Top 26 Prospects: Detroit Tigers

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.

Tigers Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Casey Mize 21.9 A+ RHP 2019 55
2 Matt Manning 21.2 AA RHP 2021 50
3 Daz Cameron 22.2 AAA CF 2020 50
4 Isaac Paredes 20.1 AA 3B 2021 50
5 Franklin Perez 21.3 AA RHP 2021 45+
6 Christin Stewart 25.3 MLB DH 2019 45
7 Willi Castro 21.9 AAA SS 2020 45
8 Wenceel Perez 19.4 A SS 2023 45
9 Beau Burrows 22.5 AA RHP 2019 45
10 Parker Meadows 19.4 A- CF 2022 40+
11 Kyle Funkhouser 25.0 AAA RHP 2019 40
12 Jake Rogers 23.9 AA C 2020 40
13 Elvin Rodriguez 21.0 A RHP 2021 40
14 Carlos Guzman 20.9 A+ RHP 2022 40
15 Alex Faedo 23.4 AA RHP 2020 40
16 Sergio Alcantara 22.7 AA SS 2019 40
17 Kody Clemens 22.9 A+ 2B 2021 40
18 Spencer Turnbull 26.6 MLB RHP 2019 40
19 Anthony Castro 24.0 AA RHP 2020 40
20 Bryan Garcia 23.9 AAA RHP 2020 40
21 Adinso Reyes 17.4 R 3B 2024 40
22 Derek Hill 23.2 A+ CF 2021 40
23 Reed Garrett 26.2 AAA RHP 2019 40
24 Dawel Lugo 24.2 MLB 2B 2019 35+
25 Matt Hall 25.7 MLB LHP 2019 35+
26 Gregory Soto 24.1 A+ LHP 2021 35+
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55 FV Prospects

1. Casey Mize, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Auburn (DET)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 55/60 60/65 50/55 92-96 / 97

Mize was a midrange projection arm in high school and broke out on the Cape after his freshman year at Auburn. He looked like a mid-first rounder after his sophomore year and subsequent summer with collegiate Team USA, then took a giant leap forward in his draft spring, which led to Detroit taking him first overall. His command improved and he added an 87-90 mph cutter that quickly became a plus pitch, to pair with his mid-90’s fastball, above average slider, and plus splitter. After pitching for Team USA the summer before the draft, Mize got a PRP injection in his pitching elbow. Some teams had concerns about his shoulder in high school, and he also missed time a sophomore at Auburn with forearm tightness.

Mize has some violence to his delivery and isn’t the prototypical projectable plus athlete you normally see at the top of the draft. There’s also some anecdotal evidence suggesting heavy cutter usage leads to diminished velocity. These are all things to make you wonder how Mize projects, but right now he may be able to pitch in the big leagues, with some mentioning Aaron Nola as the type of pitcher he could become. He’s already made an adjustment to his slider that has given the pitch more verticle depth, like a slurve, which adds a new movement wrinkle to his mix. He doesn’t really fit Detroit’s timeline for contention, and may not be as good in his sixth year of control as he’ll be in his second, so many have openly wondered if Mize becomes a trade chip once he succeeds in the big leagues. That’s a good problem to have for a big league club in need of top shelf talent; Mize may give them that as soon as 2019.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Sheldon HS (CA) (DET)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 40/50 40/45 93-97 / 98

Manning entered his senior year of high school as a talented two-sport project with a, having size and arm speed, but inconsistent command, offspeed stuff, and somewhat strange east/west elements to his delivery. His superior athleticism shone through in the spring, along with improved direction to the plate, and the Tigers popped him ninth overall in 2016 with an eye toward Manning becoming a frontline starter.

