Top 40 Prospects: Detroit Tigers by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel January 28, 2020 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 resource the site offers featuring sortable scouting information for every organization. It can be found here. Editor’s Note: Rony Garcia, a Tigers’ Rule 5 selection from the most recent draft, has been added to this list at No. 31. Shao-Ching Chiang, a minor league free agent signing, was added to the list at No. 27. Top Prospects Team Lists 2020 2019 ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG ALBALCHWHOUBOSCLELAANYYDETOAKTBRKCRSEATORMINTEX NLATLCHCARIMIACINCOLNYMMILLADPHIPITSDPWSNSTLSFG Tigers Top Prospects Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV 1 Matt Manning 22.2 AA RHP 2021 60 2 Casey Mize 22.9 AA RHP 2020 60 3 Riley Greene 19.5 A RF 2022 50 4 Tarik Skubal 23.4 AA LHP 2021 50 5 Isaac Paredes 21.1 AA 3B 2021 50 6 Alex Faedo 24.4 AA RHP 2020 45 7 Joey Wentz 22.5 AA LHP 2020 45 8 Wenceel Perez 20.4 A SS 2022 45 9 Daz Cameron 23.2 AAA CF 2020 45 10 Franklin Perez 22.3 AA RHP 2020 45 11 Parker Meadows 20.4 A CF 2022 45 12 Nick Quintana 22.5 A 3B 2022 40+ 13 Alex Lange 24.5 AA RHP 2020 40 14 Willi Castro 22.9 MLB SS 2020 40 15 Zack Hess 23.1 A RHP 2022 40 16 Jose De La Cruz 18.2 R RF 2024 40 17 Beau Burrows 23.5 AAA RHP 2020 40 18 Bryant Packard 22.5 A+ LF 2023 40 19 Jake Rogers 24.9 MLB C 2020 40 20 Wilkel Hernandez 21.0 A RHP 2022 40 21 Adinso Reyes 18.4 R 3B 2023 40 22 Kody Clemens 23.9 AA 2B 2021 40 23 Jack Kenley 22.5 A 2B 2023 40 24 Ryan Kreidler 22.4 A- 3B 2022 40 25 Roberto Campos 16.8 R RF 2025 40 26 Bryan Garcia 24.9 MLB RHP 2020 40 27 Shao-Ching Chiang 26.4 AAA RHP 2020 40 28 Keider Montero 19.7 A- RHP 2023 35+ 29 Kyle Funkhouser 26.0 AAA RHP 2020 35+ 30 Elvin Rodriguez 22.0 A+ RHP 2021 35+ 31 Andre Lipcius 21.9 A 3B 2023 35+ 32 Rony Garcia 22.3 AA RHP 2020 35+ 33 Jason Foley 24.4 A+ RHP 2020 35+ 34 Sergio Alcantara 23.7 AA SS 2020 35+ 35 Wladimir Pinto 22.1 AA RHP 2021 35+ 36 Will Vest 24.8 AAA RHP 2020 35+ 37 Carlos Guzman 21.9 A+ RHP 2022 35+ 38 Paul Richan 23.0 A+ RHP 2022 35+ 39 Sam McMillan 21.3 A C 2023 35+ 40 Angel De Jesus 23.1 A+ RHP 2021 35+ Reading Options Detail Level Data Only Full Position Filter All All C 1B 2B SS 3B OF LF CF RF LHP RHP 60 FV Prospects 1. Matt Manning, RHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Sheldon HS (CA) (DET) Age 22.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 60/60 50/55 45/55 93-96 / 98 If you get déjà vu reading this report it’s because Manning has become the dream. All of the physical components that many front-end arms have while they’re in high school were there when he was an amateur — shooting guard frame, premium arm strength and athleticism, a breaking ball — the stuff that enables your imagination to run wild. And Manning succeeded while devoting time to two sports, which caused him to get a late start during his draft spring because the hoops team was in the middle of a deep playoff run (Manning threw late into the prior summer, so this may have actually been good for limiting innings). After some initial strike-throwing issues and a change in stride direction, the REM cycle arrived. The walks came down, Manning’s changeup got better, and he started working with two different fastballs and was clearly manipulating the shape of his spike curveball depending on the hitter and situation. He’s never had arm issues (his 2018 IL stint was due to an oblique injury), and he has rare on-mound athleticism coupled with an understanding of how to pitch. He’s going to have three out-pitches thanks to adjustments he’s already made, and it’s fair to assume he’ll be able to make more. Manning is tracking like an All-Star starter and a potential top-of-the-rotation arm. 2. Casey Mize, RHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Auburn (DET) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Splitter Cutter Command Sits/Tops 55/55 60/60 55/60 70/70 55/60 92-95 / 97 We would not have guessed that, at this stage, the two-sport prep pitching prospect in this system would have lower perceived variance than the dominant SEC arm who went first in his draft class, but here we are. Mize has hellacious stuff. His four-pitch mix has actually gotten better since college because he and the Tigers successfully added greater demarcation between his cutter and slider, the latter of which now has more two-plane sweep. His entire repertoire is capable of missing bats, like Manning’s, but Mize’s split is superior to Manning’s change and he has an additional weapon, the cutter, that Manning does not. So why ever-so-slightly prefer Manning? Mize’s injury track record is as scary as his stuff. Some teams had concerns about his shoulder when he was a draft-eligible high schooler, he had elbow issues as a sophomore at Auburn, he had a PRP injection after he pitched for Team USA the summer before his draft year, and in 2019, he missed a month