of his experience so far has been in Rookie ball, where he has consistently outperformed league average production (119 wRC+ in 2018; 165 wRC+ in 2019). He has a power/speed mix to his game, though he is still learning how to implement his speed effectively on the bases (17/29 SBA’s).

ETA: 2025

 

30. Trei Cruz, SS

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

Like Parker Meadows and Kody Clemens, Cruz has family ties to MLB. Unlike the others, Cruz has the chance to be a third-generation MLB player if he can follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. Trei hit .305 with nine HR’s and six SB’s during his sophomore year and was doing well in his abbreviated junior season before it was canceled. He should stick in the infield and has a well-rounded offensive profile.

ETA: 2023

 

31. Akil Baddoo, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Baddoo was an interesting bat to gamble on in the Rule 5 draft. As a 19-year-old in 2018, he generated a 121 wRC+, hit 11 home runs, and stole 24 bases. He also posted a healthy 14.3% BB%. Unfortunately, he has not played much since. Tommy John surgery limited him to 29 games in 2019 and he did not play in 2020 given the cancellation of the season. If he can stay healthy and find a way to keep his strikeouts in check, Detroit may reap surprising value from Baddoo.

ETA: 2024

 

32. Paul Richan, SP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: High-A

Richan came to the Tigers as part of the package for Nicholas Castellanos. He has excellent control (yet to post a +5% BB% in the minors) and has posted solid strikeout rates thus far. Profiles as a back of the rotation starter or multi-inning reliever.

ETA: 2022

 

33. Zack Short, SS

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: Triple-A

Short already plays MLB-level defense at shortstop but has some work to do for his offense to reach that point. He has good power but sometimes sells out for it to the detriment of his batting average. He has always walked at a high rate, never posting a rate below 12.2% during his minor league career. There is a risk that he does not hit enough to allow his power to play but if he can cut back on his all-or-nothing approach he should carve out a role with the Tigers as a utility infielder with the chance for more.

ETA: 2021

 

34. Derek Hill, OF

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Hill finally reached the big leagues this season, notching one hit in eleven AB’s during his cup of coffee with the club after taking six seasons to reach Double-A. At Double-A in 2019, he flashed power (14 HR; .151 ISO), speed (21 SB), and above-average offensive production (108 wRC+), though he struggled with strikeouts (27.9% K%).

He did not look ready for MLB pitching in his brief stint with the club (50% K%) and will likely start 2021 in Triple-A. He needs to improve his hit tool for his plus speed and average power to play consistently at the highest level.

ETA: 2021

 

35. Jake Rogers, C

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: MLB

Rogers struggled to hit in his 35 game stint with the club, slashing .124/.222/.259 and striking out a whopping 39.8% of the time. He also struggled to hit at Triple-A in 2019 (97 wRC+, 27.7% K%) and likely needs more time if he is ever going to consistently contribute at the highest level. He does possess solid power for a catcher (4 HR and .134 ISO in 2020) but must improve his approach if he is going to offer any fantasy value.

ETA: 2022

 

36. Wilkel Hernandez, SP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: Single-A

Two of Hernandez’s offerings (fastball/curveball) flirt with being above-average pitches, with his changeup bringing up the rear developmentally. His curveball has good spin (2550) and his fastball sits in the low 90’s but maxes out at 96. He did not strike out many batters in Single-A but generates a good SwStr% (11.2%). Could be a better fit in the pen where he can air it out a bit more and ditch his changeup. Unfortunately, Tommy John will keep Hernandez out of action until 2022.

ETA: 2024

 

37. Brock Deatherage, OF

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: High-A

Besides having one of the best last names in baseball, Deatherage possesses some legitimate wheels. He swiped 45 based on 56 attempts in High-A and now has 64 SB’s in 78 tries. Unfortunately, he strikes out a lot (27.7% K% in High-A) and has no power to speak of. These limitations limit his upside unless he can grow at the dish.

ETA: 2022

 

38. Yoandy Rea, C

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: Low-A

Rea initially signed with the Tigers in 2017 and hit very well during his first two Rookie league stops (147wRC+ in 2018; 209wRC+ in 2019) and flashed good power as well during his second go-round (.253 ISO). He also posted sub-10% strikeout rates at both stops. As stated before, catchers are hard to forecast and take time to develop but Rea is moving in the right direction at this point in his career.

ETA: 2025

 

39. Jason Foley, RP

 

Age: 25

Highest Level: High-A

Foley is another relief prospect in the system that can hit 100 with his fastball, a plus pitch that garnered a 65 rating per Fangraphs. His other offerings are below average. 2019 marked his first action since missing part of 2017 and all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery. His lack of experience above High-A is a worry given his age (25), but that kind of fastball makes him an interesting bullpen option for the Tigers.