Early in pro ball, Manning had some real trouble with strike-throwing, then slowly settled in. He has two easy plus pitches in his fastball and curveball, but his changeup is almost always below average, and his command comes and goes. His fastball plays up due to his excellent extension, but he gets so much extension that he overstrides and it reduces the amount of feel he has, both in his changeup and command. If Manning can dial down the aggression in his delivery a bit, the starter traits should come to the forefront and give the Tigers a No. 2 or 3 starter.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Eagle’s Landing Christian HS (GA) (HOU)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/50 40/45 50/55 50/55 50/50

Cameron stood out as one of the top players in his class as early as a freshman in high school, and the fact that he’s the son of Mike Cameron didn’t hurt, either. Daz was an elite talent early on in his own right, but the rest of his draft class slowly caught up and by his draft year, he was one of the top dozen or so prep bats, rather than the clear top talent. The questions then are still largely the questions now: he’s a plus runner who can play a solid center field with average raw power, but scouts question how much offensive impact there will be. Cameron has already surpassed the expectations that pessimistic scouts had for him as an amateur, but even scouts that like him now say he’s a potential low-end regular, possibly in the Keon Broxton mold, or even a poor man’s version of his father. He just turned 22 and will likely spend 2019 in the upper levels with an eye toward sticking in the big leagues in 2020.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Mexico (CHC)
Age 20.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 50/50 45/50 40/30 40/45 55/55

It’s hard to quibble with Paredes’ stellar 2018. He hit .278/.359/.456 across two levels, and reached and performed at Double-A Erie as a 19-year-old. He’s been drawing trade interest since the moment he set foot on the Cubs complex in 2016 due to his very mature feel to hit, which belies his age. Despite this, there are concerns about Paredes. He already has a catcherly build as a teenager and though he has spent the bulk of his pro innings at shortstop, he’s not going to stay there and probably won’t end up on the middle infield at all. He may eventually have to try to catch (which would slow his development, or the grind may dilute his offensive production) or move to first base, where he saw some reps in the Mexican League this offseason. The instability on defense is concerning even though everyone loves Paredes’ bat. We think he’ll be an average everyday player for a while but aren’t sure about his longevity.

45+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (HOU)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/60 45/50 55/60 40/50 93-96 / 97

Perez’s first few pro seasons were notable because of how quickly Houston pushed him through the minors. A polished strike-thrower with four good pitches, he reached Double-A as a 19-year-old back in 2017 before he became the centerpiece of the Justin Verlander deal. Advanced though he was, various injuries have robbed Perez of innings. He has yet to throw more than 86 frames in an entire season, so while he may be fairly advanced for someone his age, and definitely for someone who has pitched so little, the industry has yet to see his stuff hold up for a whole summer of starter’s innings.

In 2016, he had knee trouble; in 2018, it was a lat strain, then shoulder inflammation. An ominous trap issue popped up during the early parts of 2019 spring training but Perez was back on the mound quickly and sitting his usual 93-96 into late-March. A strong-bodied 21-year-old, the cement is likely dry on Perez’s stuff. His high three-quarters slot creates ride to his fastball as well as downward vertical action on his curveball, and those two traits typically pair well together. While Perez’s curveball is his prettiest pitch, his best secondary offering is the changeup. There are times when Perez will come across the baseball and create screwball action on the change, and it runs, sometimes unhittably, onto the glove side corner of the plate. But mostly, it’s used as a swing-and-miss pitch that bottoms out beneath the strike zone just as it reaches the plate. Perez has mid-rotation stuff and strike-throwing ability, but needs a fully healthy season to be valued at that level across the league.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Tennessee (DET)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 65/65 55/60 40/40 30/30 40/40

Stewart has now hit for big power and walked at an above-average clip for five consecutive years, dating back to his junior season at Tennessee. He’s averaged 25 homers annually during that span and there’s lots of other evidence — signs like a consistently low ground ball rate and the raw thump he shows in BP — supporting what seems to be a safe, pretty impactful offensive profile. Stewart will most certainly give back some value on defense as he’s not a good defensive outfielder and probably belongs at DH. The predicament in Detroit is that so too do many of their other hitters, even though Victor Martinez has retired. And so Stewart will likely slowly prowl left field early in his career, and perhaps move to DH once Miguel Cabrera and Nick Castellanos move on. He’s already 25, so while we think Stewart will hit like a good team’s 4-, 5- or 6-hole hitter for a while, this type of profile typically doesn’t age well, which, along with the defensive limitations, had us round down our projections a little bit.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (CLE)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 45/45 20/45 55/55 50/55 55/55

