Detroit Tigers 2021 Midseason Top 50 Prospects

Tigers Top 50 design by @designsbypack on Twitter

The 2021 Detroit Tigers farm system is one of the best in MLB, recently ranked #7 overall by MLB Pipeline and #5 here on Prospects1500. The organization at one point this season had 5 of the Top 25 prospects in all of baseball. The prospects list used to be headlined by pitchers but is now led by two Top 10 positional prospects, Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene.


Due to the rebuilding…scratch that, BUILDING being done throughout the system, many prospects have either graduated out or been traded out of the Preseason Rankings. This group of players, led by Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Akil Baddoo, have started to form the young nucleus of the Detroit Tigers.

But with some players departing the rankings, the backfill from the 2021 MLB Draft and trade deadline added three new players to the Top 10. Led by #3 pick Jackson Jobe, the Tigers had what many experts consider to be a fantastic draft; adding proven college arms and high-ceiling youth talent.

Below is the Prospects1500 tier system used to ranked players. It simply gives an indication of the production expected from a player at the MLB level.

Tier 1: Players with high expectations of both making the majors and playing at an All-Star level for a number of years
Tier 2: Players with an above-average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 3: Players with an average expectation of making the majors and being a solid contributor
Tier 4: Players who have the potential of making the majors, or have high likelihood of making the majors but providing minimal impact (e.g. middle reliever, low-ceiling UT guys)
Tier 5: Players of interest, worth keeping an eye on, who have an outside chance of making their team’s 40-man roster

Tier 1

1. Spencer Torkelson, 1B/3B (January rank #1)
Age: 22
Current Level: AAA

Torkelson has impressed with his above-average power and plate discipline, but an extended slump into July (.352 in June, .183 in July) has both Torkelson and the organization trying to get him out of the current funk.

2. Riley Greene, OF (January rank #3)
Age: 20
Current Level: AAA

Greene might be closer to the MLB level than his Toledo Teammates, showcasing an ability to hit to all fields and cover center quickly and efficiently, but his strikeout rate (28.5%) is too high for comfort as he continues to develop.

Tier 2

3. Dillon Dingler, C (January rank #7)
Age: 22
Current Level: AA

One of the surprises of the 2021 MiLB season is Dingler’s defensive impact on games, although low walk rates as a batter is something to work on for a catcher who should identify pitch types and know the ump’s strike zone.

4. Jackson Jobe, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 19
Current Level: Not assigned

The #3 pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Jobe has a fastball and slider that keeps hitters off-balance and potential that has Chris Fetter excited for the future rotation in Detroit.

5. Roberto Campos, OF (January rank #18)
Age: 18
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

In Campos’s first full month of professional baseball, he showed above-average power but also the undisciplined approach of youth (22 K in 64 PA).

Tier 3

6. Ty Madden, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned

The 32nd pick in the 2021 MLB Draft, Madden has three above-average pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) and loves to attack hitters with consistent zone pounding.

7. Cristian Santana, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (DSL)

Santana got a $2.95M signing bonus from the Tigers in January, the largest GM Al Avila has given in his tenure, leading to high expectations for the teenager with an impressive approach and raw talent.

8. Izaac Pacheco, SS/3B (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

The #39 overall pick in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft, Pacheco has incredible athleticism and raw power from the left side. As he develops, a shift to another infield position could be inevitable.

9. Reese Olson, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 22
Current Level: AA

Notching 79 strikeouts in 69 innings going into the trade from Milwaukee for Daniel Norris, Olson has an above-average slider and change-up combo.

10. Dylan Smith, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned

Smith’s athletic 6’2” frame allows him to produce above-average pitches from minimal body movement, with downward and outward tails on his fastball and slider.

11. Joey Wentz, LHP (January rank #8)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA

Wentz is still not at 100% after Tommy John Surgery in 2020, but a mid-3 ERA in AA Erie is promising; the WHIP is too high though.

12. Ryan Kreidler, SS (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA

Kreidler has shown incredible development since the Tigers drafted him in the 4th round of 2019. He has shown improved power and patience at the plate this season, taking advantage of a lineup featuring Torkelson and Greene’s on-base ability.