with a shoulder injury. After Mize returned, he had some outings where his fastball was in the 90-92 range, he used his splitter less frequently, and when he did use it, it had more spin than usual. It’s speculation, but perhaps he was tinkering with changeup grips after the injury. That’s an awful lot of smoke. Purely on quality of stuff, Mize is arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. We still love him and think it’s perfectly reasonable to consider him the top youngster in this system and one of the best on the planet, but what Manning has become, what he might continue to develop into based on his athleticism and now-evident ability to make adjustments, combined with his much, much cleaner bill of health, shades him ahead of Mize, in our (mostly Eric’s) opinion, within the same FV tier. 50 FV Prospects 3. Riley Greene, RF Drafted: 1st Round, 2019 from Hagerty HS (FL) (DET) Age 19.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/60 50/55 25/55 50/45 45/50 55/55 Advanced high school hitters are common on Florida’s diamonds, and while Greene constantly squared up top high school pitching as well as any of his peers, he also underwent a bit of a physical transformation that made at least some scouts more optimistic that he’ll be able to play an instincts-driven center field long term. During his pre-draft summer, Greene was a little soft-bodied, his running gait was odd, and he seemed destined to play little more than an average outfield corner. The player scouts watched the following spring had a better physical composition, was more explosive and a better runner, and had as ripe a high school hit tool as was available in the draft. This was similar to how Jarred Kelenic’s skills were colored as he came out of high school. Greene’s swing, curated by his father from an early age, is beautiful. He can clear his hips and turn on just about anything on the inner half, drop the bat head and lift balls with power, strike balls the other way with authority, and he tracked and whacked many high school benders. The bend and flexion in Greene’s front knee as his swing clears the point of impact is reminiscent of several Dodger hitters. Though there are many examples of Greene having certain types of athleticism (he is a tremendous leaper, for instance), he’s not a runner and we don’t have him in center field. But we think he’ll hit enough that it doesn’t matter. 4. Tarik Skubal, LHP Video Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Seattle (DET) Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 65/65 50/55 45/45 45/50 40/45 90-94 / 96 Skubal was rehabbing from Tommy John during his junior year at Seattle University and only managed to throw a few bullpen sessions in front of scouts before the 2017 draft. Scouts liked what they saw, but not enough to meet a price tag that was up around $1 million according to sources. Skubal went back to school and was horrendous early in the year before he slowly began to throw more and more strikes. Now 29 teams and their evaluators are cursing themselves for either failing to notice that upward trend throughout the 2018 spring, or for noticing but lacking conviction in the draft room. There are some folks in baseball who have Skubal right up in the same tier with Mize and Manning. He has a dominant fastball, equal parts velocity, ride, and tough-to-square angle. So unhittable is Skubal’s heater that he’s struck out 37% of hitters during his pro career (48% over the final few weeks over Double-A play last year) while throwing the pitch roughly 70% of the time. No current big leaguer with a fastball that plays at the top of the zone throws their fastball that much; anyone close to 70% is a sinkerballer. An occasionally good changeup and slider aside, Skubal’s secondaries are not all that great in a vacuum, but luckily they too benefit from the funky angle created by Skubal’s cross-bodied, high-slot delivery. His overall swinging strike rate (18%) was higher than the rate on his fastball alone (15%), which means the secondaries were a net positive for him, but we’re unsure of what big league hitters will do if they know a fastball aimed at the letters is coming most of the time. So while he’s had nothing but goofy strikeout rates for two years, we think Skubal ends up more toward the middle of a rotation rather than the front. 5. Isaac Paredes, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Mexico (CHC) Age 21.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 55/60 50/50 40/45 30/20 40/45 55/55 Paredes has a .291/.376/.425 line in 166 Double-A games. He’s quite comfortable in the box, and shows balance throughout his swing and incredible hand-eye coordination. A lack of in-game power and/or defensive excellence, combined with the abnormally high bar to clear at third base right now, may overshadow Paredes’ short-term impact in a league-wide context. Body-related concerns about his athletic longevity pinch what we think he’ll do in his late 20s. Paredes should hit enough to be an average everday player, like Luis Arraez except on a corner. 