Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects

1. Casey Mize, RHP

Age: 21 (5/1/97)

Level: A+

13.2 IP, 3.95 ERA, 4.46 FIP, 9.22 K/9, 1.98 BB/9, .260 AVG

The number 1 overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft tops this talented Tigers list. The RHP out of Auburn has a strong, sturdy frame with a short, fast arm action. Mize throws four pitches, all with above-average to plus command. In my look, there was some rust after the layoff from his NCAA season to his debut in August. He consistently missed in the zone that day, leaving his fastball up. When he is on though, Mize is nasty. His fastball sits 94-95, touching 96. Mize also throws a slider at 80-81 mph. The pitch flashes above-average with two-plane tilt. His cutter has sharp horizontal movement and Mize runs it up to 88-90 mph. His best secondary is a splitter that features sharp downward break at 88 mph. Mize primarily works off the fastball and lacks separation between the split and the slider. While he can generate swing-and-miss from his his FB/SPL combo, Mize presently struggles to change eye-level up in the zone. Overall, he is a high floor SP3 that could pitch like an SP2 at peak. If he develops a change-up, he could become an ace. ETA: 2020

2. Isaac Paredes, SS

Age: 19 (2/18/98)

Level: AA

.278/.359/.456, 15 HR, .178 ISO, 131 wRC+, 10.2% BB, 15.1% K, 2 SB

One would think that a 19 year old SS that flashes power in AA would get more run in the industry but Paredes appears to be a polarizing prospect. On one hand, he has strong hands and plus raw power with an advanced approach at the plate. Paredes is primarily a pull hitter, but is at his best when he is at least thinking opposite field. Despite being only 19, there is little projection left. Paredes has a thick body with some soft spots around the middle. He will not be a MLB SS due to lack of range/quickness but will hit enough to be a MLB 3B. Paredes should be a 55 hit/55 power that provides average defense at 3B. The advanced approach and ability to make consistent contact will allow him to fly through the system. ETA: 2019

3. Matt Manning, RHP

Age: 20 (1/28/98)

Level: AA

117.2 IP, 3.29 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 11.78 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, .208 AVG

Manning made great strides in 2018 with his command and sequencing. His delivery is extremely athletic with a fast arm action. His fastball and curveballs are already plus pitches. His curve has 11-5 break with consistent shape. In Lakeland, he flashed fringe control, improving his walk rate from 4.53 in West Michigan to 3.33. However, his stuff was so good that all he had to do was just throw strikes to get hitters out. That doesn’t work in the upper levels of the minors. With that being said, I loved what I saw in 3-4 starts. As the control and command continue to improve, Manning will also need to improve his change-up. Currently, the pitch is firm with poor feel, however, Manning has shown a willingness to throw it in high-leverage situations. The ceiling can be SP2 if the command and change-up come around. At worst, Manning is a dominant late-inning reliever. I believe he sticks in the rotation though due to his athleticism. Always bet on the athlete to figure things out and take the next step. ETA: 2021

4. Daz Cameron, OF

Age: 22 (1/15/97)

Level: AAA

.264/.343/.406, 8 HR, .142 ISO, 113 wRC+, 9.7% BB, 25.7% K, 24 SB

Daz, like his father Mike, is an athletic centerfielder. He is a plus defender and runner which should keep him in the big leagues. At the plate, Daz is more of a leadoff type hitter. He has plus bat speed but struggles with spin and will expand the zone, leading to high K rates. Daz’s patience appears to be more from passivity and not an advanced eye. His swing is linear with an inside-out approach. When he is going well, he will make consistent hard contact to RF. He will struggle against big league pitching but has enough tools to warrant patience. As he continues to mature at the plate, he could become a 15 HR 25 SB CF at peak. ETA: 2019

5. Franklin Perez, RHP

Age: 21 (12/6/97)

Level: AA (2017)

19.1 IP, 6.52 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 6.52 K/9, 3.72 BB/9, .247 AVG - R/A+

Injuries limited Perez in 2018 after a stellar 2017 season which saw Perez reach AA as a teenager. He more than held his own, mixing four pitches with average command. His fastball sits mid 90’s while his change-up flashes plus. Perez is limited by two fringe breaking balls, a slider and curve. The curve lacks tight spin but Perez can command it for strikes and change eye level. His slider is firm and backs up. Perez has high arm slot which eats into his extension. The lack of a true swing-and-miss pitch and durability limit his ceiling to a mid-rotation SP. ETA: 2021

