Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Detroit Tigers. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.
All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.
Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Most of these guys can run. Liniak is the youngest and has the best chance to grow into some power. Peterson could impact the big league club this year and might hit enough to be a right-handed bench piece for a while. Deatherage was a college draftee who put up huge numbers in rookie ball, but struck out 25% of the time as a 22-year-old and is due for a huge BABIP regression, so we’re skeptical of his hot pro start. Plate discipline (Robson), speed (Woodrow), and sneaky pop (Montgomery) could propel any of the others into a bench outfield role.
Recent July Twos
Alvaro Gonzalez, SS
Jose De La Cruz, RF
Gonzalez signed in 2017 and is a natural shortstop who likely needs to grow into some offensive ability to profile. De La Cruz is a corner outfield projection bat who makes up for limited athleticism with advanced feel to hit.
Wilkel came over from the Angels in the Ian Kinsler deal. He’s a somewhat projectable 20-year old with a chance for fifth starter stuff. His curveball has good shape but needs more power. Shore is a changeup artist with a 4 fastball. Alexander throws strikes and eats innings and is a good bet to at least be a sixth starter type of depth arm. A similar role likely awaits Wolf, whose best pitch is a cutter.
Foley is coming back from TJ, and would flash upper-90s heat and a good changeup before his injury. He’s still just 23. Blackwood is a sinkerballing submariner. Jimenez, Houston, and Baez are all possible 55 fastball, 55 slider middle relief fits. Moreno, too, but he’s coming off TJ. Pinto throws really hard — in the mid-90s — but that’s about it right now. Skubal was hurt for his junior year at Seattle University and looked good in bullpens before the draft but nobody would meet his ask. He went back to school and was very wild, then dominated in pro ball after signing by throwing about 80% fastballs. He’s a ground-up rebuild who had third round stuff at his best in college.
The Tigers have shifted in recent years from a win-now, trade prospects and spend money approach, to an asset collection, hold prospects, and save money approach. The shift from trading many of their top homegrown talents to keeping them could change the fortunes of the farm eventually, but it hasn’t quite done that yet. Casey Mize will likely get to the big leagues soon, so he’s likely be on this list one more time at most. Matt Manning hasn’t had his breakthrough yet, most industry opinions have Daz Cameron as a low-end regular, and there are still plenty of questions about the ultimate upside of Isaac Paredes and the health of Franklin Perez. For the top of the system of a rebuilding club, that isn’t a particularly strong top of the list. The depth is fine, but depth doesn’t really matter when the first priority is creating the core of your future playoff team.
The fifth and 47th picks in this year’s draft will be nice assets to add, but the big league club isn’t overflowing with core talent, either. Michael Fulmer looked like he could be one, but he’s down for the year with elbow surgery. Nick Castellanos is likely to be traded if and when he performs well. There are some solid complementary pieces in Jeimer Candelario, Matt Boyd, Joe Jimenez and Shane Greene, but the focus here needs to be both adding to the talent base and developing the existing talent better. Clubs like the Dodgers, Brewers, and Yankees seem to be creating contributors out of thin air and those are increasingly the table stakes in player development, with many other teams spending resources to join those leaders. The Tigers appear to be more on the traditional end of things in most departments — not wrong, just more traditional — and the rebuild will need player procurement and development to both take a step forward.