Francisco Lindor’s presence in Cleveland made the fast-approaching Castro expendable in trade, and Cleveland sent him to Detroit for Leonys Martin at the 2018 deadline. A 2017 breakout that saw Castro slug .424 at Hi-A Lynchburg seemed to be a mirage when he hit just .245/.303/.350 for three months at Double-A Akron (that power output is closer to career norms), but after the trade Castro slugged .562 and his ground ball rate dropped from 44% to 33% in about a 100 balls-in-play sample, which should be fairly stable. If there’s suddenly more lift here then Castro could be a top 100 prospect by mid year. He’s going to stay at short (plus range, average hands, above-average arm) but the average big league shortstop had a 95 wRC+ last year and Castro is a very aggressive hitter likely to run below-average OBPs. If there’s been a swing change (his swing with Cleveland was not conducive of power) then extra pop might propel Castro toward regular playing time. If not, he’s a low-end everyday player or utility man.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (DET)
Age 19.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/45 20/40 60/60 40/50 50/55

Perez signed for $550,000 in 2016 and fits the Detroit mold of international signings: shortstops signed for middle-tier bonuses with a tool or two and feel for the game. He had a breakout in 2018 as he gained strength, and it allowed his offensive game to be more well-rounded without costing him a step of speed. He isn’t a slam dunk to stick at shortstop, but will be solid at second base if it doesn’t work out. The upside isn’t enormous as it’s a contact profile with below average power, some speed, and a middle infield position, but those types turn into a 60 PV/FV every now and then (and Jose Ramirez sometimes, too), so we sit up in our chairs when we see a young hitter with this profile. Detroit doesn’t look scared to promote Perez aggressively, so he may play at both A-Ball levels at age 19 with a strong 2019 campaign.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Weatherford HS (TX) (DET)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 45/50 50/55 45/50 91-94 / 96

Burrows was on the scouting radar early in his prep career when he was hitting the mid-90s at tournaments after his sophomore year of high school. He had an extreme spine tilt at this point, bending his upper body at an almost 45-degree angle toward first base when he released the ball, but his breaking ball was above average and his strike-throwing wasn’t bad. As he entered pro ball, the Tigers worked on fixing this posture issue as they saw their first rounder as a potential mid-rotation starter. Since then, his stuff has ranged from being flat to regressing a bit. We can’t say the lower effort is directly leading to the stuff not holding, but some pitchers have to dial things back a bit to pitch like a starter needs to and Burrows appears to be one of them.

As many power prep arms learning to become starters do, Burrows’ breaker has become closer to average while his changeup is now the superior pitch (Ian Anderson is another example) and the upside is now more of a fourth starter. The just-okay numbers in Double-A indicate that Burrows either shouldn’t be working at the top of the zone or doesn’t yet have the combination of command and sequencing to make it work.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Grayson HS (GA) (DET)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 55/60 20/50 70/65 45/55 55/55

The younger brother of Rays outfielder Austin Meadows, Parker has some similarities to his big league sibling, but his tools are actually compared more often to those of Indians center fielder Bradley Zimmer. Zimmer and the younger Meadows both have deceptively easy speed due to their long frames, each has a plus arm, plus raw power, and long limbs that create contact issues at the plate. Meadows had some track record of hitting elite prep pitching over the summer months of the scouting calendar, but some amateur departments were turned off by his lack of rhythm in the batter’s box, and he slipped to round two on draft day even though he was in the mix for some teams picking in the 20s. He’s a typical high risk/high reward high school prospect, with even more upside than his brother, now a major leaguer.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Louisville (DET)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 45/50 40/50 92-94 / 97

Funkhouser was a classic Louisville recruit who wasn’t touted much at a Midwestern high school, then stood out immediately on campus as an early-round pick. He didn’t sign as a first rounder in 2015, then had a down season and signed as a fourth rounder in 2016. At his best, Funkhouser shows a 55 or 60 fastball and curveball along with an average changeup and command, for a No. 3 or 4 starter type profile. He did that for most of 2015, which led to being a first round pick, then was less consistent from that point forward. We think he’s about as good as Spencer Turnbull, as a stuff-first righty who’s close to the majors and either a depth starter, multi-inning reliever, or high leverage piece, but more a role player piece than a core starter type.