6. Parker Meadows, OF

Age: 19 (11/2/99)

Level: A

.290/.377/.473, 4 HR, .183 ISO, 141 wRC+, 9.4% BB, 29.2% K, 3 SB

Struggled a bit with Christin Stewart and Meadows. Stewart is closer with a more polished hit tool while Meadows has a chance to be special. If I were giving overall grades at this point, Stewart would be 45-50 Low Risk while Meadows is 60 Extreme Risk. Meadows is a superb athlete, double-plus runner and plus defender. He will lose a step as he fills out but will still be a 60-65 runner. Meadows hit tool is the big question mark. His swing can get long at times and there is some trouble with spin. There is a lot of power projection with Meadows but currently his game power is limited but the hit tool. Overall, he is one the best athletes in the system and could become the best position player on this list as soon as next season. ETA: 2022

7. Jake Rogers, C

Age: 23 (4/18/95)

Level: AA

.219/.305/.412, 17 HR, .193 ISO, 98 wRC+, 10% BB, 27.5% K, 7 SB

Rogers is a plus defender behind the plate and on defense alone, profiles as a 2nd division regular. The hit tool is a 20 at present with a lot of swing-and-miss. Rogers really struggled through the first two months of the season. On May 30, his OPS was .464. After June, Rogers started hitting more balls in the air and saw his ISO and OPS soar. After June 1, his OPS was .871 with a robus .271 ISO. If Rogers is able to hit .250 at the big league level, which is a 45 hit grade, that should result in enough hard contact to produce 20+ HR seasons through peak. ETA: 2019

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8. Wenceel Perez, SS

Age: 19 (10/30/99)

Level: A

.312/.363/.429, 3 HR, .117 ISO, 127 wRC+, 7.6% BB, 13.5% K, 13 SB

Perez was one of the more exciting players to come through the Gulf Coast League in 2018. He is a twitchy athlete with plus range and soft hands. Defensively, he will stick at SS. At the plate, he has an advanced approach with a good feel for the barrel. There is minimal power projection at present due to a linear, slap swing. Four of his five tools project to be plus with power lagging behind. Perez combines a high baseball IQ with a high motor. One of my favorite prospects, Wenceel will become a Tigers fan favorite as he climbs the ranks. ETA: 2022

9. Christin Stewart, OF

Age: 25 (12/10/93)

Level: MLB

.267/.375/.417, 2 HR, .150 ISO, 120 wRC+, 13.9% BB, 18.1% K, 0 SB - MLB

.264/.364/.480, 23 HR, .216 ISO, 138 wRC+, 12.8% BB, 20.7% K, 0 SB - AAA

Stewart’s one carrying tool should keep him in the Detroit line-up during the rebuild. Stewart has plus power with an advanced approach and good bat-to-ball skills. He fared well in the big leagues during a brief stint and it’s not out of the realm of possibilities to see him slash .250/.330/.450 with 20 plus HR in 2019. The problem is the lack of other tools. Stewart will provide negative defensive value which could limit his playing time if Cabrera is the primary DH. ETA: 2019

10. Beau Burrows, RHP

Age: 22 (9/18/96)

Level: AA

134 IP, 4.10 ERA, 4.29 xFIP, 8.53 K/9, 3.76 BB/9, .249 AVG

I wrote this for Baseball Prospectus on March 29. 2018.

“Nice body, thick lower half; drives off back leg; extends glove high adding to deception with his delivery. Brings chest to glove and keeps front side closed. FB touched 95, sat at 92-94 with occasional run; likes to elevate FB and throw inside to righties. Curveball plus at 77 with tight spin and downward action; can throw for strikes both sides of the plate; throws curve with confidence. Changeup sat 84 and used sparingly. Threw a slider or a cutter at 86-88. Stayed flat, no tilt but occasionally kept guys off the fastball. Strike thrower. Good feel. Loose arm. Repeats his delivery.”