45 FV Prospects 6. Alex Faedo, RHP Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Florida (DET) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 60/60 40/45 55/60 90-93 / 95 We were quick to move off of Faedo after he sat out the summer of 2017, then returned in 2018 with a fastball several ticks lower than where it was at peak, but we did so prematurely. Much of his velocity was back in 2019. He’s still searching for a consistent changeup, one with a little more velocity separation than it currently has, but Faedo’s slider and slider command give him an out-pitch. He’s thrown about 120 innings each of the last several years and should end up with a similar big league workload, a No. 4/5 starter. 7. Joey Wentz, LHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Shawnee Mission East HS (MO) (ATL) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 45/50 55/60 45/55 88-92 / 94 Wentz has given scouts a number of different looks over the years: he hit the showcase circuit as a position player while resting his arm, showing 70-grade raw power, then showed 92-95 heat and a plus curveball at times in an uneven spring, followed by a full season debut where he mostly sat 88-91 with a great changeup. In 2018, Wentz had shoulder and oblique issues and his stuff played closer to average; in 2019 he was a bit healthier and better. He still has a near ideal frame and athleticism to go with a bag of 50- and 55-grade pitches and other qualities that give him a good shot to be a No. 4/5 starter. 8. Wenceel Perez, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (DET) Age 20.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 25/55 35/45 20/40 60/60 40/50 50/55 The Tigers are in a bit of a pickle with Perez. He’s one of the few position players in the system who has a realistic chance of playing some sort of everyday role because of his speed, defensive profile, and feel for contact. He’s also still very young, physically immature, and a very raw swinger from the left side of the plate. He’ll be Rule 5 eligible next winter. Unless Perez grows into better quality contact, be it physically, mechanically, or both, he may become one of the several quality prospects who get exposed in the Rule 5 every year because the parent club thinks they’re too raw for other teams to bite. Red Sox 2019 Rule 5 pick, Jonathan Arauz, is a similar player. For now, Perez projects as a second-division regular at shortstop so long as the bat-to-ball feel turns into more than spray/grounder contact. 9. Daz Cameron, CF Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Eagle’s Landing Christian HS (GA) (HOU) Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/45 50/50 35/45 50/50 50/55 55/55 2019 was the worst statistical season of Cameron’s career by far. Strikeout frequency (which had been an underlying issue throughout much of his pro tenure) combined with a low BABIP (well below Cameron’s career norm) to generate a .214/.330/.377 line. He still had 40 extra-base hits, and Cameron’s all-fields power (he doesn’t have huge raw, but he does have wall-scraping pop to center and right center because the swing has some inside out elements) and selectivity give him the ability to do some slugging damage and reach base amid all the whiffing. Daz has been a known prospect for seven or eight years now. He’s got great body control but isn’t especially toolsy, and his instincts and baseball acumen play a large role in his defensive ability and baserunning. Overall, he’s a well-rounded player with fair tools, a 1.5 WAR type. 10. Franklin Perez, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (HOU) Age 22.3 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. 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, before he had three IL stints — in April, May, and June — and was shut down for the year. 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. He has mid-rotation stuff, but has one of the longest injury histories in the minors, and he’s barely 22. 11. Parker Meadows, CF Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Grayson HS (GA) (DET) Age 20.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45 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 plus speed due to their long frames, and each has a plus arm and plus raw power; Christian Yelich is the advanced hitter version of this profile. But as a high schooler, Meadows’ main concern was tied to contact issues caused by his long limbs and lack of rhythm at the plate. The Tigers took him in the second round out of high school in 2018 and he hasn’t quite dialed in the offensive approach yet, with a high strikeout rate in the summer after signing and marginal power in his full-season debut, but the upside remains the same. 40+ FV Prospects 12. Nick Quintana, 3B Drafted: 2nd Round, 2019 from Arizona (DET) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 55/55 30/50 40/40 50/60 55/55 Quintana had a four-year track record of statistical performance dating back to his senior year of high school, but after the draft he suddenly stopped hitting against Low-A and Short Season pitching. His swing is somewhat grooved, but he has an athletic move forward and should hit a ton of doubles. A well-rounded offensive skillset and above-average defense at third is an everyday profile, but there’s some hit-tool risk here. 40 FV Prospects 13. Alex Lange, RHP Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from LSU (CHC) Age 24.