12. Jake Rogers, C
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Tulane (HOU)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 40/50 40/40 55/60 60/60

A polished receiver and cat-like ball-blocker with a laser arm, Rogers was one of this century’s best defensive amateur backstops while at Tulane. He fell to round three of his draft because of concerns about his bat, concerns that turned out to be well-founded, as Rogers had stark contact issues last year when he was tested at Double-A and the Fall League. A pairing of patience and pull power probably provides Rogers with a shot to approach the low offensive bar at the catcher position. He might hit .220 but still yank out 15 annual homers, walk a bunch, and end up hitting well-enough to play every day for someone. His glove alone makes him a high-probability big leaguer, at least as an uber-gloved backup.

13. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (LAA)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/55 50/55 45/55 40/50 89-92 / 94

Acquired in the Justin Upton swap, the wispy Rodriguez has three average pitches that could continue to improve either through reps and improved feel (the changeup), or mature physicality (the fastball). His 11-7 curveball has good shape, depth, and bite, his delivery is graceful, smooth, and repeatable. Stagnant development likely leaves Rodriguez with a collection of 50-grade pitches and command, relegating him to the No. 5 starter realm. But while you can quibble about which areas he’s most likely to improve (at age 21, the body and velocity may be done growing), it seems likely that some of the stuff will due to the frame, delivery, and athleticism.

14. Carlos Guzman, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (DET)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 40/50 50/60 35/50 91-95 / 97

Guzman spent his first two pro seasons hitting .144 before the Tigers decided to move him from the infield to the mound, a decision that now looks brilliant after Guzman’s breakout 2018. With just 25 innings of affiliate experience to his name, Guzman went to the college prospect-laden New York-Penn League as a 20-year-old and struck out a batter per inning over 12 starts, while walking just 14 hitters all summer.

He is an exceptional on-mound athlete, who quickly took to an impact, low-80s changeup, which has bat-missing tail. A narrow, smallish frame and Guzman’s tendency to baby his offspeed stuff into the zone are present issues, but the latter of these should be remedied with time and experience. Guzman has a bad breaking ball, and while breaking ball quality typically isn’t something that improves very much over time, Guzman is so new to pitching that he may not yet have the right feel/grip on his breaker. The spin rate on his low-80s slider is beneath that of his fastball. Typically the inverse is true, and it’s a sign that there’s probably a grip issue, something that can be remedied. We’ll see how the body and stuff develop, but Guzman is pretty exciting and has a shot to eventually be a No. 4 starter if you’re willing to project lots of late-arriving attributes because of his athleticism and background.

15. Alex Faedo, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Florida (DET)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 40/45 50/55 89-92 / 94

While his fastball has bounced back into the low-90s after sitting in the upper-80s at times last year, we still have concerns about how it’s going to play against big league hitters because Faedo is such a short strider. He only gets about five feet worth of extension on all his pitches, impacting his fastball’s perceived velocity quite significantly. There’s a chance it plays like a 40 fastball, even though its velo has rebounded some. Faedo’s funky low slot may flummox hitters enough to counterbalance his lack of extension somewhat, and it no doubt helps him create bat-missing action on his slider, which is excellent. He had several years of success against SEC hitting, and is a crafty sequencer. There are things to like, and some teams think Faedo is a high probability No. 4 or 5 starter, but we consider the velo fluctuation, lack of extension, and Faedo’s multiple knee surgeries, to be long term concerns.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 22.7 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 30/30 20/30 50/50 50/60 70/70

It’s easy to fall in love with Alcantara after just watching him take infield. Not only is he coordinated and acrobatic, but his throws to first sizzle through the air, even with just a flick of his wrist. He has one of the best infield arms in the minors and should be an above-average defender at maturity. At the plate, he lacks even a modicum of strength and has near bottom-of-the-scale power from both sides of the plate. He’s a competent slash and dash hitter, but that’s becoming less common, even at shortstop. Tigers fans who visit this site are likely acquainted with Jose Iglesias‘ player page. Iglesias was a better defender than Alcantara (and, well, just about everybody) and had better feel for contact with similar power, and is someone we’d ideally have as a 45 or 50 on prospect lists based on his’ WAR production. Logically, Alcantara needs to be beneath those tiers. He could be a speedy, versatile bench infielder for a long time, though.