That was one look. In AA, Burrows struggled to turn over lineups and effectively utilize a third pitch. Advanced hitters have been able to lay off his curveball and force him to come over the plate with his fastball. He will need to refine his command and improve his change-up in order to be an effective middle of the rotation SP. Ultimately, I think he ends up in the bullpen where his FB/CB combo play up. ETA: 2020

11. Willi Castro, SS

Age: 21 (4/24/97)

Level: AAA

.264/.315/.392, 9 HR, .129 ISO, 97 wRC+, 6.2% BB, 20.9% K, 18 SB

Castro is an above-average defender and runner that can stick at SS at the MLB level. The question will be the bat. Castro doesn’t have the bat speed to make me think there is untapped power and while I do think he will hit enough to earn a chance to win the Detroit SS job before settling into a possible super-utility role. ETA: 2019

12. Alex Faedo, RHP

Age: 23 (11/12/95)

Level: AA

121 IP, 4.02 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 8.18 K/9, 2.60 BB/9, .224 AVG

Faedo struggled after a promotion to AA although at times he flashed the stuff that made him the team’s top selection in the 2017 draft. Faedo’s stuff played down compared to when he was in college. His fastball sits 89-91 with arm side run. Rarely, if ever, did Faedo flash the 96 mph that he showed in the College World Series. However, the pitch has so much movement that he can extend the plate and generate weak groundball contact His slider was flat with inconsistent shape and tilt in all six of my looks. Faedo’s third pitch, a change-up, lacks the feel and depth at present to be an average pitch. Faedo’s delivery is unathletic with a low 3/4 slot. He gets poor extension despite his arm angle and lacks any out pitch that he can use to change eye-level. Furthermore, all three pitches lack separation, resting in the 83-88 mph range. Barring some significant off-season changes, Faedo is a back-of-the rotation SP. ETA: 2020

13. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP

Age: 24 (3/16/95)

Level: AAA

97.2 IP, 3.96 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 8.85 K/9, 4.52 BB/9, .260 AVG

2018 was more about proving to be healthy more so than results for Funkhouser. The big righty was once considered one of the best college pitchers in the game before returning to college and falling to Detroit in the 4th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. the 97.2 innings were a career high. He throws four pitches with his FB flashing plus, touching 97 mph. His slider and change-up are average and he sequences the three to miss bats. His curve is fringe but he uses it just enough to keep hitters off balance and disrupt their timing. At best, a healthy Funkhouser could find himself in the Detroit rotation by mid 2019. He profiles as a mid-rotation SP but will need to improve his command to turn over MLB lineups. ETA: 2019

14. Adinso Reyes, SS

Age: 17 (10/22/01)

Level: N/A

Signed July 2, 2018 for $1,450,000

Reyes is physically mature at 6’1” and 195 pounds. Reyes has an advanced approach at the plate for his age with emerging power and feel for the barrel. Defensively, he is athletic with soft hands and a strong throwing arm. He may grow into a 3B long term. ETA: 2023

15. Kody Clemens, 2B

Age: 22 (5/15/96)

Level: A+

.288/.365/.450, 5 HR, .162 ISO, 132 wRC+, 10.5% BB, 17.7% K, 4 SB

Clemens, the son of Roger, was selected in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft. A lefty hitter, Clemens, has a wide-open stance with a bit of a crouch. The hands are low at load with a lot of moving parts. Clemens looks to have a pull approach which leaves him susceptible to off-speed away, especially change-ups. There is power in the bat, but is limited due to inconsistencies in his swing. He can get long at times, tying himself up on fastballs inside. When he is in sync, Clemens generates plus bat speed, spraying hard line drives. He is a good athlete but is a fringey defender and runner. ETA: 2021

16. Spencer Turnbull, RHP

Age: 26 (9/19/92)

Level: MLB

16.1 IP, 6.06 ERA, 3.37 xFIP, 8.27 K/9, 2.20 BB/9, .262 AVG - MLB

119.1 IP, 3.92 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 10.03 K/9, 3.47 BB/9, .230 AVG - MiLB (4 levels)

Turnbull’s career has been plagued by injuries which have limited his development. He made his MLB debut in 2018 and should get a chance to make the back-end of the Tigers rotation in the Spring. His fastball is his bread and butter pitch, touching 97 with downhill plane and heavy life. He also throws a cutter, curveball, and change-up, all fringe-to-average. His fastball was hit hard in a brief 16 inning stint in 2018 and he will need to improve command in the zone. ETA: 2019