13. Gage Workman, SS/3B (January rank #21)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A

What started well in Lakeland (.274 avg in May) has fallen off since Workman’s promotion to A-West Michigan (.198 avg in July) and Workman is still adjusting to the shift to shortstop.

14. Parker Meadows, OF (January rank #11)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A

After a terrible start to the season, Meadows has increased his average in each of the last three months, finding extra base power.

15. Daniel Cabrera, OF (January rank #12)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A

Although the slash line is modest, Cabrera has increased his contact numbers in his first year of MiLB, however, Cabrera’s plate discipline has suffered.

16. Alex Faedo, RHP (January rank #10)
Age: 25
Current Level: AA

Faedo’s career development has been torpedoed by injuries since 2019: Covid, Forearm Strain, and Tommy John Surgery. Whether Alex can find his fastball velocity and slider action after two years off is on the mind of Tigers’ brass.

17. Kody Clemens, 2B (January rank #20)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA

Clemens has improved his patience at the plate, while looking to utilize gap-power and line drives, versus being a pull-only power hitter.

18. Colt Keith, 3B/RHP (January rank #23)
Age: 20
Current Level: High-A

Keith has quality power to all fields that will continue to develop as he adds body mass and strength; cautioning some scouts about an increase in strikeouts and enlarging the zone.

19. Trei Cruz, SS (January rank #26)
Age: 23
Current Level: Low-A

Cruz stands out from the other infielders in the organization due to his value as a switch-hitter and an above-average defensive set.

Tier 4

20. Jose De La Cruz, OF (January rank #19)
Age: 19
Current Level: Rookie (FSL)

De La Cruz has body strength normal 19-year-olds would not have, combined with an aggressive approach in the box leads to home run and extra base power.

21. Bryant Packard, OF (January rank #14)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

Although Packard lacks speed and raw athleticism, he showcases high bat speeds and exit velocities that lead to extra base hits.

22. Adinso Reyes, SS (January rank #28)
Age: 191
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

Reyes has been impressive at the plate, showing the ability to wait for a pitch in the zone. He continues to mature in strength and speed, adding to his overall tools.

23. Abel Bastides, SS (January rank N/A)
Age: 17
Current Level: Rookie (FCL)

Above-average range and glovework set Bastides apart from other International signing players in 2021.

24. Andre Lipcius, 3B/2B (January rank #29)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA

Lipcius has improved his eye at the plate, limiting strikeouts and providing a true “Utility Man” for starts all around the infield.

25. Paul Richan, RHP (January rank #37)
Age: 24
Current Level: AA

Although Richan throws a fastball and slider that are average, he relies on above-average command to limit WHIP.

26. Derek Hill, OF (January rank #30)
Age: 25
Current Level: MLB

The best defensive outfielder in the Tigers organization, Hill has an incredible first step and closing speed. With 112 MLB AB as of August 30, he’s graduating from this list shortly.

27. Jason Foley, RHP (January rank #48)
Age: 25
Current Level: MLB

Foley has a quality three-pitch arsenal (fastball, slider, splitter) but has had control issues during his stints in the Majors this season.

28. Alex Lange, RHP (January rank #44)
Age: 25
Current Level: AAA

Lange has found his way to Detroit multiple times this season but has struggled to a 5.85 ERA and 1.85 WHIP.

29. Nick Quintana, 3B (January rank #22)
Age: 23
Current Level: Low-A

Quintana has not had a good 2021 season, where his timing and approach seem disjointed while batting under .200 and striking out nearly 1:3 AB.

30. Keider Montero, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A

The strikeout to walk ratio for Montero is good at 3:1, but he has allowed 12.3 Hits per Nine during his 15 starts for West Michigan this season.

31. Tanner Kohlhepp, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned

A groundball and low-exit velocity contact pitcher, the 6’4” Kohlhepp needs to work on repeating mechanics across all his pitches.