17. Kody Clemens, 2B
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Texas (DET)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 30/50 45/45 40/45 50/50

Clemens got white-hot during the Longhorns 2018 postseason run and hit .419/.536/1.000 in the team’s eight NCAA tournament games, boosting his junior-year line to .351/.444/.726 with 24 homers, which ranked second in the country. The Tigers made him the top pick on Day Two of the 2018 draft and he finished the year with a strong month and a half at Low-A, often against pitching worse than what he faced in college.

He has a very pretty left-handed swing and can move the bat head around the zone, but Clemens doesn’t always track or diagnose pitches well. He may be a swing-and-miss risk against better pro pitching, but what he does may still be enough at second base, assuming Clemens can stay there. At best, teams think he’ll be an inoffensive second baseman, with some projecting Clemens to third base or an outfield corner. One source compared him to current 50 FV prospect Shed Long. That type of outcome — a compact body with power, some issues against breaking stuff, below average defense but at a premium position — would be a good outcome for a third rounder.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Alabama (DET)
Age 26.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 45/50 55/60 40/45 93-95 / 97

Turnbull has always thrown hard, been more stuff than command, and had a sturdy workhorse type build. Like Sean Newcomb, his delivery is easy but the command has never quite been there to project as a long-term starter. He’ll start the year in the Tigers rotation, but we think he’ll end up being better suited to a multi-inning or high leverage relief role in the end. Turnbull works in the mid-90s with sink, and his slider and cutter are both above average to plus. But the changeup and command are both average at best, along with a show-me curveball. He’s likely to return some cost-effective value in the next few seasons for the rebuilding Tigers, but we’d expect the contributions of a role player more than those of a potential building block.

19. Anthony Castro, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela (DET)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/60 40/45 45/55 40/45 91-95 / 98

Castro signed in 2011 but didn’t make his full-season debut until 2017, after a 2015 Tommy John surgery. He’s been a starter that whole time, but it sounds like he’ll move to relief this year, which has always seemed like the best use of his ability. In shorter stints, he sits 95-98 and hits 99 mph with a breaking ball that flashes 60. His changeup will flash 50 at times but it’s too firm and inconsistent. Castro tinkered with a splitter that flashed 55, but he isn’t confident in his feel for it yet and it’ll always be a third pitch, which he may need only occasionally in relief.

20. Bryan Garcia, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Miami (DET)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 98

The career saves leader at Miami, Garcia tore through the minors and pitched across four levels, all the way to Triple-A, in his first full pro season. Then he blew out during the spring of 2018 and likely won’t be back on any mound, let alone a big league one, until the middle of 2019. A three-quarters slinger with mid-90s heat, Garcia also has a plus slider, and we think the movement profile on the fastball mimics his changeup in such a way that the cambio will be serviceable, as well. He could be a late-inning, three-pitch reliever, assuming his stuff comes back after the surgery.

21. Adinso Reyes, 3B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (DET)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 50/55 20/50 50/45 40/50 50/50

Signed for just shy of $1.5 million in July of 2018, Reyes is a physical projection third base prospect. Of all the players from the 2018 July 2 class who will almost certainly end up in a corner, Reyes was our highest ranked. He has an athletic, rotational swing, plus bat speed, his bat path has some natural lift, and he has a frame that appears destined to add considerable mass and strength. Arm accuracy and mobility issues, especially as he gets bigger, could move Reyes down the defensive spectrum, but he could end up with above or plus hit and power tools.

22. Derek Hill, CF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Elk Grove HS (CA) (DET)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 50/50 20/45 70/70 50/55 50/50

Despite the small balls-in-play sample, Hill’s stark drop in groundball rate from 2016 to 2017 gave us great hope for his offensive potential and had us buying in to his short-lived power output. While he continued to lift the ball more in 2018, the game power returned to career norms, way down in the .079 ISO, .318 SLG area. Hill remains fleet of foot and is a reputable defensive center fielder. That alone should earn him a big league bench outfield role at some point (he’s not on the 40-man yet), but we got ahead of ourselves last year with regards to his bat, which is likely too light for Hill to be an everyday player.