17. Jacob Robson, OF

Age: 24 (11/24/94)

Level: AAA

.295/.376/.440, 11 HR, .145 ISO, 130 wRC+, 11.2% BB, 25.2% K, 18 SB

Robson saw a power spike in 2018 with a career high 11 HR. The added power is a nice addition to his profile. Robson is a plus runner which allows his defense to play up a grade. Coming into this season, I viewed him as organizational depth. In 2017, I saw a slap hitter that did not swing with intent. Despite the power spike, he still hits too many groundballs (58% GB rate) to be more than a 4th OF. ETA: 2019

18. Sergio Alcantara, SS

Age: 22 (7/10/96)

Level: AA

.272/.335/.333, 1 HR, .061 ISO, 90 wRC+, 8.5% BB, 19.1 % K, 8 SB

Alcantara is a plus defender with a 70 grade throwing arm. His defensive actions are smooth with soft hands and good instincts. Defensively, he can plays SS at the MLB level right now however his future role will depend on his hit tool. Currently, below-average, Alcantara is a line-drive hitter with 20 grade power with no projection. If he can improve his hit tool to a 45 or 50, he could become a 2nd division regular. ETA: 2019

19. Anthony Castro, RHP

Age: 23 (4/13/95)

Level: AA

126.2 IP, 3.34 ERA, 4.39 FIP, 7.46 K/9, 3.91 BB/9, .249 AVG

Castro is an athletic righty with a strong and wiry frame. He has a fast arm and has touched 97 with his fastball, although he usually works in the low 90’s. Castro also has some trouble maintaining his velocity deep into games. To go with his FB, Castro throws a curve with 11-5 break. The pitch flashes plus but he struggles to maintain consistent shape throughout his starts. His change-up has come along way in 2018 and flashes above-average. Castro started changing speeds on his change-up late in the season. The harder version mimics a splitter with sharp downward tumble. Castro could be a SP4 or 5 if everything breaks his way, although I think ultimately he ends up in the bullpen where his stuff plays up a grade. ETA: 2020

20. Carlos Guzman, RHP

Age: 20 (5/16/98)

Level: A+

52.1 IP, 3.78 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 9.29 K/9, 2.41 BB/9, .225 AVG

Guzman is a converted infielder who has been pitching since 2017. He has an athletic delivery with good command of his three pitches. The gem of his arsenal is his circle change-up. Guzman throws it with confidence, extending both sides of the plate. His fastball sits 92-94 mph. Guzman also throws a slider. At present, it’s a fringe pitch, which doesn’t concern me. A slider is certainly easier to learn than a change-up. Based on his athleticism and command of the change-up alone, Guzman could shoot up this list in 2019. ETA: 2022

21. Dawel Lugo, 3B

Age: 24 (12/31/94)

Level: MLB

.213/.267/.309, 1 HR, .096 ISO, 57 wRC+, 6.9% BB, 19.8%, 0 SB - MLB

.269/.283/.350, 3 HR, .081 ISO, 75 wRC+, 1.7% BB, 12.6% K, 12 SB - AAA

Lugo has flashed average power at every level except AAA and MLB. He is a versatile infielder which puts his floor as a utility guy. However, Lugo doesn’t walk enough or hit enough to become a viable 2nd division regular. Still his proximity, versatility, and ability to make contact should ensure plenty of at-bats in Detroit in 2019. ETA: 2019

22. Kingston Liniak, OF

Age: 19 (11/11/99)

Level: SS A

.235/.272/.290, 1 HR, .055 ISO, 62 wRC+, 3.8% BB, 29.6% K, 8 SB

The Tigers 2018 4th round pick and 105th overall selection is a long and lanky athlete with a plus arm and plus speed. There is a lot of projection left with Liniak and he will need to add strength to his frame in order to tap into potential plus raw power. He is a bit of a project offensively but the tools are worth waiting for. ETA: 2022

23. Logan Shore, RHP

Age: 24 (12/28/94)

Level: AA

91.1 IP, 4.45 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 7.32 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, .281 AVG