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 60/60 50/50 55/55 40/40 91-93 / 95 Lange’s velocity last year was back to what it was during his best days at LSU, and his strikeout rate spiked after the Cubs traded him to Detroit in the Nick Castellanos deal and he was moved to the bullpen. Our high speed footage shows Lange throwing two different breaking balls, though their movement is hard to distinguish in real time. The slider is effective despite lacking spin, and has late, downward movement. Lange might fit in a multi-inning relief role. 14. Willi Castro, SS Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (CLE) Age 22.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/45 45/45 35/40 55/55 50/55 55/55 Castro shares many offensive similarities with a young Freddy Galvis. He’s a switch-hitter with some pop who hasn’t totally figured out how to get to that power in games yet. Galvis, who is a superior defender, figured it out and became a low-OBP, 45 FV type of player, so Castro fits in a tier below that. He may be a placeholder at shortstop. 15. Zack Hess, RHP Drafted: 7th Round, 2019 from LSU (DET) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 216 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 55/60 40/45 40/45 93-95 / 97 Hess was a well-known power arm on the high school summer showcase circuit and into the spring, showing mid-90s heat, a plus power curveball, and a reliever’s command and approach in his best stints. Due to the prep righty reliever profile, his price wasn’t met and he went to LSU, where they tried to make him a starter after a solid freshman year in relief. The starter role never quite took, as he mostly sat in the low-90s with lesser stuff. His stuff got back to his showcase circuit best in pro ball in short stints, which seems like the best role for him going forward. 16. Jose De La Cruz, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (DET) Age 18.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 50/60 25/55 45/30 40/50 60/60 De la Cruz has a right field prospect toolkit straight out of central casting — plus raw power, plus arm, average underway speed, contact issues at present — and a year of DSL statistical performance arguably derived from his physical maturity. His Trackman data is very strong, especially for his age. He could be a middle of the order power bat, but he’s years away. 17. Beau Burrows, RHP Video Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Weatherford HS (TX) (DET) Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 40/50 40/50 45/55 45/50 91-94 / 96 Injuries — shoulder inflammation, biceps tendinitis, oblique strain — ruined Burrows’ 2019. When healthy (well, when he was pitching), Burrows’ fastball was fine, but his secondaries were not. He could bounce back into the 45 FV tier if they’re back in 2020. 18. Bryant Packard, LF Drafted: 5th Round, 2019 from East Carolina (DET) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/45 55/55 35/55 30/30 40/45 40/40 Packard’s junior year power output dipped because of injuries (back and wrist), but he had a stock-up summer after the draft. He’s patient, has above-average raw power, and looks like a potential Lucas Duda type of lefty stick. 19. Jake Rogers, C Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Tulane (HOU) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 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 Contact-related warts and all, we still like Rogers as a low-end regular who played elite defense while hitting for some pull power, much like what Austin Hedges has been. We’re not sure how valuable the foundation of Rogers’ skillset will be in a few years if automated strike zones are instituted, and fear interesting players like this will disappear if they are. 20. Wilkel Hernandez, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (LAA) Age 21.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/55 40/50 40/45 90-93 / 96 Hernandez is one of two Angels rookie-level pitchers Detroit received in the Ian Kinsler (Hernandez) and Justin Upton (Elvin Rodriguez) trades. Of the two, Hernandez is the one who experienced an uptick in velocity. Both had been in the 88-92 range with frames that portended more. Then last year, Hernandez was suddenly up to 96. And there might be another jump if Hernandez ends up in the bullpen, where he’d be a power fastball/breaking ball reliever. His changeup quality and year-over-year strike-throwing improvements merit continued development in the rotation, and give Hernandez a shot to be a No. 4/5 starter. 