32. Wenceel Perez, SS (January rank #17)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A

Improving steadily, Perez has only struck out 1:10 ABs this month, whereas in the previous two months combined that rate was 1:5 ABs; also batting over .300 this month.

33. Beau Brieske, RHP (January – unranked)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA

Brieske overpowered batters in West Michigan, posting 76 strikeouts and only 15 walks in 62.2 IP. Beau is one of the most control-forward pitchers in the organization.

34. Zack Hess, RHP (January rank #31)
Age: 24
Current Level: High-A

In the closer role for West Michigan, Hess has double-digit saves; striking out 57 in 43.2 IP but unfortunately walking 29 in that same period.

35. Jacob Robson, OF (January – unranked)
Age:26
Current Level: AAA

A recent MLB debut showed off Robson’s speed and instincts, but also his high strikeout rate; continued patience in the box will lead to his speed being on the basepaths.

36. Rony Garcia, RHP (January rank #32)
Age: 23
Current Level: MLB

Only appearing in two games this year for the Tigers, Garcia is currently on the 60-Day IL with a left knee sprain.

37. Cooper Johnson, C (January rank #40)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

Johnson has struggled to find his bat through the 2021 season, with more strikeouts than hits.

Tier 5

38. Ulrich Bojarski, OF (January rank #34)
Age: 22
Current Level: High-A

Another worsening bat in the Tigers system, Bojarski is batting .178 with 77 strikeouts to only 13 walks.

39. Wladimir Pinto, RHP (January rank #35)
Age: 23
Current Level: AAA

Projected as a quality bullpen arm, Pinto has had trouble with the Home Run ball; allowing 1.7 per 9 IP.

40. Tyler Mattison, RHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 21
Current Level: Not assigned

The sturdy 6’4”, 230 righty drastically improved from his junior to senior year at Bryant University, making Mattison an interesting quick project for Hinch and Fetter.

41. Elvin Rodriguez, RHP (January rank #41)
Age: 23
Current Level: AA

The strikeouts are there for the slender Rodriguez, averaging 9.6 per nine but he continues to struggle with giving up HRs.

42. Franklin Perez, RHP (January rank #13)
Age: 23
Current Level: High-A

The centerpiece to the Justin Verlander deal, Perez has been injured for the past two years and went unclaimed off waivers before resigning with Detroit.

43. Gerson Moreno, RHP (January rank #42)
Age: 25
Current Level: AA

Moreno has shown the ability to deceive hitters and get swing and misses at both Erie and Toledo this year, but still needs to work on command and mechanical repetition.

44. Yariel Gonzalez, 3B/DH (January – unranked)
Age: 27
Current Level: AA

One of the older prospects to make the list, Gonzalez has shown great power and contact to all fields in 2021.

45. Eliezer Alfonzo, C (January rank #43)
Age: 21
Current Level: High-A

Moving back and forth between Lakeland and West Michigan, Alfonso has shown power and plate discipline.

46. Max Green, LHP (January rank #45)
Age: 25
Current Level: AA

Green has faltered during the 2021 season with a 7.27 ERA and an inability to get outs in relief appearances.

47. Kingston Liniak, OF (January rank #46)
Age: 21
Current Level: Low-A

Liniak has 108 strikeouts in Lakeland this season while batting under.200; pitch identification and patience must improve.

48. Miguel Del Pozo, LHP (January – unranked)
Age: 28
Current Level: AA

The oldest player in these rankings, Del Pozo did not pitch well in his only Tigers appearance in 2021, giving up 2 ER in only 0.2 IP, but he continues to strike out batters in Toledo at a 12.4 K per 9 rate.

49. Carlos Guzman, RHP (January rank #47)
Age: 23
Current Level: Low-A

An ERA near 5.50 in Lakeland has stalled Guzman’s development as his fastball does not miss bats frequently; 10.5 Hits per 9.

50. Brant Hurter, LHP (January rank N/A)
Age: 22
Current Level: Not assigned

The 7th round pick in 2021, Hurter stands 6’6”/250 and is still recovering lost development from a 2019 Tommy John Surgery.