Shore is a solidly built back-of-the-rotation SP with a plus change-up and an average slider. His command is plus with good feel and confidence throwing his off-speed. Shore is a high floor guy that is limited by a 45 grade fastball. While he lacks the upside of the bigger names on this list, Shore may be a safer bet to reach his ceiling. ETA: 2019

24. Tarik Skubal, LHP

Age: 22 (11/20/96)

Level: A

22.1 IP, 0.40 ERA, 1.09 FIP, 13.3 K/9, 1.61 BB/9, .192 AVG

Skubal is an athletic lefty with a 70 grade fastball with run. His slider and change-up are fringe pitches but flash average to plus at times. Skubal could not throw strikes as an amateur but posted 33:4 K:BB ratio in a small sample size as a pro. If he can continue to harness his command, he could develop into a mid-rotation SP. ETA: 2022

25. Bryan Garcia, RHP

Age: 23 (4/19/95)

Level: AAA

2018: DNP - Tommy John

2017: 55 IP, 2.13 ERA, 2.23 FIP, 12.76 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, .187 AVG

Garcia had an outside shot at making the big league team going into spring training before his injury. When healthy, Garcia can throw three plus pitches. His fastball, slider, and change-up all generate swing-and-miss. His command is fringe which limits his ceiling. Usually after Tommy John surgery, command is slow to return. Expect to see Garcia in the Detroit bullpen by mid-season. ETA: 2019

26. Zac Houston, RHP

Age: 24 (11/30/94)

Level: AAA

55.1 IP, 1.63 ERA, 2.66 FIP, 13.01 K/9, 4.07 BB/9, .149 AVG

Houston is a big bodied reliever that struggles with commanding his plus arsenal. His fastball sits mid-90’s but gets on hitters quicker than expected due to great extension and a high spin rate. His slider is more of a slurve with more downward tilt than horizontal movement. Houston misses a lot of bats but will walk his fair share. His command grades out at 40 which limits his potential impact. ETA: 2019

27. Reed Garrett, RHP

Age: 26 (1/2/93)

Level: AAA

61.2 IP, 2.04 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 8.90 K/9, 2.92 BB/9, .236 AVG

Taken in the Rule 5 draft, Garrett’s fastball touches 99 while his curve is a high-spinning hammer. His change-up is a solid third offering. There will be plenty of opportunities to find his niche in the rebuilding Tigers’ bullpen. If you’re in a holds league, he is a low-risk, high reward add. ETA: 2019

28. Brock Deatherage, OF

Age: 23 (9/12/95)

Level: A+

.326/.385/.504, 7 HR, .178 ISO, 149 wRC+, 8.2% BB, 24.9% K, 19 SB

Deatherage exploded onto the scene after being a 10th round pick in the 2018 draft. The numbers are nice but we need to pump the brakes on the hype train. Deatherage is a high-energy CF with a strong throwing arm. He showed good feel for the barrel as a pro, making consistent hard contact to all fields. I like Deatherage’s athleticism and speed. He is a 65 runner and should stick in CF. The hit tool needs work as the numbers were inflated with a .420 BABIP. Ceiling wise, he is a 4th OF, but has a long way to go as a hitter to get there. ETA: 2021

29. Gregory Soto, LHP

Age: 23 (2/11/95)

Level: A+

113.1 IP, 4.45 ERA, 4.49 xFIP, 9.13 K/9, 5.56 BB/9, .232 AVG

Soto has a plus fastball and curveball but struggles to find the strikezone. His delivery is a bit stiff and unathletic leading to poor arm side command. He struggles with his release point and often labors through at-bats, running up his pitch count. The arm is electric but as Soto struggles to command the FB and the lack of a playable third pitch limits Soto’s ceiling. Ultimately, he ends up in the bullpen. ETA: 2020

30. Jason Foley, RHP

Age: 23 (11/1/95)

Level: A+

2018: DNP - Tommy John

2017: 36.1 IP, 2.48 ERA, 2.14 FIP, 10.16 K/9, 1.73 BB/9, .200 AVG

Another reliever that missed time with TJ in 2018. Foley is a bit behind Garcia in terms of development but features a 70 fastball and plus change-up. Provided he is healthy in 2018, he could be a quick mover especially since he has above-average command. ETA: 2020