ETA: 2021

 

40. Angel De Jesus, RP

 

Age: 23

Highest Level: High-A

De Jesus’s plus fastball maxes out at 96 MPH and is a big factor behind the high strikeout rates (29.4% K% in A; 35.7% in A+) he has posted so far in the minors. His other pitch is a fringe slider. Great fit for the bullpen, though he needs to cut his walk rate (13.7%BB% in A; 9.7% BB% in A+).

ETA: 2022

 

41. Wladimir Pinto, RP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Double-A

Pinto can touch triple digits with his fastball, though he usually sits a bit lower. While that heat is impressive and has led to high strikeout rates (+30% K% since 2018), he has also not posted a BB% below 12% in that same timeframe. Pinto has the stuff to be a high leverage reliever but must improve his command to be of use.

ETA: 2022

 

42. Trevin Esquerra, 1B

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

As Esquerra was not selected in the first 5 rounds of the MLB draft, he was eligible to sign with any team for $20,000 per new draft rules, eventually choosing the Tigers.

Esquerra had a very productive sophomore season (.322/.378/.622 with 16 HR) and was leading his team in several offensive categories during the abbreviated 2020 season. The signing of the ambidextrous Esquerra adds another interesting corner bat to the system.

ETA: 2023

 

43. Ulrich Bojarski, OF

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Bojarski put together his most consistent production in Single-A during the 2019 season, generating a 104 wRC+ alongside a .138 ISO. He did not fair as well upon his promotion to High-A, seeing a rise in strikeouts (+4.3%), a decrease in his already meager walk rate (1.3% BB% in High-A), and barely any production to speak of otherwise (32 wRC+). Has power potential but needs a lot more work to tap into it and hit enough to access it consistently.

ETA: 2024

 

44. Elvin Rodriguez, SP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: High-A

Rodriguez sits at 89-93 with his fastball and has two secondary offerings that rate at league average or slightly above. In 23 starts at High-A, Rodriguez posted a mediocre 12.1% K-BB% alongside an 11.2% SwStr%. Likely a long reliever unless he can pick up more velocity.

ETA: 2023

 

45. Yunior Perez, RP

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Low-A

The Tigers selected Perez from the Chicago Cubs in the minor-league portion of the 2020 Rule 5 draft. He is a relief prospect with heavy command issues (17.4% BB% in Low-A) and a ways to go before he could be considered for a major league bullpen. Some strikeout potential (11.7% SwStr% in Low-A) exists if he can reign in his stuff.

ETA: 2024

 

46. Carson King, RP

 

Age: 21

Highest Level: N/A

King is another undrafted free agent who signed with the Tigers after the MLB draft. He has not pitched much due to injury issues and the cancellation of this season but is an interesting arm for the Tigers to bring into the system. Bless You Boys included the following quote from the National Scouting Supervisor at Perfect Game about King’s profile: “Athletic righty with plus arm speed, does it pretty easy, FB mostly in 90-93 range, spins hard SL in mid-upper 80’s, also mixes in CB and CH.”

ETA: 2024

 

47. Alvaro Gonzalez, SS

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

Gonzalez signed with the club as a 16-year-old in 2017 for $1m. He has 86 games of experience under his belt, all coming in Rookie ball, most recently here in the US. So far he has shown a solid approach at the plate, especially for his age. He does not have much power and projects to be a utility bat with speed.

ETA: 2024

 

48. Sergio Alcantara, SS

 

Age: 24

Highest Level: MLB

Alcantara is infield depth for the Tigers and likely nothing more than a utility infielder at best. In over seven seasons in the Tiger’s system, Alcantara has hit only nine home runs and is not a power threat at the plate. Most of his value comes defensively and he does not offer any value in dynasty leagues.

ETA: 2021

 

49. Pedro Martinez Jr., 3B

 

Age: 20

Highest Level: R

The son of Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez has struggled in his first two professional seasons, generating slightly above league average production in 2018 (101 wRC+) before dropping off in his second Rookie league season (86 wRC+). No one tool stands out and most project to be league average.

ETA: 2025

 

50. Cooper Johnson, C

 

Age: 22

Highest Level: Single-A

Johnson walks a lot (+14% BB% in 2019)…and struggles with strikeouts as well (+26% K% in 2019). He has average power but much of his value in the big leagues would come from his defensive abilities and his incredible arm.

ETA: 2024

Featured Image by Doug Carlin (@Bdougals on Twitter)

Hunter Denson

Hunter currently writes for PitcherList. He once fouled off a pitch against former big-leaguer Jon Lieber, only to strike out spectacularly on the next pitch. Representing the Red Sox Nation out in the Pacific Northwest

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