21. Adinso Reyes, 3B Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (DET) Age 18.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 50/55 25/50 50/45 40/50 50/50 Reyes is one of several examples of Detroit targeting physically mature corner bats with present raw power on the amateur market. He worked out as a shortstop as an amateur but projected to third base at best. He has an athletic, rotational swing and plus bat speed, and his bat path has some natural lift, while his frame appears destined to add considerable mass and strength. Arm accuracy and mobility issues, especially as he gets bigger, could move Reyes way, way down the defensive spectrum, but he could end up with above or plus hit and power tools. 22. Kody Clemens, 2B Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Texas (DET) Age 23.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/50 50/50 30/45 45/45 40/45 50/50 Clemens had a pretty strong Florida State League line (.238/.314/.411 is above average in the FSL), albeit as an old-for-the-level hitter. He generates consistent hard contact because of the strength in his wrists and hands. His lower half and hands often appear disconnected, which can result in ugly contact that’s still hit hard because of Clemens’ strength. He projects as a one-ish win, shift-aided second baseman. 23. Jack Kenley, 2B Drafted: 8th Round, 2019 from Arkansas (DET) Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 45/50 30/40 50/50 45/50 50/50 Even on a loaded Arkansas team, Kenley stayed under the national scouting radar since he didn’t play much until his junior year, and was an infielder without much power who didn’t play shortstop. He shows 45 raw power in BP, but has a flat swing plane that’s geared for line drives and contact. He seems like candidate for a swing change, but could also carve out a bench role as a lefty-hitting, contact oriented bench bat infielder along the lines of Tommy LaStella. 24. Ryan Kreidler, 3B Drafted: 4th Round, 2019 from UCLA (DET) Age 22.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/50 45/45 30/40 45/45 45/50 55/55 A vanilla but well-rounded college infielder, Kreidler’s best defensive fit is at third base, but he’s fundamentally sound enough to stand at a middle infield spot if needed. A conservative, contact-oriented approach coupled with limited raw power shade the projection toward a bench infield/utility type. 25. Roberto Campos, RF Signed: July 2nd Period, 2019 from Cuba (DET) Age 16.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 20/50 55/60 25/55 45/40 40/50 50/50 Campos defected from Cuba with his brother in 2016 at a Little League tournament in the Dominican Republic. The Tigers locked him up pretty quickly after their first couple looks, with some clubs barely seeing him at all. He’s a corner outfield prospect with present power who needs to hit to profile. We know next to nothing about the hit tool at this point. 26. Bryan Garcia, RHP Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Miami (DET) Age 24.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 203 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/55 50/50 40/45 92-95 / 96 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. He works fastball/slider to righties, fastball/changeup to lefties, and both secondaries are very firm, upper-80s pitches. Neither is a dominant offering, but the pitch mix lifts Garcia above an up/down role. 27. Shao-Ching Chiang, RHP Video Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Taiwan (CLE) Age 26.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40 Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/45 55/60 40/40 90-95 / 98 Chiang is going to pitch in the big leagues next year. He throws hard (up to 96 during a pre-tournament exhibition, up to 98 during the 2019 minor league season) and has a backspinning fastball due to his vertical arm slot. He’ll also flash a plus changeup, which he uses against right-handed hitters sometimes, and his two-plane slider is fringy. It’s an arm strength relief profile. 35+ FV Prospects 28. Keider Montero, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (DET) Age 19.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 45/50 50/60 40/50 35/45 91-94 / 96 He’s not as physically projectable as most pitchers his age, but Montero’s fastball will crest around 95 and he has a potential out-pitch in his curveball. 29. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP Video Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Louisville (DET) Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 55/55 55/55 45/50 40/50 92-94 / 97 Funkhouser was added to Detroit’s 40-man despite more injury and erratic performance in 2019. At times he’ll show three above-average pitches; at others he can’t get anyone out. He hasn’t thrown more than 100 innings in any pro season, and at this point he’s considered a relief prospect with a long track record of injury. 30. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (LAA) Age 22.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/45 50/50 50/55 40/50 89-93 / 94 Rodriguez was an advanced pitchability righty with physical projection when Detroit acquired him from the Angels for Justin Upton. He’s now 22, and the velo hasn’t arrived. He still has a great build and arm action, but he’s looking like a sixth or seventh starter now because the heat just hasn’t come. 31. Andre Lipcius, 3B Drafted: 3rd Round, 2019 from Tennessee (DET) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 35/55 50/50 30/40 45/45 50/55 55/55 Lipcius moved from first base as a freshman, to shortstop as a sophomore, to his natural home of third base as a junior at Tennessee, and then all over the infield during his first taste of pro ball. He hit for more power in his draft year than was expected given a contact-oriented approach (Lipcius ditches his leg kick with two strikes, and he’s willing to poke balls, softly, the other way). He projects as a multi-positional bench infielder. 32. Rony Garcia, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (NYY) Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/50 55/55 45/50 45/50 91-94 / 96 Garcia spent most of 2019 at Double-A Trenton, where he posted a FIP of 4.21, then he went first overall in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft. He sits 91-94 and touches 95 with pretty significant fastball spin for that velo range — about 2400 rpm on average — but because Garcia has a lower arm slot, the pitch doesn’t have the kind of lift that would miss bats. The arm slot and Garcia’s above-average, two-plane breaking ball make him especially tough on righties, who he held to a .197/.273/.356 line in 2019. The changeup needs to get better if Garcia is going to continue to start, but Detroit is becoming quite good at implementing coherent pitch design, so maybe it will, or perhaps the Tigers will find a way to give him a relevant second breaking ball. 33. Jason Foley, RHP Drafted: 0 Round, 2016 from Sacred Heart (DET) Age 24.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 65/65 45/45 40/40 94-97 / 100 Foley’s arm strength was back after his Tommy John, but his out-pitch changeup was not. His secondary pitch of choice last year was a slider. He’d be a 40 FV with that split/change back in the fold, but as an arm strength-only sort, he’s more of an up/down reliever. 34. Sergio Alcantara, SS Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (ARI) Age 23.7 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 45/50 30/30 20/20 55/55 55/60 70/70 “This guy isn’t pitching yet?” one of us was asked by a source as we talked about this system. Alcantara has a laser arm, he can run, he’s a good defensive shortstop, and he even has above-average ball/strike recognition. But the quality of contact is arguably insufficient for even a utility role. He’s nearly out of option years. We wonder if reps in center might enable a 26th man sort of role, but also think it’s possible the Tigers give a conversion to the mound a shot since Detroit is getting better at developing pitchers, including a few interesting conversion arms. 35. Wladimir Pinto, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (DET) Age 22.1 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 60/60 45/50 30/35 94-97 / 98 Pinto has a huge fastball and both of his secondaries dovetail in opposite directions, but neither has consistent, bat-missing movement. Fold in a career walk rate in the teens, and even though he’s doing damage with his fastball at Double-A, Pinto was passed over in the Rule 5. He’s only 21 and is a realistic up/down relief prospect with some ceiling above that due to the arm strength. 36. Will Vest, RHP Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Stephen F. Austin (DET) Age 24.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops 50/55 50/50 50/50 93-95 / 97 He doesn’t have sleeves (which is the nature of the garment) but Vest still does a good job hiding the ball from hitters. His deceptive, overhand delivery looks like a trebuchet and creates late carry on his fastball, which sat 94 and touched 97 during the season, but was 91-93 in Eric’s Fall league looks. His secondary stuff is more average, so it’s important the velo returns. 37. Carlos Guzman, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (DET) Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 50/55 40/45 50/60 35/50 90-94 / 96 Two seasons ago, Guzman was an exciting, new conversion arm who was sitting in the mid-90s and rapidly gaining feel for a good changeup. But in 2019, his stuff was down, his command backed up, and he was eventually shut down with injury. Rather than a 2019 leap placing Guzman in late-inning air, he’s now a bounce-back candidate who won’t be on the list if his velo isn’t back in the spring. 