23. Reed Garrett, RHP
Drafted: 16th Round, 2014 from Virginia Military Institute (TEX)
Age 26.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/45 45/45 95-97 / 98

The team’s Rule 5 pick, Garrett made the club out of spring training and has pretty traditional middle relief stuff. He sits in the mid-90s, has an above-average slider that has vertical depth despite being in the mid-80s, and he spent the last two seasons closing for Texas’ Double and Triple-A clubs. He has erratic fastball command, which might undercut stuff that would otherwise fit in a set-up role, but that stuff might improve with a change of scenery.

35+ FV Prospects

24. Dawel Lugo, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic (ARI)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Lugo’s blend of bat speed and bat control has long made him a prospect of note, and at times he’s looked like a future high-contact, multi-positional role player. But at age 24, Lugo’s willingness to swing at most of what he sees is still a problem impacting his ability to reach base, as well as the quality of his contact. He struggles to lay off of breaking balls, he ends up topping pitches into the ground, and the bat control alone may not be sufficient to keep Lugo afloat at second or third. But you also can’t teach this kind of feel for contact, and perhaps a swing change that moves the game power is still a possibility, though the arrow is clearly pointing down.

25. Matt Hall, LHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2015 from Missouri State (DET)
Age 25.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Hall has a dandy 12-6 breaking ball that spin in at an average of 2850 rpm and while he only throws 88-91, he gets good extension and his fastball plays up enough to be viable. He’s going to pitch heavily off of that plus curveball and likely fit in a middle relief role, though breaking ball-only lefties are an endangered species.

26. Gregory Soto, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (DET)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Three-pitch lefties with mid-90s heat always have a shot, so while Soto’s walk rate remains a disconcerting 13%, the fact that he showed 96 with an occasionally good changeup and breaking ball means he’s still pretty interesting. His arm action is so long that it needs to be split into two movies and while that is probably part of why he so badly struggles to throw strikes, it also makes him really tough on left-handed hitters. The existence of three pitches (the fastball, an upper-80s change, low-80s slurve) better positions Soto for the three-batter minimum rule, but he still needs to throw more strikes or he’s just upper-level depth.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Bench Outfield Types
Kingston Liniak, CF
Dustin Peterson, LF
Brock Deatherage, CF
Jacob Robson, CF
Danny Woodrow, CF
Troy Montgomery, CF

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 Hernandez, RHP
Logan Shore, RHP
Tyler Alexander, LHP
Adam Wolf, LHP

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.

Jason Foley, RHP
Nolan Blackwood, RHP
Eduardo Jimenez, RHP
Zac Houston, RHP
Sandy Baez, RHP
Gerson Moreno, RHP
Wladimir Pinto, RHP
Tarik Skubal, LHP

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.

System Overview

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.

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4 years ago

Would you guys have taken Mize at #1 last year? I understand that the Tigers org philosophy is essentially to horde every tall, hard-throwing SEC righty on the planet, but it puzzled me since Mize’s prospect timeline appears to be so off of Detroit’s contention timeline.

I see the Nola comps but it’s not hard for me to see Fulmer-type risk in the profile, as well. Both are hard-throwing righties with violent deliveries and not-prototypical athleticism, and both came to the fore about 2 years before they could realistically net real value to the club.

CONservative governMENt
4 years ago
Reply to  jonvanderlugt

The timeline doesn’t matter to me, but I would not have given anyone in this draft the $7.5M bonus they paid Mize. Seemed like a perfect opportunity to do something like the Phillies did with Moniak and create some real money to use on tougher signs later.

4 years ago
Reply to  jonvanderlugt

Yeah they should have taken Harper or Correa instead of Mize. Who else was clearly better?

4 years ago
Reply to  LMOTFOTE

I think they had a little bad luck in that the year they had the #1 pick, Mize was really the only logical choice. With that in mind, it was the right pick. I think everyone, including people in the org., would have preferred if a stud position player showed himself to be worthy prior to draft day.

Unfortunately, guys like Bart, Bohm, Madrigal profile more as solid to above average regulars than future stars & while HS guys like Kelenic & Gorman may profile as a star ceiling, they also had too much downside risk to take 1-1.

Mize was the right choice. If he works out, the rebuild will be further along than thought & they will have a good problem on their hands in deciding whether to keep him or parlay him for younger assets.