38. Paul Richan, RHP Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from San Diego (CHC) Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops 40/40 40/40 45/45 45/50 55/60 89-91 / 93 An extreme strike-thrower, Richan is severly lacking in stuff. He relies on freezing people and inducing weak contact with his changeup and fastball location. He’s likely a sixth starter type. 39. Sam McMillan, C Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Suwanee HS (FL) (DET) Age 21.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw 30/40 40/45 30/35 40/35 45/50 55/55 McMillan is an athletic, well-built catcher with ball/strike recognition, and a slow bat. He projects as a third catcher on the 40-man, and his build suggests he’ll probably hang around for a while. 40. Angel De Jesus, RHP Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (DET) Age 23.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+ Tool Grades (Present/Future) Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops 65/65 45/45 30/35 91-95 / 96 De Jesus signed at 19 and had been slow to develop (he spent parts of three seasons in the DSL) until 2019, when he skipped a level, then earned a mid-year promotion to Hi-A. He throws hard — 91-96 with huge extension — and his fastball has relevant movement up and away from lefty batters. He’s well-built but not very athletic, and he throws a lot of non-competitive pitches because he struggles to repeat. He’s a lower probability reliever but there’s some ceiling because of how the fastball plays. Other Prospects of Note Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category. Younger Bats Manuel Sequera, SS Abelardo Lopez, OF Pedro Martinez Jr., 3B Alvaro Gonzalez, SS Other than Sequera, this group is comprised of more of those bigger, stronger teenage corner types. Sequera has a shot to stay at short and grow into some pop. Lopez is a corner power bat who signed for about three quarters of a million in July, along with Sequera. This Pedro Martinez, like the Cubs’ Pedro Martinez (no relation), has a medium build and average tools. Gonzalez is the shortstop version of this, with less present pop. Relief Types Marco Jimenez, RHP Anthony Castro, RHP Hugh Smith, RHP Max Green, LHP Daniele Di Monte, RHP Wilmer Fenelon, RHP Isrrael De La Cruz, RHP Gio Arriera, RHP Jimenez, 21, has mid-90s fastball/slider reliever projection. Castro throws hard and is built like he might pitch forever, but his heater has natural cut and gets hit when he misses his spot, which is often. He could be a fastball-heavy “look” reliever. Smith is 6-foot-10, he touches 96, and has fringe secondaries. Green is a lefty up to 97 with a slow but very deep curveball. Di Monte is an Italian 17-year-old with a low-90s fastball and average curveball. His vertical arm slot creates big carry on his heater. Fenelon was the hardest-throwing Tigers DSL arm, and was up to 96 and sitting 91-93 as an 18-year old with a stronger current build than most teens. It was his second DSL year. De La Cruz is a converted outfielder with big spin on a low-90s heater. Arriera is 21; he’s the club’s fourth rounder from 2017. He was up to 96 as a starter last year Mature-framed Power Bats and Upper-Level Tweeners Jose Azocar, CF Nick Ames, OF Derek Hill, CF Lazaro Benitez, RF Jacob Robson, CF Azocar, Hill, and Robson all have bench outfield ceilings. Azocar, 23, has the best chance to grab hold of a bench role. Ames is a giant (6-foot-3, 240) who has had big power since high school. He’s explosive but not very athletic. Benitez was 20 in the DSL but hit the ball hard. System Overview The Tigers system has been on an upswing over the last few years as the team has committed fully to a rebuild and started to stockpile prospects rather than aggressively move them for big leaguers, as Detroit did during the Dave Dombrowski era. Until recently, the Tigers were regarded as one of the more traditional scouting and player development operations in baseball, but we’ve seen and heard of some progress in these areas — specifically the use of high-speed video and pitch design — with Casey Mize seeming to benefit most particularly. We liked their mostly-college 2019 draft crop, headlined by Riley Greene, while Mize was an easy 1-1 in 2018, and the top players in their recent J2 classes (Campos, De La Cruz, Reyes) have all shown solid returns thus far. When you combine this acquisition momentum with the team holding the first overall pick in June (another 50 or 55 FV), the fact that trades will likely only add to the list at this point, and a farm that already ranked eighth for us at the end of the 2019 season, there’s plenty of reason for hope in Detroit. It’s a hell of a drug but a necessary one in this case, because Matthew Boyd (who isn’t a free agent until 2022) may be the only slam-dunk core piece currently on the big league roster.